What do you wish someone had told you about show business before you entered it?
I wish someone would have told me to really enjoy the beginning. It’s so nerve racking, theres an enormous amount of self doubt, it’s hopeless. But you’re with friends going from open mic to open mic. As you go on, it gets lonelier. So, even though it’s horrifying, there’s a camaraderie unique to that time period in a comedians life.
What was your process in developing this special?
This is my first special. So, the development process was that of a starting comedian. I did multiple mics a night for years, booked as many shows as I could, and almost never turned down a road gig.
Do you think your stand-up has changed a lot over the years?
I’m sure it has, but it’s not something I’ve been conscious about. A change definitely happened as the shows got better. Early on I was doing more rowdy, bar shows and late night club spots. So, I was louder and faster to grab the attention of distracted crowds.
What happens if they don’t laugh?
4. If they don’t laugh my pace quickens. It’s a dead give away I’m bombing.
How often do you perform comedy per week?
I preform as much as bookers will have me. On average, it comes out to about twice a night. But, it fluctuates.
What are you favorite comedy clubs that you perform at?
My favorite clubs are Comedy Cellar, New York Comedy Club, Creek and the Cave, and QED. Nothing against other clubs, I’m grateful to perform at all of them. But, the ones mentioned are smaller rooms. I like the intimacy. Also, QED is walking distance to my apartment so it’s an easy commute.
How often do you write jokes?
I try to write everyday. The Seinfeld quote from “Comedian” always stuck with me. He said something along the lines of how it’s a job like any other, so show up everyday. Also, I enjoy writing so it’s never been a pain to do. Im fascinated with the idea that a thought doesn’t exist. Then, I sit in a coffee shop, I have one, and that night people are hearing it. That’s really cool.
When did you feel like you were a pro comedian?
I don’t know that I ever have, I’m still blown away it’s a job.
How did you know you wanted to be a comedian or did it just happen?
I knew I wanted to be a comedian the way most comics do. Growing up, it stuck out to me in a way it didn’t to others. I noticed comedy more. Then, it became an obsession.
Who would you say are your influences in the comedy world?
10. My biggest influences are the comics around me. There’s too many to name in fear of leaving some out. But I’m watching comedians who in years to come will be legends. It’s amazing to have such a strong peer group.
What is one of your more embarrassing memories from childhood?
11. My most embarrassing childhood memory is when I threw up a hot dog just as a fire drill was happening. So, all the kids pouring out of classrooms saw me standing alone over a pile of pink vomit.
What are the most important rules you live by?
12. Work hard, be patient, don’t be a dick.
What was your favorite book as a kid, and what does that say about you?
13. I wasn’t much of a reader. But my favorite book is “Catch 22.” It’s silly, but at the same time, about war.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
14. The wisest thing I’ve ever been told is when my mom said “nice people attract nice people.” It’s simple, but effective when weeding out shitty folks.
Given your feelings about the state of our culture, how do you avoid despair?
15. I’ll think about larger subjects. No matter what the political climate, we’re all going to die. So I try to enjoy the moments until then.
What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
16. Id bring my all three of my roommates. I’d say my girlfriend but she wouldn’t be happy on a deserted island. She complains about sleeping on a full.
Do you have any quotes that you live your life by or think of often?”
17. Aesop Rock has a lyric that goes “must not sleep, must warn others.” I think it’s a good metaphor for getting out of bed to put in work. Is that a metaphor? I don’t really know. But I like the quote.
How to handle hecklers from the stage?
18. It depends on the type of heckle. Usually, I let them hang themselves out to dry. The natural advantage I have is the mic and I’m on a stage. They’re already at a loss. So, I’ll let them fail. Then, react to their comments to seem like a genius. In reality, I need their stupidity to sound smart.
What advice would you give your younger self?
19. Don’t be so sad. It’s okay she left.
What most important lesson you learned in comedy?
20. One bad show doesn’t mean you’re a bad comedian. Two does.
Advice to your younger self just starting in comedy career?
21. Don’t worry, one day you’ll do Colbert.
How long do you spend developing new material?
22. It depends on the joke. Some take years to finish, other ones are done right away. But, once I recognized that’s the process for developing new material, it became less stressful. I’ll try to come up with something new daily, doesn’t always work out like that.
Why is there so much sadness—depression, addiction—in the comedy world?
23. It’s a tough life. Mentally, there’s so many ups and downs. But, also physically, the road takes a toll.
What’s your drink of choice?
24. I’m a scotch man. But I don’t have a lot of money, so beer works.
Greatest cartoon of all time?
25. Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Let’s say you could live the life of any animal in the wilderness for one day: What would it be?
26. Bears sleep a bunch, they eat fresh fish, and scratch their backs on trees. Seems like a decent life.
So the stereotype of comedians being horribly depressed and neurotic is true?
27. Only the Jewish ones.
Do you ever get tired of being a comedian?
28. No, I love it. But I’m also new enough for that answer to be naive. Ask me again in 10 years.
So at the end of your day, what’s your ultimate goal?
To make a good enough living in comedy. I don’t need a hot tub, just pay rent.