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Live Comedy: Week of March 23

Watching videos online is great.

Sharing memes is awesome.

The best way to see comedy, however, is live.

Here are some folks performing this weekend… if you have the opportunity, go check them out.

Click the meme for their website, and check out CDs by Nore Davis, Dylan Brody, and Joe DeVito in the Rooftop Store

Laffs

Maria

Nore


JoeD

 

Dylan Broody

Sober Doesn’t Mean Less Stupid

StandUpIn my line of work—stand up comedian—you deal with people who are drinking. As a whole, people are good, and can handle their alcohol. But every so often you run into folks who would have done society a favor by staying home and downing a case of beer from the safety of their couch. Sometimes they heckle; other times they’re simply belligerent. Either way, they usually have to be kicked out of the comedy club.

I’ve always wondered what they thought of their behavior the next day, when they sobered up. Were they embarrassed by their actions? Any decent person would be. When dealing with the unwashed masses, however, you don’t always get decent people.

Case in point: the other week, a table of four had to be removed from the showroom during my set. They had talked all through the host, talked all through the middle comic, and were still talking when I hit the stage. Fortunately, by that point, management had lost their patience. After I had turned to them twice and said, “Hey, quit talking,” they were asked to leave.

There are two ways to exit a room you’re no longer wanted in: quietly, head hung low, or boisterous and defiant. On this particular occasion, it went 50/50; two people quickly slinked away, embarrassed by the attention. The other two at the table were stunned.

“What? We were just talking!” the woman shouted.

After the manager explained talking isn’t permitted during a live performance, they grew even more agitated. The manager explained that they were annoying every table around them, which seemed to stun the couple.

“They don’t have to listen to us if they don’t want to!”

Apparently the woman didn’t understand how audio waves work, and that you can’t really ignore sound.

To accelerate their exodus, the manager asked the audience, “By a round of applause, who wants these people to leave?”

The whole crowd erupted; the table had been sufficiently annoying enough to get on everyone’s nerves.

After several minutes of back and forth, the couple finally made their way out, throwing a couple parting shots my way, since I had dared tell them to quiet down.

As the collective rest of the audience cheered the departure, the thought I mentioned earlier crossed my mind: what would those people think of their behavior once they sobered up?

Lucky me, I got to find out.

The next day around 5pm, a post from the argumentative woman—Cindy—appeared on my Facebook Comedy Page: “Don’t go see this guy. Our table were laughing and talking and we were asked to leave as we left he had the audience clap to see us go. The comedian before him had no problem with us and encouraged the noise and laughter.”

As I made my way through the grammar and syntax errors, I had to give a combination laugh and sad head shake. As stated, this post popped up around 5pm. That means Cindy had all night to sleep it off, and all day to come to terms with her behavior. And when all was said and done? She used willful ignorance to double down on her stupidity.

I didn’t even consider responding to her post; there didn’t seem to be any point. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t wonder how some people make it through life when they’re oblivious to how the world works.

Dissect her very own words: up front, Cindy admits they were talking. She doesn’t even bother to lie, or say “We were kicked out for absolutely no reason!” Nope, she says they were laughing (lie) and talking (truth).

Next, she isn’t self-aware enough to understand that the audience applauding her departure means they were more than happy to see her go. It’s unlikely she made it her whole life without hearing spontaneous applause, which means she willfully denies the fact she wasn’t wanted there.

Finally, the opening comic wasn’t appreciative of her at all. I know, because when he walked off stage he was furious. He even, and somehow Cindy missed this, yelled “Shut the fuck up!” at her table. Twice. I’m not sure how Cindy interpreted “Shut the fuck up!” as encouragement, but I think we can determine from her writing skills she’s not the brightest light on any Christmas tree.

That night, when all was said and done I thanked the manager for his actions, and he laughed; “Oh, that wasn’t anything. If you thought they were bad, you should have been here for Screech.”

He described how during Screech’s set, a man who identified himself as a lawyer got into it with the Saved By the Bell star. The lawyer was exceedingly drunk, and started heckling. This set Screech off, and irritated the audience. They went back and forth for several minutes, with Screech getting in jab after jab and the lawyer getting angrier and angrier as the audience laughed and applauded at his expense.

Eventually, realizing he was on the losing end of the verbal jousting, the lawyer stood up, hoisted twin middle fingers into the air, and shouted “FUCK YOU!” to the world as he stormed out.

A fitting end to his derailing of the comedy show, but that’s not the conclusion to this story.

Several days later, the lawyer interviewed for a job; he was looking to move up in the world, and presented himself as a clean-cut, no-nonsense straight shooter. The potential employer took the man through every stage of the interview process, all the way to one final question.

After jumping through the myriad hoops of the interview process, the lawyer probably felt he had a great shot at being hired, until the potential employer said, “Well, I think we only have one question left; would you like to explain this?”

At which point they showed the lawyer a video of his actions at the comedy club. Someone at the company had been at the show, recorded the whole event on his cell phone, and realized it was the same person coming in for an interview later that week.

Job = denied.

I should start filming all my sets.

Just think; I could have posted a clip of Cindy acting the fool, and made sure all her friends got the link.

Oh well.

Maybe next time.

 

(bonus: sometimes there’s a camera running when I’m dealing with drunk folks)

Stand Up Shots on Twitter: Jim Capie Interview

StandUpJim Capie knew he wanted to be a stand up comedian when he was five years old. What happened at such a young age? He saw the special, Bill Cosby, Himself. After that, the seed was planted.

In 5th grade, Jim wrote his first joke. He admits it “wasn’t even remotely funny.” But he knew he was on to something, because the structure was right; set up, punchline.

With high school out of the way, he started his career at age 18. He gave Los Angeles a shot, then returned to his native New York.

The pivotal moment in his career happened when he was accepted to perform in a comedy festival. He won’t name it, because throwing people under the bus isn’t his style, but he drove four house to be told, “Your slot is two minutes long.”

Jim knew something had to change, and decided to get himself out there. Using the power of social media, he founded the Stand Up Shots Twitter feed, a vehicle used to give unknown comedians direct access to comedy fans. At 20,000 followers (as of this writing) and growing, he’s Jim is making a difference. And we unknown comics appreciate him for it.

Rooftop contributor Nathan Timmel got into Jim’s head for the following interview.

NT: What do you look for when posting something? Brevity, originality… Do you search out specific jokes to publish, or do you yank the really popular ones from Reddit or imgur?

JC: After doing stand up for a while you start to understand what makes a “good joke”. Some of it is technical, you don’t want a set up that’s too long or an idea that has been done before. Some of it is intangible though. It’s not necessarily what makes me laugh. There’s this thing that comedians do, where they hear a great joke and they don’t laugh or even chuckle. They hear it and quietly say to themselves, “Hmm. Yeah.. that’s an outstanding joke.” Generally, that’s what I look for.

NT: Sort of hand-in-hand with the last question, do you notice a difference in popularity between longer vs. shorter jokes, or do your fans seem to simply re-Tweet whatever they find funny?

JC: I assumed, in the beginning, that people would not respond as well to longer jokes. I figured one liners and simple “set up, punch” jokes would do better, but I think I was just projecting my own laziness and unwillingness to read anything longer than 3 sentences. I found out that people respond just as well to longer jokes.

NT: In turn, bouncing off the last question: do you notice a difference between unknown comics vs. celebrity comics when you post them? I’m talking numbers; do your followers tend to like celebrity posts more, or are they fully behind anything funny, even if they don’t know the source?

JC: They respond better to famous comedians’ jokes, but only slightly. A Louis CK joke is almost guaranteed to do really well, but there have been many jokes by unknown comedians that get huge numbers.

NT: Was the Twitter account founded due to a love of comedy, or are you comedians… and on that note is it a group effort, or a one-man(woman) show, comedians who love comedy and believe a rising tide lifts all boats, all of the above, none of the above…

JC: The account is run by one unknown comic based out of New York. I started the account hoping to get exposure that I wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. But I felt I had a pretty important responsibility. I could very easily abuse this “power” by using famous comedians’ jokes to make a very popular twitter account and post my jokes to get exposure. So, from the very beginning, my plan was to make this account help other unknowns as well. Post (roughly) as many jokes from famous comedians as unknown comedians. And only put my own jokes as often as any other unknown. If I am doing my job right, you would never be able to look through the Twitter feed and figure out which comic runs the account. I have gotten a lot of “thank you’s” from comics over this past 6 months and it really is a nice feeling.

NT: Have you ever pulled a joke that wasn’t doing very well where you found it, but you liked it, and found that it was successful on your platform? By that, I mean that I notice differences across many platforms.  Sometimes I’ll post something on Reddit, and it begins getting trashed and downvoted and called stupid. Then I’ll put the same joke on Tumblr, and it will get reblogged thousands of times. And then vice-versa: a joke that succeeds on Reddit will tank on Tumblr or imgur…

JC: There is definitely a big difference in how a Twitter audience will respond to a joke compared to the Reddit audience. I know I’ll make some enemies here, but Reddit frustrates me. Reddit has a very entitled audience, they feel that because they are “comedy nerds” they can give you all kinds of advice on how to make a joke better. Also, I don’t like the idea of “downvoting”. In stand up you know how well a joke is doing if the audience A: Laughs or B: Doesn’t laugh. The audience (usually!) doesn’t start shouting advice or booing if a joke isn’t great. With Twitter, the audience A: Favorites or B: Doesn’t Favorite. There is much less complaining on Twitter.

NT: Your willingness to post those who are unknown is nothing short of fantastic. Very few unknown comedians have access to 20,000 followers. There are usually so many blockades in place with comedy—you have to have an agent, know the right people—the industry isn’t interested in discovering new, but you are. Was that a goal going in to setting up the account? Giving the unknown a voice?

JC: I really think the entire entertainment industry is changing rapidly as a result of social media and the internet. Managers, agents, production companies, etc. exist(ed) because they brought the artist to the audience, that was their job. But when one guy is in charge of deciding who is or is not talented, you get politics and injustice (I know that sounds melodramatic but it’s true). Now that people can grow an audience online and speak to them directly, it is the audience who decides who’s talented or not. Add that to the fact that stand up has always been closer to a meritocracy than most other art forms, and you get hundreds of comics with more opportunities than ever before. My hope is that this account gives unknown comedians their own audience in the form of followers. From there, they can do with those followers what they please. Start their own comedy night in a local bar (except now people will actually show up), sell their first comedy album, post videos of their stand up, whatever.

NT: Do you have a pattern to Tweeting, such as “One every hour,” or “One Tweet every three hours,” five a day, etc.?

JC: Yes, I have a rough schedule to when I Tweet, but it has changed over time. There’s two reasons for this, I noticed that if you tweet too often people are less likely to Retweet. I guess people don’t want their entire timelines filled with just jokes.

And the other reason is that it is just exhausting. I grow the account by following 1000 people a day and then unfollowing the 850 (or so) people who did not follow back. Then, finding the jokes and posting them. Many (if not, most) of the jokes from famous comedians were transcribed by me personally. And then there is my own comedy to work on and my day job (yeah, I still have one of those), so often times my schedule is simply whenever I feel like it.

 

Follow Stand Up Shots, and learn more about Jim.

 

 

Inside the Mind of a Comedian

rockMonths ago, my wife was listening to an interview with Jason Bateman. One question caught her ear: “Would you let your children get into acting?”

She stopped what she was doing and paid full attention to the words exiting Jason’s mouth. “I wouldn’t, only because it is a profession that you can’t really help yourself in. In most professions, if you stay at the office an extra four hours every day, you’re gonna impress the boss, you’re gonna get that promotion, you’re gonna get that raise, you’re gonna at least have job security. But with acting, if you’re really ambitious and you have a good work ethic, and are really good at your job, it might not really matter.”

My wife got lost in thought a moment, and in a very unfortunate parallel related those words to comedy, and my career. There is something odd—some might say unfair—about the artistic world, where how good you are matters much less than how lucky you are.

Which brings me to something semi-related. I cannot remember where I read this, but someone once asked a member of the Dukakis presidential campaign, “When did you realize it was over?”

The answer was a surprising, “When they announced we lost.”

They didn’t admit defeat one month, one week, or one day out from the election. Even though the world at large knew Bush Sr. was a lock, the Dukakis people lived in such a bubble they used faith to carry them to the bitter end. That wasn’t unique to the Dukakis campaign; Mitt Romney was so convinced he was going to win he didn’t have a concession speech written.

Delusion isn’t isolated to politics; every year on American Idol, confident teens declare, “I am the next American Idol.” They say it full of belief, even though at the end of it all there is but one Highlander standing in victory.

Which makes me ask: at what point are you supposed to become self-aware enough to understand: it’s not happening?

I’ve been watching David Letterman since his first show. I always wanted to meet him, to be a guest on his program. This goes back to when I was in high school. Sure, I had no reason to be on television, but I still wanted to sit on a chair next to Dave and just… be there. When I decided to become a comedian, Letterman became my goal. I never had any dreams of getting my own sitcom or becoming a movie star, I just wanted to perform on Letterman’s stage.

Dave is going off the air in a few months. To say things aren’t looking good for my dream would be like saying Abraham Lincoln had a bad evening at Ford’s Theater.

Which is OK, because in life you can re-calibrate your goals, and long ago I widened my net to include all the late night shows. Because I’d rather not look in a mirror and see Dorian Gray staring back at me.

Unfortunately, the very concept of grabbing a television slot looks ever more grim, depending on the day and my attitude. This causes me to wonder: is there a stage when hope becomes fantasy, with everyone but you knowing you’re on a hamster wheel and not a path?

Comedy is a struggle; any artistic pursuit is. It beats you up daily. There is a huge chasm between the joy of the stage and the struggle of the business. By way of example, I auditioned for a club last year. I heard they were looking for new faces, so I went and tried out. I did very well, yet as of this writing haven’t been hired there.

Meanwhile, another comedian went up that night and tanked. Their material wasn’t very good, and the audience wasn’t laughing. Naturally, that person works there regularly. Even worse to my ego, I spent a weekend with this comedian in 2013. They were my opening act and struggled through every show. There were a few smiles, maybe even a laugh now and then, but for a majority of the 30 minutes the comedian was on stage you heard silence.

And yet that person has a full calendar, and management.

You cannot make sense of these things; to try would be to go insane. I also don’t like giving voice to these thoughts. Negativity breeds negativity, no one likes a whiner, the power of positive thinking and all that jazz…

…but I admit that sometimes I feel like Crash Davis.

Maybe it doesn’t matter if I’m delusional. Maybe life is about being Rocky Balboa in the first movie, holding your ground to the bitter end and winning the moral victory while losing the fight. Maybe it’s enough to know that if you try to be everything to everyone, you won’t be anything to anyone. Maybe these are thoughts I try to convince myself are truths.

Maybe trying to prove Jason Bateman wrong will be my Sisyphean task.

You can find more upbeat musings by Nathan on his website.

Weekly Stand Up Shots

Comedian memes have exploded in popularity over the past year, and with good reason: they’re easy to create and share, everyone loves a quick giggle, and they give comedians direct access to a wide, diverse audience. You can find them on Reddit, imgur, and on websites across the Internet.

Since the Internet can be a messy place to navigate, Rooftop is going to use Stand Up Shots on Twitter to find some of the best memes of the week and plop them in one place–our blog–for you.

Enjoy…

…and if you see a comedian you like, follow them on Twitter, look for their videos here on Rooftop, and tell us!

(Because we’re always searching for great comedians to put on our record label)

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 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.