Tag Archives: David Luna

Ode to Castro

We begin this Annual week in a state of mourning following the loss of our beloved Fidel Castro. We say our because following his retirement, Fidel, or Papa Cass as we called him, reached out to us at The Annual, hoping to find an ally in the states. At first we said no, it would be unpatriotic to work with the retired dictator, but eventually we came around. This was largely thanks to the term “retired” and promise of a great many Cuban Pesos (something we failed to realize was worthless in the United States thanks to the countless embargos placed on cuban goods).

After we formed a partnership, Papa Cass really became a Father Figure to many Annual Staffers. Unable to visit in person, we spoke with Papa Cass many times via Skype and Facetime. I personally learned how to grow and maintain a beard from the man, and on more than one occasion he assembled the whole staff and taught us how to survive an assassination attempt. These assassination survival lessons were often given while the 80 year old former-leader was out of breath and filled with adrenaline, we never knew why, but it always seemed like the attempts were fresh in his memory.

One day, little Johnny needed a ride to his Ballet lessons and Papa Cass graciously ordered a cab and spoke to Johnny on the phone the whole way to make sure he had arrived safely. On a cold night in September of 2013 a harsh storm rolled in, I was alone, but Papa Cass called to tell me a bedtime story until I was fast asleep.

Supposedly he sent us gifts but claims they were all intercepted by “those damn capitalists at the border.” He made us swear never to reveal our relationship, largely because having a second family of ragtag comedy writers would hurt his real family in Cuba. Often he would send us joke, bad jokes. They weren’t particularly blue or off-color. They were just… dad jokes. We never published them and he seemed to like that about us, we weren’t afraid to censor him just as he wasn’t afraid to censor his dissenters. We had “spunky attitudes” as Papa Cass would say.

Rest in peace Papa Cass, we are truly sorry we couldn’t give you the viking funeral you fantasized about in so many laggy skype calls.

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Kevin Cole & David Luna

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Meeting Mr. Reynolds!

Courtney Reynolds is a stand up comedian working in Philadelphia, he also hosts If You’re Reading This Quit Your Day Job in New York City. David Luna recently traveled to the big city to document the comedy and a small chunk of the life of Courtney Reynolds.

You can learn more about Courtney by following him @FullCourtComedy

This video was made in collaboration with the Something Art Coalition

This Friday, Meet Courtney Reynolds!

Over the summer, Annual staffer David Luna took a road trip to New York to record and interview Courtney Reynolds. Courtney is a stand up comic working in the city, he hosts the show If You’re Reading This Quit Your Day Job, every Thursday at Bungas Den.

You won’t want to miss this original Annual video made in collaboration with the Something Art Collective, so check back here on Friday morning!

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Trickle-Down Humanity from Amy Alkon

When looking for advice you may reach out to a friend or loved one. If you are particularly lonely you could seek counsel from a psychologist, a televangelist, or even a bottle of drugs. Pretty lame options considering you could always email a real-life goddess known for her red hair and deep fascination with evolutionary psychology. Though it never occurred to me to ask her for advice, I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with…

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What was your first published work?

I wrote a column for my high school newspaper. I won an award, and I thought, “That’s cool.” I wanted to do it some more because when you do something well and people give you some props, you keep doing it to keep getting those props.

What were some prime motivators at that stage in your life?

I grew up in suburban Detroit, in the whitest neighborhood. Even the Puerto Rican people and the black people seemed kinda white. It was very character-free, so my great ambition was to get out of there and go to New York City. That was my prime motivator: You have to do well so you can go places and get out of Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Have you been to New York recently?

I was there a few years ago. I lived there for a long time in various slum apartments. I paid $937 for a 10×12 room and I was dating a guy who had an eight-room, pre-war apartment on the Upper West Side on Weston Avenue for $400. That’s rent control in New York. I could never manage to get that rent-controlled apartment. In my last apartment the landlords were in the Mafia, and you pay your rent on time when the Mafia are your landlords. They were great landlords. They always fixed things and were really nice. I saw my landlord being hauled away on garbage-piling violations on one of those newer “Nightline” shows. All of these places were herbal-dumpy-slum apartments. Living in Venice, I live in a little house and it’s so fantastic. If you’re having a miserable day, you look out the window and there are palm trees and hummingbirds and you think, “Oh, I won’t kill myself today because it’s so pretty out.”

What was your favorite part about living in New York City?

I give advice for a living, science-based advice, and my house right now looks like a giant fire hazard with a bed and an oven because I have these books and papers and scientific journals all over the place. But one of the pranks that my friends and I did in New York was to give free advice on the street corner. We called ourselves The Advice Ladies. We were only going to do this once because we liked to make people laugh and make ourselves laugh.

We had a servant for a while but he fired us–it was a BDSM thing and we weren’t really into that. We just wanted to have him come to our friend’s apartment and have us throw a ball across the floor so he could catch it in his teeth and crawl back to us. Then he said, “My former mistress peed on me.” And I’m like, I’m from Michigan! I’m sure there are people who do that in Michigan, but I wasn’t one of them.

We would have these adventures, and with the Advice Ladies it was so much fun. Our sign said “free advice.” We thought about doing it like Lucy from “Peanuts,” but we thought, “Who’s even going to pay a nickel?” People lined up! It was amazing–New York, free, they lined up around the block! It was fun and interesting and we really helped people, the miracle of miracles. People started asking us serious questions. We had examples on our sign like “wigs and beards, directions and nail biting,” but people would ask us serious questions. I’m thinking, “Oh my God, I didn’t even take psychology in college.” So I started reading through all of psychology. I would read through Freud and realize, “Holy shit! He just made stuff up!” I became a fan of Albert Ellis who started cognitive behavioral therapy. He and Aaron Beck created it both separately and together. It was based in reason, and he became a fan of my work. I told him I didn’t even have a PhD and he told me, “To know what you need to know, it would be a waste of time.”

Sonja Lyubomirsky researches happiness. But I look at her work and all this other work, anthropology and psychology, and I bring it in when I’m answering questions, since I do this science-based advice column that’s also funny. I translate it to normal-person language from professor-ese and try to give people some direction on the stuff they’re doing outside of the perspective of, “Hi, I’m a girl and I publish out of my house because someone gave me an advice column because they didn’t have anybody else to write it at the newspaper.” I just don’t know how other columnist can do that–give their opinion based on nothing.

What advice do people tend to seek from you the most?

It’s generally dating and relationship advice and occasionally manners, because I wrote the book Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say Fuck. People write me saying, “My neighbor’s doing this horrible thing. What should I do?” A lot of stuff people ask me I don’t put in the column because their questions are boring, but I print the interesting ones. The big problem is that people think the world should be a certain way and it should work the way they think it should, but it doesn’t work that way. There are ways things work and they may be counter to people’s intuitions, so I lay out what the science says why, especially evolutionary psychology. It’s explaining that in ways that makes sense and giving practical advice–that’s basically what I do every week.

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Continue reading Trickle-Down Humanity from Amy Alkon

Safe in an Unsafe Space with Toby Muresianu

Toby Muresianu is “a very funny engineer” working in California. His show, Unsafe Space, brings together comedians and experts to discuss pressing issues that face us today.  David Luna recently spoke with Toby about the show and his approach to politics and comedy.

How’s the year been for you as an entertainer in the most entertaining year of our contemporary history?

I’ve had a lot of good, entertaining years in my lifetime, but this is probably the most ridiculous, in terms of politics. It’s entertaining. I feel like I’m a pretty boring person. I always enjoyed things being more boring and safer and better for more people rather than exciting but also terrifying. People always tell political comedians “You must be so glad that there’s lots of material with terrible politicians!” and I’m like yeah, but I’m a person first. I’m not that greedy that I’d rather live in an awful country with plenty of fodder for material.

How long have you been doing stand-up?

About 14 years now. I got off to a slower start. I was one of those guys who did it once a month, and then I got into it gradually, more in earnest around 2006. I started when I was a freshman in college so most of my focus was on studying and college stuff.

Are you pursuing comedy full time? What are your personal goals as a human being?

I had been an engineer at Microsoft for a couple of years, and then I left to do app development and stand-up comedy. I’ve done that for a number of years. Sometimes I’d be making my living doing comedy and not focusing on apps, and sometimes that would flip-flop. It’s always been a bit murky. I’ll take side jobs, engineering on a comedy podcast, working for Uber and then blogging about it. Generally, I’ve been a comedian more than anything else, doing tangential sidework related to comedy since 2009. The idea of “full time comedian” is kind of murky. I could make a living if I stayed on the road all the time, but recently I’ve been staying in LA more to focus on stuff here.

What have been your most fulfilling experiences as a comedian?

In 2013 I did the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the first time; I did an hour long solo show. Doing that and having a big crowd some days, just for me, that was the first time I’d consistently do an hour. I’d done it sporadically before that, but this was the first time it was my full show. I’m doing an hour every night, not filling it with crowd work. It was all material that I’m proud of, not throwing in hacky jokes to fill the time.

I was also running a show at the time, a compilation show. I was running two shows a day; it was a very hard experience. You’re in charge of promoting a show, everyone who comes in is coming exclusively to see you, and when you have a shitty set you take it personally because there’s no one else to blame it on. You’re responsible for it when it’s finished, but on the flip side, when it goes well, by the end of run you’re firing on all cylinders and it’s really rewarding.

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What are you involved with at the moment?

I always bite off more than I can chew, which is a blessing and curse. Right now, my big project is Unsafe Space, which is a live show and a podcast that I co-produce with my friend Lou Perez another comedian. It’s a live show where people do stand-up on controversial topics, and then there’s a response from experts in the field and a discussion with the audience.

Continue reading Safe in an Unsafe Space with Toby Muresianu

Good Christian? How Many Of These Things Are You Giving Up For Lent?

Lent is upon us and for the next six weeks Christians will be giving up anything from chocolate to watching TV. We’ve compiled 52 essential things to quit for lent, see how many you’re giving up and tell your friends how good a Christian you are!

1-3: Fallen Angel; 4-10: Decent Christian; 11-20: Good Christian; 21-30: Altar boy; 31-40: Disciple; 41-51: John The Baptist
52: Pope Francis

  • Flossing
  • Faith in Christ
  • Lean Pockets
  • The type of art where you make paintings out of your vomit
  • Sharing things on Facebook before doing 5 seconds of research to see if it’s made up
  • Telling everyone that the fish jumped out of the water and somehow got its mouth stuck on your penis by itself
  • Roller-blades (but not skates)
  • Making every bun a pretzel bun
  • Using the words “correctomundo” and “fo-sho” — See also: “epic”
  • Alcohol over 18% (ok, maybe 31%)
  • Indulgent chuckling
  • Ironic appropriation of AAVE
  • Having sex with your friends’ boyfriends (I heard Jesus would really appreciate it)
  • Pro-life bumper stickers
  • Complain-a-bragging
  • Eye contact
  • Chocolate flavored prophylactics
  • Asking to speak with your manager immediately
  • Taking all your self-loathing and personal frustrations out on the Kardashian/West family
  • Thinking about the country of Africa to make you feel better about your problems
  • Answering incriminating questions
  • Self-respect
  • The physical limitations of gravity
  • Using coupons
  • Your virginity
  • ALL television (but, like, TV-television. Not computer television. that’s different.)
  • Buzzfeed
  • Über and everything they stand for
  • Instagramming my breakfast
  • The Annual
  • “Wonderwall” by Oasis
  • Plotting revenge
  • Making ‘Fetch’ happen
  • Catching up on Game of Thrones before the next season
  • Having earbuds in for the sole purpose of not talking to your co-workers
  • Dipping triscuits in straight-up frosting
  • Wiping
  • Cleaning the litter boxes
  • Pooping in the litter boxes
  • CRAZY TALK
  • Football
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Ugg boots
  • My Sherpa
  • My Sharona
  • My Giant
  • The Mayan Calendar
  • Mylanta
  • Lionel Ritchie’s Greatest Hits
  • Tickling bystanders
  • Walking up to unsuspected people whispering “I like the way your breath smells in the morning.”
  • Taking selfies of selfies
  • Drinking Jack and milk

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David Luna, James McGarvey, Christine McQuaid, T.M. Scholtes

The Greatest Debate with James Adomian & Anthony Atamanuik

Over the phone I heard two voices I had gotten to know quite well through a series of political inspired debates on Youtube, now set on touring the nation in an ultimate display of our polarized popular ideologies and universal absurdity. Within the first few seconds, I was hooked. And by the end of it I felt the surge of political revolution, and the increasing momentum of the triumphantly original and iconic Trump vs. Bernie 2016 Debate Tour. If soon there is to be a sibling to Mt Rushmore constructed in out time, may the faces of Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, James Adomian, and Anthony Atamanuik loom over the forests of the American Midwest.

How did the the first debate come about?

Anthony Atamanuik: I was doing Trump in New York, and I knew James had been doing Bernie for a while. We’d been friends for years, and we’d always done impressions and characters around each other in New York and LA. Actually, James texted me one day and said, “Hey, man, we should try to do this together.” It ended up that we had a good synthesis of a show we could do it at, Whiplash. From there it sort of snowballed because there was a lot of interest.

James Adomian: [Anthony] had the great idea to film the show at Whiplash and have [Anthony Sneed] filming it. It was a pretty popular video on YouTube and from there people were like, “We want to see the whole hour!” or “When are you gonna put it on TV?” So we’re doing what we can, which is a big tour.

I love how you guys are marketing it. I’ve been following closely and a lot of my friends have been as well. I know you guys are going to D.C. Where else are you excited be touring?

JA: Well, we’re very excited to be doing New Hampshire. We’re doing two different cities right before the primary, and we’re going to be right there at the New Hampshire primary.

AA: In the heart of it, right where it all happens, in Manchester.

JA: I think there’s a good chance both Trump and Bernie will win their primaries that night. And that will be perfect.

AA: That will prove that we can finally get our plan of starting the Psychic Friends Network back up and running.

How long have the two of you known each other?

AA: 2008?

JA: Something like that, yeah. It’s been eight years.

AA: Yeah, eight years. Both Obama terms.

How did you meet—just gigging in similar places?

JA: The Del Close Marathon happens at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York every summer, and they have all the craziest, funniest shows late at night. I think we met at a 2 a.m. show called Match Game 76.  

AA: He was Orson Welles, and I was a young John McCain who was just freed from Vietnam.

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Continue reading The Greatest Debate with James Adomian & Anthony Atamanuik

More Surreal: An Interview with Rich Fulcher

I lack an eidetic memory, so in order transcribe these phone call interviews I must record them through an app on my Apple product. My laughter was present throughout 80% of the conversation, because this man understands absurdity. The fact that the recording was audible despite my perpetual cackles and sniggers is nothing short of a miracle. In fact, the man I inter- viewed is a miracle. You probably know him from British television or from all the times your
keys and wallet go missing.

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What is your earliest memory?

Oh, God. I remember somehow being in trouble, and I was told to go in my crib, or playpen (is that was they call it)? Apparently, I rode my tricycle off the base where we had just moved because I was so excited that it was flat, so I went all the way to the main gate, and security picked me up and they drove me back. We were moving at the time, so my parents sort of lost track of me, but I just kept going on my trike, and I think I was relegated to my room for a while.

So you were a military brat?

Air Force brat, yeah. Get it straight.

Did you have to make friends over and over? What was that like?

A lot of entertainers are military brats because they have to adjust. You either, like, withdraw into a shell, get beat up or become a bully, or you try and adjust as quickly as you can. I always felt sick to my stomach whenever I went to a new school, and I would try to be a bit goofy. It would depend on the class, but I would either be a class clown or a, you know, a goofball. You know. You know how it is. I think the same thing happened with Louis Anderson.

[Laughs] No, I don’t know, I just said that randomly. Jim Morrison was a military brat.

Do you feel any sort of extra patriotism? Do you feel connected to the structure of our country because of your upbringing? Or –

The structure?

[Laughs]

I looove the structure of the US. It’s sooo well put together.

I mean more like the system. Do you care about elections and politicians?

You know, actually, I’m really into politics. A lot of it is just because I like to hear arguing. I love good arguments and debates, so I’ll watch like MSNBC and stuff all the time. It’s sort of like sports for me. But as far as being extra patriotic, I used to be more like that and then I just sort of became a little less… crazy.

When you go overseas you realize the good things and the not so good things about the U.S.

What are some of the not-so-good things that you’ve realized?

Well, it’s still a really young country, so it’s still a little uptight. It’s still a little up its own bum. It’s a bit puritanical. Anything sexual comes out in a weird way because it’s sort of repressed, so whenever you repress it in one way it comes out, like, bestiality. It’s not just treated as a normal thing. Like a country that’s been around for a thousand years has a different sort of attitude about stuff like that. But the good thing about the U.S. is it’s always changing and it’s always innovating, so you can never be bored.

If you want to be a ghost, you be a ghost.
Put yourself on the web.
If you want to do porno, you can.

Of course. Do you have any religious beliefs?

Do I? Not really. I think you die and dissolve somewhere.

Like oblivion or an eternal nothingness?

I think you go into like a big bucket of borscht, and everybody is cooked in it, and then it’s periodically poured onto the Earth, mostly through Russia and parts of Lithuania. No, I’m not even going, “Just in case, I’ll believe.” It’s like I’ve sort of lost that energy. Like “Ugh. I don’t see much proof of this.”

Continue reading More Surreal: An Interview with Rich Fulcher

Not Some People: an interview with Nick Vatterott

Some people aren’t easy to get along with or worth knowing. Some people are complete dullards, trudg- ing through life without any sense of ambition or creative ability. Some people are just unpleasant and boring as all hell. The person I spoke to over the phone on October 4th, 2014 is not some people. He is kind, he is smart, he is important. He is…

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What is your earliest memory?

I must have been three years old. I think it was the first time I ever saw snow or something like that, and I ran outside in my pajamas and started running in the snow.

That’s actually really delightful. Would you say that reflects your day-to-day character? Are you joyful all the time, running into new situations with excitement?

I think I’m always interested in running into the snow. I’m always interested in running into whatever. “What is this thing over here? What is this? Let’s try this out.” And a lot of the times I’m not always prepared for it. I’m just in my pajamas, and I probably should have done more homework.

When you were 10 years old, what did you see yourself doing as an adult?

Having a beard. I didn’t really know. I still cannot grow one, so that’s never gonna happen. I think I wanted to be a Nintendo programmer at that point and a professional basketball player shortly after that. In fifth grade I had to fill out a “what do you want to be when you grow up?” [questionnaire], and I wrote on this thing, “stand-up comedian”. Years after I went away from that, and then eventually came back to it. But I always loved comedy. I didn’t understand why people weren’t watching comedy all the time.

What got you started with Second City and doing improv in general?

The first real comedy thing I did was an improv group in college. A buddy of mine was approached to start an improv group at the University of Missouri. He asked me to be a part of it, and then I wrote a humor column for the newspaper at that time. Those were the only two things I wasn’t doing terribly at the university. Second City had come through our town, and I had tried an amateur stand-up contest at the local comedy club, and I had visited Chicago, and I was like, “I gotta get out of college. I gotta do something. Let me just go to Chicago and just try this, see what happens and then take it from there, regardless of what happens.”

People had always been like, “You should do stand-up.” Even at parties, they would be like, “Oh, you’re like a funny guy. You’re like, really funny. You should do something with that.” And I’m like,  “Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. I should also be Michael Jordan too, right?” And they’re like, “NO!” [laughs maniacally]

How often do you write?

When I moved to Chicago I’d go up and do five minutes, and I realized that a lot of the same people were there the following week. This is how I know all those guys: Hannibal [Buress], and Kumail [Nanjiani], and Pete Holmes, and [Kyle] Kinane, and a million other people that are just super awesome and influential. I felt I couldn’t do the same material in front of all those guys as I just did the week before. You’ve got to know your audience. If your audience knows your material, there’s nothing in it for them. And I’m talking about The Lion’s Den, the one specific show every Monday night. I felt I could use every other open mic and every other show the rest of the week to work on material, but for that Monday night show I tried to do five new minutes every week. And I did that for years.

Then I got hired on a cruise ship and I was gone for four months, so for the first time since I started comedy I didn’t write five new minutes every week because I didn’t have an outlet to perform them. I started moving and traveling more, and then I started focusing my writing on more scripts, sketches and working on various other projects. Some weeks are just more than others, how motivated can you get that particular week. But I feel rhythm is like the biggest thing. It was because I was in a rhythm of writing five new minutes every week, that’s why that happened. Once you break that rhythm, it’s really hard to get that momentum going again.

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In 2011 you won the Andy Kaufman Award. It’s my understanding that those who win the award get to spend five nights with Andy at his mansion in Bavaria, where he has been living in secret for all these years. What was that like?

It’s great. You get to go to Bavaria, but you never get to actually meet Andy. He’s always wearing a completely full blue body suit, and he’s generally underwater the whole time. I had dinner with him as he sat in the aquarium at the far end of the table. We had lunch while he was at the bottom of the swimming pool—he’s got some sort of oxygen device.

Do you think he’s actually alive still? Did you read about Bob Zmuda and his new book?

It’s more fun to believe that he is. It’s more fun to believe in Santa Claus than to not. If he’s alive, I think this is the year that he reveals himself and he comes out and he tells everybody that he was Bob Zmuda the whole time.

Let’s transition to some sports talk.

Finally!

How do you think ISIS will do over these next few months, and how will they affect the other global players?

I get that they’re in a building year, this year. They’re in a transition year. I think they’re more into—I don’t know. They don’t have their priorities correct, you know? To be perfectly honest, their uniforms are garbage. They’re not very good for running around in and kicking and throwing and jumping and running. They’re very restraining. They’re gonna get caught on a lot of things, and I just think they really need to rethink their entire uniform if they want to have a chance to get any sort of athletic achievement.

Do you think there will ever be an event that ushers in an era of peace or even a gradual transition to global tranquility, or will we always be hungry for war?

It’s funny how like ISIS is so bad, but al-Qaeda is against them. We are actually on the same side with al-Qaeda, as far as our perception of ISIS goes. Hitler united a lot of the world just because people were united against him. Sadly, it’s almost like there needs to be some sort of terrible thing that the world that unites against. I think alien invasion is gonna do it. I think aliens are gonna invade, and finally we’ll get together with everybody else and be like, “We gotta beat these aliens. Oil? That doesn’t matter, the aliens drank it all, so now we have nothing to fight about.” We unite against the aliens, and then all the leaders unite and say, “It’s all peace and we have ice cream forever.”

Do you have any major aspirations unrelated to comedy or entertainment?

I would like to do something good. Comedy is a constant set of frustrations. If you’re not happy when you’re poor and at an open mic, then you’re not gonna be happy when you’re rich and doing arenas. That is sort of like the number one lesson. Every time you get to a next tier, it’s just a new set of frustrations. At an open mic you just wish you could do shows. As soon as you start doing shows, then you’re like, “Well, this is frustrating. I’m not really getting paid to do it.” And then you start getting paid to do a club: “Yeah, this is frustrating, I’m not really headlining. I wish I was headlining.” Then you start headlining and then you’re like, “Well, this is frustrating, the club keeps telling me that I’m not a draw the whole time, and they won’t book me back because I’m not a draw.” And then you’re finally a draw, and then you’re like, “Well, now people just keep bugging me on the fucking street. They yell my catchphrase at me the whole time I do my show.”

In one year I saw Bill Cosby and Dave Chappelle. I saw them within a month of each other, and they both got heckled. It’s like, “Wow, it never ends.” I think at one point, you’re just like, “I should go to Africa and dig wells. I should try to fix the homeless situation in at least one city and give people the medicine they need.” I think I have an odd-wired brain, and if it was wired one way different, I’d be the homeless guy trying to play cards with pigeons on the corner. There’s a pill that guy can take that will make him think normal again. To me I almost feel like that’s more rewarding than the low points of comedy.

Also: Professional space-jumper. If I could just jump from space into Earth and get paid for that some how, that could definitely be dope.

If money were no limitation, what would you be doing right now? I would just guess space-jumping.

Space-jumping, yeah. I wanna get paid for that. I would only do it if I get paid, you know?

I’d probably spend more time with my family, as lame is that sounds. I’d fly them out more; I’d fly home more often. It’s unfortunate that money is a factor to that.

I think rocket-pack around Tokyo. I would love to build a giant Godzilla, and then I’d love to rocket-pack defeat him and then just be a hero. I think more outlandish, month-long pranks where no one really knows what happened. More alien sightings, Bigfoot sightings. I just want to mess with everybody’s minds. I think that would be very entertaining.

I wanna save homeless people. I want to help out those who are unfortunate. And those that are fortunate, I want to take down. With pranks.

What things in life give you the most pleasure?

Sadly, comedy.

Good.

I’m a sucker for people being good to each other. Like, any video where strangers are good to each other, I’ll sort of get tiny choked up, you know? I’ve just lost so much faith in humanity that when I see it, it’s just a great reminder.

Pinball is my huge thing right now. I’m a pinball addict. There’s a Walking Dead and Great Lebowski pinball machine coming out soon that I’m super excited about. I don’t know if anybody is as excited about it as I am, and I don’t have a lot of people I can talk to about it. There’s something about pinball that just fits with my personality. People are often like, “But you don’t have any control over it.” No, you’re wrong. It’s sort of like chaotic darts. It’s chaos, but you can sort of control the chaos a little bit. You have some say in the chaos. At the end of the day, there are just things that are beyond your control, and it’s just how you adapt. Part of me just loves the idea that everything is just ridiculous and crazy and completely bonkers, and you have some control over it, and, Jesus, when three multi-balls are going on, it’s just bonkers-town.

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What is your deepest fear?

My deepest fear is that I didn’t utilize my time for the things that are most important. While I feel that I’m generally, consistently conscious of that and aware of my use of time, I don’t wanna look back and be like, “That was an unimportant thing.” I don’t want to look back and be like, “I spent too much time on Twitter. All that time on Twitter was a phone call I could have made to an old friend. Time I could have used to spend with my loved ones, with my family.”

With the internet you can now have more control of your career by “gaining a following” and all that stuff. I feel like we as comedians, we do a lot of things that we feel are necessary or they’re part of the “do everything we can to make this possible career work.” I feel like a lot of the things that we feel are necessary are actually a distraction. Sometimes I sit there and go, “If I took all the time I’ve spent on writing blogs and podcasts and Twitter and my web page and all that stuff, never spent one second on any of that stuff, how many screenplays would I have done by now?” It’s hard to step back and look at Twitter and be like, “I did a real good Twitter feed.” Even if I don’t sell it, I think I’d have more sense of accomplishment of writing something that’s meaningful, that I think is good work.

You have been given one week left to live. What do you do with your time?

I think I’d take everybody that I want to spend time with on my last week, and we—I think we’d all just jump from space together. I’ve sort of lucked out. When I was working on the cruise ship for Second City—I loved that—I lucked out. I got to go see Stonehenge, the Pyramids, Greece and Rome. I got to see all that stuff. I’m so lucky to have done that. So as far as traveling goes, I feel like I just want to find that one cool place. Maybe we all just go to Chicago, and drink and have fun. I don’t really want an itinerary. I just want to hang out. I do want there to be pinball machines everywhere. I just want to drink and play pinball and hang out with people. I think that’s probably what it would be; I would go to Chicago, I’d try to do shows every night, I’d try to get my favorite performers to play with me, and I think we’d just drink and play pinball the whole time. I’m trying to think of that last moment. I think walking into the lake…see how far I can walk into Lake Michigan. “Goodbye, everyone! I’m going to Canada by way of Lake Michigan!”

Nick Vatterott’s album For Amusement Only is now available on Comedy Central Records. You can learn more about Nick by visiting his website and following him on Twitter @NickVatterott

Interview conducted by David Luna
Artwork by Kevin Cole, David Luna, Yarissa Luna

Continue reading Not Some People: an interview with Nick Vatterott