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An interview I just did for SFist.com

SFist.com is a great website of local news and events for San Francisco.
The interview was to promote my stand up gig there August 22nd at the Fillmore theater.

How long have you spent in the Bay Area? Any favorite memories?

I actually lived in San Francisco from the time I was 7 until I was 11.
I used to perform a magic act on fisherman’s wharf for tips when I was 8.
My magic sucked, but I was cute, so I usually made a couple bucks and
I would spend it on comic books.
I guess that was the start of my performance career.

What’s your take on the local comedy scene here?

It’s a healthy scene. San Francisco is a very smart city, probably
the smartest per capita in the nation in my opinion. All those smart
people living together are bound to point out some funny shit. Very
few hacks seem to come out of San Fran too, which is pretty
impressive.

Favorite Bay Area commedians?

Patton Oswalt spent a lot of time here, and I think he’s hilarious.
Al Madrigal is another really funny guy that I met working at Cobb’s
years ago.

What is funny?

Everything. It’s all in how you look at it. Everything can be a
subject for comedy, but the most important criteria is that it
actually has to be funny for the person telling it.
There’s the old adage – tragedy + time = funny. It’s not necessarily
that tragic events are funny, it’s just that everything can be funny
if it’s looked at properly. Tragic events usually have a little more
pop to them because of the taboo factor. There seems to be some sort
of a release we enjoy from talking about forbidden things.
Fortunately for me, almost everything I find interesting is taboo to
some people in one way or another. I didn’t really plan my act out
that way, it’s just that’s how my mind has developed.
Of course everything isn’t going to be funny for everyone, but that’s
part of the fun in it. If you think something is funny, and someone
gets upset that you think it’s funny, it usually makes it even
funnier.
The real key is that it actually has to be funny to the person
describing it. Real comedy comes from a real and honest perspective.
It’s basically “here’s the world through my eyes.”
The real key to it is finding the point of view that has the most
funny in it, and then delivering it in a way that introduces it into
people’s minds in the smoothest and most efficient way possible.
That’s the real craft in the art form.
It takes a lot of experimenting to find the correct mixture of words
and ideas to express a point, and it’s incredibly satisfying when you
nail it.
Stand up comedy is this weird, intangible art form where you’re using
ideas to cause a real physical reaction in people.
You take them on a ride of thoughts, and one of the craziest aspects
of this experience is that when I’m really locked into the zone on
stage I’m just as much of a passenger in the ride as the people in the
audience.
I’m guiding it all based on my writing, my research, my practicing and
honing bits time after time, show after show, but when it all comes
together I’m just riding the wave along with everyone else. That’s
the most beautiful moment – when it all comes together and we’re all
locked into one gigantic thought.

What is not funny?

Again, everything. If you don’t think it’s funny, than it’s not.
It’s a purely subjective art form.

What makes a good audience and venue for a comic?

My personal favorite type of venue is a place with low ceilings and
tight seating for about 200 people. I love intimate shows. I think
those kind of environments are the most suited for a real connection
with the audience. You can pull off that group connection in a larger
place, but it takes a slightly different approach. You have to turn
it into a big party.
As for the audience, in the beginning of a comic’s career you don’t
have people that are coming out specifically to see you, so if your
material is controversial like mine, it can be hit or miss. The real
key is being able to stick with your guns long enough that the
audience comes to you because they like what you do, and they’re
coming out to see it.
I feel very fortunate that I’m in that place now. I appreciate it
very, very much, and I’m having the time of my life.

What are Bay Area audiences like?

The best in the country. The smartest audiences, with the least
amount of douche bags.
I love it here, that’s why I recorded my last CD in San Francisco.

First News Radio, then Fear Factor, now UFC.. how did you move between
all these?

The perfect combination of luck, whore-like opportunism, a rabid
hunger for pursuing my personal interests regardless how the
conventional wisdom would say they could negatively affect my career.
I just do what I like to do, except in the case of fear factor, where
I did that because I like money.

The Fillmore—pretty historic venue to perform at—any past shows you
would have liked to have caught there?

Lenny Bruce. I’ve got an old poster framed in my house from one of
his old Fillmore shows. He’s the godfather of my kind of stand up.
He opened up doors that all of the greats came through, and several
times he got arrested doing it. Without him and his efforts none of
this would be possible. It’s an incredible honor to be performing at
the same venue that he once did.

People should come see your shows because…

I’m bringing a big, fat, fucked up party to San Francisco. We’re
going to drink, we’re going to think, and we’re going to laugh. We
are all experiencing this ridiculous virtual reality of society
together, and we all have jobs to do, and shit that needs to get done,
so we’ve all collectively agreed to keep up business as usual.
Sometimes it’s important to be reminded how insane this whole thing
really is. Sometimes you need someone to point out that as much as
you think your life is important, we’re all just temporary talking
monkeys crawling around on a rock that’s flying through the universe.
Life is a massive fucking mystery, but with the right point of view,
it can be a really fun one. I’m here to point all that out. It’s
what I was put on this planet to do, and all of the events of my life
are just preparation for the next group experience at the next show.
I’m gearing up for it right now, and I can’t wait to see you
motherfuckers August 22 at the Fillmore.
Leave all the bullshit behind, we’re gonna have some fun.