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Jeff Dye: Money From Strangers Season 2!

 

Airing tonight, July 18th, 11/10c, is the second season of Money From Strangers! Jeff Dye, host, was kind enough to answer our questions about the show and his stand-up in general. Enjoy!

 

 

RC(Rooftop Comedy):Getting into TV is a dream of many comics. How long were you doing comedy and how did you catch your first break?

I was only doing comedy for 3 years before I was put on last comic standing, well 3 years if you don’t count making fart noises and constantly disrupting classrooms when I was in school.

RC: I recently heard an interview with Jerry Seinfeld where he said as a comic aspiring to get on TV, you kind of decide to go a hosting route or the sitcom route. How are you thinking about your career long term?

I want to do everything.  I’m not above or below anything. I would love to be a part of WWE, do cartoon voice over, Comedic Movies.. Hell, I’d like to do serious movies too.

RC: Money From Strangers looks like a really fun power trip. Were you the friend who was always putting someone up to something? What’s the craziest thing you’ve gotten someone to do for no money?

A lot of times I was the friend doing the crazy stuff, but yeah, I was always in trouble and just trying to have as much fun as often as possible. That’s why I could never keep a job and have been kicked out of almost every establishment I’ve ever been in.  You’ll have to watch season 2 on the 18th to see the craziest thing.

RC: Did you have a hand in creating show or choosing your co-hosts? Who are your favorite people to work with to get the best from your contestants?

I did not create the show, that’s the genius of our creator, Rob Anderson, but I did get a few of my comedic friends on the show who knocked it out of the park.

RC: How much writing do you do before an episode? How do you prepare?

There is a lot of prep and writing ahead of time and we have an awesome team of location people, and tech people. They are all awesome, and hot and great kissers.

RC: Who doesn’t like a great kisser?! Would you yourself be a good contestant? Why or Why not?

I would be a great contestant because I think everything I say is funny, and at the end of the day that’s all I ask of our contestants.. I’m very lonely.

RC: I saw in the preview for season 2 that someone is threatening to “drop” someone where they stand. Did you get anyone punched or arrested? Can we expect a “Money from Stangers, Too Hot for TV?”

Youuuullllllll see.

You can follow Jeff on twitter @jeffdye

Get updates for his touring schedule at his website, www.jeffdye.com

Money From Strangers Season 2 premieres July 18th on MTV!

 

 

Album Interview: Rob Cantrell – “DREAMS NEVER DIE”

 

NYC based stand-up comic, Rob Cantrell, has released his newest comedy album, DREAMS NEVER DIE! Only knowing Rob for his stand-up, I had no idea what to expect. By the end, I was shopping for Adidas warm-ups and shell toes. The high quality production is impressive but you’ll probably be too busy having fun to notice. This album is a great time!

RC(Rooftop Comedy): This sounded like it was a ton of fun to make. Did you enjoy the process? What was it like?

Loved it, rhyming and tweaking beats is happy cake and dream cream to me, but doing a whole album is hard work. We really didn’t waste any time, just one song after the next. We had a hard deadline to finish, because I booked the album release party with the “New York Funny Song Festival” three months after finishing the first few songs on the album, that only gave us about two months to finish. The pressure was on leading up to mastering of the album, the work gets super tedious and very detailed. Making an album that doesn’t suck is no picnic, it’s more like a huge awesome BBQ, super fun at first, good potato salad, hot dogs, badminton, drunk friends stopping by with cool dogs, but then you have to clean up days afterwards. We pushed hard to make every little thing sound the best to our ears and to be funny.

RC: I was really impressed with the production quality. It sounds like you hired session players/producers and really went all out. How did you manage all that?

My producer Andy Barlow aka Tiger vs. Cobra is a beast musically, and very smart in the studio. He is a full time DJ in NY, grew up playing in bands and he got a scholarship to college for playing the violin. He comes from an indie-rock and electronic music perspective and I am an old Hip-Hop head who does stand-up comedy for a living, the music just gelled together really well. The studio space was small and Andy would track most of the live instruments in there. I played acoustic guitar for the finale song “S’mores Sunset”. We had a band from DC called “LIONIZE” that I have been friends with for years now, record a instrumental with a 4-track in their rehearsal space, we then turned that into a fake LIVE-SHOW sounding track with random crowd noise for the “Coffee and Weed (DC Go-Go Remix)” song. The whole album wasn’t just one dude on a lap-top making beats, we worked every angle we could to have a pro and original sound..

RC:  From our site, I know you for stand-up. Is the music/rapping a passion that’s taking center stage? Do you perform your album live?

I am Stand-Up comic at the end of the day and perform it constantly in NY, but always had some type of music project going on through-out all the years I have done stand-up. I had a improv-jazz band in San Francisco, where I first started performing comedy in 1999, with a couple other comics called the “Jazzman Mega Band of Power, Love and Cheap Thrills”. We opened for a few bands and got a couple paid gigs. My music pursuits were always just for pure fun and was always cautious about them because I never wanted to take too much focus from performing Stand-Up. Stand-up is the impetus to everything I do in comedy, it has made me who I am as a man in so many ways. These days, I feel comfortable enough in my stand-up that I can take the music more seriously right now. I am performing Stand-Up in clubs but doing music comedy in select rooms. I am workshopping a solo show at the “CREEK and CAVE” theater in Queens, NY this upcoming month. I will be performing stand-up and doing songs off the album DREAMS NEVER DIE, August 1, 2, 3. I will build up a project combining both art forms from there, that I will take on the road.

RC:  How long have you been working on this album and when did you decide that was in fact what you wanted to do?

I decided I wanted wanted to do a whole music album right after I finished my first stand-up record in 2009, where I had four rap songs as a bonus at the end of the album. This album has been building inside of me for several years. It took about 6 months to get it all done.

RC:  What is your favorite track and why?

The first song on the album “Heavy Weather” is an exciting track to me for many reasons, it has a pounding electric beat and a tight heavy rock guitar riff, that sounds like early RUN DMC musically, which I dig. It is a rock track that we rap with weatherman terminology in a very cocky manner. I really get a kick out of how badass it sounds and look forward to shooting the video as corny “Weather Men” in lame brown suits rocking rhymes about the weather.

RC:  Babies N’ Shit was an interesting track against the others. Has your life changed significantly during the time it’s taken to make the album?

It is a follow up to a song I did on my stand-up album called ‘Married n Shit’, it is just how your friends talk about you when hanging out, like, “What going on with Rob””, “Oh, he’s got baby and shit, he can’t go to ‘Burning Man’ ”. “Babies N Shit”, has a double meaning, because if you have a baby get ready to deal with some real shit, on all levels.

RC:  If you wrote a recipe for how to properly enjoy this album for the first time, what would it be?

Alone, naked, mesh lawn chair, in a plum orchard by a lake, headphones, reliable audio device, push play.

RC: What’s up with the recurring pelican reference?

Pelicans, GO IN… with zero hesitation. They dive from hundreds of feet in the air to grab a fish from underwater they can barely see but instinctually know is there, which blows my mind. They are awkward, funky and secretly bad-ass. That what I wanted this album to be like.

RC:  How much of this album was drug fueled?

None, unless you think coffee and weed are drugs.

RC:  The featured artists on this album, how do you know them?

I met them all at a greek yogurt festival/orgy… they are all friends from the “New York” comedy scene. We choose people because we thought they would fit the vibe of the song and were available with the hard deadline that we had to keep.

RC:  Did you exceed your own expectation with your final product?

Yes, I am very proud of the album. I think it is going to win the Superbowl.

So do we! Thanks, Rob!

You can buy DREAMS NEVER DIE on iTunes and Amazon

Follow him on twitter @RobCantrell and visit his website www.RobCantrell.com

Quick Fix: Beautiful couple caught shagging in the park

Love is in the air and even though it’s 92 degrees in the middle of the day, that shouldn’t stop you from making love to your sweetheart in a public park. The only problem is 25 bike cops are there for officer training…Whoops! I would have to pack one hell of a picnic basket to get rewarded like that.

Broken News Daily: World’s Ugliest Dog Competition

The World’s Ugliest Dog Competition features some of the most unfortunate looking pooches on the face of the planet. Last years winner was so ugly his owner had to feed him with a slingshot! No respect! No respect! It’s a shame this competition hasn’t made it’s way into the human world yet. I have a few siblings I’d like to nominate.

Quick Fix: The Old Dead Rat in the Beer Cave Trick

Ray Stoup may look like a guy who would lie about a dead rat in a beer cave to create a diversion and steal two cases of Bud Light, but…Well, I guess that’s right. Florida seems to be a breeding ground for bizarre stories and wholesome good fun. This story is a little bit of both. That is, if you consider lying to steal beer, wholesome good fun. Come on Ray! How could you Stoup so low?! I’M SORRY!

Quick Fix: Elvis Tree


The King is back! No longer just a commemorative plate on the wall of your Grandmother’s double-wide, he’s taken the form of a real live tree! Thriving in the British countryside, this tree makes all the ladies heart skip a beat! I know what you’re thinking, “That tree looks more like Abe Lincoln.” That’s what I thought too!

Nathan Timmel: Only Slightly Offensive – Album Out Now!

Friend of Rootop, Nathan Timmel is releasing his third album. He was kind enough to answer my questions about his efforts and personal material focusing on family life and the struggle to create it.

RT: How long did it take you to generate the material for this album? How do you feel it compares to your previous efforts?

My last CD came out in 2008, so it took me somewhere in the neighborhood of four years to compile the material. If I remember correctly, the one before that came out in 2004, meaning I’m a either a very slow writer, or I’m meticulous.

As far as comparison with previous releases, I cross my fingers that it’s better. Not because anything I’ve done before is “bad,” but my hope is I’m continually improving as a comedian.

RT: Your album is titled Only Slightly Offensive. Have you had any run-ins with offended audience members? How did you handle it?

It’s very rare that I’ve had customers offended, outright heckle, or complain because of a joke in my set. I think–or maybe I hope–that when people enter a comedy club they understand that everything said is in good fun. I called the CD Only Slightly Offensive to hold on to that sensibility, because whoever is listening to it won’t be doing so in a comedy club environment. The title is a play on words, with “Only” and “Slightly” meant to offset one another, hopefully catching the eye. “Wait, is it offensive, or isn’t it?”

There are a couple spots on the CD you can hear the audience give a good groan. It’s the groan that is mixed with laughter, where they’re thinking “I can’t believe he said that” while they giggle. They get that what I’m saying might not be the most politically correct thing in the world, but that I’m not attacking anyone or being hateful.

That said, I’ve discovered that there is always something that will offend someone no matter how innocuous the joke. I received a negative remark on a comment card because of a joke about the possibility of my daughter having a food allergy; years ago I had an audience member scream “Prisoners are people too!” and storm out of the club because I suggested America should use prisoners for landmine clearing in Afghanistan.

What I’ve discovered regarding handling such moments is that the audience is generally on the performer’s side. It’s a case of mob rules, and in a comedy club the mob is there to laugh and have fun. Yes, there can be a stick in the mud who wants to pout because they didn’t like something, but that’s on them. If they’re not in the mood to giggle, there’s not much I can do about that.

RT: You decided on self-releasing this album. Was that process easier or harder than you imagined? What was the biggest challenge?

With modern technology, self-releasing is easier than it’s ever been. The challenge is that because of modern technology, self-releasing is easier than it’s ever been. (See what I did there?)

The problem is legitimacy. It can be somewhat difficult to get taken seriously without a label backing you. As a whole, many people and institutions like the validity backers offer. In the music industry self-releasing is done every day. In the world of comedy, it seems a little different; “Why should I trust you’re funny? You did this yourself.” I attack that stigma by making a professional album. I hired a professional photographer and used a graphic designer for the cover. It wasn’t recorded using my phone, I tied directly to the sound board so my voice would always be crisp. This isn’t something I burned on my computer at home, it has a quality look and sound to it. If someone is going to spend their hard-earned money on me, I want it to be worth it for them.

RT: How would you describe your brand of humor to someone who has never heard you? How long did it take you to find your voice?

I’m generally a storyteller, and I can be exceedingly personal at times. I find it easier to write about my experiences than I do to sit and try and make something up, and by being honest I can (hopefully) avoid doing material that’s already been done (e.g. how many comics have a joke about wearing a red shirt at Target? How many crack wise about “Safe Lists” with their partners that go: “I had Jessica Alba on my list, she had her personal trainer on hers!”) Occasionally I’ll have a throwaway joke involving something topical, but you’re not going to catch me on stage these days making GW Bush jokes, something that makes me cringe since we’re so far removed from that time period.

My voice… that one’s tricky. I think a comedian’s voice is something that changes as he changes. When I started performing, I had just been cheated on and dumped. My humor was very dark back then. Now I’m married and have a child and I’m upbeat and happy. I think my voice and material is a reflection of wherever I’m at in life, and best case scenario it’s going to keep growing as my life keeps changing.

RT:  You talk a lot about your wife in your comedy. What does she think of all this? Specifically, you doing stand-up, your material, mentioning her in your act? Is she supportive?

I got beyond lucky in my marriage. It’s a comedy cliché, I know, but I met her because of comedy. She was in the audience, heard me do a personal set about my family and upbringing, and felt “a connection” (her words). So, she knew what she was getting into; “OK, this idiot talks about his life on stage, and I’m in his life… I guess he’s going to talk about me now.”

Every so often she asks me to shitcan a joke for the evening, because her parents or grandparents or boss or someone is in the audience, and I respect and do that for her. But when I’m on the road, she generally has no qualms about what I’m saying. The people in the audience don’t know her, and will most likely never meet her, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Overall, she is beyond supportive. She has a Master’s Degree and swims in the business world, making me the yin to her yang and all that nonsense. We balance well.

RT: You go into great detail about your struggle to conceive. Have you found this opened you up to a different audience? Has the baby material led to any interesting opportunities?

Discussing infertility on stage has been… you have no idea how many people go through that struggle. I didn’t until I started talking about it on stage. When I would joke about trying to get pregnant, so many supportive people would share their story with me after the show. They would explain how long it took them, and in many cases have a very happy ending.

Now that my daughter is here, I’ve joined the cult of parenthood. It’s like buying a car; suddenly you notice the very model you bought everywhere. I had no idea how many people had kids until mine came along.

RT: Do you feel like comedy has taken on a new meaning as you’ve transitioned from a single man to now?

Unfortunately, yes. Comedy used to be me expressing myself; now there’s a business aspect to everything. When I was single and without responsibilities I could take anything offered; now I have to look at each one and do a cost-benefit analysis. Being a dad means you have to provide, and sometimes that means time over money. If after gas and food I’m not walking away with much, the extra day with my daughter becomes more important.

RT: As a new dad, how has the child impacted comedy for you?

When I was starting out, I watched people I found hilarious walk away from comedy because they got married and had a kid. I couldn’t wrap my head around it; I had no clue how anyone could leave the road behind. I’m nowhere near close to doing so myself, but now I get it. I get the longing, how much you miss your child when you’re away from them. It makes taking certain gigs or runs difficult; “OK, I don’t want to be gone for 3 weeks solid…”

RT: If you were to look back in 10 years, how would you want to remember this album?

Hopefully fondly. I’ve always loved the movie Bachelor Party, and I’d like to think Tom Hanks looks back on that film with a wry smile. It’s a drunken sex comedy involving nudity, drugs, prostitution… nothing you’d picture Oscar winner Tom Hanks in, but hey, there he is. If in 10 years I can look back at this and go, “Well, I sure talked about my wife’s naughty parts a lot, didn’t I?” and be OK with that, I’m good.

Buy Nathan’s new album Only Slightly Offensive

Keep up on all things Timmel at his website: nathantimmel.com

The consumate family man…Asleep on the job.

Broken News Daily: Taco Bell Employee Licks Taco Shells in Photo Online

If I were this guy, I’d be making a run for the border. To a land of good Mexican food…Canada. Let’s be honest, disgruntled workers have been doing things far more disgusting to the fast-food you and I consume on a daily basis, for the last 50 years. Big whoop! But now that there’s proof, a social media nightmare has begun for the Chalupa slinging giant. Yo quiero a new job!

Paul Mecurio interviews Jay Leno!

“Very psyched to have interviewed up and comer, Jay Leno for my podcast. Jay got me started in stand up when he bought a joke of mine for The Tonight Show. We talked about stand up–how he got started, his early hell gigs- got some great stories — and how he views stand up today–I think what comes through in the interview is at his core he still sees himself as a stand-up first and foremost — it was a really fun conversation that went in some unexpected directions–he was cool and has no idea I keyed his vintage Alfa Romeo … it should buff out.”
-Paul Mecurio

Quick Fix: Oh the hu-manatee!

A group of jerks could be facing a hefty fine after a video of them harassing manatees surfaced on Facebook. A shirts-off, bro-out, chill-sesh gone wrong.