You’ve spoken about some absurdist comedy, physical comedy, observational stuff. When it comes to the comedy you find interesting and want to be a part of, do you find it useful to self-label as a comedian, or does it feel limiting?
I wouldn’t say it feels limiting, it just feels hard. I’ve never really known how to describe my brand of comedy. I feel like it changes so much. The things I’m interested in aren’t necessarily the things I do or know how to execute. I think about the movies I find so funny, like Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar and Hot Rod—I’ve never tried to write something like that because it feels so beyond reach for me.
But then I look at the things I do write and think to myself, if someone else were writing this I don’t know how much I’d like it or if it’s the thing I’d be drawn to immediately. Often I find that the things I’m most blown away by, I look at and think, ‘I could never do that.’ That’s part of why it’s so impressive to me.
The most important element of comedy is surprise. A joke in its simplest form is inherently a way to catch an audience off guard. When I think ‘what is my type of comedy?’, at every point I’m thinking ‘how can I surprise people?’ And that’s kind of hard sometimes.
I like what you said about comedy and surprise. There was a seven-minute set by Sarah Squirm at a comedy festival that I recently saw for the first time. It made me feel so not crazy. There’s a specific physicality and unabashedness to her humor that felt so electric. I’m not sure how else to describe it. That’s one of the beautiful things about comedy. Surprise. Sometimes you feel really certain what your brand of humor is but then you sit among a new group of people and find yourself finding their humor funny. I wonder if there are any comedy films you’ve seen recently or are looking forward to that have some sort of surprising element?
I remember watching Game Night a few years ago and being so constantly surprised not only at the execution of the jokes but also how the cinematography was particularly executed. A lot of comedies don’t give a shit, which is very frustrating. I remember seeing that and being inspired that someone out there was making studio comedies and their thinking of framing, delivery, how that goes into a joke… The fact that it goes into the mystery format. I loved that and respected it.