S1: The following recording may contain explicit language I can’t get more explicit than May.
S2: Literacy IT MAY It’s Monday September 16th 2019 from slated to just die Mike Pesca and this is Comedy Week a week of consideration exploration and perhaps limited enactment of comedy content. E.B. White once said discussing comedy is like dissecting a frog you may learn something. But the frog dies in the process.
S1: Now if this were true the iTunes charts would look like the last scene in Magnolia actually what E.B. White actually wrote was quote humor can be dissected as a frog can but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind. We punch that up and rewrite and all this week we offer to you are just listeners. Those amphibian innards those remedy guts in future days we shall examine the state of humor in podcasting and improv on the screen and in late night television. But today’s discussion but today’s panel discussion is of that great American art form the headwaters of so much American comedy standup. Our first panel discussion of the week the pressure is on and importance of stand up comedy today. Enjoy.
S3: So for comedy week we will kick off with the purest and most American of the comedy art form standup. And my guests and I will talk about I hope to be as in this as little as possible. This why you invite on three funny opinionated people. We will talk about the current state of standup. You can’t say that phenomenon where everything is going where it’s been. I’m joined by Adam Ferrara an American actor and comedian who played needles Nelson in Rescue Me and he hosted top gear and he played Sergeant Frank Perrelli in Nurse Jackie and he has an excellent new podcast called that’s 30 minutes I’ll never get back 30 minutes you’ll never get 30 minutes in office and Tony Kornheiser says it and Lisa Lampanelli says it and when if you go on that show you have to say thanks for coming on. Adam thanks for having me. Next up we have the great Hari Kondabolu who’s been with us so often over the years podcast wise I mean he’s on. There’s a bunch of podcasts he’s been on that are still in your feed somewhere. He co-host the bugle for a while and he co-host a politically reactive with W. Kamau Bell he wrote for that show. His comedy albums Waiting for 2042 mainstream American comic there’s something called horror kind is new material night one Vol. 1.
S4: Yes that’s right I think yes. Did you come up with like a title to last.
S5: I like titles that are kind of almost like encyclopedia titles. I like things that are overly form of what they are. I don’t know if they’ll ever be a volume two but like Mel Brooks that the history of the world.
S6: PALMER Well there never been a part with Jews in space right.
S3: I think we’ve seen actually with didn’t Israel go to the moon and released some microfiber as I think so. Or maybe I’m just you know getting into the. But they had to be home by Friday and they weren’t allowed to play the really rough Moon games and finally we have a permanent on Charla who is the WHO has also written for Kamau Bell and her comedy album is called Just putting it out there and she has played grace in corporate and Comedy Central and of course you know her voice is Holly Hawk Manheim Manheim Guerrero Robinson Zuber slag song song the funds are Ellie McCracken from BoJack Oh God I love drawing on that. Thanks for coming on a a. Thank you for having me. Absolutely. So I’ve been watching a lot of the the old comedians in cars getting coffee. We have water we have a Metro card. But you are comedians and a constant of that Jerry Seinfeld Show is he’ll talk to people usually of his generation and they’ll talk about the things you can’t say anymore. And I wonder how much you come across that how you navigate that and how generational it is. You know Jerry might feel differently from someone who really has to meet the audience’s expectation rather than the other other way around. So we were talking about this outside hard you want to start.
S7: Yeah I mean I think you can say whatever you want. There’s always been two in comedy but are you okay with the repercussions of saying whatever you want. That’s that’s the difference and historically the repercussions are. Are they laughing or they’re not laughing. Well I get booked again. Yeah. And now it’s that plus potential like the Internet made you know OK with dealing with the heat of what I said. And to me it’s like well if you mean it and if you love love what you say then fight for it. But if if you you’re allowed to reconsider a position or a joke. The tricky part is I feel like there was a time where before all the cameras running people were recording you could mess up at an open mike and you could you could figure out where you stood on the thing and like oh I’m being too aggressive feel maybe a little more delicate it’s harder to do that now but I feel like the the thing that we’re all dealing with as comics is like people actually criticizing us and the weird thing isn’t it felt like forever.
S8: People didn’t respect standups as real artists and now we’re actually being respected as artists because if you’re criticizing us you mean that our words count and that you’re listening and we never had that like in other countries they review standard. Nobody cares about us here like this is so exciting in a way that like our words do have meaning like we’re just putting more of them together.
S9: I mean that’s what we’re doing. Everyone’s getting criticized the world we live in now. Yeah well you get a Facebook but you you’re your personality you one of you is product has a Twitter feed. It has. So you’re allowed to comment on it. You said something really interesting about finding your opinion and evolving as an artist because I was with you. I can’t fix my life but I can fix a joke. Yes. So I can see the truth of what I want to get to as a craft and I’m not I’m not. I’m not a social and social commentary guy. I’m a student the human condition. So basically I don’t I don’t run into that a lot because why do people go. He doesn’t really have anxiety. What are they going to yell at me about. But to in order to be able to evolve as an artist is very interesting. You have to be subject to criticism as you are working on your art right. We edit live. Yeah. Yeah.
S10: So I think that’s something that’s changed in the culture where there is. Especially on social media. Less room for nuance and like evolving as a human and being like oh maybe my views from this year were different than they are now. I think there is more of this like gotcha moment of you know public shaming people for something they tweeted in 2005 or something and I think especially for comedy as an art form. There has to be a room for reworking something from how it starts to where you are now. So things like leaking someone’s sat and even if the material is you know out of touch or outdated it’s not really fair because that’s it’s a type of art form that has to be developed in front of a live audience so there’s no way to not mess up in a public way.
S11: Has that happened to you. I mean have you been judged because it seems like of the three people here for including me.
S10: You would you would be the one that people would object to the least you would think so but I think that explains the polarity of social media where it’s like no matter what I tweet on any political spectrum someone is going to find some fault with it because it is not addressing their specific agenda. So I think in that sense you’re always going to be offending some person but it’s not offending as much as getting a reaction some.
S9: Yeah yeah because most people aren’t looking for information we look for affirmation. OK. Don’t make don’t make me think outside my beliefs. Right. Right.
S4: But what I want to really get to is what you said Hari which is it used to be is it funny is it not funny now. There are other considerations. One consideration could be. Is it something that I think that the audience has a point. But there could be a further consider racial which is I actually don’t think the audience has a point but I’d better curtail this material. If enough of the audience will get upset even not my actual audience in front of me some hypothetical online audience and it you’re the reason I want to have you on is you told me once about changing jokes in a way I’ve never heard comedians talk about like you really take it seriously. I think a lot of comedians dig in and say it’s humor. I listen up to a point but I’m not going to I’m not going to kowtow to the hecklers veto. You don’t kowtow to the hecklers veto. But I think you really take the feedback much more seriously than most other comedians I know.
S5: I think when you get more because I mean the thing is when you’re putting a joke out there you’re getting feedback from it whether it’s laughter or something else. And if you include any of that feedback that you find useful it is what we shouldn’t have an antagonistic relationship with the audience in some weird way it’s like Oh okay so you’re telling what I’m saying is wrong. Well maybe I can call myself out on it onstage and write another joke about that like standard it’s such a free hour from you can do anything with it right. So like being wrong factually or making a point that you later regret that could add onto the joke and to me that makes it more complex potentially funnier and maybe a little bit more thoughtful. I don’t see that as like oh this person is too sensitive. End of story. What’s your argument. I am kind of curious why would I shut down the pass from an purely selfish artistic standpoint. Why would I shut down potentially a new angle no one’s ever thought of that’s taking out the human part like I don’t want to hurt you.
S9: Did your analytic should collect information again where it can take you.
S11: Yeah. What if they’re wrong. I mean what if you judge them wrong and how do you know to judge them. Would they be wrong. That wouldn’t pertain because right or wrong. But for where you disagree. Yeah yeah just OK. But I mean what is your let’s say you’re doing jokes and your audience loves it.
S4: And then there’s some objection to the jokes not from the audience right there either online or someone outside you take that seriously and you have changed material based on that even though jokes are like consistently killing in front of the crowd. Who specifically shout Horwich on the ballot.
S12: Well OK. Like I had this one job it was my feminist dick joke and it had been on Comedy Central. It wasn’t it’s an older joke it was just the idea of you know people don’t want to elect a woman because they feel that like her judgments impaired whenever she has a period. And the thing is I’m a dude. My judgments impaired five to seven times an hour. Right. Like so basic joke. And you know somebody came up to me and they were a trans man just saying like you know I love your standup I got all your shows and felt kind of weird because like it leaves me out of it right. Because like you know I biologically don’t fit into that particular thing that you just said and I explained the things that I can explain like I understand told you what you mean by gender being a spectrum but I can explain that in the basement of a sports bar. I mean I can’t like as much as I’d like to like it kind of eliminates the audience when you have to go that deep into it. And at the same time you know you can you can explain as much as you want when someone’s hurt their hurt like that. You know it killed me to say I didn’t think I was wrong. I still don’t think I was wrong but at the same time it wasn’t about that. So what I did is I just added out I added a piece where I call myself out in the joke saying it isn’t gender this thing and then by the end of it it becomes this kind of bizarre performance already type thing that ends in the laugh which justifies it as long as you end in a laugh you can justify this thing when you stop talk and they start laughing You’re doing it.
S8: You found a way.
S13: Yeah yeah I mean it’s how deep a hole you digging yourself. How. What kind of barriers are you putting up in if you can find a way to get through them and get a laugh at the end. Like I think it just raises the difficulty level. Yeah you get points for that too.
S14: There’s an art form to playing the silence. There’s also an art form to to knowing like we all have Spidey sense we all can read a room. So how far do you want to build the tension before you hit them with the release. Yeah it depends on that subject matter. If it’s something that’s socially relevant and a touchy topic you’re gonna have less time to do it. Yeah you know but if if you want to if you want to play on the human emotion which is what I tend to lean to I got a little more time the audience is always a variable.
S7: Yeah some audiences like if they’re fans a year they’re going to let you go you have more room to pray with. And if if they’re not or if you’re playing you know some shows you’re performing in a club with people that want to see you. That’s one type of thing. But when there’s a bunch of people who don’t know who you are at the end of the day it’s not that I’m going to change the whole joke I’m going to think how far can I can I push this until I lose them and if I lose them how do I get them back.
S9: Yeah. And also you got to look at when you say look at the audience you’re gonna you’re gonna take the right club out of the bag to hit to hit the board is on the court. You could try new stuff on a late show Friday.
S6: Right right right right. And the check spots come in.
S15: Yeah. Would you ever not change your joke because someone complained about it or have you ever. Oh you mean like a spy.
S6: How dare you address all the nuances in this bit and keep it effective yeah.
S13: Cor yeah. You know there’s definitely jokes where I look I’m like this person’s point is right but you’re telling me because I miss that point or that point of view. All the other good that this bit does is thrown away. I just think for me sometimes I think the audience doesn’t understand how a joke is created how one word added ruins the punch line right. One were taken away I slowed down like there’s all this stuff. I mean we’ve all experienced this like you’ve had a joke that’s been working for a year somehow it just stopped working and you don’t know dyad a word. Last time I did it I have to listen to a tape from a year’s heavy setup was the joke right in front of it like somehow ruining the joke after it.
S11: I’m thinking the cult like the resonance of those words now has a different salience in the.
S8: Yeah. And it’s all these things you’re trying to factor into when someone says Can’t you just do this or that right about this it’s like it’s not that in addition to making something that functions as a joke it makes people laugh. It’s hard enough.
S9: How does that impact rest of the hour and you’re playing to a living organism of people so it’s it’s what you’re you know your feedback. It’s not a brick wall. And I’m gonna come back as hard as you hit it every time.
S11: To me it sounds like going up to the alchemist okay led to gold but can you do what you do.
S4: And so I am fascinated by that anecdote that you gave are you were able to take a stimulus an idea and play with it and turn it into humor. The main impetus for changing it was that this person was hurt and you wanted to address that or the main impetus was he gave you some ideas and therefore like anything else in the world it was comedy fodder. BOTH Yeah.
S12: Both because the human being part of course is like I heard someone right. But the creative part is like you know first well most people I don’t think would have noticed that randomly. And the fact that this person is a regular my audience has a lot of people who feel like I can come here here’s stuff I’ve never heard and I feel like I’m in a space that’s like like say for me to be in like. I mean that’s a unique thing I feel like I get a lot of times. Well for me it’s like well I want to give them the best show I can give them while also challenging myself like you know I think that when we say you can’t say what you used to be able to think of to play and you can’t I mean to some degree I understand.
S5: But it’s also a little lazy. Like why do you want to say the things you used to be able to say. Isn’t that hacky right the whole point to push yourself as far as you can.
S4: I think so I’ll channel all 80 episodes of comedians in cars right. I think that may be one of those guys and maybe guys often guys. But you know Sarah Silverman says a version of this too that they would look your original joke about you know she gets her period. Well I have a dick and I am distracted seven times a day and they would justify it at something like Look don’t you understand who the victim in the joke is that I’m pointing to myself that I’m trying to make a point about the anti feminist critique of Hillary Clinton. You know there is all these justifications that actually put you on the right quote unquote right side of progressive thought. And that’s where their argument would be.
S12: Sure. And I don’t disagree with any of that. But to me it’s like you know well I still that person’s face didn’t leave my head for a while. Right. Right.
S9: You know they had it they had an impact of what you did as an arse and you had the empathy to do something to make the effort to change. And I don’t think you have to. No but you that’s that’s the choice you made.
S4: Right. Interesting. Same feedback delivered online. Do you think it would affect you.
S5: Again it depends on what the. First of all. Less so. And because you know it does you get so much feedback online.
S6: It’s hard to get any of it. But life goes special. And so most of it’s Russian parts. Right.
S7: Right. Which by the way there’s more and more of that. It’s very confusing sometimes I’m like oh this isn’t a real person. This is somebody that’s dedicated to ruining my life.
S6: Now the Russians botched don’t like my job right right. But it looks like they had their not sweet on you. I mean you do the best you can.
S7: I mean like when it’s online obviously it feels all different and when it’s in person you you certainly like it hits you harder. I mean I also have friends who know me my voice well enough like Do you really want to say that. I guess not. Because it’s hard when a joke works to a joke.
S9: But also I think and I’m sure you guys excuse the audiences the chisel you’re sculpting with the chin. They’re actually helping you shape it. So to not take the feedback you’re getting is is I think doing a disservice to the way you know how we how we make the art.
S5: And sometimes it’s even when the when the joke hits. Like sometimes I feel like I’ve gotten the laugh I’m like as not the laugh I want. I don’t like how they’re laughing at that.
S6: I didn’t get to the punch line. Wait a minute.
S8: They’re taking this at face value. They think this racism is at face value. And at that place is the setup right. Exactly. It’s like oh maybe I should redo the setup and sacrifice some laughs to get to where I actually want to go. That’s that’s hard to do because silence when it’s not anticipated is horrible.
S5: It’s just as awful as it felt when I was 17. It’s like this totally fell flat. That still hurts. And what am I willing to give up a perfectly functioning functioning piece of material because I’m not sure how I feel about it. Affleck ethically I mean I think we all you know I certainly still think about that like Do I really stand behind that at the same time if I don’t use this joke there’s silence for a good minute and a half. Right. Yeah.
S10: I think a part of you’re gonna say for a second when Harry said is this what you really want to be saying you had to react Oh well I know I I was just thinking about the idea of now I think people I don’t perform in the clubs as much and I would say I perform more in alternate spaces and sometimes people will come to show to those shows saying oh they don’t like going to comedy clubs because they don’t feel as safe or as represented. So I think those crowds tend to be more you know about identity maybe like the acts are shaped more around different identities and I think we’re in a moment where it’s like people expect to be represented and seen and everyone’s material and so you can’t just as a one human being represent all points of view. And I think it’s also like doing a disservice to an audience to be like you’re not able to relate to anyone’s perspective that’s not fully yours. That’s like rewriting all literature to be like well can we make everyone like a trans queer.
S9: Only but we can only be who and what we are. Yeah I can only speak the truth. That’s our truth. And be respectful that people that are hearing it so I can’t be.
S14: I can’t I can I can present what I can present in in in in a way that that this is what I want to say. And there is no malice aforethought there right no intent to hurt. Exactly. And I will take whatever feedback I get to shape what I want to do. I have a joke in my act about I run the mine is is a drag queen and that’s we want to be called McQueen Damn it fine whatever. And when he said I would do it it’s a bit about I go to a party with him and he sees me as first timers are out with him who’s all dolled up and he looked at me face he said Are you embarrassed to be seen. I mean is it look we’ve been friends a long time but you’re very hairy and you’re wearing a backless dress OK from the front you’re queen for a day from the back it’s Gorillas in the mist and I don’t want to be judged I don’t care if you dress like a woman but please be a lady all right because I don’t care people think I’m gay. I care people think I have no taste. So that was a joke written about a friend of mine that you know this is my experience and I think it was done respectfully and I set up the fact that where’s he gonna go the turn is here. So it’s it’s it’s my truth. Hopefully reaching somebody else.
S7: But also you were thoughtful in how you presented it because like a different guy writes that well different probably doesn’t have a friend who’s a drag queen. Like right. Probably doesn’t also say like this is really about taste. I mean that’s a really nice turn. Yeah. You could also made about like ours is gross or like yeah. You know there’s there’s other angles to that but it’s right right.
S11: You could dwell in the hairy back and forth. But that’s not what it’s about right.
S9: That’s used for the misdirect to bring back right.
S10: What I wanted to do but I also think just the onus should be on more just having different types of people inhabit comedy rather than taking whoever is existing and being like can we rewrite your whole.
S14: Yeah. This. I don’t know. There’s no other in my act. You know there’s there’s no enemy. You know it’s just just me trying to navigate the world.
S7: I mean I feel like we’re in a golden era of standup personally just because we have more voices than ever before. I feel like everybody’s always looking for the next thing or the next thing sometimes is like the old voices. We didn’t allow to speak before like you know Pattie Harrison is incredible. You know she’s like a trans woman look incredible comic like this. Patti’s voice get heard a decade ago I don’t know. Right. Julio Torres is hysterically funny both in terms of like jokes also in terms of his style.
S6: Yeah I mean a physical shape special. Oh he’s in my head I’m like yeah yeah.
S13: I mean this is this is a good era. So you know to go with a parent point like I think that as much as we can criticize performers of not hitting as many things as we’d wish they would let’s I think focus more on because I mean that’s very much a Twitter Internet social media like attack attack attack versus the building of you know there’s incredible performers who are doing stand up finally because they feel like I could have something to say and this is interesting and there’s more people out there should we be supporting them. Isn’t that the goal that we should have because you know there are more media outlets than there ever have been stand up in terms of like you know. I know so many people with specials I know so many people with followings and so many people that can work the road and not just play clubs have played old dinners or rock hubs. I mean this is a golden era for a performer it’s not the same gatekeepers there’s not eight big comics like there are so many careers in this now. I mean this is the time to find the comics you love and support them as opposed to this person didn’t do this or this person didn’t do that has a comedian ever offended you when they don’t stick to that time in front of you.
S6: Have you ever followed Chappelle. No. No.
S11: Currently right now to follow Chappelle Chappelle started a bit in 2017. No but is that something that why. Because you’re comedians because you are.
S15: You have a shared community offended by jokes before but I won’t but I don’t take it I’m not. I’ll just be like there. Comedy is not for me. I’m not. I’m not trying to say like they’re not. Artists are part of the community it’s just I’m like I don’t care for that particularly.
S11: So what do you think of the idea of of daring to offend the idea of like going up to the line and maybe you do offend but then you get somewhere in terms of the that’s what that that’s the intent.
S9: Yes. No you know you’re going to see that Andy Coulson was there to pitch you. Right. You know that that was the whole to.
S10: If they pay it off then I will be ok with where they took me for the ride. But if they’re just saying it to shock and there’s not no work beyond that that I’m not as interested.
S7: What a shock bores me to some degree. Like I feel like you know in our lifetime we’ve seen planes at the World Trade Center. I mean what’s more shocking tell me some words are the most shocking thing you can come up with like at a certain point we’re past the place of like here’s an offensive thing here’s a fucked up thing here’s something that would piss people off like right and yeah Where does it go.
S9: It’s a spice with nothing else around right. All right. You need to you need the way I approach it is you’ve got to get it to trust you. Yeah. So they’re putting their emotional care in your hands. You’re taking them on a ride. So if they trust you they’re gonna give you a bit more so the shocking stuff has to come later in the set because they’ll take a longer ride with you. But the payoff better be big shock I mean the shock shocking me.
S6: I go to my mother’s house and so I was thinking about her.
S11: I heard Sarah Silverman in an interview and she had this whole persona for 10 years of her career and she’s abandoned it and she doesn’t.
S4: She did it willingly she says times have changed. But I wonder. So if you go back and you watch Jesus is magic or one of her early specials it’s not over time maybe but shall we say it was bad if someone came up if she’d never existed and then came along with essentially that material would we’d be offended by it would we wanted hounded out of existence. I would find an audience I think would but then would we say I mean let’s say you found an audience but also found a lot of criticism on Twitter would be would we be right. It would be like everything else in this right. Like it just what I’m trying to say is given acknowledging and caveat in everything we’ve said about comedy being over time there seems to me it’s art and that art has worth and value and should be taken in the context of its time. But if we’re transposed to now I think it would have a lot harder time and I worry about the viability of that art.
S7: But that that’s like we’re saying it’s of its time like when that special came out like I was huge Sarah Silverman but I loved that special when it came out. When to see it live like in New York when it came out like it’s like a masterclass in joke writing right at that hour I think was her first hour. Like there’s bit that she had even done on as a writer on SNL from from years back and it was so well constructed and I’m not the same person that if I was to see it now like all right you know like this is the foul mouth baby face because Sarah Silverman did so many other people did look at the number of people.
S5: I mean in terms of joke writing I still think it’s great joke writing like hiding the punchline like it’s it’s brilliant misdirection but there’s somebody other like especially women who started doing standup because of Sarah Silverman and I think you know that to me is incredibly valuable. There’s people who are like oh there’s this person who is feels comfortable enough in themselves to go up and say what they want to say and deal with the cringing ness that comes of it like to me it’s not my preferred style and it’s really interesting to see her change as a person because she’s like she says times of change. But she’s still funny. Yes. Like the stuff is different the tone is different maybe but it’s still her. It’s still like whatever is uniquely her is still in her act and it’s still really funny.
S4: Do you and do you think comedians they sell still subscribe to the idea that you’ve got to be able to translate your comedy into every venue. I got to be able to go into you know a club in Kenosha. I got to be able to go into an all out room in L.A. And if I’m a great comedian I could kill in all those places you still hear that I don’t really feel that way.
S15: I mean my act is pretty specific and I know I have done well in like an assortment of venues but I’ve also done bad in venues that I thought I would do good in and vice versa. So I think there’s always like an unknown element to comedy but I think at the end of the day for me I just want to be able to write what I want to write about rather than worry as much about the audience first.
S9: I think for me it would be if I could still be me in all those venues. Can you have you played. Yeah. Yeah yeah yeah I will. I will acknowledge the stranger in the strange land you know I mean I did a urban room in Memphis when I first started out and I said Look I’m here because of quotas. So let’s let’s make the best of it. You know it’s so you acknowledge the ruin and then you take them on the right.
S11: Did that make you proud that you were able to play that room really well as much as you know the can’t come a comedy club because you can’t come a comedy club by the way the KKK. That’s nice because comedy with a K. Yeah that’s right. Yeah. Even if it’s just preceded by two other maybe you don’t make me proud. I did the gig because I had the option not to do it.
S14: And I did it and I was pleased that I was able to find a way to maintain integrity in that in that arena and make people laugh. I was very pleased. I was handing out doing a food line thing in L.A. and it was there was a family there and they speak English. I was a kid there and I made them laugh and I we didn’t speak the language. So I make it in the other kids keep I made these other kids laugh for a while. That was the most satisfying laugh I ever had in my life cause it wasn’t done verbally.
S6: I don’t know how to how I did it but I did I was proud of it.
S13: I mean I feel like I think at this point about integrity is kind of key like yeah can I go into the place and still be me. And if you know I know who I am I know what I’m interested in if I can’t do that in a place I probably won’t actively try to book it but if I end up in that place my job is to make them laugh and I’m going to make them laugh as me to the best of my ability. And that means I have to improvise more that means that maybe I do a little bit of research on Kenosha Wisconsin maybe that means I talk to the audience more. But your job is to fill your time that you were paid for and do the best job you can take. But I don’t think it’s like you know I feel like there’s a certain Alpha elements I kill everywhere I go everywhere I’m like this.
S9: And it’s not about want to make. Yeah yeah. This is not I got my play to start on I know the ledge start stardom in Alabama. Oh I’ve heard of this in Huntsville. I guess I think it’s Birmingham. OK.
S14: I played a startup I played it once I went in a plane was late car taking me there was like the middle back was stretching right. So I walk on stage and the first thing there was apologies I am so sorry that the plate that the car was late getting me here. Thank you so much for your patience Rosa Parks had an easier time getting around Alabama to get nothing for nothing.
S11: And I’m like This is gonna be a long week no nothing nothing.
S4: Still sensitive but yeah. Yeah. Must have been. Apparently it was a roomful of bus drivers. I think when I hear that I think maybe it’s of an older generation I understand why someone would be proud to be able to translate their comedy to all venues and yet on the other hand you know I don’t think a bassoon ist would say I could go anywhere and play my bassoon. You need a specific set of circumstances where you could be the greatest bassoon asset in the world. It’s not like you’re not an artist. So there should be nothing wrong with saying you know I mostly do well at these kind of venues and if it’s I don’t know an urban room in Memphis or the stark dome or even like one of these nights at the comic strip where seven people come on in your mostly playing to Finnish tourists for not doing well there. That’s fine. That doesn’t mean that your comedy has any less art.
S7: If the Finnish tourists don’t get it’s also a different set of skills. And I always look at it in terms of offense and defense. Like if if the crowd’s not with you they don’t interest what you have to say whatever your defensive skills kick in like all right talk to the audience.
S13: Let me riff a little bit. Let me see what other material I got them. How do we baby Bob exactly. Yeah. And when you have a crowd we’re like you’re just killing it it’s like you’re performing for friends you just haven’t met yet. And it’s just like you completely that’s offense. It’s like when you do whatever you want you can go off script.
S11: You you’re adding tags to jokes you thought were finished because you’re hanging out with friends. Time slows down. What’s the best feeling when I hear that they both have value. When I hear those two guys who I’ve seen and they have a bit of the alpha in them they definitely could take the audience by the throat. I’ve seen you very satisfyingly rip apart hecklers. What about you apart. Because I’ve seen you do tons of improvisational stuff. So the audience should know I go see you host this show called Butter Boy which is every Monday and I would recommend everyone see a lot of improv but it’s not a grab the audience by the throat down.
S15: I think yeah I’ve always been more of a sit back and you know tune in or don’t like i i it’s just how I’ve always approached comedy because I think even when I started standup I didn’t know that much about standup so I wasn’t like I gotta keep everyone on the edge of their seat the whole time which is just I think a through line that’s followed me through my career and you know I’ve like Harry was saying learned ways to even within that work offense and defense. But I just don’t think I’m that person is like oh I lost him to get him back.
S6: I mean like what if you had a dick.
S15: But yeah I think I’ve found ways with my own sound to kind of navigate like ebbs and flows and you know when the audience is tuning out a little you don’t do that thing where you fixate on the one person who’s not laughing of course.
S11: But does it have you do you want to be confrontational with him or her.
S16: No I’m just like why are you here.
S6: It’s only I’m sorry is this a bad time.
S13: It’s always worse when you find out there’s a guy that was a regular at the comedy underground in Seattle every Thursday used to go to every show and sat up front never laughed when we sat up and probably had the best time of that looks forward to it every week every week.
S11: That’s just the way Carl is built. Yeah.
S6: Which is the most frustrating you should see him at every other walk of life after actively crying right now and don’t say anything about the scar.
S11: They’re not always upfront. That’s just you you could see from the stage. Byrne Yeah well that’s great you’re singing in a different key. Yeah that’s I’ll be honest with. That’s pretty courageous.
S15: Yeah I think I mean I think I’ve just found what works for me and I think that’s the beauty of comedy. Like not everyone has to do it in you know an alpha way or like that. I think the audience appreciates that too. You don’t want the same.
S4: No every time like you want variations yes you’d be I mean if I was booking a show with two guys like these I’d want to book someone like you. Guess what I did and it was this way. All right. Hi. My guests have been a partner not Charla Hari Kondabolu and Adam for our thank you all so much. Thanks a lot.
S17: That’s it for today’s show Comedy Week is produced by Daniel Schrader who refuses to work blue though he will work periwinkle. I should also note I have an essay up about generally speaking how we’ve all gotten funnier. That’s on the website today. Which Web site. Men who look like Kenny Rogers dot com. No actually at Slate. The gist. I refuse my act to purely play to the audience my jokes are in Aramaic. They lampoon the political agrarian practices in the Levant during the pre pottery Neolithic era. Do you like to laugh a cracked when my wife sits around the house. She really sits around one or more neighboring houses that share hearth situated in open spaces with a mixed farming and stock rearing economy. Am I right ladies you know what I’m talking about does sound a little better in Aramac. See what happens when a panther.
S1: Redecorated to Peru. And thanks for listening.