Yesterday, Gilbert Gottfired did an AMA on Reddit. If you’re a fan of funny, it’s worth looking at. I got a few chuckles out of it.
Remember Nick Vatterott? I posted about him a week or so ago. Well, I found this really cool site called Sketchpad Comedy which is focused on helping people with sketch comedy and is based in St. Louis. And, one of their first blog posts is an interview with Vatterott. And it’s pretty great.
It has a lot of great advice about how to get started writing and that sort of thing. It also has some awesome videos from Vatterott. One of those is the cold open sketch he wrote for the Critics’ Choice Awards (hosted by TJ Miller) and the other one is his Late Night With Jimmy Fallon appearance. The sketch was awesome, but I was even more impressed by his tight 5. The set he put together for Fallon was so well put together and memorable that it makes me want to get way better! I’ve attached those videos below.
One great piece of advice that Vatterott shares in the interview is…
“Be prepared for the things that you want, so that when they come your way you’re ready for them. Don’t blow you’re chance to be seen by a club owner by getting an audition when your not ready, when your comedy is still hit or miss. Wait to get the audition when you’re killing on a regular basis. You don’t want to do an audition just crossing your fingers hoping you get it, you want to destroy and walk off the stage leaving them with no choice but to book you.”
I’m looking forward to more from Sketchpad! Seems like a fun site with good people.
Admittedly, my ignorant young self knows nothing about Carol Burnett. But, a comedian friend shared a quote of hers from this Hollywood Reporter interview that I thought was interesting:
“Today the suits say, “It’s got to be fast.” So I think some of the writing isn’t good anymore. Now sitcoms sound like they’ve been written by teenage boys in a locker room.”
I agree. TV writing today is just punchlines in a lot of shows, which to me gets old. That’s not how life works. Some of the best sketch writing builds up to a climax. A lot of great sketches or TV shows are more “thinkers” than laugh out loud funny and the pressure for have every second be funny to compete with people’s short attention span I see as detrimental.
Stand up writing is actually very similar in New York. Here, you gotta have punchline, punchline, punchline or else no one will listen to you. I think there’s a lot of great comedy that isn’t like that, so it’s nice to see someone else saying, “Slow down!”
I actually don’t think anything else in the interview is that interesting, but please do read it if that tickles your fancy. And then you’ll know just about as much about Carol Burnett as I do.
Day Two: Joe List
To New York City comedians, Joe List is a name you gotta know. He’s been around the best clubs in the city for a little while now and he’s starting to make his way onto TV. He was on last season of Last Comic Standing and made it pretty darn far. He’s also performed on late night several times over the past couple of years.
This article paints List as “the comedy underdog,” a guy who’s been around the New York comedy scene for forever, but has never quite gotten his big break. If you like him, check out the podcast he co-hosts with Mark Normand (also hilarious), Tuesdays With Stories.
This is a really fun interview that came out in April from Inside Joke (watchinsidejoke), a YouTube channel I’d never heard of before, but looks awesome.
As a recent college grad, I found Mulaney’s stories especially funny. We had comedians come to our school and I remember thinking, what is the audience doing? They would only laugh at set-ups instead of the punch lines and they would laugh and cheer uncontrollably just at references to like a TV show and they would yell out stuff! And the show would be generally unorganized. And the shows happened in weird spaces. College shows are weird.
A lot of the interview is also Mulaney and the host reminiscing about the last time she interviewed him. That was funny.
Check out Inside Joke – they have tons of videos with awesome comics, but somehow don’t have a thousand views on everything! I was pleasantly surprised by the quality.
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So I talk about Marc Maron a lot and I realized that not many people really know what he does. Even though he’s getting to be more of a household name, I bet that most people, when they heard that he interviewed Obama, went, “who?!”
Maron is a podcaster. And he’s a comic. And he’s been around forever but never really got a “big break” until WTF Podcast, which isn’t so much a “break” so much as it is something he made happen himself.
Marc is a self-described “angry dude” who somehow became the most successful comedy podcaster out there. His style is different. When I first started listening to him, I couldn’t help but find him loud, narcissistic, and yeah – angry. But the more I listened, the more I liked him. I realized that he’s a phenomenal interviewer and he has a great story. He’s “the underdog” and people like to see the underdog succeed.
This awesome article came out yesterday about how Maron rose to where he is today, and it’s a really cool read. For all the work that Maron does showcasing other people, it’s great that The Washington Post would feature his life’s work. You can read How an angry comic who had a coke habit became the Barbara Walters of podcasts here.
I posted a little while ago about Nathan Fielder’s new season of Nathan for You. A writer for the AV Club, John Teti, asked Fielder to do a traditional interview to promote the show, but Fielder had a different idea.
Teti had previously reviewed Fielder’s show on his podcast Mom on Pop, where he discusses pop culture with his mother. Teti’s mother gave scathing reviews of Fielder’s work on the podcast, saying that Fielder wasn’t funny and she didn’t think he was a very nice guy.
So, what did Fielder suggest for the interview? He wanted to meet up with Teti’s mother to try to convince her that he was a good guy.
The interview with Teti’s mother is hilarious, at least to me. It’s definitely not your average type of funny. But it reminded me of conversations I have with people who aren’t really connected to the comedy world and are pretty ignorant about what can and can’t be funny (even though they’re generally nice people). The idea that some guy’s mother is trying to tell Fielder, who runs a successful comedy show, what is and isn’t funny is a pretty funny idea.
Spoiler: Fielder is successful in the end.
I saw this article a little while back and I liked it because it shows how hard you have to work to make it as a comic. Even after starring in several stand up specials, her own sketch show, and her own movie, Amy Schumer is living in a small apartment in New York City. No pent house just yet, no butlers. She’s still saving her money in case something goes wrong.
It goes to show that even after you “make it” in comedy, you’re not set for life. You have to keep putting the effort in and keep working at it. It’s also nice to know that she doesn’t have it that much better than me. Right?
Brian Regan recently performed the first ever live Comedy Central special at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. It was a huge deal in the comedy community and most of my friends were either watching together online or actually there in person.
One of the reasons Regan was one of the only people who could be considered to do such an unprecedented show was because he is known so well as a clean comic.
Jim Gaffigan is one of the best known clean comics who actually resents being labeled as one. That’s just one of the things these two comics talk about in this Comics Talk to Comics piece in Vulture. It actually came out just before Regan’s special, so you’ll benefit from the extra excitement.
I’m a huge fan of magic but I just hate when people do comedy magic. Usually, the comedy is low quality and the magic is low quality. Which makes me mad. Putting two mediocre things together just makes the whole thing mediocre.
However, Piff the Magic Dragon is an exception. He’s a weird act that I first saw on Penn and Teller’s show Fool Us a few years back. And he’s great. Funny and good magic.
Apparently he’s on to other things. He’s on this season of America’s Got Talent and already made it to the final round because of some gold buzzer or something (I don’t know the silly rules!!!) He deserves it. He has a fantastic resume and he’s been around for a while.
Just saw this interview from Mr. Piff and it’s fun. A short and snarky read.
There’s a video of his America’s Got Talent performance on the interview link. But, he did the same trick on Fool Us and I think he performed it better the first time. Here’s the old video.