Brandon Scott Wolf - Conversations with Artists


Is there a correlation between being a comedian and being happy?

"Not necessarily.  A lot of comics are depressed, upset with their lives.  Unhappy for one reason or another and yet they're very funny.  Myself, I'm relatively happy.  I enjoy my life.  Every day is an opportunity to hang out with fun new friends and explore and try something different.  And fail.  Or not."

Can someone learn to be funny?

"I believe people can learn to be funnier.  To be able to make others laugh means you either naturally have it or you've written and prepared something.  I'm not an improvisor, but we all improvise every single day.  If you want to be a Stand-up you need to prepare material, you need to be able to write and to be able to get your point across in as few words as possible.  Brevity is the soul of wit."

Is there anything that you would say is universally funny?

"People like falling down.  When they see someone else fall down that seems to be universally funny.  Sometimes it's hard to explain why certain things are rocketing to the top of the reddit boards. Why are people sharing and talking about certain things?  I would say that other than falling down, there's not one thing that everyone in the world can agree is funny.   And as a comedian I have to try to get as many people to like me as possible.  Am I going to get 100 people out of a 100-person audience to like me?  No.  I might get 25 of them to leave and say 'he was funny.'  Richard Pryor once said -- and I could be horribly misquoting him -- but I think he said 'I don't need to get everyone in the audience to like me as long as I walk away with one person in the audience who's a new fan.  If I do that every single night, I get a fan base and those are the people who think I'm funny.'  So that's my goal."

What's with the popsicle sticks?

" A lot of comedians, if they're not prepared to do their whole set, they take out their notes and refer to them.  So on stage I say 'this is embarrassing but I have to look at my notes' and then people write me off and think I'm just going to take out a piece of paper and read.  That's when I take out my popsicle sticks and wait ten or fifteen seconds.  Usually people will get the joke and say -- 'wow, those are popsicle sticks' and then I go back into my routine."

What do you know now that you wish you could tell yourself when you first started in comedy?

"That you're going to be rejected more than accepted.  There are shows that stick out in my mind where I go 'that went sideways and it was on me' and those are the shows that I learn the most from.  I used to let rejection weigh me down.  I would go over it and over it in my mind saying 'I should've done this, I should've done that.'  And now, I'm like -- 'there are going to be other opportunities.  There's always another stage to get up on.  If you bomb -- it happens.  Just make sure every day you're working hard to be funnier.'  There's really not much else to comedy besides:  fail, try, fail, try, try fail, fail, try. learn, fail again, try.  That's it.  That's anything in life though. "

What advice would you have for somebody up-and-coming in Comedy?

"If you want to become a professional stand-up comedian, lay the groundwork for five or ten years, work on yourself, your stage presence, who you are as a comedian, your voice.  You just have to make sure that what you are as a comic on the inside is solid.  And then do something different to make yourself stand out."


Is your Mom proud of you?

"Yes, very proud.  I think she said that to me today, which is nice.  My parents are very supportive.  They are like 'you want to go after comedy, we'll be rooting for you.'  Thankfully it's been going ok.  There's this other old quote that I'm probably screwing up, but it's:  "Stand-ups and Improvisors are very similar.  The only difference is that Improvisors came from a happy home.'  But I'm a stand-up -- and I still talk to my parents."

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