Jordan Brady doesn’t have a flying rat
EVEN THOUGH he questioned who would give “a flying rat’s ass” about what he had to say, I was thrilled when director, producer, writer and occasional stand-up comic Jordan Brady agreed to be the subject of this edition of Inside Jokes.
Brady wrote and directed arguably the greatest documentary ever made on stand-up comedy. (I don’t think there’s an argument. It’s the best.) “I Am Comic” is great for many reasons, including the sheer number of comics who appear on screen to share who and what they think are funny, relive horror stories from the road and give the viewer an inside look at stand-up you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
Also, it’s funny which, as you’ll soon read, was important to Brady. While there are serious moments — Ritch Shydner’s comeback attempt after 14 years away from the stage is riveting — Brady made sure “I Am Comic” was mostly filled with comics being funny on and, mostly off, stage. It’s not some attempt to delve into the “dark side” or “seedy underbelly” of stand-up comedy, which is a refreshing turn for a documentary to take.
Brady has had an interesting, eclectic show business career, doing everything from stand-up to directing commercials. He touched on several topics in our interview, including a certain stripper’s fascinating smoke ring act, and I think there’s a good chance you’ll give a flying rat’s ass as you read it.
Enjoy and don’t forget The Best Tweet I Can Find In Five Minutes at the end.
TC: You’ve been making your living as a director, producer and writer for a while now, but do you still find time to do stand-up and, if not, do you miss it?
JB: Since making “I Am Comic” (available on iTunes) I got the itch to do more than two or three shows per year. I love it. It’s addictive. And since I don’t aspire to go on the road or have a big special, I can just do what I want. But it is hard to polish bits just going up every few weeks and if I go up too often, I get way too into it, and my family hates me. My son Jake goes with me sometimes, which is so cool. He’s the most brutally honest critic and he knows funny.
I did a road gig for a weekend this summer, and filmed it all. I got paid to co-headline, but only had 20 minutes, which I worked up in a few months. So I got a new guy, Seth Milstein, to do a guest set for 20. Wayne Federman did 45, then he and I did 10 minutes together to close. It was a bar gig in Washington state. Stayed tuned for “I Am Road Comic.”
TC: In my opinion, the comedy scene is thriving these days with a nice blend of veteran comics at the top of their games mixed with young, smart, funny up-and-comers. How much comedy do you watch and do you like what you see and hear?
JB: I love the new comics, and respect that they try new shit, produce shows in shitty rooms, make web sketches. I truly love it. Theo Von, Nikki Glaser, Josh Fadem make me laugh. Pete Holmes is an absolute favorite. Nick Kroll. And dozens of kids I see at clubs. Veterans like Blaine Capatch on Twitter rock my world. And Marc Maron, who’s been around since the first Gold Rush of Comedy, has made his own way with podcasting. Same with Doug Benson. So much great comedy now.
TC: I’ve watched “I Am Comic” numerous times and it should be required viewing for anyone who even remotely likes stand-up. What inspired you to make the documentary?
JB: Yes, plug my film. I’m truly humbled by how much comedians like it. I wanted it to be accessible to the common man, yet appeal to comedians. And it had to be funny. I had a taste of success as a comic with TV exposure, so when I’m on set, clients will ask “What’s it like?” so I decided to answer the question by making the documentary. With Google, people that hire me to direct can see my lime green 1990 suit with shoulder pads. Awesome era.
TC: You directed Henry Winlker, Jason Priestly and Willie Nelson in “Dill Scallion.” Which is your favorite: “Happy Days,” “Beverly Hills 90210” or “Whiskey River?”
JB: Fonzie jumped a shark on water skis with a leather jacket. Can’t touch that, and Henry Winkler is the nicest man in show business.
TC: Best comedy show you’ve ever seen?
JB: Look, I’ve seen so many great comedy shows, I can’t say. Brian Regan rocks a theater like no one. Jim Gaffigan has no fat in his act. Belly laughs. Louis CK is the Carlin of our generation. Dana Gould killed at the UCB and told me after the show “You’re cured!” I had brought some advertising folks to have some laughs. He said “You can sit and enjoy the show.” That’s been a blessing.
It is hard to focus, but I just appreciate any comedian that is in his/her element up there. I once saw a stripper blow smoke rings out her anus. That ranks up there as the best comedy show ever.
Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find In Five Minutes:
Today Mitt Romney and Donald Trump will be flying their hair at half staff
— Mary Charlene (@IamEnidColeslaw) November 7, 2012
I encourage Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and write-in candidates to follow @Castleberry74 on Twitter.