Neal Brennan’s 3 Mics Format Includes Stories of Personal and Family History
Written by Joseph Santiago
Much of the world recognizes the major TV networks’ three-camera sitcoms recorded with a live audience format. It’s a format that’s likely to continue until time ends. However, another format includes the dozens of stand-up specials that include a comedian, their hour’s worth of material and microphone.
Although the world has embraced format changes, new expressions are embedding themselves into mainstream media. Think Reggie Watts’ Spatial or Louie. There’s also the Master of None and 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad from Laurie Kilmartin, which uses raw human emotion to make an impact on the audience.
Neal Brennan To Embrace The Comedian Lifestyle Once Again
It appears that Neal Brennan will add his name to the lineup of audacious and bold stand-up comedians. Brennan, who has worked mainly behind scenes and cameras but was co-creator to the infamous Chappelle’s Show, is embarking on a new journey in his life.
Brennan, 43, began his career in TV, as a stand-up comedian, using his keen observations on social issues and his own problems to connect with two groups of folks – black men and women. He brought great comic relief with a plethora of jokes, using just a microphone.
And, it’s why Brennan has decided he needs a new approach to the stage.
One of the first things he considered was the addition of another microphone on the stage, using it to read jokes that came across his Twitter account. He also noted that people who listened to his “The Champs” podcast or any of his guest-spot podcasts were reacting positively to the more cherished details of his life.
Brennan said he considered three microphones on the stage with him, getting them to work in conjunction with one another:
- One for traditional stand-up
- One for deep confessions
- One for the one-liner materials
Brennan Introduces 3 Mic’s Concept To Public
And, this led to the 3 Mics concept – the stage show that found its way on Off-Broadway and for a new Netflix special for stand-up comedy.
It’s a rather smart idea and one that a lesser-known comic and writer could pull off. But Brennan, he deals with all of it with so much ease. He spends the right amount of time on all three mics and ensures the audience is with him at each one… for the most part.
Brennan said he was in Chicago for a show and noted that an audience member had posted to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter while the show was going on, asking him to quit doing the serious stuff.
“It’s so goddamned funny,” he said.
He said the woman must have thought he’d take his cell phone out midway through the show, realize he was losing the audience in some respect and would change the material.
Of course, for everybody else, 3 Mics’ confessional moments is what makes the program so great.
Brennan is candid about his difficulties with depression and the different ways in which he deals with the illness. He’s also upfront about his the doom and gloom and hiding behind those more famous than he. Brennan is also frank about his family and the difficult relationship he had with his dad, who he called a narcissist and abuser. He gives a more abbreviated version that leans toward forgiveness, but despite his repeated “jokes,” it’s still a button for the comedian.
Brennan said, even after telling it so many times, he still feels choked up by it. He said it didn’t get better but talking about it in a positive way helped him to start healing. Brennan said he thinks he’s doing something good to recognize his sadness and feeling without the fear of being judged.
Brennan was also open about his aggravation to the Chappelle’s Show ending. When Dave Chappelle opted to not do anything more for it and left for South Africa, Brennan no longer had his famous friend to use for leverage. This was definitely not an easy thing to discuss with his friend, let alone a room full of strangers.
Brennan said Chappelle has seen the show three times; once during the opening night. He said this provided him some encouragement, which is what stand-up comedy should be.
What Does Brennan’s Family Think About His Material?
Much of Brennan’s family has watched 3 Mics, and, he said, they each had a reaction. Brennan said that’s not uncommon where the show airs a plethora of family drama to the people who lived it. He said he’s expecting their feelings to be heightened after Netflix starts airing it and more people see it.
He admits he never thought about his family not wanting the dirty laundry being aired. However, Brennan said, this is a story – his story – and he wants to share it. He said he understands where they are coming from and that they don’t want people knowing that his dad abused them, but he sharing it is good for him.”
“It’s my story,” he said.