Watch Fat Guy Stuck in Internet on Adult SwimMar 11, 2015
Watch the hit new Adult Swim show Fat Guy Stuck In Internet Mondays on the Cartoon Network.
Fat Guy was created by and stars UCBT performers Curtis Gwinn and John Gemberling (Death By Roo Roo) and features many UCBT performers, alums and friends including Neil Casey (Death By Roo Roo), Liz Cackowski (The Jeannie Tate Show), Paul Scheer (Human Giant), and more!
Congratulations UCBT performers named Variety's 10 Comics to Watch 2008Mar 11, 2015
From clubs to feature films to online video sites, Variety combs the circuit to assemble its latest collection of up-and-coming funny people.
The punchlines are always dark and invariably offensive to at least some consensus in the room.
Will his young nephew get to see his deceased gold fish in heaven? "I don't pretend to know what happens to gold fish after they die, kid, but I do know one thing -- there is no God."
What about asking his "adoptive" parents why they picked him. Was he special? "Yes, Anthony, very special. Because of all the babies we had to choose from, you were the only one that was white."
Whether the corresponding reaction tilts positive or negative, the Pittsburgh native stands tall in the pocket with an air of consciously inflected arrogance -- he'll never back down with an apology or soften the jagged edge.
"That was a great joke," he'll say. "Here's another."
Attitude is everything for the comic, who is working on his upcoming Comedy Central standup special, and is also set to host a "Talk Soup"-like series for MTV.
"I just have to keep going with it and be totally in charge," he explains. "If I apologize, the whole thing falls apart. It gives people a reason not to like me."
Of course, Jeselnik -- whose last noncomedy gig was working as an accounting clerk on the set of HBO's "Deadwood" -- concedes a large percentage of the audience won't end up digging him. "I'm a niche act," he says. "I'm very specific."
But at 29, the former Tulane lit major's uncanny insight into comic nuance, coupled with his love for and aptitude with joke craft, has him developing a rep as a comic's comic. Delicate comedy club dilatants may not go for his "specific" blend, but plenty of headliners do.
That polarizingly mean joke Sarah Silverman told at the Video Music Awards last year about Britney Spears accomplishing everything she ever will by 25? Well, Jeselnik was Silverman's joke writer that night.
"I got into this wanting to be the best joke writer, period," notes Jeselnik, who originally set out to be a novelist (he didn't like the sitting indoors all day part). "I had no idea I'd be this good at it."
"As far as comedians go, I look better than most," notes Jeselnik, belying a bit of sincerity to the supreme confidence he conveys in his act. The handsome, clean-cut looks combined with the chops have yielded a number of auditions. But Dane Cook this certainly is not -- he demurs on many of these gigs.
"They often need to cast a cute fun guy, but that's not me," Jeselnik says. "I don't have to do a sitcom. I'm really enjoying performing and writing right now."
Anthony Jeselnik can be seen next at UCBTLA Tuesday, July 22 in See You Next Tuesday.
Ubiquitous on the Chicago comedy scene in recent years, and an increasingly prominent fixture in Hollywood of late, T.J. Miller spent the latter half of June off the grid, touring parts of the Amazon with his photographer girlfriend.
Chilling for a bit in an eco lodge in Ecuador where a cheap phone call to L.A. could be made, the 27-year-old Denver native had nothing but nice things to say about his exotic vacation in a continent he's grown to love since venturing to Argentina as a college student for a Spanish immersion program.
The only challenge to report: getting his comedy to translate in a different tongue.
Luckily for Miller, translation hasn't been a problem in terms of platforms and genres.
Coming out of the final Aspen Comedy Arts Festival early last year, his Second City-honed acting and improv skills were tapped for the ABC comedy Carpoolers. Launching last fall, the skein succumbed after 13 episodes, but Miller received notice as Marmaduke, the perpetually underwear-clad adult-son slacker of one of the lead commute sharers.
For Miller, the transition from Windy City Second City denizen to L.A. sitcom actor was a bit abrupt, but manageable in the end.
"Living in Chicago, you're in this bubble of the standup scene, which is very alternative, focused on satire and edgy," he explains. "Then I had to come to L.A. and do a sitcom that runs in the family hour."
Concurrently with that, he was cast by Par in this low-budget horror film.
Of course, the fact that Cloverfield was being produced by J.J. Abrams was reassuring, but Miller had his reservations about being the comic relief in a scare pic.
"I wasn't doing standup seven nights a week in Chicago because I wanted to do a horror movie," he explains. "I was tired of seeing horror films in which the comic relief has obviously written corny jokes. 'Oh, guys, we have a monster of a problem outside!'"
Happily, Miller's apprehension quickly abated when he figured out that Abrams and company had recruited him for his improv skills, not to read corny lines.
And, of course, he was further set at ease when the film grossed more than $170 million worldwide.
Next up, he has a role in the DreamWorks comedy She's Out of My League. He also has a voice part in the DreamWorks Animation toon How to Train Your Dragon, due out next year.
Refreshingly, Miller is not one of those comics who professes to shun the mass-audience limelight of film and TV for the intimate comforts of live performance. "I've always been drawn to film and TV and the Internet in the sense they have the largest distribution," he says. "My focus is to be proficient in all forms."
T.J. Miller performed regularly at UCBTLA in blerds.com and currently co-hosts the open mic show Gutbucket at UCBTNY.
It's often said that fear is an excellent motivator.
It has certainly worked for John Mulaney, a 25-year-old New Yorker with deceptively old-soul comedic depth, who found his vocational interest and aptitude as a child growing up in a creaky old house in Chicago.
"I was afraid of burglars," he explains.
To help ease his son's fears and get him to sleep at night, his father procured old-school comedy greats on audiocassettes for the youngster to play on his Walkman in bed -- performances from George Burns, Jack Benny, Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding, to name a few.
Years later, studying improv at Georgetown U., and with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York after that, Mulaney honed his own voice, mixing dark wit during standup routines -- he frequently culls his adolescent drinking fiascos -- with observational humor and an impression-laden delivery style that has a noticeable hint of old-time in it.
A collaboration with Nick Kroll ("Caveman") on a Comedy Central Web series, I Love the '30s, several years ago put his career in pay-the-rent mode and led to a Comedy Central-sponsored college tour headlined by Mike Birbiglia.
Mulaney describes it as a kind of comedy boot camp, with performances skedded 28 dates out of 30, sometimes several a night.
The fear that wasn't so useful -- anxiety about performing -- quickly went away.
"Before that, I used to sincerely hope my standup shows would get canceled," he says. "But on that tour, you got off the bus, and there was no time to worry."
Not that anxiety doesn't still have a useful place in Mulaney's psyche. Currently working a writing gig for new Comedy Central skein Important Things With Demetri Martin, he's also in the midst of preparing his own standup special for the cable channel, which will tape later this summer.
Rest assured, he won't be underprepared.
"It's the kind of thing I've been extra cautious about," notes Mulaney, who is touring this summer to refine his material. "It's nothing I wanted to enter into lightly."
For Mulaney, observational material is a strength. Attempting to describe obscene riches during a "Conan O'Brian" appearance earlier this year, he used the analogy of an overflowing pirates' treasure chest ... which quickly led him to wonder why pirates never seem to bring a chest big enough to handle their plunder. "I think it's the eye patch," he surmised. "They have poor depth perception."
John Mulaney is an alum of the UCB Training Center and recently staged The Oh, Hello Show at UCBTLA with Nick Kroll.
Arriving in Los Angeles in 2004, Paul Rust immediately began brushing up his improv skills at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and shooting a slew of shorts.
However, since his days as an Iowa State U. prankster, where he cut his teeth with the national sketch workshop No Shame Theater, it's been apparent that Rust's goofy personalities and puckish charm were more inherent than fostered.
"I would do a lot of avant-garde stuff and was always interested in making people feel uncomfortable," Rust recalls.
This is clearly evident in his college doc Do You Know Lucinda? A silly cinema verite on lost love, the comedian stalks a girl he had one date with at a neighboring college, inquiring why she never called him back. (A year after posting the vid on the Internet, Rust received an email from Lucinda's father, demanding with legal threat that the short be taken down.)
Today, after three short years in Los Angeles, where he's been a fixture at the UCB with partners Neil Campbell and Charlyne Yi, Rust is finding acceptance of his humor easier to come by.
In an ironic moment of life imitating art, his recent coup was landing the lead in Chris Columbus' teenage comedy I Love You, Beth Cooper opposite Hayden Panettiere. Referencing Martin Scorsese's After Hours, the pic focuses on a high school nerd who is smitten with the popular girl and is taken out for a wild night on the town.
Blessed with the profile of Woody Allen and the juvenile sensibility of Pee-wee Herman, Rust's body of work is both hammy and physical, with a slant on pop culture.
No matter how famous Rust becomes, it hasn't impressed Lucinda's dad. A year after Rust removed his offending video, Lucinda's dad called again. Unbeknown to Rust, his short was still on the Internet.
"I could have pulled my Lenny Bruce, but I cowered and removed it," Rust explains.
"Friends who are friends of Lucinda have told me that she thought the short was funny. It's just her parents who don't."
Paul Rust is an alum of the UCB Training Center and appears regularly at UCBTLA with Maude team A Kiss From Daddy, improv group Last Day of School and sketch showcase Not Too Shabby.
For Casey Wilson, a bit of shamelessness is an asset.
It certainly helped when the 27-year-old Saturday Night Live rookie debuted her first major sketch this past season, a brash and physical bit called "Quadriplegic Stripper," which features a determined young woman named Dusty who refuses to let a major disability derail her dancing-career plans.
Raised in Alexandria, Va., Wilson was acting by age 8. She studied at NYU's Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and it was there, at the suggestion of a professor, that she took up comedy.
At NYU, she and June Raphael, friend and longtime writing partner, crafted a two-woman sketch show called "Rode Hard and Put Away Wet." They eventually took it to Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and Aspen's U.S. Comedy Festival, where it was an official selection.
From there, Wilson appeared in small roles in a few films (including Christopher Guest's Oscar-season sendup, "For Your Consideration") and began a writing career.
Then she got the gig at SNL. As a featured player, Wilson won't know until August if she'll be asked back for a second season. "But I feel good," she says. "It's kind of like the JV and varsity squads, and right now I'm on the JV squad and I'm happy to be there."
Notably, Wilson also just wrapped 2009's Bride Wars, which stars Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. Wilson has only a small acting role in the movie, but she and Raphael both enjoy writing credits for the script.
"We spent three years writing it," Wilson says. "Once we got to the set, we were like parents who drop their kids off at a high school dance and then hang around. I was whispering Anne Hathaway's lines under my breath."
"I had no room to be shy," Wilson says of her recent take as a disabled gentlemen's club, er, entertainer. "It was so thrilling. I had absolutely no pride."
Casey Wilson is an alum of the UCB Training Center and will soon appear as a monologist for ASSSSCAT at UCBTLA.
Gutbucket Reviewed in The ApiaryMar 11, 2015
Gutbucket is the monthly open mic show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York. I dropped in for a set back in April, and shared the bill with several teenagers, one of whom began his set with: 'No, it's not past my bedtime.' The beauty of the open mic is that you never know who'll show up.
Gutbucket's audience, however, was one of the most supportive open mic crowds I've ever seen, and a follow-up trip three months later proved this wasn't a fluke. At the July show, comics in their early 20s replaced the teenagers, and local comic Matt McCarthy had subbed in for regular host Pete Holmes. Chicago-comedy transplants Holmes and TJ Miller were originally tapped as Gutbucket co-hosts.
The UCB's Friday-at-midnight slot has always drawn an eclectic crowd. While the mood is casual and patrons often relax by slumping in their seats, the vibe isn't mean-spirited, and they are generous with laughter, especially for those comics who perform a little closer to the edge. Standup comedy that starts at midnight on a Friday can offer safer harbor for those with a smattering of stagetime hours. But this opportunity to experiment would be pretty meaningless if not for one factor: People show up to Gutbucket. As Mo Diggs wrote for The Apiary a year ago: 'Gutbucket may be the only open mic in which the audience consistently outnumbers comedians.' Nice to see things haven't changed.
--Dan Wilbur is a stand-up comic. He produces comedy shows and works at Comix comedy nightclub.