ADAM NEWMAN INTERVIEW
Rooftop Comedy Productions is proud to release Not For Horses, the debut comedy album from Adam Newman. A hilarious mix of dead-on observational humor and wonderfully quirky insights into pop culture, Not For Horses showcases Adam’s style of comedy—earning him enough buzz to become an Andy Kaufman Award finalist and one of Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch. We chatted with Adam fresh off his shows at Just For Laughs Chicago to discuss what to look for in a unicyclist, how to write a heavy metal song about tapas, and more.
Rooftop: You worked for College Humor as a casting director. Any bizarre casting requests you’d like to share?
Adam Newman: One of the most memorable and surprisingly easiest things I needed to cast was a juggling unicyclist. They were like, “There’s this one scene that’s a cut-away. It cuts to a guy on a unicycle juggling”. I was like, “How in the hell am I going to find that?” Within five minutes, I had four options for juggling unicyclists in New York. There’s just everything in New York. Anything you need to cast is not that hard to find. I had one unicyclist on the phone and there were just so many options. He had different heights of unicycles. He had different things he could juggle. He was like, “Do you want knives? Do you want pins on fire? Do you want a tall unicycle? Do you want a short unicycle?” I am totally unprepared to answer these questions. “Bring options!” I just went with the standard response. Whenever anyone asks, “What should I bring for wardrobe?”, I say “Just bring options”. That’s what I told them to do with the unicycle juggler.
RT: You recently performed at the Just For Laughs Chicago Festival. What was that like?
AN: Just For Laughs Chicago was great. We did a few shows at The Lincoln Lodge. The shows that I was on were the Andy Kaufman Funhouse showcases, which are for finalists and winners of the Andy Kaufman Award. So I actually did all those shows with my friend Trevor Williams. We do these characters called the Nice brothers, which are a bonus track on the album.
During the CD recordings, Trevor and I were in Atlanta—he was co-headlining that weekend with me in Atlanta. During the day, we were actually just playing basketball together and we got a phone call from the Andy Kaufman people, asking if we’d go to Chicago to do these showcases. We were doing this really fun co-headlining weekend together and while we were doing that we got asked to do the Just For Laughs Chicago Festival. That was a pretty good weekend for us.
RT: The Nice brothers have become somewhat of a staff favorite at the Rooftop office. No one can say “nice” without a thick New Jersey accent.
AN: It’s one of those things where, even for me, every time I say the word “nice”, I feel like I’m doing the character. I have to remind myself that I used to say the word “nice” before those characters existed. It’s a normal word that people say. It’s funny that you say that because Trevor came up with the original idea. He and a buddy used to work in an office and they would just fake name-drop everybody they saw over the weekend. They’d be like, “You know who I saw this weekend? Steven Seagal”. “Nice”. Then Trevor brought it to me to pitch as a character. Pretty much I added all the puns and a little bit more douchebaggery to the characters.
RT: How long have you and Trevor been collaborating?
AN: As far as us doing characters together, I never would have done characters if it wasn’t for Trevor. Pretty much what happened was Trevor was in the bathroom and I heard Trevor in the shower and he was singing “Asses and dick. Asses and dick. You’re entering a world of asses and dick”. That’s what Trevor was singing in the shower and I’m a metal guitar dork and I picked up my guitar and wrote a riff to go along with that and that started our first character duo, called Über Lüber Death Metal, a super effeminate death metal duo. So we wrote a song called “Asses and Dick” and we wore executioner masks and shoulder pads and make-up and all this metal stuff, but then the schtick was we pulled off the masks after the song and we’d be like, “Oh my god! That was so scary!” And that’s how me and Trevor started doing characters. Later we decided we didn’t want it to be so vulgar, so we changed “Asses and Dick” to “Tapas and Drinks”. “You’re entering a world of tapas and drinks”. It was about us going out and getting tapas and drinks.
RT: Is there any Über Lüber Death Metal still online?
AN: Yeah, there’s a pretty primitive Über Lüber video online right now. It’s a music video for a song we did called “Hair Nightmare”. We shot it in a hair salon. This was when we had no production value to anything. The song was actually a song we recorded with a friend in Athens. The song sounds great. It’s me on guitar and a drum machine and Trevor singing. It sounds great. The video’s just done with a crappy camera in a hair salon and some cheesy effects. It’s me and Trevor as these death metal guys helping a guy get over his hair nightmare.
Rooftop Comedy Productions will release Not For Horses on July 26th. You can order your presale copy now on iTunes.