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Thu, Jul. 14th, 2005, 12:46 pm
Standup Comedy Industry Insider Questions

I just got these questions from a journalist, and they remind me of LJ poll questions, so I'm posting them here.



====Original message begins====
Hey guys, I'm trying to put together an article about "The Hooligans of Stand-up", so we can all get a little extra publicity and gauge how this whole package could work. I'm going to try and sell the article both localy and nationally, so I'm going to need your help. I will pose several questions, and will write about each of your answers. Since this is for articles in magazines, etc., try not to be too long-winded in your answers. I don't want them TOO short, of course, but you won't have to give me every detail. Just enough to make each answer as funny as possible. Also, when you email me back, I will need your full bios. I'll let you know about pictures later. Hopefully, we can get together for a group photo. Something like that is always best for an article. Thanks.
====Original message ends====

THE QUESTIONS:


> 1. First time on stage...What was it like?

> I didn't know enough to be scared. My friends told me that the words I say in typical conversation were weird enough to pass as a standup comedy act, so I should just go on stage and saw what I say in normal conversation and people would laugh. My friends were right. I won the open mic contest four months in a row.

> 2. Best Club Experience you ever had? (Including stuff such as how great the shows were, the staff, treatment, hotel, etc.)

> Funny Farm, Broadalbin, New York. Comics stay in a nice apartment above the club and eat phenomenal food, including salmon fished from the river 5 miles away. Crowds laugh at everything. It's like visiting family.

> 3. Worst Club Experience you ever had? (NOT including hecklers...that comes later)

> The booker sending us to the wrong fire house and screaming at us that we were the ones who had made the mistake, even though we wouldn't have known which wrong firehouse to go to if he hadn't sent us there.

> 4. Longest Tour you ever completed?

> Three days. I have a day job.

> 5. Hardest Tour you ever completed?

> Comedy Zone, Ocean Isle Beach, NC/Greenville, NC/Alexandria, VA. The motel in Ocean Isle Beach does triple duty as a BP/motel/fishing shop. I'm a redneck, and they sell bait I've never heard of before. Ballyhoo? I go upstairs to the room and two of Ocean Isle's Finest are getting the maintenance guy to open one of the rooms. He responds, "Is this about Darryl?" I don't ask.

The doorknob to the room has been kicked in and marginally repaired. No hot water in the shower. No alarm clock. Not even a Bible; a Bible would be inappropriate here. The carpet is sticky, and there's a large, suspicious brown carpet stain between the bed and the window. If I had tape, I would've outlined a body with the head over the stain.

I go down to the gas station attendant/tackle shop clerk/doorman. I have to pick my battles carefully, so I just tell him there's no hot water. He tells me "It's fishing season." This is a non sequitur to me, so I say, "Okay." He might as well have told me that zombies rule Belgium.

I go to the grocery store. They have fat back, ham hocks, and stuff I've never heard of: salt bellies. Pork liver pudding. I do find my favorite southern delicacy, though: pimento cheese. Mmmmmmmm. I go to the club and talk to a man and woman who used to maintain the rooms in the motel/gas station/tackle shop. He asks me what my room number is, and they start laughing sardonically. I don't ask.

> 6. Worst Experience with an Audience/Audience Member?

> Occasionally during October (breast cancer awareness month) I did a public service announcement about how women should perform the at-home breast cancer exam. I memorized the National Cancer Society instructions, went onstage, stripped to the waist, and gave the examination. People laughed, i made the point that if I, a pasty fat man, could do that in public, they could do it at home in the shower. After the show I handed out shower hook cards with instructions. Later people told me they got in the habit of giving themselves the exam after seeing my show. THAT made the bit worth doing, but a lady in the crowd had just lost her mother to breast cancer and had a screaming emotional breakdown in the club. Later we talked and she said she was glad I did the bit and she understood the point, but I never want to provide that kind of misery trigger again.

> 7. Most Surreal Moment on the Road? (This is your chance to tell that story about how you nailed those two cheerleaders and how it never would've happened without being a comedian)

> My radio spot for the dead-and-now-reassigned WIZR Radio ("WIZR! Even our logo is yellow!") with morning host Joey Caruso (not the gay porn star I hope sweet Jesus no). This is my first time on radio since I horned my way onto a broadcast as a kid. Joey keeps asking us if we've seen the goats who live next door. Phil Hughes, the headliner, says no. Phil's a ventriloquist, so Joey keeps asking Phil to do ventriloquism on the radio. Phil keeps saying no. Joey asks me if I'm familiar with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I explain that I'm from Memphis, and that I have a photo of my uncle Barry handing Danny Thomas a big fat donation check. Joey and I talk about Memphis for 20 minutes. Then Robin and Phil talk for a while, and then Joey asks me something, and I mention my gastric bypass surgery. We talk about the surgery for 20 more minutes. I lift up my shirt and show Joey my surgical scar. I am Lyndon Johnson.

> 8. Your Comedy Influences and why you decided to be a Comedian?
Kurt Vonnegut, Henry Rollins, Jello Biafra. I never wanted to be a comedian. My friends told me to do it, and I discovered that I enjoyed it and it was a good excuse to act foolish in public. Also, most of the checks clear.

> 9. What you did for a living before you were a Comedian? (This will be included in the beginning of the article).

> I write security briefings and training at the headquarters of a Federal Cabinet agency. I still do this. I'm off every Friday, so fortunately my job doesn't interfere with my career.

> 10. How do you "write" comedy? (Do you prefer to Improv, keep notes, a tape recorder, etc.)

If I'm writing from inspiration, I use a technique called mind-mapping to generate weird, stupid and scary ideas that connect to my original thought, then I beat the map into a narrative form (http://www.basilwhite.com/comedyworkshop).

If I'm writing about my conviction about a belief, I list the beliefs opposite of that belief and tear apart these opposite beliefs through NeuroLinguistic Sleight-of-Mouth patterns or analyzing these opposite beliefs for formal logical fallacies (http://www.basilwhite.com/comedyworkshop).

If I'm writing about a statement about myself, I use Greg Dean's Joke Prospector to generate some opposite beliefs and work through the motions of deliberately unsuccessfully proving what I don't believe using the failures of my proofs as the humorous twists (http://www.basilwhite.com/comedyworkshop).

Hey, you asked.