Earlier this week, we introduced you to a new series we’re running with the Funny People
people in which we force our intern, Spencer, to become a stand-up comedian (read Part 1 here
). Spencer has never done stand-up comedy before, and is not even particularly comfortable speaking in front of people, so it’s bound to be entertaining. For the past few days, Spencer has been immersing himself in the world of stand-up comedy, studying clips, thumbing through stand-up books for the pictures, and practicing his joke writing skills. This is what Spencer looks like when he’s focusing on stand-up comedy:
As you can see, he looks pretty much the same as he does when he’s doing anything else: boyish, naive, and fairly resilient to extreme humiliation. We talked to Spencer briefly to find out what it means to study stand-up comedy:
HT: So, Spencer, how’s the research going?
Spencer: It’s good. I’ve been reading a little, and watching a lot of clips online.
HT: What have you been reading?
Spencer: I picked up a copy of Steve Martin’s book, Born Standing Up, which looks pretty good, but I haven’t started it yet.
HT: You know that his book is more about his life up until he started doing stand-up, and not so much about the actual process of doing stand-up comedy, right?
HT: What kind of clips have you been watching?
Spencer: Lots of stuff. A lot of the classics, y’know, like old Eddie Murphy clips and stuff like that. I’ve been watching a lot of the comedians that I really like, too, like Demetri Martin, Jim Gaffigan, and Louis CK.
HT: …Those seem like very reasonable goals to live up to.
It seems like Spencer is well on his way to figuring out what good stand-up comedy should be, but reading a book about stand-up and actually doing stand-up are two totally different things, so we wanted to find out more about Spencer’s joke writing process. We told him earlier in the week that it would be a good idea for him to bounce his jokes off of us as he’s coming up with them, and that we would give him our honest opinion (which was a complete lie), so he’s been sending us jokes all week. While some of the jokes are genuinely pretty good, a lot of them are downright horrible, but we’ve been reacting to every joke like it’s a Chris Farley pratfall, laughing uncontrollably and telling him it’s the funniest thing ever, and that it would be good for his set:
As you can see, Spencer’s got a long road ahead of him, but he’s off to a great start nonetheless. He seems excited about the process, but he also seems a little bit nervous, too. That’s why we decided to ease his mind a little by setting up an interview with a professional stand-up comedian, Matt Braunger
. You probably know Matt from his appearance on Letterman
, or from MadTV, or from listening to him on his awesome new album
, or from one of the millions of comedy festivals and stand-up tours that he’s been involved in. He’s fully qualified to talk Spencer through the ins and outs of a stand-up performance, and we’ll post a video of the interview on Tuesday. Stay tuned for Part 3 coming up next week.
In the meantime, we suggested that Spencer work some techno beatboxing and talking about raves into his open mic routine, and we provided this Pablo Francisco clip as inspiration: