Jokes! Laughter! Buzz! Excitement!
These are just some of the words you might use to describe “stand up comedy.” But if you described stand up comedy that way, you’d be doing a horrible job. And that’s because you don’t know anything about comedy in America.
Much like jazz, stand up comedy is often viewed as one of the only truly “American” art forms. But, shamefully, a lot of people today (including comedians themselves) actually don’t know the true history of the art. The backstory of stand up is just as important as ever – as topics like “political correctness,” a constant theme throughout haha yesteryear, are super trendy right now. Subjects like transgender people are posh, a la mode, and other french words that mean “cool.” By looking backwards, comedians have an opportunity to “learn from our mistakes” .. .and all that stuff. Being informed about our past allows us to be more analytical when looking forward .. .I guess. Pretty much any cliche argument your friend Sharon uses to justify her degree in history will also apply to learning about the history of comedy.
Which is why I’ve done extensive research in order to pull together a highly, highly comprehensive history of this American institution, including facts that I guarantee you haven’t heard before. After all, how can we respect the art form of comedy today if we have no understanding of how we got here? (Wow, I snuck in another cliche!) Let’s take a dive into the “ocean” that is funniness in America, shall we? Let the waves of history wash over you. Lick the salty taste of history on your lips, smell the rich stand up in the fresh breeze, and.. .well, you get it.
Continue reading “a complete history of stand up comedy in America”
“Look, it’s just us [here]. Blogs.. .what a bunch of bullshit!” – Paul F. Tompkins, The Wolf Den Podcast
If you’re a person with a heartbeat, you can agree that blogs are the worst thing to ever happen to human society and that includes Adolf Hitler. Bloggers should happily kill themselves, knowing they are doing the world a favor! Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. However, like any good comedian, I hate everything that bloggers have ever done. I’ve never read something a blogger wrote and thought, “Wow, I’m glad I read that! I definitely don’t want to kill whoever wrote this!” Any Joe Shmoe can write a blog to boost his self-importance; all you need are fingers to type. Who gives a shit about what you say! Boooo! Get. A. Life. Right???
Us comedians thoroughly despise bloggers. And rightfully so! Comedians are the truth-tellers of our society. They aren’t afraid to call people out, especially those faceless, soulless “writers” of the web who have no purpose in life other than to shamelessly wrangle clicks at any cost. Comedians provide the world a fantastic service: they make people laugh! On the other hand, bloggers complain. Laughter is positive; complaining is purely negativity. Bloggers bring people together to hate on others gripe about the state of the world. Nothing could be fucking sadder. Who wants that?
Bloggers are a bunch of no-good, self-important nobodies who don’t matter! That’s a fact. But, you shouldn’t just accept that as truth; there are a ton of great reasons why comedians think bloggers should jump off a damn cliff. As far as I know, no one has taken the time to carefully, thoughtfully, and meticulously put these degenerates in their place until now. So, here they are. Here are all the reasons that comedians think bloggers are jerk off fuckbrains.
Oh and by the way, THIS blog is really cool, though.
Continue reading “from comedians to bloggers everywhere: go to hell! (except for me, my blog is cool)”
Did one of your parents ever have a phrase they’d say when you made a huge mess in the house? Something like: “It looks like a PIG STYE in here?!”
I feel like everyone has a parent who says one of those phrases. My mom would always walk into a room and go: “Je-sus Christ! It looks like a freaking TORNADO hit!”
Continue reading “it looks like a freaking TORNADO hit!!!”
I’m Patrick Hastie and you’ve probably never heard my name; reports of my fame are greatly exaggerated. I’m a stand-up comedian and in August I went on a 19-city tour with my friends, Albert Kirchner and Nick Pupo, called the YOUNG DINOSAURS TOUR. We did 30 shows in 27 days. It was crazy. It was daunting. It was absolutely fucking amazing. Since then, a lot of people have asked how we did it. So this article is going to tell you exactly how we did!
Continue reading “i went on tour for a month and you can too (maybe) – Patrick Hastie”
A friend mine told me this fantastic story that happened to her one time while she was dog-sitting. After she told it to me, I was like, “This is an amazing story. I have to share it.” So that’s the first reason I’m writing down my version of it here. The second reason why I’m sharing her story isn’t so happy.. .but let’s forget that for now and just enjoy the story first!
Continue reading “the comedy “crime” of telling jokes that aren’t true”
A lot of “normal” people don’t know there’s a whole different language comedians use to talk about stand up comedy.. .which has led to the creation of “stand up dictionaries” in an attempt to explain our lives to humorless plebeians.
But this isn’t one of those fluffy-ass dictionaries for non-comics! This dictionary is for advanced, fluent stand up comedians! With the real, honest definitions – what the words really mean. This ain’t your grandma’s stand up dictionary (unless your grandma was a comic!).
Unfortunately, if you’re not a comedian, this glossary is about as useful as bringing a pocket French dictionary to France. So it might help a little bit. But you’re definitely still going to look stupid. Hey, it’s a start! Actually, it’s the perfect piece to read if, like my mother, you don’t particularly care for comedy but you have “a horse in the race.” With some practice, maybe your poor grasp on our lexicon won’t completely stick out like a sore incomplete idiom.
I know this isn’t an alphabetical list. And, yes, technically that’s what a dictionary is supposed to be. But the alphabet is overrated! Screw the alphabet! Who uses anything besides emojis anymore? That’s why I organized these words for maximal vocabularic retention (i.e. however I feel like it). I’m not sure if “vocabularic” is a real word, but it should be.
So. Below is the very first, very un-alphabetical edition of The (Honest) Stand Up Comedy Dictionary.
Continue reading “the (honest) stand up comedy dictionary”
You’re a mechanical engineering student at Stanford University – one of the most elite colleges in the world. On a typical weeknight, you’re powering through your homework problems for Compressive Flow/Turbo Machinery, studying for an upcoming exam in Fluid Mechanics, building a solar power race car, presenting a camera mount (that you designed) at an engineering fair, or meeting with one of the four student groups that you’re a leader of.
Oh, and you do stand up comedy. You run an open mic at the campus coffee shop on Fridays where you perform in front of an audience of maaaaaybe 10 people. By the time the mic is over, there will be 3 of them left. One, an old man who lives in a trailer and plays his saxophone on the campus quad, comes every week just to heckle you – specifically you – about how your jokes aren’t funny. Whenever you get a chance, you make the forty-minute drive up to San Francisco to hit up an open mic (an open mic that isn’t much more popular than the one you run) and then you make the forty-minute drive back to campus.
One night, you get an email. Demetri Martin, one of the most famous headlining comics in America, is coming to your school. He’s going to be performing in front of an audience of 600. And you get to open for him.
That’s what happened to my friend Phill.
Phill Giliver is a student and open mic comedian based in the San Francisco Bay. This is the story of how he threw his hardworking college-student life out the window for one week so he could perform the set of his life.
A lot of people say you shouldn’t meet your hero because you’ll just be disappointed when you encounter them in the flesh. Phill found out what it was like to meet his. And he says, “do it.”
Continue reading “you should meet your hero: what opening for Demetri Martin taught me – Phill Giliver”
Every stand up comedian has her or his or her or his own unique microphone grip; it’s what makes her or him (or her) special. I’ve collected a comprehensive list of ALL the grips that are out there. Every single one! If you tell jokes into a microphone, there’s a description here waiting specifically for you. I’ve been hunting different mic grips for years, and I’m proud to announce I have finally caught them all. I’m the Ollivanders Wand Shop of microphone grips. 22. That’s how many mic grips I’ve documented! TWENTY-FREAKING-TWO. I’m the expert! Here they are. Which one fits you?
Continue reading “what your microphone grip says about you”
I’ve been thinking a lot about how my stand up has changed since I did comedy back in college on the West coast, so I wrote this thing about one of my old jokes that I ended up adapting after coming to New York City. Before I say anything else, I want to point out that my experience in comedy is limited. I did relatively minimal comedy before coming to New York and I’ve been here for just over half a year. So, in terms of the East/West differences I’m writing about, they only come from my limited personal experiences, which I suppose could have been different for anyone.
Continue reading “being silly and being real: how writing comedy on the East and West coasts made me funnier”
Hello! I’ve been working hard on this story so that I could submit it to a comedy festival…and I just finished it! It’s a story about a trip I took to New Orleans with my grandpa. It’s pretty damn long, but I really do like it a lot. I’m not just saying that. Give it a darn minute of your time and see if you like it!
Continue reading “bullshit is entertaining”