With a sketch show, it’s “a bunch of people and they’re being funny.” In a way that you can’t really explain it.
Comedy Central was really impressed by how quickly we got everyone to sign the releases for the CD. They’ve never seen anything that quick.
And with this show we’re trying to be a little sillier. We can do a piece like one we wrote the other day called “Ghost Busters Busters”. Where would never do that in a million years on Mr. Show, but somehow on this show it’s silly and stupid and a little more disposable, so we can do something like that.
And there’s a period where everyone’s buying those and it’s really bad because no one is Larry David or Ricky Gervais. And then they don’t work and networks stop wanting to buy them, but because they wanted to buy them before the producer wanted to make them, the producers are still hanging on to wanting to make them.
There’s two different disks recorded at two different shows. And they’re two very different shows. The San Francisco disk was in front of 450 people and was a real professional show where people did their best stuff. So to some people that’s going to be their favorite disk.
It’s a very different show because of the elements that we’re putting in. There’s so many different styles of comedy, but Mr. Show was unique to Bob and David – two of the most brilliant performers and writers there are. Their show was based on them. Our show is a bit more broad. We have a cast of 7, we have guests. We can be slightly more topical.
Some of the subject matter is a little less weighty. When we were writing for Mr. Show, we were talking about how is this going to stand up to the test of time. Every little piece had to be this brilliant comedy jewel.
For a long time networks just wanted to buy imitations of other shows – i.e. Curb (the Enthusiasm or the Office). The word gets out that “Hey, we want to buy something like that” and every comedy producer just starts dreaming up ideas like that.
Scott and I had just worked with Jimmy Pardo doing a live show over the summer. And it was a lot of fun and we wanted to keep doing a live show. And as Scott said, we knew a lot of funny young people who needed a place to do stand-up. And we were in a place, where we were writing so much that we weren’t around live comedy so much, so we kind of missed it.
We’re having so much writing some of the sillier stuff that never would have been on Mr. Show. And that’s not a knock on Mr. Show at all, because it’s my favorite comedy show of all time. Even before I worked on it. It’s just really refreshing to write something so stupid and say, “We gotta do that.”
I think one reason why our show is popular too is that we have relationships with all these people. They are our actual friends. We’re not like show promoters where we’re like, (sleazy) “Hey, come on over and do a show.”
It’s really important to keep sponsoring young people so the audience gets used to them and starts enjoying them. They’re the only way your show can keep going, otherwise it’s going to burn out in one or two years. Hopefully you’re creating your headliners of the future.
The second disk was taped at our all-night anniversary show. And some of those sets are taped at like 4:30 or 5 in the morning, when people are a little groggy and not doing what they would do if they knew it was being recorded. That said, that disk has an entirely different flavor. It’s more experimental. It has more of the newcomers on it. It has people doing stuff that you won’t see on Comedy Central or HBO specials.
Brian Posehn went up at 4:45 in the morning. And he gets lost at a certain point. I don’t know if we kept him getting lost on the CD. That joke isn’t as technically well delivered as I’m sure it is in his Comedy Central special. But the whole disk has this looseness and flavor to it where anything can happen that a lot of people will prefer.
It’s something we do every week. Every week kind of has bigger name headliners. It’s all just our taste. There’s a lot of people like Ian Edwards or Dan Mintz who a lot of people haven’t heard of yet, but we know are really great. When we started the show five years ago it wasn’t because Patton Oswalt needs another place to play. It was because we had a lot of new friends like BJ Novak or Morgan Murphy, who didn’t have any club to play.
So the CD is a great way to get yourself acquainted with some people who in three years, maybe even one year, be really big.
Anyone can have bad sets. I saw one guy who I really love – I won’t mention his name – gave a set that was really bad. And then one month later did the exact same set on our show and it was great.
There’s so many variables in comedy. Comedy is not this thing that’s a performance like a play. It’s really an interaction with every single person in the room. And if there’s a weirdness in the room for any people, be it something the comedians did at the top of the set or be it the mixture of the people isn’t right, something can go awry. So it’s really great to see you proven wrong about someone.
: But the people on the CD are famous. Those people were coming out to see those people. I don’t think they need that kind of intimacy with those people.
When Scott and I started, every time we performed we wrote a whole new bit. We didn’t know this wasn’t the way things were done because we were just starting. But we needed the new material anyway. And it’s nice, every time that Matt Besser does the show he does a whole new bit. And it’s nice to offer up a place where people can be that experimental while offering some solid, proven comedy as well.
The shows need youth. All of our comics are getting too famous to do the show regularly. The people who are regulars five years ago, a lot of them have moved on and can’t do the show anymore. We can’t really get Jim Gaffigan anymore, we can’t get Nick Swardson anymore.
Andy Kindler. Andy’s set – somehow he slayed that night. But something weird about it that wasn’t translating for the CD. I don’t know what it was. But we listened to it and it wasn’t the greatest audio recording – I mean, the quality of it was good. But we didn’t want to put it on the record because it doesn’t represent what Andy does.