Learning and laughing with ‘Modern Comedian’ creator Scott Moran
This is the first time I have interviewed a comedian who interviews comedians.
While gathering information for my Bonnie McFarlane interview, I happened across an interview she did with stand-up comedian Scott Moran, creator and director the fascinating, informative “Modern Comedian” web series.
Because I’m a god damn professional, I promptly finished my McFarlane column, but not long afterward, I went down a “Modern Comedian” rabbit hole. I was immediately impressed by the fact that each one of Moran’s interviews is unique, something I strive for in the chats I have with comics as well.
The thing that kept me spinning faster in the “Modern Comedian” vortex was how much new information I discovered. Nick Thune’s relationship with his dad was totally foreign to me. Now it isn’t. I knew Maria Bamford had a breakdown that landed her in a psych ward, but I didn’t know about crazymeds.com. Now I do. I understood the financial reasons for comics wanting to play in front of theater crowds, but never thought about the role seating plays in comedy venues until I watched Colin Quinn’s “Modern Comedian” episode.
Moran and I discussed how and why he started the series, his editing process and much more.
TC: Since we’re in similar lines of work, I’m not going to lie — I’m a little nervous. How are your nerves going into this experience?
SM: I always get really nervous when I talk to anyone about anything and this is no exception.
TC: I really enjoy “Modern Comedian.” What led you to start the series?
SM: I was living in NYC and hanging out with Ben Kronberg a bunch. He told me the story about how certain people perceived that he was not a good comic because of the notebook thing, which of course is crazy. I had a seed of an idea to make a documentary series so I just put two and two together.
TC: Each interview has a central theme. Is that of your choosing or do you communicate with the comedians beforehand on those topics?
SM: A little of both. I pitch some of the ideas and in some cases the comedian will tweak it or come to me with their own idea.
TC: The Maria Bamford interview stands out for me. When you watch that, you know it’s good, right?
SM: Ha. More accurately, I hope it’s good. After editing an episode, which can take up to eight hours, I have seen it so much I have no idea what it is anymore. I have to show it to friends or my girlfriend and see how they react.
TC: Have any of your interview subjects ever seen you do stand-up?
SM: Yes. Lots of them. Last year I opened for Rory Scovel on the road a lot and I started stand-up with Andy Haynes. Most everyone has seen me perform, except for maybe some of the bigger names.
Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find In Five Minutes:
Embarrassing moment for ESPN Radio: they tried to play a clip of Chris Berman, but used audio of a gorilla being smothered to death instead.
— Ben Rosen (@Rosen) October 3, 2014