Inspired by an article on Hip in Detroit about how to be a good music fan, I decided to write about what it takes to be a good comedy audience.
1. Research the comedian you’re going to see. There are a crazy number of a varieties of comedy. It’s like ice cream. Baskin Robbins sells 31 flavors because not everybody likes chocolate or vanilla. Some people love Superman…and if you’re one of those people, you’re wrong! Comedy is the same way. Maybe you like the nimble wordplay of a Myq Kaplan or the introspection of a Marc Maron or maybe you just like an angry hippy to smash a watermelon on stage. Those are just three examples of the many, many kinds of comedy out there. All are valid. Comedy clubs generally only serve one kind of ice cream each week. I love Moose Tracks. I’d hate to go to a comedy club expecting Moose Tracks and find out that week they were only serving Raspberry Sherbet. I hate Rasperries! So research your entertainment options. Most comedy clubs have a website where they list the performers. And most performers have clips of their act available online. I wouldn’t walk into a movie house and just plan on seeing “movie”. No, I’d know exactly what movie I wanted to see because I researched the product first. I should have stuck with the ice cream analogy. I’m hungry. Read the rest of this entry
Today won’t be the day everything changes. Real life isn’t like that. Real life is a mountain climb. Today I take another step towards the top of the mountain that has no peak.
I’m going to be a guest on a live WTF. If you’re not in the comedy world, you probably don’t know what that means. Having Marc Maron invite you on his show is the modern day alternative comedy equivalent of having Johnny Carson inviting you to sit on the couch. If you’re not in the comedy world, that analogy probably didn’t help either. Being on WTF is a big deal. He has more listeners to his podcast than many television shows have viewers. This is my first big credit.
I’m in Appleton, Wisconsin right now. Appleton is probably best known as the first American home of Harry Houdini. I went to the Houdini Museum today and it struck me how much I could take from Houdini’s life and apply it to comedy.
Erik Weisz was constantly reinventing himself. His earliest performing was as a trapeze artist. When he moved on to magic, he took the name Harry Houdini. For some comedians it’s easy to find your groove and stay in it. I think sometimes there’s little difference between a groove and a rut. I doubt anyone today would remember Houdini the trapeze artist, or Ehrich The Prince of the Air as he was calling himself at the time. I don’t know how many of us would even remember Houdini the magician. It’s that third reinvention as an escape artist that brought Houdini his fame. Read the rest of this entry
I was super active on Twitter over the past couple weeks while I was in Los Angeles. In case you’re not following me there (and why aren’t you?) here are some of the highlights.
Aug 22: The first time I brush my teeth after flying, I seriously worry that baggage handlers stuck my toothbrush up their butts.
Aug 23: LA is Airport Expensive!
Aug 24: Thank you Harry Moroz for taking me to a Latino Juice Bar to tell jokes.
Aug 24: In Detroit the homeless people want you to give them money. In LA they want to tell you about their “aggressive folk punk” music.
Aug 24: Either I saw Jamie Foxx at a gas station or I’m a racist.
This past weekend I was at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase with my friend Nate Fridson. I’ve only seen Nate once since he moved to New York about a year or so ago. He churned out a ton of new material. It was really nice watching him. I was nervous going into the weekend since it had been a good month since I did more than 15 minutes of time in one set. Maybe stand up is like riding a bike. I haven’t ridden a bike in years and I’m worried how my first attempt would be.
The shows ended up going pretty well. With the exception of about four or five minutes on being an uncle, I’m not doing any material from my CD that I released just about a year ago. I have a pretty good track record at the Showcase so I took advantage of that trust to try out some new pieces. Most of them worked.
This week marks the start of two months of road work. The boredom I feel from doing the same jokes over and over again tends to go away when I’m in new cities. I know everything will be brand new to them. This week I’ll be at the Skyline Comedy Cafe in Appleton, Wisconsin. It’s a great club and I’m really looking forward to it.
Earlier in the week I did a live episode of WTF with Marc Maron. That was pretty awesome. I know Marc has his reputation, but he’s been super cool to me. I was nervous for the interview, but it went fairly well. We dug a little more into my personal life than I would have wanted, but that’s the nature of the show. After that I went over to the UCB Theatre and did a set on Comedy Bang Bang. Zach Galifianakis closed that show. Backstage he seemed like a genuinely good guy. That made me happy. Eric Andre was there too. He was just super nice and charming. It really does seem like the only dicks you encounter in this business are the people at the bottom who are bitter being stuck there. The higher up you go, the nicer people seem to be.
I closed out my LA trip with a set on The Meltdown and Meltdown Comics. That show was simply amazing. It’s a small room, packed full of comedy super fans. The line up is always great. I was so honored that my Jonah Ray let me be part of it. Through my years I’ve met a lot of people who I don’t get to see nearly as much as I’d like. Jonah is one of those guys. He’s another guy who in addition to being a really good comedian, is also a hell of a nice person.
Sean Patton from New Orleans closed the Meltdown show and was simply amazing. I worked with Sean here in Michigan and thought he was great. Earlier this week though, that greatness was on a whole new level. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, another super awesome person too. Hopefully Sean and I will be able to do some shows together in 2013. He’s going to be on Maron’s television show for IFC next year. I have a feeling that’s about the time that he’s going to blow up and become a household name at least with comedy nerds.
From start to finish, last week was a blast! Enjoy some clips from Nate, Jonah and Sean.
Tonight at the Trepany House at the Steve Allen Theater:
The audacious and critically acclaimed comedian, Marc Maron is bringing his legendary podcast to life on the Trepany House stage on the last Tuesday of every month! He’ll be joined by new guests every month. This month’s guests are TJ MILLER, JAKE FOGELNEST, ARIES SPEARS, MIKE BOBBITT, and DAVE HILL!
For over fifteen years, Marc Maron has been writing and performing raw, honest and thought-provoking comedy for print, stage, radio and television. A legend in the stand-up community, he has appeared on HBO, Conan, Letterman, Craig Ferguson, Real Time, The Green Room, two Comedy Central Presents specials and almost every show that allows comics to perform. He has appeared on Conan O’Brien more than any other comedian (a record 47 times and counting).
His podcast “WTF with Marc Maron” featuring compelling monologues and in-depth interviews with iconic personalities such as Conan O’Brien, Louis CK, Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, Judd Apatow and Ben Stiller, premiered in September 2009 and is a worldwide phenomenon with over 40 million downloads and counting. The show regularly hits #1 on the iTunes charts and has been called a “must-listen” by Vanity Fair and New York Times, among many others.
&”Comedy podcaster Marc Maron puts together a fascinating hour of discussion” -Entertainment Weekly
“WTF is vital for people enthusiastic about not only comics but storytelling, deep conversation, and lovable displays of pathos.” – GQ
“The Charlie Rose of comedy podcasts” – The National Post
“If you haven’t subscribed to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast (via iTunes, etc), remedy this, immediately. Because the show, it’s hilarious” – Vanity Fair
For more info, photos, and the podcasts go to www.wtfpod.com
I was googling Louis CK to find photos to run with my Louie recaps and I found one from LA comedy scene photographer Leizl Estipona. Well, I e-mailed her to see if she had any others that had more than just my arm in it and she managed to find two more!
Here’s the story behind the first one. Jonah Ray was hosting the Comedy Bang Bang show at the UCB Theatre in Los Angeles. He introduced me by saying that I open for Marc Maron all the time. I was worried because I think I said that he and I have only worked together once…well…twice if you count this night. I didn’t want Marc to freak. So this picture is in the middle of me telling Jonah on stage, “I didn’t say all the time!” Sure enough, Jonah went backstage and Marc corrected him. Jonah laughed and told Marc that I told him that was going to happen. When I went backstage, I mentioned it to Marc too who told me that he and Jonah already discussed it! Ah….the silliness the ensues in the green room!
This next picture is a pretty momentous occasion for comedy nerds. Maron and CK used to be like best friends. As things in comedy go, that relationship changed over years. This night at UCB may have been the first time they’ve seen each other socially in years. Louis did Maron’s WTF podcast, but this could very well be their first time bumping into each other in a club setting. Marc seemed so excited when it walked into the green room and Louis was sitting there. It was really exciting to experience first hand!
So there you go! Thank you Leizl for finding those for me. She does incredibly great and rare photography of the LA scene. She gets access to areas most of us dream about. Check out more of her simply amazing work on her site!
I feel like it’s been a good dozen or so years since I’ve been this excited for someone to release a new album. Maybe the last time it happened was Gwar’s “Carnival of Chaos” in 1997, but I already had that before it came out. You guys do know I’m a very important person, right?
I’ve been so jet lagged since I’ve been home. Jet lagged and depressed. LA really felt like the land of opportunity. Being in Michigan feels like being stranded on a desert island. It’s not that I can’t get off the island because there isn’t a boat. There’s a boat. It’s within grasp. The only problem is I’m chained to this house. That’s how I’ve been feeling since I’ve been home. Feeling like I have a 700 square foot albatross.
My plan in recent years once I realized I wasn’t half bad at this comedy thing was to get decent enough at my craft so I could go out to Los Angeles and make a fair enough first impression. I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea that you only get one chance to make that first impression and that the first impression is a lasting one. The opportunity to go out to Los Angeles and get a guest pass with the “in crowd” presented itself in April. I’ve been looking forward to this trip ever since. On a realistic level, I was hoping the trip would recharge my batteries. And it certainly did that, plus it gave me direction. On a totally unrealistic level, I was hoping I’d have an experience like Fatty Arbuckle where someone would see my little song and dance act and say, “C’mere kid, I’m gonna make you a star!” Obviously, that didn’t happen. Read the rest of this entry
Were you wondering how many days it would take until I turned this into another love fest for my favorite comedian? Well, the answer is six!
Today, let’s listen to Marc Maron “Final Engagement”.
This is Maron’s third album and the closest to what his voice is now. It’s angry, a little self loathing and doesn’t hit on politics like his earlier stuff does. Okay, I get it. Not everyone shares the same love for Marc Maron’s style that I do. I have to say, and I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but I feel like since discovering Maron, I’ve become a better person. I feel like, more so than any self help audio book I’ve listened to, Maron’s outlook…or inner look…makes me take a hard look at how and why I do things…and how I can find the humor in things that have caused me a lot of grief for a long time.
Maron is raw, unfiltered and super funny. I think he’s at his best on tracks like “Running Into the First Ex” or “What Love Becomes” where he opens up to the point of being quite uncomfortable. It’s not always an easy journey with Maron, but I think if you listen, really listen, you’ll be a better person once you get to the other side.
Here’s a rare look behind the scenes of WTF. Marc sits down with Nick Kroll while Nick does my favorite of all of his characters.
Spanish is just English with an accent.
They say you should never meet your heroes. I’ve found that to be untrue. When I was 18, I met and became friends with Dave Brockie, better known as Oderus Urungus lead singer of Gwar. He took me under his wing for a few years and helped direct me onto my journey as a professional entertainer.
As an adult, my hero is Marc Maron. He’s a master of his craft and a truly unique voice. He’s said in the past that young comics tell him that they want to be “real” and he responds by telling them to work on being funny first. Marc is both real and really funny.
My biggest fear driving home from my week in Madison, Wisconsin was Christine asking, “Did you have a good time?” I’d answer, “Of course! I was at one of my favorite clubs working with my absolute favorite comedian, who I feel like I got to become friends with, of course I had a good time!” Then she’d say, “Good, because that was your Make a Wish. I have some bad news for you.”
Mike Bobbitt is arguably one of the funniest, if not the funniest comedian working in Detroit. In his eight years in the business he’s already performed in numerous comedy festivals and worked with some of the biggest names in the business.
The remarkable thing about Mike Bobbitt is that he’s able to walk the fine line between speaking to a very specific crowd while maintaining a level of accessibility to the masses.
Mike currently wrapped production on the television show that he and his wife wrote. I had a chance to talk to him while he was in Madison, Wisconsin.
Mike, let me start by saying you look really handsome.
You manage to be both cute and cuddly and ruggedly handsome at the same time. That’s quite a feat.
I appreciate that, but this is already starting off a little weird.
This is the week I’m working with my favorite comedian Marc Maron and honestly I’m nervous. I’ve met Marc a couple of times and he’s been really nice to me. I want to do a good job in front of him and part of me is worried that after a show he’ll say, “What was that?! Does that stuff usually work?!” I want to do my set and impress him. I don’t know why, but that’s important to me.
So this week I turned to my comedian friends and asked them about their experiences working with “celebrities”. My experiences have been mostly positive aside from the time that I volunteered to emcee for Maria Bamford and then jokingly threaten to punch her when she tried to force her own money onto me. The reason I think it jarred her is because the next day I wrote her to tell her how much of an honor it was working with her. Christine wrote her to tell her how much fun she had hanging out with her. Well, Maria wrote Christine back, but I got nothing.
Here’s my celebrity story and then onto the others: