September 6, 2011
Last week we had a roast for Danny Palumbo. During roasts, you are obligated to talk smack on your fellow comedians. However, I didn’t get a chance to say how I really feel about them:
Mike Wysocki hosted the roast. Mike is honest to God one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. In addition to that he is a great joke writer with a very unique delivery. He’s helped me out a lot over the past 5 years and I’m grateful for that.
Matt Light is still relatively new to comedy but has tons of potential. He’s fearless which is more that I can say for myself. He really isn’t afraid to say anything, which is incredibly important in this profession.
John Pridmore has to be probably the most interesting comedian in the whole bunch. There’s something about his stage persona that kind of draws you in. You want to hear more about his life.
Easily the comedian with the best sense of himself. For most comics, the tough part is finding and honing a voice that is your own. Derek has already got this accomplished.
Another relatively new comedian. He not only has shown the ability to write a good joke, but he’s also started to show little buddings of a “character.” You can see that his act has a lot of places it can go. It’ll be fun to watch him develop in the future.
Everyone rags on Copen, but he’s one of the few people actually out there doing comedy as a full-time job. He’s a road warrior and travels all over the place for shows. That takes a lot of guts to put your funny where your mouth is (that came out awkward).
I have nothing to say about Nick Milton.
Ron Placone is probably the biggest reason that I keep writing new material. The guy comes to every open mic with a completely different set each and every time. He has a stream of conscious style, using little ideas and drawing them into bigger jokes. That’s a hard thing to get comfortable with, but Ron has put the work into the craft, which is why he’s able to do it.
Mitch is actually multi-talented. He did write and direct a whole movie. That in and of itself takes a lot of courage. When you do stand-up you basically put your personality on display and say, “Does anybody like what they see?” And if it goes wrong, you can always shake it off and move to the next set. With a movie, there’s a much bigger time commitment. More risk and more reward. Mitch has the ability to stand alone out in a cold world with nothing but a windbreaker on.
I joked about Justin Markuss doing crowd work at the roast. I think I like to make fun of things I’m envious of. Justin Markuss is one of the best crowd-workers in the city. When you do crowd work, you’ve only got your wit to fall back on. Justin is able to do something that I’m not comfortable doing and do it well.
Tom is an interesting blend of a lot of things I admire about other comedians. He’s fearless, great at crowd work, but he’s also always willing to sit down and work through a joke. Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of help from him with premises I’m struggling with or jokes that I just can’t word correctly.
He is a beast. He’s got everything. Great jokes. Incredible Stage personality. Likeability. This all comes from slugging it out on the road for years. He’s a testament to how hard work can shape you into a great comic.
I don’t think there’s any denying the fact that I respect Tim Dimond. He’s one of my comedy brothers. Tim is easily the smartest person I’ve ever met (I know some smart cookies too). What that intelligence translates into though is an ability to tune in to what is creative and original. Tim was always my “hack-check.” We’d be discussing jokes and he’d always be the one to suggest another angle.
He’s doing awesome in New York too. If he can make it there, he’ll make it anywhere.
Another one of my comedy brothers. Terry and I started out together. Watching Terry you realize how important the “show” part of comedy is. Audiences want a spectacle; they want an event. They want to go home the next morning and be able to clearly recall what they had seen the night before. Terry is a showman for sure.
Aaron’s an easy target because he is, in many senses, the pack leader. He’s trying to put himself on the map and he’s pulling the Pittsburgh comedy scene with him, kicking and screaming. Aaron already has a solid (and funny) act. That act has developed from hard work. There is no one in this city that works harder than Aaron. He eats, breathes and sleeps comedy.
Danny will be missed. He has what I consider to be the most important quality of a comedian: likeability. This is a pre-requisite for anyone going into comedy full-time. Audiences need to like you. Danny has that quality in excess. He’s another one who always has a really unique take on things. He will do well in Austin.