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J: How do you pace your set?
CL: I don't know. I just do it.

J: I've mostly seen you host the panel and do like 10 minutes of stand up at Fresh Meat and show your videos.
CL: Um, I don't know what to tell you. I've been on TV and the radio a bunch and done an hour in Texas, 45 minutes in Chicago and forty minutes in Westchester, an hour in Connecticut -- where were you at those shows? I've performed all over the Northeast and in LA. It is true that the longest I've ever done in New York is 20 minutes on a great show called "Comedy Is For Humans" produced and hosted by Baron Vaughn and Josh Grosvent. They feature three comics who do 20 minutes each.

This year, I'm not able to focus on stand up, storytelling, sketch and improv and articles as much because I've been focusing on my pilot and novel.

J: How did the relationship with Comix start?
CL: I had opened for Lewis Black and through him I met Rocky Benloulou who then asked me to produce and host a show with younger talent doing their thing. She had also helped me out with these benefits I produce and host for Seeds of Peace. Enough Jewish geography. Anyway, I told Rocky the show I'd like to do and luckily she said yes. Since then, the audience has really grown and there are several folks who return each month for the new line up. I also like that comics come and watch one another on it.

Plus, a lot of nifty things have started to come for the comics from it. A producer from WNYC's Studio 360 saw Daniel Wright doing a Power Point presentation at my show and asked him to do it for the radio. David Rakoff recorded his reading at Fresh Meat with Catie Lazarus for PRI's This American Life.  Also, several audience members have fallen
in love and since gotten married, so it is a pretty remarkable show.

J: You write about comedy for Time Out New York and other places. How
do you do both?
CL: If you read the New York Times, many of the music critics are musicians and most of the literary and even poetry critics at The New Yorker or The New York Review of Books write their own fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

It's not unusual for someone with the ability and audacity to perform to also appreciate and be able to describe the art of it. I do feel like I have insight into it than someone who hasn't gotten up onstage or written yolks might not. Like I have a sense of the mechanics of a show and can better sniff out if a particular audience might not be the best fit for a performer or if a host or another performer brings down the energy or otherwise influences the flow of the show. I can rhyme which is also key.

J: Who are your influences?
CL: Golda Meir (laughs). Outside of Gandhi, some of the funniest people are … Alan Partridge (well Steve Coogan), Lisa Simpson, Fawlty Towers, Bill Cosby, Steve Martin, Mitch Hedberg, Stephen Wright, Sarah Silverman, Louis CK, David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Animal and Lisa and Miss Piggy and the Swedish Chef and the guys in the balcony from The Muppets, Ricky Gervais, Sasha Baron Cohen, Stephen Colbert, Amy
Sedaris, Steve Carrell, Rob Corddry, original Whose Line Is It Anyway, Tracy Ullman, Gilda Radner, Lily Tomlin, David Letterman, Carol Burnett, Julie Kavner, and Woody Allen is probably one of my favorites. There are people who aren't comedians who I love to read …like Mark Twain … that guy Willie Shakespeare is a total hoot.

J: You like to get these (jokes) in, don't you?
CL: Well, I guess that makes sense since you are interviewing a comedian that I might joke around at least 173.27% of the time.

J: Are there two separate comedy scenes in New York -- like those who play Caroline's, and those who do 11 p.m. stand-up shows at UCB?
CL: It's changing now so more comedians in the alt scene do clubs although not necessarily vice versa to the same extent. Honestly though it is more like there are lots of cliques within two larger scenes with overlap. I could show you a diagram. But whether you consider yourself more in the alt scene or a club comic, you probably can't ever get into the mind of that rascal Mencia.

J: Is that part of your goal with Fresh Meat?
CL: I do that in my show, I hope, bring them both [together], but even on a greater level like so they can hug it out. Honestly, you never see New Yorker cartoonists or literary readings like Jonathan Ames at a comedy club even if it's really funny.

Comedy is so subjective so you may like some acts or particular jokes more than others. It's good to get outside your element a little bit and see what's out there. It's just an evening. It's not like you are moving to Guam.

Fresh Meat returns to Comix on Tuesday, March 13, with Becky Drysdale (see review), Mike Daisey (see blog entry), Laurie Kilmartin and New York Post writer Paula Froehlich. and


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