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Joe DeVito Interview

Joe

By his own admission, chasing the stage wasn’t Joe’s idea. Coworkers pressured him into performing, because he was always cracking wise at the office. A former journalist and advertising writer, Joe is a comic who has appeared on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and been a part of the Just for Laughs festival.

Rooftop writer Nathan Timmel shot him these questions regarding his first release with the label.

NT: how long have you been performing, how long did it take you to find your voice?

JD:  This summer it will be 14 years since I was first forced onstage by my coworkers. I think around 10 years in I started to feel the consistency in my material, but the people who’ve been listening to me for a while say it was there early on. Ask me again when I hit the 20-year mark, that’s when the real fun will start.

NT: Where was the disc recorded, and over how many shows?

JD: May 2014, 3 shows over 2 nights at Brokerage Comedy Club in Bellmore, Long Island. I’ve done hundreds of spots there so I had a good comfort level.

NT: The bonus tracks: what was the thought process behind removing those specific jokes from the set and attaching them to the end of the disc?

JD: Rooftop did a great job with my insane requests to blend together jokes from all three shows – sometimes word by word – to make it sound like a complete headlining set. I boiled it down from about 75 minutes, then sent them charts & graphs that looked like the chalkboard from Good Will Hunting. The bonus tracks were jokes that I liked but didn’t fit in with the rest of the set. And what the hell, who doesn’t like bonus?

NT: You write a sort of love letter to NY though several of your jokes; you describe it in a way that allows non-natives to relate. Do you feel NY has heavily influenced you as a comedian, or is it the fact you’re a comedian that allows you to view NY through observational eyes?

JD: I didn’t hang out in NYC when I was a kid, so I’m still fascinated by the stuff you get used to seeing in an average day. You get blasé when a rat runs by holding a bagel in its mouth – I don’t think that happens elsewhere. But until you get used to it, it’s a constant assault on your senses, including your sense of decency.

NT: You hint of politics in your set, without going into “taking sides.” How far away do you see America being from the legalization of marijuana nationwide?

JD: I think there’s no turning back at this point, and that’s a good thing. To deny free adults access to something that’s less harmful than aspirin is nonsense. When my friends say, “But don’t you think legalizing medicinal marijuana will lead to casual use?” I tell them, “Yeah – THAT’S THE PLAN.”

NT: Marriage equality?

JD: What other people do is none of my business. I don’t feel threatened, because successful same-sex relationships are just as alien to me as successful heterosexual relationships.

NT: I would almost describe your comedy as… “Surprise left turn.” You hear the setup, and then the punchline is out of left field. I don’t want to give away specific punchlines, but the “homemade bong” comes to mind, as does a moment with the couple on the first date. Would you agree with that, and/or how would you describe yourself to someone preparing to listen to your disc or see you live?

JD: It’s interesting what I’ve learned about myself from my act – it turns out I like confusing and misleading people. We’re lucky I’m a comedian and not a crossing guard or air-traffic controller.

NT: You joke openly about medications, depression, OCD; how close to home is that part of your set?

JD: As much as I love “jokes,” it feels like the longer I do this, the deeper into my own life the act has to go. When a comic talks about something that’s true, it makes a different connection with the audience. I’d rather someone come up to me after a show and say that they could relate to personal stuff than some hilarious “talking-GPS” bit.

NT: Single when you recorded the disc… found a mate yet?

JD: Nope. But expecting better results once I bump my Tinder radius up from “8 feet around my apartment.”

You can download First Date with Joe DeVito from the Rooftop Store.

Davon Magwood Interview

Davon Magwood is a “Do-it-yourself” kind of comedian. Want to go on tour? Line up a tour. Want to get in front of audiences? Create those audiences. Davon doesn’t wait for the Comedy Gods to book him, he goes into cities on his own and brings his comedy straight to the people.

Rooftop Comedy is proud to release Davon’s first full-length comedy CD, I’d Rather Be Napping, and had Nathan Timmel talk to him about the album.

NT:  Your bio describes your comedy as “alternative.” Tell listeners what that means, and how it might differ from “traditional” comedy.

DM:  I think it’s a different approach to comedy, I have set ups and punchlines I just believe the approach is different.

NT:  Your disc sounds very free-form… how set in stone is your act, and how much is stream of consciousness?

DM:  I know how I want my show to go. I know what jokes I’d like to tell, and I allow room for myself and the Audience to play a bit. So I’ll have a set list and order. But I riff if the opportunity presents itself.

NT:  How long did it take you to fine tune the material for the CD; over how many years did you write it?

DM:  This album took 3 years for those jokes to be album ready. Hopefully now that I’m more comfortable with my writing style, it won’t take another 3 years.

NT:  Your set comes across as fearless; you touch on “taboo” subjects almost immediately. Is that a way of challenging the audience, or is it simply a way of letting them know up front what they’re about to see?

DM:  I believe you should know what you’re getting into from the jump. I like to hit them hard.

NT: You’ve done a lot of independent shows, and a self-produced tour. Talk about the effort it takes to mount something like that. Did you have sponsors, or backing? Is this an approach you took consciously, to avoid traditional comedy clubs, or did you try your hand and not enjoy the experience with the regular venues?

DM:  I haven’t had any sponsors yet. Maybe in the future I will. I just wanted to experience the road and other comedy scene and there was too much red tape when it comes sponsorships. And paper work is hard. It’s hard though, putting on your own shows its real hard work. But I love every second of it. I’ve done comedy clubs. I don’t mind that them. I just don’t get the right vibes when I’m there. It’s like performing at Medieval Times. You’re performing while people eat and they’re not really engaged and then the prices for everything suck. Just rather book a small venue and have a good time.

NT:  Your disc closes with “Final show in Pittsburgh…” You moved to NYC. What brought about that choice, and how are you finding NYC?

DM:  I love NYC, but I won’t stay long. I’m going to head to LA.because I promised myself if I left Pittsburgh, I’d go to a place where snow doesn’t visit. I just needed out of Pittsburgh it’s my home, but I need to explore a bit.

NT:  How did being a Pittsburgh comedian shape you, if indeed it did?

DM:  I got a lot of stage time. Pittsburgh is a good scene to develop a tough skin.

 

Davon Magwood’s new album, I’d Rather Be Napping, was released on December 16th, 2014 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available digitally on Amazon MP3, iTunes, and Bandcamp.

Top Five with Jarrod Harris

Top Five is a column in which we talk to stand up comics who have released their own album about their five favorite comedy albums of all time.

jarrod headshotJarrod Harris is very untraditional comic, which makes him the undeniably intriguing and fresh performer that he is. Before releasing his debut album with us, he made his appearance on the HOLY FUCK. Live Comedy. album where we put out with a track that had left an impression on this blogger even before he joined Rooftop Comedy. A line that sticks out to me is when Jarrod Harris proclaims that he’s “too weird for Conan” within the most delightfully odd three minute track I’ve ever heard. Keeping himself busy recently, he’s been producing his own webseries named “Ricky Erlando” featuring a patriotic, mullet-clad action figure, after his successful stint as part of the popular viral series “Action Figure Therapy” in which he was a writer and voice actor for. Doing things just a little off-beat and his own way when we asked him about his Top Five comedy albums he said “I see your comedy and raise you music.” Letting his album stand as a wholly unique testament to his wit with it’s release he shared music that has been important to him over the years like a shaman passing on wisdom.

 

1.  The Sundays, Blind.

I have never really slept well.  Since the age of 5 or so I’ve only really gotten about 3-5 hours of sleep a night.  For about 2 years or so in middle school I would just sleep on the floor in the living room watching tv to fall asleep.  I’ll never forget awaking to this beautiful girl’s voice after dosing off.  I believe the show this video was playing on was MTV’s 120 Minutes.  I was on a happy-high till the sun came up and I had to get ready for another day of ISS (in-school suspension) at school where i would sit in a little booger-filled stall with a teacher behind me for 7 or so hours.  I would play this album in my head all day and it would keep me from punching things and people.  There was a record store chain called Turtles Records next to where my mom took me to buy my school clothes.  That’s where i found the cd.  I wore that thing out fantasizing about not being in ISS and a girl I was too pussy to talk to.  The Sundays is still on my iphone and gets played on the reg.

 

2.  Sunny Day Real Estate – Diary
My friend and fellow BMXer was taking me to high school one morning after coming in late from a BMX National in some state that I can’t remember.  Point being, a song from this album was playing on WRAS album 88 Atlanta.  It really resonated with me.  There is so much pain and torture in Jeremy Enigk’s voice.  At the time I was in love, so I thought, with a girl that was fuckin around on me.  She worked at Six Flags. Later I found out she was an actual ride at Six Flags.  Fuck that bitch.

 

3. Waylon Jennings – Any album!  It’s fucking Waylon Jennings!!!
This music makes me proud to be an American.  Yeah I know our government is directly responsible for killing tens of millions of innocent people around the globe but 99% of us have no say so in that.  Waylon Jennings did things his way regardless of what the industry thought he should do and that’s exactly how I will always live my life and do my comedy.  Listening to Waylon inspires me to stop being a little twat and second guessing myself.  We are responsible for the way we live our lives.  So fuck what everyone else thinks.
No regrets.

 

4.  Slowdive – Souvlaki LP
I fell in love with this band the first time I heard them and never looked back.  The absolute BEST 90’s shoegaze band in my opinion.  In 1996 I was a confused 19 year old.  I loved building dirt jumps, riding my bmx bike and traveling but I was so wrapped up in trying to do what society thought I should do.  Go to college or start a business and make a lot of money.  I was so insecure I quit riding all together and focus on starting a business.  Had a little success but I was fat, miserable and in a relationship I shouldn’t have been in.  During that whole time I would often listen to this album and dream of a better life.  I mean there’s gotta be more to life than 12 hour pressure washing days and Ruby Tuesday dinners, right? I finally got the balls to do stand up at 26, left my girlfriend, and opened myself up to better possibilities. I’m still a little fat but I finally ride again and have my own property to build dirt jumps on. :)

 

5.  Real Estate – Days
My buddy and fellow hilarious comedian, Jake Weisman also loves this band.  They are just amazing. Period.  I mean if you don’t like this band, yer probably a terrorist.  Actually I’m sure terrorists love this band too.  This album is like the first time you got yer fingers wet in the woods behind your granny’s house.  Maybe it was the second time?  Either way it was still good.  I wish you could smell mp3s.  If you could I’d never wash it and I’d make all my friends smell it.

Check out Jarrod Harris’ debut standup album, Present and Talkative, for sale on Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp released on Febuary 17th, 2015 on Rooftop Comedy Productions.

 

Interpretation

SameI’m a comedian, which means I use words for a living. I also have a degree in English Literature, which means I know how to choose those words carefully, and for maximum effect. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean people always listen to what I’m saying. Sometimes they hear what they want to hear, or a trigger-word will deafen them to the content of what’s being said.

Though I make it very clear I’m pro military and speak of touring for the troops with pride, I once had a member of the Army enraged by my comment: “We should bring the men and women we care about home and send gang members over to fight.”

“Are you saying my friend sacrificed his life for nothing?” he shouted at me drunkenly enraged.

The man had to be removed from the showroom, and after the fact his handler explained he had a severe case of PTSD and lashed out often. He didn’t quite understand the point of my joke was that his friend should have never died in the first place.

I also have a joke about using prisoners as land mine sweeps, sending them into the field to find IEDs, keeping our military engineers safe in the process.

“Prisoners have rights, too, asshole!” was once hollered loudly from the back of a dark comedy club. The man who said it then stormed out to the amazement of 200 people who watched in confusion.

I used to perform a pro-immigration joke, where I said “The phrase ‘illegal immigrant’ is a polite way of saying ‘Mexican’ without sounding racist. No one is worried about Canadians slipping across our border.” I then went on to say we should have a “White-trash-for-worker exchange program,” meaning whenever someone came up from Mexico, we sent down someone from a trailer park.

A Latino woman began berating me, shouting that Mexicans were hard workers and that I should leave them alone. It didn’t matter that I was praising immigrants and insulting racists, she heard what she wanted to hear, which was enough to get her fired up.

These instances are very, very rare, and usually contained to a single moment in the showroom. But every so often someone gets a bug so far up their butt they have to take it public. Recently, a comedy club owner told me he had a negative review on his Facebook page, one calling me out by name. I looked it up and was instantly a combination of disappointed, and livid.

It’s not the fact the reviewer didn’t like me, what got under my skin is why he didn’t like me. In his own words: “I’m gay. I’m not politically correct or hyper sensitive. The show I just paid to see was disgusting. The main act, Nathan Timmel, forced me to walk out. He would, ‘prefer to sit next to a gay than a Muslim because he’d prefer to be sticky than falling from the sky in pieces.’”

He went on to say he would never return to that comedy club again.

Well, to begin to dissect this, if your opening statement is “I’m not (fill in the blank here),” then yes, yes you are that very thing. That shows a defensive attitude and is very telling to your character.

Second, I didn’t force him to walk out. That implies I berated him specifically or took action against him, which didn’t happen.

Third, and most importantly, what offends me is his poor interpretation of my joke. This is the actual joke, in meme form, posted many months ago online.

Same

My favorite part of it is the inference; I never, ever, say “Muslim.” Of course that’s where everyone takes it, but I never say it. It’s more fun to me to let people paint that stereotypical picture than to verbalize it. So right off the bat the reviewer puts words into my mouth, which isn’t fair. But so be it.

As I see it, I’ve made a mildly pro-gay joke/statement, yet he preferred to view me in a negative light. Unfair, but not much I can do about it. If he chooses to go through life with a chip on his shoulder, that’s his choice. I don’t know his story, and have no idea what it means to be gay. Was he called names in school? Did his dad disown him when he came out of the closet? Something in his life made him very sensitive, so much so he now lashes out at people simply for mentioning a group he aligns with. He hears what he wants to hear, not what is.

That said, I feel I can still loathe the fact he took his attitude public. To misinterpret something is fine; to offer your anger to the world as truth is annoying. On top of that, attempting to damage the reputation of the comedy club by writing the review in the first place is simply mean spirited. Two thoughts come to mind: if you see a movie you don’t like, do you write a negative review about the theater? Of course not, that would be silly. “Avatar was the worst movie I’ve ever seen! I’m never attending a Carmike Cinema ever again!”

More importantly, as shown above, that joke is online, and has been for many months. I have over an hour of videos on YouTube. What he did was show up at a random entertainment venue without any research and expected the act to be suited to his specific tastes, which is fairly arrogant. No one goes to the movie theater and tells the ticket monkey, “Give me one to whatever you think I’ll like.” Maybe had he put the time and effort into researching my act he might have said, “You know what? This isn’t for me. I’ll go another night.” But that would have taken the slightest modicum of effort on his part. Instead, it was easier for him to just show up, not like what he heard, and then whine online about it.

Many thoughts ran thought my head upon seeing the review: I should thrash him! I should point out how wrong he is about everything! I should email some of my most reliable friends and have them start attacking him!

But as the thoughts ran through my head, I thought of the negativity involved in every one of those actions. Is that something I wanted to participate in, to reduce myself to his level of discourse?

No.

Instead of jumping into an online fight, I started looking at pictures of my kids. Within seconds, most of my anger was gone. Evaporated immediately, with only wisps of ether lingering behind.

Part of me was still upset with him for his attack on my career—what I do keeps the very kids calming me fed and warm and so on—but that was a very tiny fraction of the peace looking at my children gave me.

I figured I could rage against him, point out what a sanctimonious jerk he was being, and explain how he missed the point of my act completely.  I could even have gone self-righteous and pointed out that I authored a mini-eBook about being a straight white male who doesn’t understand homophobia… but it would be a waste of my time. Trying to speak reason to anger is like kicking water uphill.

As I was calming down and deciding not to engage, I noticed something. His review started getting comments; several people from that very show said they had a great time and called him out on his nonsense. That made me smile. Two people specifically said they believed my jokes sounded “pro gay” to them, and one woman pointed out, “I’m a Christian, and I laughed at Nathan’s comment about Christians. It’s a comedy club. You have to expect jokes about your fundamental beliefs.” Even better, several more people wrote their own 5-star reviews of the evening.

I went to bed feeling OK about the situation, and when I woke up, the negative review was gone.

The only person who had access and the power to delete it was the author, which had me wondering: did he calm down and look at the situation rationally in the morning, or did he just not like being challenged publicly for his misguided beliefs? The former leaves hope for growth and awareness, the latter not so much. I know of a couple people who have such little self worth that attacking others is the only way they can feel good about themselves. It’s sad, but as said, there’s nothing I can do about that.

Nothing but shake-shake-shake-shake-shake it off.

Fuck.

I just quoted a Taylor Swift song.

Now I dislike me as much as that customer did.

You can fart around on my website, nathantimmel.com, whenever you so please.

Top Five with Jason Downs

Top Five is a column in which we talk to stand up comics who have released their own album about their five favorite comedy albums of all time.

It’s been a while since we here at Rooftop got to welcome Jason Downs back home to San Francisco! We last got a chance to catch up with him when his album, Excessive Talking, was released and he’s been a busy man ever since! Moving and shaking in the City of Angels now, he’s getting his generous share of acting work, from Super Bowl and other NFL commercial spots to performing on NBC’s Last Comic Standing! He continues to keep stand up part of world though, including being featured in our city’s premiere comedy festival, SF SketchFest! His brand of enthusiastic energy circling around real situations he comes across has made him a desired act for any show! You can catch him during SF SketchFest performing with the likes of Mike Lawrence and Dan St. Germain on February 5th and in the lineup to the fantastic Rude City Comedy Show on February 6th! While giving him the warm hello he deserves he shared a list of his favorite comedy albums and specials to our blogger-in-residence that helped shape the state of the modern stand up world.

 

Chris Rock – Roll with the New (1997)

Every ten years or so an iconic comedy album is released that demands the public’s attention, that’s Roll with the New. After the boom and bust of the comedy golden age of the late 1980’s/early 90’s, stand up was slowly dying, then came this masterpiece. After his brief stint on S.N.L., many considered him a flop and Rock’s career was in trouble. Rock’s HBO special Bring the Pain and this album version, Roll with the New was his comeback. The now classic bits Ni**as Vs. Black People to O.J., I Understand, Rock wrote, rewrote, performed, and honed this act to create the last iconic comedy album of our time.

 

Jerry Seinfeld – I’m Telling You for the Last Time (1998)

Bring up the greats of stand up comedy and you will hear names like Kinison, Pryor, and Carlin. But, Jerry Seinfeld’s name is often unjustly left out of the conversation. I’m Telling You for the Last Time is the first attempt by a stand up comedian to walk the tightrope, while at the same time, striping the rope to make the rope thinner and thinner by recording and broadcasting it live on HBO. Seinfeld is an absolute craftsman, master of his domain, and that domain is stand up. There are many masterful jokes on this album, but the Olympics bit is one of the greatest well-finessed bits ever performed. Seinfeld proves that to get laughs you don’t have to be a self-deprecating goofball (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but rather you can be hilarious by using your sheer wit and cleverness.

 

Maria Bamford – Burning Bridges Tour (2003)

Maria Bamford does what everybody else simply cannot do. On the Burning Bridges Tour, Bamford uses her remarkable talent for characters and scene development and organically takes us to an abstract, gooey world: a bent reality, all without breaking our suspension of disbelief. Many wonder why Bamford was never cast on S.N.L., the simple answer: she is just too big, too much, too intense for S.N.L.

 

Doug Stanhope – Deadbeat Hero (2004)

Doug Stanhope: part philosopher, part prophet, part twisted human being; a modern day Hunter S. Thompson minus the gunshot wound to the head. Stanhope’s talent is taking taboo subjects others can’t seem to mine for gold, walk into the mine empty handed, and walk back out covered head to toe in a gold-plated suit of armor. On Deadbeat Hero, everything is funny, nothing is off limits, and swearing is nothing to shy away from. Stanhope taught me a lesson in comedy I’ll never forget; never trust a comic who doesn’t swear, i.e. Bill Cosby.

 

George Carlin – Classic Gold (1972-73)

George Carlin’s Classic Gold is really three albums, AM:FM, Class Clown, Occupation: Foole, in one, packaged together as a double disc. Classic Gold displays Carlin’s talents not just as a master of stand up comedy, but a master of many different forms of stand up. On the first album, AM:FM, Carlin performs, by today’s standards, an alt comedy set, weaving in and out of one man sketches. With the second and third album, Carlin begins to evolve into the socially conscious comedian we would recognize before his passing. Class Clown’s, Muhammad Ali is one of the best single jokes ever told, full of dense words, rebellion and injustice. Finally, Occupation: Foole features the famous 7 words you can never say on television chunk that would later become the subject of a Supreme Court ruling, making this collection not just funny but part of United States history.

 
 

Make sure to check out Jason Downs at the 2015 SF SketchFest on February 5th with Mike Lawrence and Dan St. Germain and on February 6th with the Rude City Comedy Show. Jason Downs’ album, Excessive Talking, was released on February 18th, 2014 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available on Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp.

Top Five with Adam Newman

Top Five is a column in which we talk to stand up comics who have just released their own album about their five favorite comedy albums of all time.

Adam Newman is an odd specimen. Not just for his creative headshot choices, but also in the way that he always seems to be in the right place at the right time – or wrong time depending on your feelings. Newman has a knack for finding himself among some of the more bizarre crowds a comic could imagine – from stumbling upon cocaine in a heckler’s jacket to being trash talked by police mid-set and mid-arresting of an audience member. His enthusiastic, playful, and pun-centric performances emit the feeling of fun and recall simpler times when you were free to laugh at anything – diarrhea jokes included. Fresh off the heels of a Comedy Central half-hour special, we had the pleasure of working with him again on his new album, Killed. We took a moment to pick Adam’s brain about some albums that shaped his affinity for the more peculiar sides of comedy.

 

George Carlin – Class Clown

This is the first comedy record I ever heard. My mom gave me her whole record collection when I was so young, I used to play them on my Playskool record player. I don’t think Playskool ever intended for a 7-year-old to listen to Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” on one of their players, but I swear it happened. This is the album that got me into comedy.

 

 

 

Adam Sandler – What the Hell Happened to Me?

This one just barely gets the edge over They’re All Gonna Laugh at You! I was obsessed with these albums when I was a kid. My parents had only heard “The Chanukah Song” and “Lunchlady Land,” so they had no idea what dirty, filthy comedy they were letting their 12-year-old listen to. Although, they did give me Carlin years earlier… Most of my childhood after this point was dedicated to imitating Sandler’s “goat” and “cock-and-balls-grandma.”

 

 

Dave Attell – Skanks for the Memories

I mean it’s a perfect stand-up record. It captures a rowdy, late night comedy club audience being bombarded with perfect joke after perfect joke by a comedian who can handle anything thrown at him.

 

 

 

 

Team Submarine – Glass Matthew

This album is pure silliness all the way through. I love comedy that isn’t afraid of puns or pubes or poop. And the track where you discover where the album name came from is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard recorded.

 

 

 

 

Matt McCarthy – Come Clean

Matt was probably the first person I actually knew to release an album. This was back when I worked at CollegeHumor, and Matt came by our offices to drop off a stack for the whole staff. I popped it into my laptop and couldn’t believe someone I actually knew was capable of making a record as good as my favorite “big-names.”  l’ve always loved Matt’s commitment to his bits, the way he thinks outside the box, and I remember especially liking how he really played with the format of the CD (i.e. “Preview Track”).

 

Adam Newman’s new album, Killed, was released on January 25th, 2015 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available digitally on Amazon, Bandcamp, and iTunes. Adam Newman’s first album, Not For Horses, can be found at these locations: Amazon, Bandcamp, and iTunes.

Top Five with Joe DeVito

Top Five is a column in which we talk to stand up comics who have just released their own album about their five favorite comedy albums of all time.

It’s not very often that you get to go on a first date with someone as accomplished as Joe DeVito. From his semi-finalist position on season five of NBC’s hit show Last Comic Standing to numerous late night appearances such as the CBS’ Late Late Show, and frequent other TV spots on roundtable shows like Fox News’ Red Eye and E!’s Chelsea Lately. He’s known for his generous doses of sarcasm layered on top of a observational wit that keep audiences engaged throughout the country and comedy festivals alike. Also he’s a former competitive powerlifter and holds the current world record for the Inverted Cat Press. So making conversation on our blind meet-up we asked him about his favorite albums, and now it’s your turn to meet the man and guess if that’s a high class cocktail you smell or if he bought a new cologne just for going out tonight with you.

 

Woody Allen – The Night Club Years (1964-1968)

Perfect combination of a clear comedy persona, killer material and dead-on timing – aside from a few topical references, this is just as funny as it was 40+ years ago. The Moose, Bullet in My Breast Pocket, Kidnapped were staples in FM radio stations’ “Sunday Funnies” shows for decades, and with good reason.

 

 

Brian Regan – Live (1997)   

The first track “You Too and Stuff” must hold the record for shortest time between a comic’s introduction and when he has you wetting your pants. And Brian works squeaky clean, so you can play it for your parents when they insist that all comedians are degenerates.

 

 

 

Bob Newhart – The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart (1960)

How great was Bob Newhart? Well, this debut and its followup were numbers 1 AND 2 on the Billboard Pop Album chart – a feat no modern  recording artist matched until Guns & Roses “Lose Your Illusion 1 & 2” (take that, Madonna). It’s amazing, when Newhart does one half of a phone conversation, you can actually hear the other half in your head (take that, Shelley Berman).

 

Jim Gaffigan – Luigi’s Doghouse (2001)

The first of Gaffigan’s self-produced CDs, now out of print. Another one that had me and my friends quoting lines and braying like jackasses. Contains an early version of the classic “Hot Pocket,” plus delightfully unexpected cursing!

 

 

 

 

Maria Bamford – Ask Me About My New God! (2013)

Thank God Maria is so prolific because she gets better and more Maria Bamford-y with every release. Her character work has always been so good it’s scary (and sometimes so scary it’s good), but it’s the little things that kill me now, like the quick shoutout to Nerds candies in “Paula Deen’s Suicide Note.” I’m in awe because it’s the complete opposite of what I do; is it possible a bit like that starts with a pad and a pen?

 

 

Joe DeVito’s debut album, First Date With Joe DeVito, was released on January 13th, 2015 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available on Amazon, Bandcamp, and iTunes.

Nore Davis Interview

Nore Davis is on fire. He’s been to the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, he’s been on Comedy Central, MTV, and Gotham Comedy Live on AXS TV. And now he’s acting, from comedy shows such as Inside Amy Schumer and Last Week Tonight, and dramatic roles like the Emmy award winning HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Rooftop Comedy just released his latest CD: HOME GAME, and had Nathan Timmel discuss the craft of comedy with him.

NT: Discuss the use of voicemails as track bumps; who left them for you? What was the creative reasoning for adding the little bonus tracks to the beginning of the comedy tracks?

ND:  I just didn’t want a ordinary comedy album. I wanted something unique and different. The voicemails are reminiscent of the ol’ school hip-hop albums were they broke up their albums with comedic interludes and sometime very violent audio sketches. Its those small settle gems that make an album full, fun and memorable. I think.

NT:  Your humor stems from real life experiences; example, attempting to transfer credits between colleges. Are you always on the lookout for experiences to discuss from the stage, or does it happen organically?

ND:  Oh yes, its definitely happens organically for me. I remember that particular situation back in 2005 and it seriously pissed me off. I was actually trying to attend FIT but it wouldn’t accept my credits from Delaware College and I called my cousin screaming “Why these colleges acting like two bitches that hate each other” and he laughed. So majority of my humor does stem from anger whichI hope the audience shares the same frustration by laughing at it together.

NT:  You mention having had a small role in Boardwalk Empire. Is acting something you’re looking to get further into? Television, film? Or is the stage where you’d like to remain?

ND:  Acting is great. For me it’s a whole other world that I would love to invest much more time into but I don’t have control. I was luckily casted. In stand-up comedy, I write, direct and perform my own material which is so freeing. Don’t get me wrong Boardwalk was a great experience and I learned so much but I can’t wait to write, produce and act in my own series one day.

NT:  Describe the difference in preparation for acting, vs. taking the stage to perform a live set.

ND:  In my opinion, It’s the same difference between Clark Kent and Superman! Acting, I’m preparing to become someone else and bring someone else’s lines to life. Stand-up is ALL me. I know Nore Davis cause I’ve been him for 31 years now. Im myself on stage. I’m Superman. Meaning I’m me minus all the super powers. On Set I’m in a controlled environment and the role really doesn’t allow me to be ME.

NT:  When Jason Collins came out of the closet, the first thing I did was look at his stats and say, “Those aren’t that great… but no one will be allowed to say that now, because of his orientation.” Yet you jumped right in. Is that the role of a comedian, to say what everyone wants to, but is too afraid to?

ND:  I believe a comedians role is to just make people laugh. That’s it. A comedians role is to give the audience a break from their reality. Personally I like to take taboo topics and find the funny in them which leads to a very interesting show. Makes it fun for the audience and for me. Plus comedians have the liberty to say whatever we want! We live in this socially sensitive world where everything offends people and I think a comedians job is to make sure it’s just knee-slapping funny.

NT:   You recorded in NY, but where specifically? What venue? Did you have a personal relation to the venue; e.g., is it your home club, or the first place you ever hit the stage?

ND:  I recored at the World Famous Comic Strip Live on the upper east side which for sure is my home club. It’s where I started 8 years ago. I actually took a class there with D.F. Sweedler as teacher, and this is early 2000 when older comics actually cared about helping young talent and not hurting your bank account. D.F and that club taught me how to fish and then I went out to sea to catch as many big fish as a I can. Still fishing and loving it.

NT:   How long have you been performing, and how long do you think it took you to find your voice?

ND:   I’ve been performing for 8 years now. My voice? Well, I consider myself still young in the game and have a lot to learn. Im very hungry and never thirsty. Meaning I will continue to push myself creatively but being famous or being the center of attention isn’t my goal. My goal is to give audiences a break from their reality thru laughter, hopefully build a demand and I can tour making the world laugh! Especially its the only thing, so far, I’m good at. And when I say “good’ I mean I’m actually paying bills and making living. I made it into a career. I used to be a shitty graphic designer and my artwork sucked. Never felt like I was scratching the surface or could actually make a living but with comedy I feel like I finally found my medium. Yes!

 

Buy Home Game now.

Top Five With Davon Magwood

Top Five is a column in which we talk to stand up comics who have just released their own album about their five favorite comedy albums of all time.

Photo by Jordan Beckham

Davon Magwood is a pop culture-savant from Pittsburgh making waves by marrying his love of the 90’s while playing around with controversial topics. With the release of his new album, I’d Rather Be Napping, he talks about job pursuits, a child’s tantrum, and the best OKCupid date ever. Davon, in preparation for the release of his new album, shared his top five comedy releases of all time that helped shape his impression of the comedy world at large.

 

5. Bill Cosby “Himself”

I know he’s a creep, and that CRUSHES me. This special was the very first comedy special I ever watched. I knew it word for word. I admired him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Bill Burr ‘Let It Go’

I really enjoy how he can just talk and sound like an everyday guy and make such quick wit and relatable jokes.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Hannibal Buress ‘Animal Furance’  

So fun to listen to. He goes to such odd places and draws you in. I envy it and respect it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Dave Chappelle “Killing Them Softly”

This special is amazing. His comedy is solid, he makes statements about the world around us. He makes jokes about race and life without you even realizing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Chris Rock “Bring The Pain

I will always admire Chris Rocks writing and his command of his space on stage. Just watching this as a kid really made me want to be on stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Davon Magwood’s new album, I’d Rather Be Napping, was released on December 16th, 2014 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available digitally on Amazon MP3, iTunes, and Bandcamp.

Top Five with Nore Davis

Top Five is a column in which we talk to stand up comics who have just released their own album about their five favorite comedy albums of all time.

 

Photo by Phil ProvencioNore Davis is a comedian with a sharp composure and charismatic stage presence that draws you in like the most casual and inclusive of conversations, all while making you feel like your gut wants to bust. Nore weaves in and out of characters to breathe amazing life into his jokes and add dimensionality in a way that sets him apart. Fresh off the release of this album Home Game recorded at the legendary Comic Strip Live in New York, Nore shared the comedy albums that inspired his act and shaped his comedic identity.

 

Richard Pryor – The Anthology ’65-’92

When I embarked on my stand-up journey, I wanted to study my favorite comedians – But to study a “great” comedian, I believe you must study who they studied and Pryor was the common denominator of every great comedian.

The Anthology is basically the Encyclopedia Collection Set of Pryor’s work. ALL OF IT. I believe you should enjoy all of an artist works. Good or bad. And Pryor’s bad was better than anybody’s best during his time. I’ve learned so much from listening to him about crafting jokes and telling a story by going in and out of characters while slaying the crowd. All of his albums sounded like a party; A party you wish you attended. He took you on a joyous ride and that was always my goal! To take the audience on a ride like he did. Huge influence and impact on creating my album.

 

Dane Cook – Harmful If Swallowed

I never understood why comics older then me and some of my peers hated this man. I will always admit I was a huge fan of Dane Cook in college and stand by that proudly today. F*ck the haters. Dane Cook is f*cking dope. Went to a show in NJ at the pinnacle of his career and he gave a phenomenal show. His energy and story telling was unmatched. I enjoyed his work and also learned to just be imaginative on stage. The line “No! This tire hunted Mary down” floored me because he took that joke to a whole other level. Cook’s stage presence and stand-up performance seemed so effortless to me and that’s my goal. Make my art seem effortless.

 

Martin – LIVE Talkin Shit

Martin is a powerhouse performer and in his album “Talkin Shit” displays that. Its nothing but raw hard hitting comedy. I learned to tell a great joke and also HAVE to perform it. You can say the most mediocre premise but with a great performance (an “Act-out”) you really paint a full picture for the audience. Martin’s jokes were far from mediocre but when he was on, he couldn’t be followed quoted from Chris Rock! This album was the blueprint to his HBO special “You So Crazy” which was played only in theaters. So raw and so dope!

 

Robin Harris – Be-Be’s Kids

This album was everything to me. When I first started stand-up like 7 years ago, I didn’t own a iPod so all I did was play this CD on repeat in my lil’ depressing broken-down Honda Civic. Loved Robin Harris and wanted to be loved and demand the respect from your own (black) people like he did. He totally got respect from one of the hardest hardcore black crowds in Compton. He’s the only comedian, I know, that could curse-out Blood and Crip members on his album and still be ALIVE!  My favorite part is when a gang member said “HEY! IM FROM NWA MAN. DONT DISS US!” Robin shouted right back: “FUCK COMPTON! IM FROM STRAIGHT OFF A NIGGA ASS AND Y’ALL MAKING ME HOME SICK!” Can you imagine being so funny and respected that gang members laugh when you tell them to fuck off?! I doubt it. Robin Harris’ Be-Be’s Kids is such an excellent album.

 

Chris Rock – Born Suspect

I believe that Chris Rock’s Born Suspect is a straight up classic. Recorded in Atlanta back in 91. Its a perfect album for any upcoming comedian to listen too because it gives you Rock’s perspective on everything hot during his time and sharp insight into his childhood. It’s pretty timeless and a majority of all his topics such as black women’s “Weaves,” “Taxes,” “Black Aren’t Crazy,” and “Teenage Suicide” still hold up today. What makes a comedian great is to see and damn near predict the future. Rock did that. Consistently. Still to this day. Again, huge influence and impact on creating my album. #GOAT

 

 

 

Nore Davis’s new album, Home Game, was released on November 26th, 2014 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available digitally on Amazon MP3, iTunes, and Bandcamp with physical CDs through Amazon and Bandcamp as well.