Anthony Jeselnik may well be the only man who could rediscover Daniel Tosh's long-lost cringe reflex. Jeselnik's signature dead pan with a bite (while wearing metaphorical grillz) is an equal opportunity offender. There's no blind friend too blind, no suicide too untimely, and no cripple too wheelchair-bound for Jeselnik to capitalize on the potential hilarity. His brand new album Shakespeare makes the corpse of Shakespeare wish he wrote a play called Jeselnik. We chatted with this cocky crude dude to get the scoop on his history as a comedian (think emotionally and physically injured children) and the future of comedy (think bisexual kittens). Good chat.
Who are your biggest comedic influences?
Steven Wright, Jack Handey, Michael O’Donoghue and Rodney Dangerfield.
When did you decide to become a comedian?
After college I wanted to break into show business, but I didn’t have any connections. So I bummed around Los Angeles for a year before I realized that I just had to work harder than other people. After doing a little research, I figure out that stand-up comedians are basically the Navy SEALS of the entertainment industry. If you work your butt off and you’re crazy, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.
What was your worst gig?
I did stand up at an outdoor music festival. My show was half an hour but the band in the tent next to me messed up their cue and started playing twenty minutes early. I didn’t realize I could just say “screw you” and walk off stage. So I made the sound guy turn the volume all the way up and screamed my jokes to compete with the music. I think the crowd appreciated the effort, but I felt like I was doing stand-up in a hurricane.
What was your best gig?
Years ago I headlined my first college. I show up and the audience was full of children. I mean a hundred little kids mixed in with a hundred students. The woman in charge told me it was “Little Brothers and Sisters Night” and that I was on the schedule of events, right in between a screening of “Finding Nemo” and “Pizza Time.” I asked the woman if she had even seen my act before she booked me. She smiled and said “No! Is there a problem?” I said “Probably not” and walked out onstage. That was a fun hour.
If you weren't a comedian, what would you be doing?
What's the funniest thing you've ever seen on the internet?
It’s an old video, but that little kid getting drilled in the head with a basketball from full court has brought so much joy into my life.
What's the funniest thing you've ever seen in real life?
That same little kid getting hit in the head with a bowling ball.
How do you think comedy will change in the coming years?
I think comedy will get less broad in the coming years. The internet has really let comics focus their humor onto a specific audience. If you don’t laugh at anything except jokes about bisexual kittens, there will be a comic just for you in ten years. It just won’t be me.
Who are your favorite underrated or up-and-coming comics?
Adrienne Iapalucci is hilarious.
What's your advice for someone just getting into comedy?
Get as much stage time as you can, write constantly and never ask me for advice.