Brendan Sagalow: Best Comedy Tickets Interview – At New York Comedy Club
We sat down with Brendan Sagalow a stand up comedian at the New York Comedy Club.
What do you wish someone had told you about show business before you entered it?
To not worry so much about where I am compared to other people. Just be nice and keep working. Thinking about the other comics that might be getting a head of you is kind of poisonous cause it can turn you into this guy who’s like “why are they getting that but I’m not blah blah blah”. Also try not to gain that 50 pounds your going to gain in the next couple of years but that’s more about me in any scenario
What was your process in developing this special?
I don’t have a special but to answer this question anyway. It was easy.
Do you think your stand-up has changed a lot over the years?
it better have. I definitely have more confidence. I just recently watched the tape from the first time I was on stage and I had the confidence of a dog who was getting yelled at in a YouTube video. I barely made eye contact and every joke ended in a tone that was like “please laugh now”
What happens if they don’t laugh?
If they don’t laugh I then try the joke 2,000 more times until I realize it wasn’t funny either. At this point I don’t really care if I bomb. I don’t want to obviously but it’s not a huge fear. I know how to save a set if it’s not going well. At least if you’re bombing you are trying something new. And if you don’t take it too seriously it’s not a big deal. I say this now and then later tonight I’m gonna bomb and jump into my bath with my tv.
How often do you perform comedy per week?
I usually every night. Sometimes I’m not booked but I still make it out to New York Comedy Club or something cause I like the hang. Most Sunday’s I take off just cause I’m lazy and I live in queens.
What comedy clubs do you perform at in New York ?
Any comedy club that books me. The New York Comedy Club is my home away from home. It’s the place that I started in and it’s the place that lets me bomb and try new things to become a better comic. I feel like we are in a relationship in the sense that if that particular club stoped booking me I’d throw a brick through the window.
What would be best advice to give someone just starting out in comedy?
Don’t be a dick. And don’t be a weirdo addict dick. Everyone remembers the drunk comic who embarrassed themselves.
How often do you write jokes?
I usually every day if even for like 30 minutes. Sometimes it’s complete garbage but whatever. I heard somebody say on a podcast, I think it was the Tom Pappa podcast “come to Pappa” that being a writer is like owning a store. You gotta open it everyday. Sometimes people don’t come in and sometimes they do but you gotta open the store. I wish I was smart enough to come up with that on my own
When did you feel like you were a pro comedian?
When I started paying my bills with it. I still have a long way to go but where I’m at now but I can go on stage and air out personal shit about my girlfriend and myself and then pay my rent with that or take her out to dinner. I don’t last long in bed but if I talk about it on stage and then take that money and get her cheese cake factory or some shit I think it evens itself out.
How did you know you wanted to be a comedian or did it just happen?
I have an answer to this but It’s super boring. I was just watching specials at a house party. I guess they had it on or something and I was drunk enough where I thought I could do it and I signed up for a bringer the next day. See pretty boring.
Who would you say are your influences in the comedy world?
It’s the comics I look up to who I see around the clubs and then my friends who are way funnier than me who I won’t name cause I can’t name them all and some of them will be upset I didn’t say their name….okay I’ll name a few, Ricky Velez, Mike Cannon, Nathan Macintosh, Matt Pavich, Matt Richards, Mike Feeney. There’s a lot.
What is one of your more embarrassing memories from childhood?
Iknow there are so many but I think my brain blocked them out. I can’t really think of any. I’m gonna have a ptsd flash back one day cause I saw a hot dog on the street or something and it will all come back to me but I can’t really remember any. I’ve been pants’ed in class infront of everyone, another time I was taking off a Halloween costume and it grabbed my pants and everyone saw my tighty Whities. A lot of stuff involving my underwear.
What are the most important rules you live by?
Obviously nothing about taking care of yourself is im my “important rules” handbook but I think just try to remember non of this matters and we’re all gonna die one day. And I mean that in the most positive way possible.
What was your favorite book as a kid, and what does that say about you?
I didn’t read books as a kid and I think that speaks miles about me
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Keep your head down and keep working
Given your feelings about the state of our culture, how do you avoid despair?
I just like to remind myself that earth could be a lot worse. We could not be a society at all. We could be killing each other and living underground shitting in corners but somehow we all just keep following our made up human rules. Also I eat a lot. That helps.
What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
A Brita filter, a bed, and a gun with one bullet in it just to constantly tempt myself with the easy way out.
Do you have any quotes that you live your life by or think of often?”
I find myself constantly saying “it’s not over until it’s over” I don’t know if I heard that somewhere but I say it a lot. It works in any situation.
How to handle hecklers from the stage?
I talk to them. I’m pretty good at making people feel stupid from stage so if I get a heckle I try to talk to them. Most of the time they don’t say anything after the first heckle but if they do I can usually make them feel like an idiot at some point.
“What advice would you give your younger self?”
Watch the weight. Seriously. I gained 40 pounds last year and that could have been avoided if I just watched the intake
What most important lesson you learned in comedy?
Don’t be afraid to fail
Advice to your younger self just starting in comedy career?
Do more open mics. When I started I did no open mics. I think that hindered me cause I didn’t really have a generation of guys or friends to hang with and I didn’t really experiment as much.
How long do you spend developing new material?
Usually a week or two. I write something out and take it to the stage and record it and listen to it and just cut out the shit that isn’t funny and keep what is and keep building off that.
Why is there so much sadness—depression, addiction—in the comedy world?
The funniest stuff is the really painful horrible shit in the world and Comedians see through that lens so it’s really depressing. Plus in this shit you’re always being told no or you’re not good enough which definitely affects the ego. (Insert theme to degrassi)
What’s your drink of choice?
Lately it’s been vodka sodas or coronas cause I like saying “I’m getting into the Corone-zone” whenever I drink a corona. It’s hysterical to me cause everyone finds it’s super douchey and annoying and that makes me laugh.
Greatest cartoon of all time?
Ed, Edd, and Eddy is great. Did you know that show was made in Canada and didn’t even air there? I watched a documentary about it while eating cheeburger in my underwear the other day…..but yeah keep opening that writing shop or whatever bull shit I said before.
Let’s say you could live the life of any animal in the wilderness for one day: What would it be?
I like big cats. Like tigers and panthers. I think that would be cool to be a panther and sleep on a tree and kill stuff
So the stereotype of comedians being horribly depressed and neurotic is true?
I think it depends who you are. I’ve been meaning to talk to a therapist for a while but that’s just me.
Do you ever get tired of being a comedian?
I get tired of talking about comedy with people who aren’t comedians. That’s gonna be my whole 10 year high school anniversary. “So you do comedy…”. They can always tell I don’t wanna talk about it. And then things get awkward
So at the end of your day, what’s your ultimate goal?
I just wanna be a guy that everyone thinks is a good dude who is also very funny and probably deserved more than I got
What would you say troubles you the most about the world today?
The women who are selling churros on the subway. Please stop doing that. You know how hard it is to not buy one of those gang green cinnamon sticks