Some Interesting Reddit Threads On Comedy

I found some cool threads over the past several days. The first one is called What comedian do you find terribly unfunny? and it’s pretty funny to hear what people tend to say. It reminds me of the article I wrote about how people can find very different things funny or not. It’s always interesting to see which names come up more often and hilarious to see how angry people get trying to argue who isn’t funny. It isn’t that serious…

I also saw this other thread: ELI5: What makes our brains go “that was funny, now let’s laugh”? which is pretty damn interesting. The guy who wrote the top answer actually wrote a book on what makes people laugh and he also shared a great podcast episode about it. He gives an explanation of his thesis and there are a lot of comments filled with speculation. Which, to me, shows how ridiculous humor research can be. Through my experiences, everyone has a slightly different explanation for laughter. It’s caused by surprise or the unexpected. It’s a social relationship thing. It’s something to do with pain. Whatever. In my opinion it just is what it is. Interesting to think about, though, maybe.

Glibert Gottfried Quote on P.C.

A comedian friend posted this quote on Facebook. I couldn’t find the source, so who knows if Gottfried actually said it. Either way, I think the quote is pretty funny.

“I think standup comedy these days should come with instructions for people that’s all…if u think it’s funny laugh, if u don’t don’t laugh.” – Gilbert Gottfried

John Mulaney Talks Playing Colleges

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.

If you enjoy these fun little ditties, like my face book page!

How To Look Like A Serial Killer

My room used to be all white with totally white walls, all white furniture, and white bed sheets. And I just recently realized that that is not normal.

So I called up my friend on the phone who is a photographer and I said, “Hey, why don’t you send me a picture so that I can put it up on my wall.”

So he sends me the picture, and I open it up and see that what he sent me is this giant print of…what looks like an empty, white room.

The only thing creepier than having a totally white room with all white walls and white furniture is having a totally white room with all white walls and white furniture, where the only thing on the wall is a picture of an empty white room.

Trying to seem less serial-killer-y, I decided to pin up my comedy notecards on the wall, too. Not that weird, right? After organizing them, I realized that all of the notecards are white as well. And they have the names of all my jokes on them. And the more you look, the weirder they sound, especially because you’d have no way of knowing why I wrote the phrases on these notecards without asking me.

“Make someone care about you?”

“Shower Ritual”

“Bill Cosby Cover”

“I think State Farm is there”

Normal people do not write these things on their wall.

I also acquired a new mattress. Not knowing what to do with my old one, I shoved it against the inner wall of my closet, thinking “Oh wow, I bet this would totally sound-proof the closet.”

Stop! Stop being a serial killer! How does being boring make me so creepy?! An all white room, one artsy photo, joke notecards, and a mattress are just boring things!

Maybe I should just embrace my inner serial killer and buy some tarps and an axe in preparation for my American Psycho-esque meltdown. The only problem is that I have no idea where they would sell axes in New York City.

You know, it really doesn’t make sense how having a really white room makes you seem crazy. It would just be way harder to clean when you do axe-murder someone. Just saying.


Sometimes when I don’t want to use a silly photo I found on the interwebs, I use my own pictures of NYC venues as a feature image. Greenwich Village Comedy club is in the heart of the West Village on Macdougal Street, just down the street from the Comedy Cellar. It’s where I’ve had my worst set: a grueling five minutes of complete silence. So it holds a special place in my heart. 

Why Don’t People Think Women Are Funny?

I was at a small comedy show recently where a panel of eight or so comedians discussed who they thought would be on the “Mount Rushmore of Comedy.” I listened as all the comics listed their top four comics of all time and only one woman, Maria Bamford, was listed. And she was picked by the host, who went last, who might have thought “Hey, maybe I should throw a woman in there.” (and I only say that because everyone vehemently disagreed with Bamford’s right to be on the Mountain) That’s 8×4=24+ “best comedians of all time” listed and only one female comic came up. Isn’t that weird?

Continue reading “Why Don’t People Think Women Are Funny?”

Contagious Laughter

Have you ever been with a bunch of friends when one of them starts to laugh? And then she keeps laughing and laughing…and laughing. Until someone else begins to laugh at how ridiculous she is…and then suddenly everyone is starting to laugh uncontrollably?

Well that’s what happened in Tanzania in 1962, but it wasn’t just a group of friends. It was entire towns. And it didn’t stop for several months. I’m serious.

You might have heard about the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic (yes, epidemic) before, but you might not know that outbreaks of “mass hysteria” still happen there today. In fact, Radiolab did a story on contagious laughter that detailed another more recent outbreak, where one girl was actually hospitalized and repeatedly administered Valium until she finally stopped laughing when she woke up.

I first heard about contagious laughter when I was doing humor research on puns and I was like “No wayy – that’s impossible.” But, It’ real! Check it out.

I think it’s a fascinating concept and it kind of explains why stand up comedy works. If you ever ask a comic to tell you a joke one-on-one, he probably won’t do it. Why? Well, no one says, “Oh, you’re a dentist?! Pull out someone’s tooth right here at this dinner party!” Also, it’s just different performing to one person than it is performing to a crowd. Have you ever had a creepy girlfriend or boyfriend who sang love ballads to you one-on-one? It’s awkward! It’s like singing a love ballad, but with humor. Which sounds funny, but in person not so much.

Besides that, it’s just too risky. Telling a joke one-on-one, anything can happen. But I’ll tell you what usually happens: nothing. People just stand there and don’t say anything. Or worse, they say, “That was funny.” Rarely do they actually laugh, even if it’s your best joke that kills every time on stage.

Why? Well, there’s no other people around to laugh at the thing together! I think contagious laughter definitely comes into play when you’re doing a set for a crowd. And, the very best crowds are the ones who are laughing uncontrollably…one might say “bordering on mass hysteria.” Maybe I just need to play some venues in Tanzania and then I’ll be really funny.

Comedy Central Presents: Zach Galifianakis, Then Vs. Now

You know that guy Zach Galifianakis from the hangover. You know him from his Splitsider top 20 comedy album of all time, Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion. But, six years before that, in 2001, he was on Comedy Central Presents. And you can hear the difference.

Check out this recording of his 2001 special and compare to Live at the Purple Onion and who he is now. It’s some of the same material, but the character is even more extreme.

It’s fascinating to see how he grows and develops his delivery over those six years.

Shout out to a friend who suggested these videos!

John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid Now Out On Netflix

This past Friday, John Mulaney’s new special, The Comeback Kid came out on Netflix. What makes it cool is that it’s kind of like a small theater film. I really loved the intro to the special. Without ruining too much, the special was shot in Chicago and there are a bunch of artsy clips. I donno: It worked. I’m from Chicago too. I thought it was classy. And there was a talking dog. That’s hard to do.

The stand up itself was good: I’ve heard some of the jokes before, but hey that happens. He closed on ten minutes about when he met Bill Clinton, which is a great joke. It’s also why he titled the special the way he did: you’ll see. I also think it’s sort of his comeback to stand up comedy after his television show was taken off the air.

If you’re like “whoa I need more convincing,” here’s an article about the special. Check it out on Netflix!

Birthday Jokes, It’s My Birthday Whatever

Today marks the 23rd anniversary of a day I remember nothing about. Why was it important? Who was there? Did anything cool happen? I doubt it.

So, I’m gonna share this Jim Gaffigan stuff about birthdays. Sorry for all the Gaffigan love lately, but hey. It’s THE birthday joke. Wait no, I’m not going to apologize! I do what I want! It’s my birthday!

Watch the video, it will make what I just wrote funny (maybe?).

Why I’m Never Going To Be On SNL

Pretty much everybody I know who knows that I do stand up comedy has at one point said something to me like:

“Wow, wouldn’t it be something if I saw you on SNL one day?!”

Or, “Maybe if you work hard enough, you could be on SNL! Wouldn’t that be cool?!”

Or, “Hey buddy! You on SNL yet?! Ha!”

And I’m like, “Haha! Yeah! Whatever!”

Because everyone outside of the comedy world thinks that SNL is The Pinnacle of All Comedy. Which is totally fine to think; don’t get me wrong, I think SNL is fantastic! But it’s a very specific style of humor with a very specific format. And I don’t think that either the style or format is really right for me.

What I’m thinking in my head when somebody says one of those things to me is: “This person clearly doesn’t understand my comedic sensibility! Even if Lorne Michaels begged me to be on the show…I’d have to think twice about it!”

What I’m saying is that SNL probably wouldn’t ever want me anyways. It’s just not the gig for me. And that’s fine; I’d want to do other styles and formats of comedy that I would enjoy more anyways.

But, if I’m never going to be on SNL, I realized that I’m guaranteed to be a failure in the eyes of pretty much everyone that I know. Which is totally refreshing, and 100% takes the pressure off. I can do whatever I want! It’s SNL or bust. And I am choosing bust.

It’s like if you were to go into a test knowing that you weren’t even going to answer any of the questions. And then after you fail the test, your teacher and your parents and the school are all like, “Why’d you fail the test, Stu? You’re not very smart.”

And you’re like, “Trust me: I’m smart! The test is stupid.”