Daily Motion is looking for stand-up submissions to the Montreux Comedy Festival and the deadline is Halloween(October 31st). Here’s what you do:
First, go HERE!
Upload your best stand-up comedy video no more than 5 (five) minutes in total running time.
Jury selects 20 semi-finalists subject to public vote.
10 finalists will be selected based on votes.
Five (5) winners will be determined by Jury.
About Montreux Comedy Festival
“Today humour is all over the place : the stage, the web, TV and films.
With internet and the new media, programs cross the borders and go beyond cultural and language boundaries.
These evolutions on varied platforms and emergent markets, notably in Asia and Africa bring in new ways of looking at the occupations in production, broadcasting as well as creation in an international perspective.
Besides presenting quality shows that allow us to discover young talent, measure annual trends and see again established artists, the Montreux Comedy Festival from now on intends to contribute to a more global reflection on the world of humour and comedy and on the way we work.
Therefore the Montreux Comedy Festival proposes together a general public programming and professional meetings. This includes the Awards Ceremony, the Conférences and « Talks » with several leaders, professionals in comedy, and also, meeting spaces.
The Montreux Comedy Festival chooses the emergence of novelty, approaches the new medias and welcomes international comedy to showcase the best of the professional and artistic context of today humour.”
After topping out on San Francisco’s local scene, Jason Downs skipped town to chase bigger dreams. Now he’s touring all over the nation, funnier than ever and he’s taken the time to tell us about his humble beginnings.
If you’re in San Francisco this Wednesday or Thursday, you can be a part of Jason’s debut album recording! Buy your tickets HERE.
RC(Rooftop Comedy):When did you hit the SF comedy scene, how did you hustle and who were the big comics on the local scene at that time?
I started in the early 2000’s. You could get a MUNI bus pass for like $35 bucks.
I lived in Monterey, CA, a small little tourist town two hours south of S.F. My girlfriend and I would drive up on a Saturday for 5 minutes of stage time at a little place called Java N’More on Church Street and the Moch Cafe on Valencia. After a two hour drive, we would exit on Vermont St., drive right to the Moch to sign up for 5 minutes, then drive to the Java N’More, do a set there, and then drive right back to the Moch and do my final set of the night. Then we would drive back down to Monterey that night, wake up the next morning, then we would drive back up to San Francisco on Sunday to hang out at the Punchline for the showcase.
The big local comic at the time was Arj Barker. Al Madrigal was always great to watch. I would just watch and study his stage presences and how at ease he always was with the crowd. Kamau Bell was just starting to become a phenom. Kevin Avery was just a mad man with crazy energy that destroyed every set. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Avery have a bad set. John Hoogasion was this comic’s comic. Just a really great writer. Those were the local kings.
RC: Do you remember your weekly schedule of open mics? Any memorable shows?
When I finally moved to San Francisco, I became obsessed. Mondays, the Rose Crown in Palo Alto. Tuesday, the Luggage Store. Wednesday was always hanging at Cobb’s or the Punchline. Thursdays, the Brain Wash. Fridays, the Java Source. Saturdays was the Moch. Then you would call every Mon-Wednesday to try and get a set at the original Cobb’s on the wharf. It was just about hustling to get as much stage time as possible.
RC: What do you think was the most important lesson you learned in your early days of stand-up?
I learned where all the good parking spots are in San Francisco. If you’re in the Mission there’s a great parking lot in between 22nd and 23rd st, off of Valencia. If you’re in the business district don’t park on Clay. Tons of car break ins. Park on Washington; tons of parking and very little break ins. If you’re in the Richmond, park on Clemente st. between 6th and 8th Ave.
RC: Did you have a group of cronies? Who was in your “class” of comics?
I started during that whole new wave comedy with Kris Tinkle, Louie Katz, Kevin Shea, Sheng Wang, Jasper Redd, Ryan Stout, Mosha Kasher, the Sirofs. They took this whole stand up thing way more seriously than I did. I took it as more of a party, get to hang out type of thing, don’t bother chasing success, it’ll come when it comes. It took somebody like Louie Katz to break out and actually start achieving success before I realized,”oh, we actually have to pursue this. We are actually trying to accomplish stuff. Oh, okay. I better get on it.”
RC: Do you think SF is a good place to cut your teeth? Why?
I think San Francisco is the best city start out in. No bringer shows. Although, I think that is just starting to change. That’s sad. I hope S.F. comics put a stop to that bringer show shit that’s starting to creep in from LA. San Francisco has high standards. People who go see comedy in San Francisco are comedy savvy. They know what good comedy is. You can’t get away with doing hack jokes. You have to be original. Yet, they’re forgiving and it’s far enough from LA and NY, that you can make mistakes and the industry won’t hold it against you for the rest of your life. When I am on the road and a newbie asks for advice I just say,” move to San Francisco”.
RC: When did you feel like you “found” your voice? Was there a specific moment?
I think I find it every six months. Every six months I make a break through where I am like,” I found my voice. This is it.” Then six months later, I am like,”now this is it. I think I found something new.” Then it happens again six months later.
A big turning point was in 2010, at this huge club called the Stardome in Birmingham, AL. It’s like a small stadium. I made a rule to force myself to come up with new material. I would open with new material every set, in order to force myself to build material. No matter what, I had to open with new stuff. For a couple of months I was building a ten minute chunk of material on pro Gay/marriage equality stuff. You want to talk about tough, try opening your set with ten minutes of pro gay material in Birmingham, AL. I didn’t bail on the material. I stuck it out. That was what I was working on at the time and I wasn’t going to let the location dictate my material. I bombed horribly. But the audience knew that although they might not agree with what I was saying, they could tell that I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t a fraud. It’s weird, it’s almost like you’re not a good comic until you can bomb with grace. When everything is going wrong, the plane is crashing, but you keep your cool and you’re able to land the plane in the Hudson and everyone lives.
RC: How did you know when you were ready to leave SF? Do you have any advice for other comics on that note?
When MUNI bus passes got to 60 bucks I was like, it’s time to go.
But for real, I knew it was time to go when I did everything I could in San Francisco. I built an act. I pretty much honed my skills. I was a regular at all the major clubs. I had industry people telling me I have to move from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I think most comics should leave when you’ve become at least a feature at all the major clubs in your area and there are people telling you it’s time.
RC: I know you’ve been opening for Michael McDonald for a couple years. How did that relationship come about?
This story is crazy. Michael was performing at the San Jose Improv. I got a call on a Sunday to middle for him, which is weird to just do a Sunday. I have a rule that I never turn down work. I drive down to the club and I see another S. F. comic standing in front of the club. I ask him why. He says I’m replacing him because it wasn’t a good fit. I was like,”I am not going to do the show. I am not going to take money out of my friends wallet.”
That S.F. comic told me to go ahead and do the show. So I did, but I was a total asshole to Michael. I didn’t talk to him. As soon as the show was over I bounced without saying a word. Then I got a call a couple of weeks later from the San Jose Improv. They said Michael was coming back and requested me. I said yes. I was going to do it, but I wasn’t going to be cool to him at all.
So basically, I was a total dick to him for an entire weekend. I had a “total fuck this guy” attitude. At the end of the week, Mike walks up to me before he leaves and says,”Hey, I’ve been doing this for a while and you’re the best feature I’ve had. Would you like to open for me on the road?”
Without a second of hesitation I was like,”Okay!”
That was four years ago. I’ve been opening for him ever since. Now I consider him one of my closest friends. He is one of the nicest, most generous guys I’ve ever met. He’s taught me so much about the business aspect of comedy that I would never even thought of. Moral of the story, don’t turn down work, be a dick, and screw your friends. Actually I found out way later that Mike had nothing to do with the friend getting replaced by me. Basically I was dick for no reason. I have a history of overacting. I’m working on it.
RC: What does the Punchline SF mean to you? What are your favorite things about that particular venue?
I hold the Punchline sacred. The way the farmer looks down at the earth and holds it sacred. The way Christians look at the bible and hold it sacred. The way people hold their marriages sacred….Okay, that was totally a line from Sam Kinison in Back to School. But seriously, it is special. It really does feel like home to me. All the memories, hanging out all night, the NYE parties, going to the Sunday showcases, opening for everybody there, from the late Mitch Hedberg to Dave Chappelle. There is a reason the best comics want to headline that club, because it’s a great club. The standards are high. Most people who run comedy clubs just care about how many baskets of chicken wings they sell. At the Punchline, it’s comedy first. I go on the road and talk to M.C’s. and they’re like,”yeah, I’m the waiter. They needed somebody to open so they just asked me.” At the Punchline, before you M.C. you’re doing comedy for four to five years. Before you even get on the comedy showcase, you’re hanging out watching the Sunday showcase for 9 months to a year. At the Punchline, the comedy is first, which is rare. So when they are allowing me to come back and record my show there, it means a lot to me.
Good luck, Jason! You won’t need it. To follow Jason and stay up on all things Downs please…
Stephen Colbert of “The Colbert Report” talks with Paul Mecurio about their days working together on “The Daily Show,” his experiences leading up to working on “The Daily Show” and how “The Colbert Report” was created. Stephen also gives us a really cool, exclusive behind the scenes blow-by-blow of the Daft Punk controversy that everyone has been talking about!
Amateur comedy competitions turn me off. Not because I have a perfect losing record(3 for 3), but because people want to take this fun thing that I love, and start judging and saying “this person is better than this person. He wasn’t funny, but she WAS!” We’re all offering our uneducated opinion at the end of the day and do we really need to add yet another dimension to make stand-up more difficult?
What’s worse is the contest where the audience “votes.” More accurately, when enthusiastic green comics are blatantly exploited to make money for the promoter. The newbies hustle to get anyone and everyone they know, to the support them and then the audience winds up sitting through a long terrible show where the person they came to see only performed a “tight 5.” There’s an entry fee, the people you bring buy tickets, drink minimums…It all gets a little too skeezy for meezy. The people who come to those shows won’t be leaping at the chance to see you again. This is the kind of stuff that burns me out. Americans love competition. We have to label someone a “loser” and unfortunately, a “winner.”
That being said, I have to begrudgingly acknowledge the positives.
1. Hey, it’s stage time!
2. A packed house! It’s not often that amateur comics can get in front of a good and welcoming crowd.
3. “You have to learn to promote/market yourself!” Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know…It’s a business.
4. The grand prize MIGHT be worth entering.
This is why I was interested in talking to Tim McLaughlin about his competition set. As you’ll see in this clip, his approach is a little different and left me with questions.
How long have you been doing comedy and how would you describe your act?
I have been doing comedy for 3 years. I dont have much of an act, I have lots of jokes but I mainly work them into my set with crowd work, there is no set order of what goes where. So I guess you could say my act is manipulating the crowd into what I want them to say so I can use a joke I’ve written.
What was this contest for and why did you enter?
The contest was to emcee the weekend at Cracker Comedy Club for Charlie Murphy. I entered the contest because I get paid by Morty’s Comedy Joint in Indianapolis to do comedy, and there is a restriction on set by Crackers not allowing Mortys comics to get work at their club. So I went in to win the contest so they had to work me.
What were the results and were you surprised?
I won the contest. I was a little surprised at the results considering I did not do a single written joke during my set, and there were other very good comics on the show that night.
How many people did you bring to the show? How did you promote yourself?
I brought 7 people to see me, and the 7 only came bc a friend from out of town dragged them with him. I did not promote myself at all, after doing this 3 yrs no one I know will come see me anymore. The crowd that night had about 150 people all together.
In your opinion, what are the positives and negatives that come out of comedy competitions?
I don’t see many positives to comedy competitions unless I win, but one positive is it gives people incentive to get their friends out to a show giving you a larger crowd to preform in front of. The negatives of a comedy contest are creating unneeded tension between comics before a show. The fact that comedy is subjective that makes it hard to judge, because what is funny to you may not be funny to someone else sitting right next to you.
Our clip shows you interacting with a crowd member and saying “I don’t want to win this contest.” True, or part of the act?
That is totally true. I was happy I won but I didnt give a shit if I lost. I only sign up for contests like this to get as much stage time as possible. Winning is always fun and makes you feel good inside, but my main goal always is to go out and put on the best show I can for the people there to watch it, whether it be 8 or 800 people they all deserve your best, prize or no prize.
So the prize was opening for Charlie Murphy. How did that go? Do you feel the contest was worth doing in retrospect?
It was a very fun weekend, all the shows were sold out. I got to shut down several hecklers which is my favorite thing to do. The contest was worth doing in the sense that it got me on stage an extra 10 times in a week I would normally have not had those kind of reps.
Congratulations, Tim! Hopefully this will lead to more success in the future!
To keep up with the Mayor of Fart Town(Tim McLaughlin), follow, like and visit his website.
Each week Emmy Winning Comedian, Paul Mecurio, talks with major celebrities and newsmakers on his podcast, “The Paul Mecurio Show,” revealing something unique about that person, while giving us insight into Paul’s life and view of the world – a world he believes is out to get him and how he thinks he can change or beat that world (so far the score is World: 1,287, Paul: 0). Paul has interviewed “A” list celebrities such as, Paul McCartney, Jay Leno, Bob Costas, Lewis Black and many more. In this interview, Paul asks former Beatle, Paul McCartney where the confidence came from to radically change the band’s sound and direction when they were at the peak of their popularity to create the groundbreaking album, Sgt. Pepper.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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!