Sketch & Solo Performances
Film & TV
The Jester Interviews
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
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
Fresh Meat returns to Comix on Tuesday, March 13, with Becky Drysdale
Mike Daisey (see
blog entry), Laurie Kilmartin and New York Post writer Paula
Froehlich. www.lazarusrising.com and www.comixny.com