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I opened for the Akron/Family in New York at the same place, and I thought, ‘I’m at the same place—I’m going to get booed again! Who do you think works harder, musicians or comedians?’ And I thought if they boo me, I’ll be like, ‘Uh, the Akron/Family didn’t show up today, and so they asked me to fill in for them, and I’ll have to play each instrument alone, but just pretend they’re all playing at the same time. I think both equally work as hard, just in different ways.
’ Helen Hunt and the Twisters haven’t performed in over a year. Now that your movie career is taking off, do you think you could get Helen Hunt on stage to sing with you guys?’ And I go up there, and people are like, ‘Go back to Jersey! ’ And there was this guy who was like ‘I’m going to fuck you up! ’ Thank god he didn’t go up there, but they booed me so I couldn’t talk at all! Have you ever considered getting revenge by getting a band to open for your stand-up act, and having the audience boo that band?I’ve thought of other ways to mess with them, in a non-malicious way.With music, at a bar, people will talk over your music, and that kind of shocks! You’re like, ‘I think this is going well, but I have no idea why! A lot of musicians I’ve met want to be comedy writers and perform comedy, and a lot of comedians want to perform music.’ There’s a lot of press recently about the renaissance in L. Like my friend Paul Rust, he wanted to be in a band and stuff, and somehow we got mixed into comedy.And when the band went off, they were like, ‘And now, ladies and gentlemen, Man Man! And my friend from Man Man, Honus, carried me out, and I was like ‘I don’t want to go! Last time I went up, there was like 30 people there.
Right now there’s hundreds of people who don’t know who I am from the last performance!
Like Steve Martin would tap dance, and play banjo, and some of the stuff he was doing wasn’t necessarily hilarious. Nothing about the words is funny—it’s just about the way the song is delivered, and how uncomfortable it is to see someone almost break down in the middle of the song.
I’m not sure if my songs are funny, and I don’t understand why people laugh at them! Steve Martin would open for bands when he was getting his start, like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Earl Scruggs. I’ve opened for Akron/Family, and I’ve opened for Sasha Smith.
So it might take awhile.’ And so I’d just go do guitar, then go do drums… Most comedians don’t get paid for 95% of their gigs, if not more! It’s kind of disgusting, the realization that oh, I perform comedy for free—I’m like a big nerd! I really like performing, and don’t get paid really!
The way the venues work, most musicians get paid for their gigs, even if it’s a couple bucks. But with comedy, you get a reaction with the laughter, and know immediately how you’re doing.
Charlyne Yi is a comedienne and musician who has opened for Akron/Family, has had members of Man Man and the Vandals cover her songs, and pees while being interviewed. You and Kate Micucci might be singing about a booger trying to find its way back to the nose, but it’s sad at the same time. I think sometimes me and Kate hide a true song with comedy, because we’re embarrassed of talking about something. I think music is a great way to do comedy and still do sincere stuff. I starting taking up harp because I was reading that book! My songs I think are kind of funny, but I don’t even know if they are funny.