RooftopBlog RooftopBlog Home


Ruminations, theorizations and stuff


Andy Hendrickson is a burgeoning powerhouse in the comedy world. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve probably heard him on either the Bob & Tom Show, or on Sirius/XM Radio. Not only is he a showcase winner at HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Andy has performed at TBS’ The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas and was a finalist at the Great American Comedy Festival.

He’s calling his newest release, Underacheiver, his first “real” CD. Underacheiver will be released March 13 wherever fine comedy is sold and streamed.

Rooftop had Nathan Timmel dial Andy up and chat about the disc, comedy classes, and finding your comedic voice.

Nathan Timmel: Easy question first: where did you come up with the title Underachiever?

Andy Hendrickson: A friend suggested it, actually, because I have a chunk of material about my family, and how every one of them is an overachiever. My oldest brother is exceptional; he went to the Naval Academy, became a Navy Seal, and went to Harvard.

NT: So you are the Black Sheep of the family then; you are the underachiever.

AH: Yes, I would be the slacker of the family.

NT: Where was your album recorded, and over how many shows?

AH: I recorded it up in Ottawa, Canada. There’s a great club up there called Absolute Comedy. I had two shows on a Friday night to record the material, and luckily I got it all on the early slot because the late crowd was a little drunk and rowdy, so I didn’t use any of the audio from that take.

NT: What kind of set up did you use?

AH: I hired a local sound engineer who works with bands and theaters. He used a simple three-microphone setup: he wired the stage mic, and then a left and right mic to capture the audience.

NT: How many years in the making was the material for Underachiever? Is this your first CD? 

AH: [Laughs.] Well…there’s a CD that exists from three-years into my career, when I was desperate for money, that if I could buy back every copy and burn it? I would.

NT: [Laughs.] We all have one of those – a “starter” CD. Every comic gets way too excited early in their career and records something, then pushes because they’re so proud of themselves: “I’ve got a CD! I’m a real comic!” Then years down the road you give a listen and you shake your head and say, “Holy shit, what was I thinking?”

AH: Exactly. At the time, it made sense. I had just started doing comedy full-time, and was only featuring, and needed money desperately. So I put out a 25-minute disc and tried to keep my head above water by selling it. So that one doesn’t count.

I put out one in 2005 or 2006 called It’s Ready, and I have a little 25-minute sampler on my website that I give away… so to me, this is my first real CD—it’s the first one I’m truly proud of. It has all my best material, and I have my voice now… I’m really excited about this one. Which is weird, because as a comedian you generally beat yourself up over everything, but I’m really proud of how this turned out.

NT: Talk about your voice: how far into your comedy career are you, and how long did it take you to figure out who you wanted to be on stage?

AH: I went through many stages; imagine your teenage years. You’re trying to fit in, and you don’t know if you’re going to be a skateboarder, or a heavy metal guy, or a jock. The same thing applies to trying to figure out who you’re going to be on stage. I used to… [laughs] I used to do a “dumb stoner guy” character when I first started out. Then I was really silly, acting out on stage a lot.

I’ve been doing it about 13 years now, and I think it took 11 years to just be me on stage, which is a dry, sarcastic guy. And that’s who I am, it’s what I am off stage. I just had to go through all the trying-on of personas just to be myself at the end of it all. Some guys are lucky, and they find it early, but it took me a while to figure out.

NT: Did you go through that phase where you’d work with someone, really like what they were doing, and accidentally adopt their quirks?

AH: Oh, absolutely. I was middling for Daniel Tosh years ago in Cleveland, and I really enjoyed his stand-up. I was watching every show, and on the last night found myself delivering my jokes with the same kind of tempo Tosh had. I remember catching myself and thinking, “What the hell are you doing?” It was still my material, my jokes, but his delivery had rubbed off on me.

NT: I’ve heard a lot of people do that after working with Attell; his voice is so distinct, his delivery so unique, that after a week with him you’ve picked up his cadence.

AH: I guess it’s similar to spending a couple months in the South, and after a while you just start slipping little colloquialisms they use into your own speech patterns.

NT: Let’s talk about you’re becoming a comedian: was there a light bulb moment in your childhood where you said, “I want to be a comedian,” or is it something you discovered later?

AH: I was exposed to stand up at a really early age. I used to live in Hawaii, and there was a comedian named Poi Dog my family would listen to. He did a lot of jokes about Hawaiian culture… I would have been around eight. I didn’t really know that’s what I wanted to do at the time, but I guess I was always a cut-up. I eventually moved to Atlanta—after college—took a comedy class, got my first taste of the stage and getting laughs, and loved it.

NT: Every comic out there seems to have a passionate opinion about comedy classes; would you say they helped you, or that you wouldn’t recommend them?

AH: To be honest, I thought it was very helpful. It all depends on your personality, and I was petrified by the idea of getting on stage. So to invest my money in a six-week class, and knowing at the end of it I had to get on stage, which is something I was very frightened by, the class was very helpful. I mean, I had financially locked myself into it; it was like skydiving. Once you’re up in the plane, you gotta jump. Taking a class also gave me a sense of structure as well. Some guys, like me—underachiever—need that push. Other’s don’t. I also knew that at the end of it I’d have that 5-minute set I could take with me to open microphones.

Andy currently resides in New York City. You can follow Andy @AndyHendrickson.

Underachiever comes out March 13 and will be available on iTunes, Amazon, and the Rooftop Comedy Shop. You can also stream Underachiever through Pandora and Grooveshark.

I Was a White Knight… Once

In 2011, I took some time away from my duties as a Rooftop blogger/interviewer because I was finishing up a project;  I wanted to devote my time to its final touches.

That project was my first book, titled I Was a White Knight… Once. It is a memoir that discusses my upbringing: ten cities, ten schools, and ten sets of friends within the first decade of my life, and parents whose volatile marriage sparked more than one horrific memory (including my mother’s ride on the hood of the family car to keep her estranged husband from taking the kids). It moves across the country and around the world, telling tales of performing for American soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One life-story takes place in the mid-1990s, when a female stalker entered my life. We discovered one another via an email list of a mutual friend, Pete. Remember, the 1990s were a time before Facebook, MySpace, or any other form of social networking. Email was the hippest thing being online had to offer, so when you met someone new, it was pretty nifty. The fact you were chatting up someone of the opposite gender made it all the more enticing, as this was a time of Internet ignorance; long before Chris Hansen showed us that the thirteen-year-old girl a pervert thought he was talking to was actually a cop, people naturally assumed the person you were interacting with was exactly who they said they were.

In retrospect, we were indeed very naïve.

The following passage is about my time being stalked, and it takes place within Chapter Eight: An Attraction to the Idea of Me

The segment has been edited for length, and picks up as I begin to understand just exactly what I have gotten myself into regarding the mysterious woman from the Internet…

*  *  *

Two weeks later I received a female condom in the mail. If you’ve never seen a female condom, it’s akin to a windsock at an airport; like a Magnum condom times twenty. This makes it very big, and therefore very intimidating… until you realize you do not wear the condom. No, it goes inside her, meaning every thrust you perform will involve rubbing against plastic. Basically, you’re going to be making love to a Hefty bag, which is neither enticing nor romantic.

I thought it was an odd gift, as our interactions had never been anything more than friendly. We got along easily, but never discussed any sort of sexual attraction and had never even exchanged photos. A note was attached to the condom; it read, “Save this, I’m coming to visit.” In my imagination, should this woman happen to look like, say, Jennifer Aniston, I would be in heaven. No being dummy, I did not believe fortune would smile upon me so and became cautious. I asked Pete if I should be afraid. His single word reply was, “Yes.”

[Note: in the mid-1990s Jennifer Aniston was exceedingly desirable; she had yet to wear the stench of John Mayer.]

Jean manned up first and asked for a picture of me. Playing off Pete’s chillingly brief warning, I sent a photo of me skydiving. My head was bowed and the protective, centimeter-thin helmet—a helmet obviously designed to protect my skull if my chute didn’t open and I fell 8,000 feet to the ground— this helmet hid my face in the picture. I gave no indication of my looks and did so half as a joke, half for identity protection. Jean emailed me that she loved the picture and that she had hung it in the middle of the living room she shared with four roommates. They told her I was “something special,” which scared me more than Pete’s warning. Not only did I have no idea how I was being described to deserve such a compliment, but I hadn’t really told anyone about her. There was nothing to tell. I was exchanging emails with a random woman, big whoop. To me, she was a neat correspondence with a hint of “could-be” fantasy and nothing more. But I was common knowledge to her friends? Creepy.

The condom was followed by a string of erotic messages left in my email account, each more graphic than the one before. They began to detail what she wanted to do to me and how her visit was going to be “the best night of my life.” Though several weeks had passed since I sent my picture, the favor had not yet been returned, a definite cause for alarm.

I immediately cut the number of messages I responded to in half. Where to this point I had always dropped a decent reply every time she contacted me, I now began sending short notes to roughly every third one. A detailed account of actions she was going to perform on my body would receive, “Just got home from work, got your letter, am too tired to write” in response. She used my shying away as a sign to double her efforts, and began sending two or three emails a day. Some would be violently angry, complaining about her life or job or boss, then mid-paragraph she would make the most bizarre switch into how I would rescue her from her mundane existence.

“I hate my job! Everyone I work with is stupid! I need a vacation. Can you perform oral sex for several hours in a row?” is a direct quote.

I was told my picture was masturbation material and I received a second package in my physical mailbox. Nothing sexual this time, thankfully, but instead several small, peculiar, gifts. According to the accompanying note, she thought of me when she saw each item and decided to buy and send them. One trinket was a bizarre looking plastic mug shaped like a cartoon vampire, another was a Frankenstein refrigerator magnet. As I didn’t have a particular affection for old horror movies and had never hinted to her I might, why these reminded her of me I do not know.

I decided I needed to stop being a pussy and just get everything out on the table. Where was she going with all of this, what did she look like, and what did she think we had going on?

Her reply was hesitatingly honest, and I felt somewhat ashamed.

“I am a little self-conscious because I am surrounded by women who eat red meat all the time and never exercise,” she wrote. “It wears off on me and makes me lazy.”

At the end of the note, she dropped a mini-bomb; “By the way, I’ll be visiting friends in Wisconsin in two weeks, and on December 28th we’re going to road-trip to Milwaukee to meet you. You better be home, or else…”

The “or else” was probably meant playfully, but my reaction was immediately the opposite; I felt a little threatened and told her I was going to be out of town. At the time, it was a true statement. There was a photography exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art by Andres Serrano, and several friends and I had plans to spend several days visiting the Windy City.


Her “How to Win Friends and Influence People” response sealed the deal. I told her my schedule was full and that there was nothing I could do about it. Because of that, I received another thrashing. I also received an oddly timed surprise. On the same day her second email of anger and spite found its way into my inbox, my actual mailbox received an envelope from her, something obviously mailed before I told her I wouldn’t be around for her visit. Gathering up great courage, Jean had finally sent her picture. The note with it read, “Just wanted to send something so you’d know who was knocking at your door when I get there.”

The picture was only her face, which was enough. As cruel as it sounds, it was a face that created the phrase, “Only a mother could love.” As much as I knew I was dealing with an easily wounded ego, I was also concerned with the tone of her emails and entirely sure I didn’t want to end up in a room alone with her.

Two weeks passed quickly, with Jean continuing to insist she was going to meet me no matter what. Unfortunately, my plans to visit Chicago fell apart, and I couldn’t think of any way to get out of town for the weekend. I picked up a couple bartending shifts at work and figured that in the least I just wouldn’t answer my door on the 28th.

As if on cue, at one o’clock that very afternoon, I was home alone, sitting in my room reading when the door buzzer went off. Someone was in the lobby. I closed my book and frowned; no one ever visited my apartment.

The door buzzed again, and as I got up cautiously the door buzzed a third time. I decided against answering, and instead walked into the living room and sat down behind a plant next to the window. From this vantage point I could see the front porch; my apartment was on the first floor, and when the person left I would know who it was. If a friend, I would knock on the window, bid them back and explain my childish behavior. If not…

The door buzzed. Two minutes had passed since the first time, meaning this person was persistent. I remained seated. Two more minutes passed filled with intermittent buzzing. I became irritated. When calling someone, how many rings do you wait before deciding no one is home? Twenty? Fifty? This was absurd. What was running through this person’s mind? “Hey, maybe someone’s home, but they’re in the shower. If I keep ringing, they’ll get out and come to the door!” I have no idea the person in the lobby was thinking.

After six minutes, the front door to the building opened. My mystery woman from South Dakota stepped out, shook her head, and walked away. As cruel as this is to say, her description of being “lazy” told only half the story. She was roughly 5’4″ and topped 250 pounds easily. I could see where the self-esteem problem came from, but the aggression that went with it is what had me on edge.

I went back to my bedroom, and moments later the door buzzer went off and was held for ten seconds. While not a long time in most cases, when listening to a door buzzer it is an eternity. I wondered if she had somehow seen me step away from the living room window?

Three short bursts filled the air, followed by silence. I began reading again and after several hours took a peek out the window. I didn’t see her waiting for me, so I made my way to my car went to work undisturbed.

After my shift, I went out with co-workers and finally returned home and went to bed around 6:00 a.m. At 9:00 a.m. my alarm went off; I was driving North for the day to visit a friend. I got up from my three-hour nap and called him, checking to make sure he was awake when the door buzzer went off. I excused myself from the phone and hung up.

Something didn’t feel right.

I took my hidden seat by the window, and waited. The door buzzer sounded repeatedly over three minutes, then paused. Moments later, I heard my neighbor’s door open; the lobby security door soon followed suit. Two seconds later the other apartment door closed and a knock came upon mine. This was not a knock used to wake a person sleeping in on New Year’s morning, but a cautious one, almost too quiet to be effective. Tapping, if you will.

It was repeated several times over the minute it took me to gently tiptoe across my creaky living room floor in order to reach the door. Once I arrived, I looked through the peephole. As sunlight was pouring in behind the figure, all I could see was a dark silhouette. It was very large, and though I couldn’t be 100% positive, who else could it be?

I stood bent over, watching every move, listening to every knock resound a mere inch from my head.

My breathing was light. The figure leaned over. It looked into the peephole from the outside and we were now watching each other separated only by two inches of wood. I had to fight back laughter over the absurdity of the situation, and I stood frozen, so no movement could be seen as she peered inside.

And then, the doorknob turned.

I looked down as it twisted…




This wasn’t a person casually entering a room. Someone was testing waters here, easing their big toe in to check for warmth. The knob reached its crescent and paused. Gentle pressure was applied, and the door creaked in my ear. Someone wanted in. The door moved a millimeter, was halted by the lock, held in place a moment, then relaxed. I returned to the peephole.

The figure stood with slumped shoulders, a defeated pose. Its head looked up and to the side, as if in thought. It retreated into the light and was exposed; though there had been little doubt, it was indeed Jean, and I watched as she looked out the lobby door, back at my apartment, and ultimately left.

I got dressed in twenty seconds and left out the back, un-showered and unconcerned by that stinky fact.

*   *   *

Interested in reading more?

I Was a White Knight… Once is available on the Amazon Kindle, the Barnes & Noble Nook, as a Paperback, and in iBooks.

MOVIE REVIEWS: “50/50″ and “The Ides of March

October is an interesting month for movies. September is usually the dumping ground of shit films and November is when awards-season films start premiering across the country. So, October is a mix of both.

“50/50″ and “The Ides of March” are my two favorite movies I’ve seen this month and, I believe, the films you should go see now instead of crap like “The Three Musketeers” (hasn’t this movie been made, literally, a million times? I swear. I’m going to go look on IMDB [10 seconds late] Oh, I’m sorry. ONLY 29.) and “Paranormal Activity” (you are aware it’s the same movie, right? Like, almost literally the same movie. You’re paying good money to see the same movie for a third time.)

“50/50″ – A powerful indie film about friendship, love, and cancer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the title character, a man diagnosed with cancer. His mother, played by the amazing Angelica Huston, is the next best part of this film. I think almost everyone has had this mother: she freaks out over everything and loves you too much.

Levitt’s character, Adam, is forced through more turmoil after he finds out his girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) is cheating on him. That leaves his therapist, Anna Kendrick, and best friend, Seth Rogen to help him out.

Levitt is phenomenal in this film and holds everything together. It has to be difficult to make a comedy with cancer as the centerpiece, but with him as the lead, it works very well.

It’s nice to see Kendrick getting more great roles and breaking out of the “Twilight” hell she is still in. It’s odd that, out of everyone from those movies, she’ll probably have the most longevity as an actress.

And then there’s Seth Rogen. I use to like Seth Rogen. Hell, I defended him to my friends who hated him. But now, I don’t like him. I get it, Seth: you like pot. You like talking about it. You like smoking it. You like talking about it while you smoke it. Please, let’s move on. I think he could do some great work if he had a director who challenged him. Right now, all his reactions are the same. He acts the same way in every movie. P.T. Anderson showed the world that Adam Sandler could, in fact, act. Let’s get him in an Anderson film and see what happens.

But, Rogen aside, it’s a fantastic film that is worth your money. Please, give money to this film. Hell, if you want to see “Paranormal Activity 15,” fine, but pay for a ticket to “50/50″ and hop over to it.


“The Ides of March” – If you don’t like political thrillers that are wordy and require you to pay attention to details, then go see shitty movies like “The Three Musketeers” or “Paranormal Activity 56.” George Clooney proves, again, why he is one of the top actors in the world and, one of the top directors.

Clooney plays a nominee for the Democratic Presidential ticket. His closets aides are Philip Seymour-Hoffman and the ever so dreamy, Ryan Gosling.

Gosling is a young guy with clear and good ideals. He wants politicians to be nice and clean and love Americans more than corporations. That’s why he is with Clooney. But, as the film goes on, he learns quickly that once you’re a politician, you’re always a politician.

It’s a fantastic film that I recommend you seeing. It’s main issue is simple: who is hotter, Clooney or Gosling? It’s hard for me to decide, because I look like a spitting image of George Clooney. It’s uncanny. Yet, part of me wants to go with Gosling. Is this because I think it’s weird to want to have sex with myself (Clooney)?

Follow Mark Potts on Twitter
We may never know.


Our pal Baron Vaughn will be making his late night television debut on Conan tonight! He’ll be performing a set and promoting his new album “Raised By Cable.” Joining Baron on tonight’s program is Roseanne Barr and Paul D. Fantastically random.

Here’s a classic clip from Baron to tide you over!


10 years after the tragic events of September 11th, CNN looks back on comedy in New York City following the attacks. Marc Maron, Bill Burr, Jon Stewart, and others, reflect on what it was like to perform during such a strange, dark time. Have a look.


Janine Brito, Nato Green, and W Kamau Bell, collectively known as Laughter Against the Machine, are on the brink of kick starting their upcoming tour of America, and they can use your help. If you’re a fan of political comedy in the vain of Mort Sahl, Dick Gregory, or the Daily Show, then please consider contributing a few bucks to their efforts. Their project will only be funded if at least $20,000 is pledged by Friday Sep 9. They’re currently at 18,200. So close!

Learn about their project:

In Janine’s words:

This country is in turmoil, our economy is in shambles, corporations count as people, and homophobic Puerto Rican senators are posting nude photos of themselves on Grindr to “document their weight-loss regimen.” But we don’t have to tell you this. If you are a fan of Rooftop that probably means you know all this and use comedy to take a break and/or get new perspective on the world out there. Well, three comics/Rooftop Favorites, Nato Green, Janine Brito, and W. Kamau Bell are going to go directly to some of the sources of the “trouble” and see if we can help or at least if they can use a laugh. We are Laughter Against The Machine. We are going on tour to a few of America’s current (and classic) political hotspots: Phoenix AZ, Chicago IL, Dearborn/Detroit MI, Madison WI, New Orleans, Washington DC, and Oakland CA. And we need your help! We leave THIS Saturday and we literally only have hours to go to raise the money we need for the tour and a documentary about the tour. We are asking the questions: Is there hope for America? And can comedy help? Please check out our Kickstarter where you can pledge money and get some cool rewards. And if we happen to be in one of your cities, then please come see the show live. And if you can’t do either but want to help, then please spread the word to your like-minded peoples. Laughter Against The Machine wants to be the campfire for the revolution!

Contribute to Laughter Against the Machine

Little Reid Big City #19

Reiders. How kind of you to join me again.

I am only a couple weeks away now from my year anniversary in New York City. It’s already been a year –I am in a state of minor disbelief. Lately at work, I’ve been taking extra bathroom breaks, sitting on the toilet, and listening to old sets of mine I recorded on my phone. It helps pass the time, while also providing some insight into just how far I’ve come. Listening back to even February (sometimes I don’t dare dredge up October and September, they were a little rough), I’m amazed how far I have come. I hear jokes and wonder, “Where did I think that was going? Why couldn’t I get to the point?” I was so jittery on stage, I could hardly stick to a topic, and if I did a lot of the times it was so abstract with no real point or reason. Then again, some of the sets went great –as nice as it is to think I’ve improved so tremendously, I can’t be unreasonable and hate everything I did back then. But the point remains: I’ve come a long way.

I think the first five months were the worst. I lacked confidence, didn’t know anyone, was alone for a while heading out to mics and shows. I was lonely, and you can hear it in the jokes I was doing: “Do you ever get depressed and start eating ice cream, only to stop so you can save some for when you’re depressed tomorrow?” After that though, I found my group of friends, started getting booked on shows, and everything has gone uphill from there. Those first months though, I am happy to know I will never have to do that again, but on the same note happy that I could get through it.

This past week I was booked on five separate shows in the city, the most I’ve been booked on in one week as of yet. These were also some of the best shows I’ve done in the city as well –incredibly booked, great audiences, great reactions. I’m starting to get really confident in some of my material, and finding a way to lead audiences into my more abstract jokes. One of my new bits, one I actually really like, is surprisingly observational and clear to understand. It’s a joke where the idea is so relatable yet unaddressed, that one of the bigger laughs I get is by simply stating the truth of the matter. This is something very new for me. Yet I still perform it in my style, it still feels very “Reid” despite being relatively simple and straightforward. I’ve been pairing this with some shorter punchier jokes in the beginning, and have found it is so much easier to tackle the more abstract, convoluted, patience-requiring material I love so much. These are the kinds of ideas I would have never thought of when I first arrived. Sure, I knew I had to lead audiences into my style, but most of the time this was done by sacrificing what I like for what works with the audience, so that when I finally did make the leap into “my” material, they were still lost. I’m learning how to guide people in and make what I do relatable, as absurd as that may seem.

This past week felt especially good considering I was still feeling down about missing some work at my home club in Cincinnati. A good friend of mine, Ryan Singer, was heading back for his first headlining week there, and had hoped to bring me with him as his feature. I was really excited about it, the owner had told me even the year prior he was looking for a time when I could feature (doing the middle, 20-25 minute act) there, and I was looking forward to returning. When Ryan suggested it though, it was shot down, and for good reasons. It was Ryan’s first time headlining there, it would be my first time featuring there, not to mention that given our styles it would be the weirdest piece of shit ever. The show would simply be too much of a risk, and though I understand that, I was still disappointed. I found this out only a week after getting rejected from the Comic Strip for very similar reasons –being too alternative, too weird for club audiences. My confidence took a definite dip. Yet it felt like this week New York was making it up to me. Some of the people I performed for (namely the drunk patrons of a Thai restaurant on a beach) were clearly not my type of crowd, were not into comedy, and were not seeking out the strange and alternative. But when I did “my” material and did great, hell, better than I could’ve imagined given the scenario, it felt very good. Sure, I can be a risk, what I do is not really within the norm, but I can still make people laugh –and if I do that one where I kiss myself as a twelve year old boy just right, I can make them laugh hard.

This year has been very difficult at points, but I don’t think I’ve been happier with any other choice. I’ve learned and improved more than I could have anywhere else almost, and all it took was feeling like a wet piece of shit for a few months.

GUEST SENTENCE: Reid from October –“Oh, I’m a sad little boy. Why is the joke about the new Bible I’m writing not working? Boo hoo, I wish I had friends.” As OctoberReid went over his sentence allotment, he will not be returning.

Follow Reid on Twitter

Watch clips by Reid


New York Magazine’s “Vulture” published Marc Maron’s “5 Comedians to Watch” list today. We were very pleased and not at all surprised to see a few very familiar Rooftop faves on the list.

Kyle Kinane

The cranky guy. The cranky guy is one of my favorite comedy archetypes. If it doesn’t come naturally and is forced, it stinks. There is a fine line between being a crank and a complainer. Kyle is a seamless raconteur with a genuine voice of the ageless, cranky poet. – Maron

Amber Preston

The brassy gal. I like ballsy women who know their way around a stage. Amber Preston kicks ass. She has great jokes and she doesn’t take any shit. She’s the kind of comic who could play a one-nighter at a bowling alley or a 1,000-seat theater and just nail it. I think she could beat me up. – Maron

Ryan Singer

The absurd optimist. Ryan Singer is the most intentionally happy person I know. Which either means he is really happy or is about to lose his fucking mind. I like Ryan because he is weird onstage and commits to it. It’s not an alienating weird; it’s a happy, embracing weird. If people don’t embrace it, he just gets weirder. I love that. – Maron

Congrats to Amber Preston, Kyle Kinane, Joe Mande, Pete Holmes, and Ryan Singer. Being on Maron’s “Comedians to Watch” list is like being anointed by god.

Check out the rest of the list on Vulture.

Pick up Marc Maron’s new album, “This Has to be Funny”, which was released today.


Lucy Fest Comics

Rooftop Comedy is thrilled to help produce the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy from August 3-7th in Lucy’s hometown, Jamestown, NY. In addition to 100th birthday celebrations and I Love Lucy tributes, the festival will present a lineup of stand-up legends, like Joan Rivers and Paula Poundstone, and rising stars including Nate Bargatze, Christina Pazsitzky, Costaki Econompoulos, Lamont Price, Jamie Ward, and Justin Schlegel. Schedule info and tickets are available at

With Lucy Fest just around the corner, we’ll be publishing interviews with some of the featured comics. Jamie Ward is one of Atlanta’s hottest comics, performing regularly at the renowned Laughing Skull Lounge, and has shared the stage with Natasha Leggero, Ronn White, and more. Winner at this year’s Port City Top Comic Contest, Jamie’s comedy is sharp, witty, with just a speck of niceness.

Rooftop Comedy: How would you describe Lucy’s influence on comedy? Why are you excited to participate in Lucy Fest?

Jamie Ward: Lucy’s influence can only be described as legendary. She was an absolute comedy genius. My sister and I grew up watching old episodes of I Love Lucy, that in my opinion are still hilarious. There are not many “classic” comedy shows that stand the test of time as well.

RT: It’s Lucy’s 100th birthday – what gift would you like to get her?

JW: I’d gather people together to celebrate laughter. I think this Lucy Fest is the most fitting tribute/gift you could give someone. In the short time I’ve been doing comedy, I’ve come to realize there is no greater feeling than sharing laughter with others. There is no object you could give her as a gift that would be more enjoyable.

RT: The Festival will host an attempt to set the Guinness World Record of the most amount of people dressed like Lucy Ricardo. Are you going to participate?

JW: I’d love to participate. I’m going to be pretty busy my short stay, so I’ll have to see if it fits in.

RT: How would you like your own 100th birthday to be celebrated?

JW: For my 100th birthday, I wish for the coherency to perform somewhere, and just enough people who care that I’m alive to share it with.

RT: As Lucy and Desi had hoped, the Lucy-Desi Center has announced a long-term plan to develop a center for comedy including a Comedy Hall of Fame. Who would you propose as the first three inductees?

JW: This is such a hard question. There are so many amazing options so the only way to answer that is pick the three that I look to the most. Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Bill Hicks.

RT: Any other shows or events that you have this summer that you’d like to share with us?

JW: I’m going to be performing at one of my favorite alternative comedy spots in Atlanta. I’m a special guest on the stand-up showcase at the Basement Theatre on the 28th of July.

The Best Medicine Podcast

The Best Medicine is a weekly podcast featuring Rooftop favorite Dan Gabriel and fellow funny comic Robert Duchaine. The podcast is aimed to “dispense advice to help our fellow man navigate through a turbulent world,” and boy, does it. With stories of life on the road, an impressive cast of guests, and hard hitting advice, BM will have you BM’ing yourself into hysterics. This week’s guest is comedian and former Golden State Warrior mascot Sadiki Fuller! Have a look!

Subscribe to the Best Medicine podcast on iTunes.

More from Dan Gabriel