By Jeremy Essig
By Jason Robinson
By Hans Morgenstern
By Joseph Hess
By Peter Gilstrap
By Julia Burch
By Jeremy Essig
By Nathan Smith
To switch gears over to the performance side of things, you're coming to St. Louis to do standup — how long have you been doing standup comedy? Did that come before all the acting, filming and editing?
Yeah. When I was nineteen years old I went up to Chicago and did a set. And I had some luck; I was an actor in high school, I was in some plays, and I tended to get laughs, and so I was like, maybe I'll just go up and see if I can make a random audience laugh. Let's see if this is even a possibility for me as a career. I don't see anybody that looks like me do it but, hey, so what? Maybe I can get in this way. Comedy is sort of a great way for outsiders to get in. Because ultimately if you can make people laugh, it doesn't really matter what you look like, and that's why there are a lot of funky-looking standups. They're funny, and you can't deny that.
The comedy I'm drawn to feels conversational, like you could be sitting down at a table or hanging with a couple of buddies, and they're telling you a story, just having a good time.
You're exactly on it. The reason anyone thinks they can be a comic is because they have been in a bar with their friends, and they tell stories, and people have laughed. And a club is the same thing: You're in a bar, people are drinking and telling jokes — to me, the more conversational the better. The more it seems like you're just up there chatting. When it gets too rehearsed it gets a little, I don't know, a little stink on it.
Because comedy is fun. I can't imagine telling the same joke over and over. I think it'd lose its funny.
It does, to you, but it doesn't to the audience, because it's the first time they've heard it. You know it must be funny because people are laughing, but you've stopped innovating on it. You've just sort of said, "This works, well great. I should move on the next bit." And typically standups will hone an act, get an hour down and run it around the country for between a year and two and a half years and then write a new hour. But then Louis C.K. is writing a new hour every year so people are like, "Jesus. OK. What are we going to do now?"
It is certainly a process.
Yeah. A fun one. When I go up and a joke doesn't work, I still made Super Troopers. I still did that. I don't leave a stage going, "God. I'm just not funny." I don't ever think that; I don't worry about that. I'm just going to go up and say what I think it is funny, and hopefully it will get some laughs.
It must be nice to have Super Troopers as a fallback.
It is. It really is.