Interview: Blake Wexler talks building a comedy set in an age of tech on Tomorrow Daily
Our next guest is a comedian who is celebrating the release of his very first comedy album.
Which debuted at number six on iTunes.
It's called The Blake Album.
Blake Wessler, thanks for being here.
My God, thank you for having me.
Thank you so much.
There's no studio audience so I have to do it.
It's like maybe someday we'll get an audience of robot clappers.
I think that would be.
It's just metal on metal.
[LAUGH] It doesn't even sound like
Like a blog, beating so many pots and pans together.
A toy hitting the cymbals.
That's what we have, a bunch of monkeys hitting their cymbals.
Welcome to the show.
That makes everyone feel comfortable, that sound.
I like that I suggest that as opposed to
Sound bad if people clapping.
The simpler answer but no, I need a robot studio audience.
That's exactly what we need here.
You are accustomed to audiences clapping.
That's the goal.
Yeah, that's for sure.
You've been doing standup for a long time.
I started when I was real young.
I started when I was fifteen.
And I did it through college, and I'm still doing it.
At fifteen, what made you say, I wanna be on stage in front of people potentially heckling me?
I didn't know about the heckling.
They don't tell that to a fifteen year old.
You must have a great comedy
Special and every joke is amazing and everybody's laughing and you're like [LAUGH] George Carlan just gave all these laughs.
Like I wanna be a standup comedian too.
Meanwhile he bombed all the time.
No I'm kidding, he's amazing.
But yeah I just kept doing it and my mom drove me to shows when I first started and they weren't good shows.
Like they were in terrible dive bars with a bunch of animals from Philadelphia at one o'clock in the morning.
I guess I like them.
That was a petting zoo.
That was a barn.
In a barn.
You were drinking at a petting zoo is what it was.
Did you, what were you-
It was a dive barn.
I like that.
That could be the next hit barn.
I like it.
The dive barn.
[CROSSTALK] Yeah, the dive bar in town is pretty amazing.
Wherever you are.
Where you can pet exotic animals while you're wasted.
They bring out a cloth and you can pet the dive bar.
Actual drinks, yeah, I like it.
I like it.
Yes, don't be offensive.
Not to dwell on your beginnings.
But what does a 15 year old set
What did you start with?
Yeah, what did you write about?
It was really bizarre.
The subject matter, you only have so much life experience.
So, it was the SATs.
But my delivery, my favorite comedian was Louis
Black and I had this weird angry delivery and it's like, why is he angry?
He's a white kid from the suburbs.
He's talking about tests.
They're like, no one cares.
But it was very bizarre.
I think people weren't laughing for the right reasons.
They were just, why is this kid so angry?
More confusing than not funny.
I think that's the way it was.
They were confused.
I think a lot of people who start, start by emulating people they like and then they have that process of finding their own voice or not.
It's interesting to see your brand of comedy now is
I like that sort of your persona on stage is that you're just sort of by default like kind of annoyed at people.
Like you're just like look at these dumb things people are doing.
Yeah, it's funny.
Like I don't even think, like I'm a very happy person, but then like I'll try to talk about annoying things in a silly way, where it's just like, it doesn't, I mean none of the things are huge issues.
I just saw a person who in a very specific way bothered me.
But doesn't affect anyone else.
I like the idea of that sort of snowball effect, where it's this one tiny thing is annoying me, and then you can just build it into this really
Kind of interesting thing that collectively grabs everybody, like a sort of really good way to sort of describe what you would do in your jokes.
Like how you build them.
I like the sound of it.
Will you represent me?
You know what?
I am expecting new clients.
I'm sorry if someone dropped out, or you fire them.
[LAUGH] Maybe you fired him?
I decided to stop representing Jeff, because it's a conflict of interest!
First time I'm hearing this!
So tell us a little bit about making-
There's all my SAT jokes that I knew
My God, so you took them?
Somebody's getting use out of them I'm not.
I gotta get more
So tell us a little bit about creating your first comedy album.
Because this is something that I think a lot of people when they hear a comedy album, they don't really realize how many years of work can go into crafting a set, a specific hour of comedy.
Yeah, I actually did do a chunk on the album.
Of like old jokes like when I was a kid that I wrote.
So that was a fun three-minute part of it.
But yeah it is like years where you've just gotta be in the right place for it I think.
I mean, I think I don't know.
When I start recording an album it seems like this is the pinnacle.
Nothing can better.
Then it happens.
Now I need to sell it as a special.
Do you know what I mean?
It was such a cool accomplishment where The reason why I did it was almost to add a benchmark, like for my career where I did this, I did this, I had my album, you know what I mean?
And then if I make my money back, then great.
The goal is kind of to break even and just have that as a sentimental thing.
And then anything else was a bonus.
But then it ended up selling really well and it came out great.
Like so many things in this business don't go the way you want it to.>>Right.>>But then from getting the right like Guy to work with.
And then the [INAUDIBLE] is going out with the right people, an audience that was there to see me.
And then yeah, just like the way the [INAUDIBLE] came together and there was a weird With any curve ball was kind of handles.
Where I stayed with cats that week, like human beings who owned cats that.
The cast of Cats.
Yeah there always in costume.
Cast of Cats.
Well it what if that was my way of name
I'd say that cast.
I don't know if it's cool, but that's odd.
My roommates are the two leads in Cats.
Fine, no big deal.
What cross section in your life that got into you staying with them?
But I did my best friends in Philly have cats.
I'm allergic to them, but not part shut down allergic, so I didn't think it was that big of a deal.
And then when I listened to the first cut of the album.
You wouldn't be able to hear it as an audience member, but because of like the high quality audio equipment when I would take a deep breath there was like a wheezing noise.
I called Alice Dingley who is the amazing sound director.
I'm like if this stays here we can't [LAUGH] this is a horrific noise for people.
It sounds like laugh out loud funny.
Yeah and then Like you would hear a like long drawn-out beep.>>I think he's dying.>>Yeah.
Like this is not good.
Yes, this is not, well it's supposed to be funny but we're worried.
Should we buy his album?
I feel really worried about him.
It could pay for his medical bills.
We should give him some money.
I mean, that's probably why he released it.
It was crazy and I'm like thank God we were able to get rid of that noise.
I mean it's a thing you would never ever.
Well thanks, cats.
I know, thank you so much, yeah.
You almost blew it for our old friend Blake here.
Destroyed my career.
[LAUGH] Yeah, no!
Like have a personal life vendetta against cats [UNKNOWN].
Right, and every cat that I've ever
Experience crossed before my eyes.
That's a parallel universe that's happening right now, by the way.
Tax having your ruined your career like in
Like it some weird parallel universe, they have to do completely destroy your life.
Never been better again for sure.
And vice versa, you're really out to get them now.
Well, now I am, yeah.
I like to be the bigger species.
Not in this life.
But I'm not.
Not in this life, of course.
But in that other parallel universe, it's time for them to go.
Yeah, I'm quitting comedy.
On the cat-
Perfect, yeah, great.
Another one of those.
So did you feel the pressure then now that you did that album to put all that material away, and craft new?
I mean yeah, the pressure is all put on myself, you know, like I'm the one putting the pressure on me.
Cuz like It's not like, I mean people will come to see me but I'm not famous enough where like, I'm going back to this theater where people paid $60 a ticket.
Where like you know, they'll want their money back.
So like I'm trying, like when I do sets now like only maybe ten or 15% old stuff, and then the rest brand new.
So And it's also kind of taken the pressure off where it's like, I've been doing this for awhile.
I've been doing well enough for awhile to have a career.
But it's also like now there's definitive proof that I'm good at this.
You know what I mean?
It's out there.
Yeah, and it's like a tangible thing where-
You have something you could sell.
And you can point people to it.
If you can't see me live you can now buy this record.
Right, it's like I promise I'm good.
And it's just like, okay he's good.
So yeah, it's an interesting thing.
So It also like kind of freak me out, like there's less anxiety trying out new, not just material but ways of doing stand up and stuff.
Yeah, its a cool, it's a great.
What do you mean by that, ways of doing.
Well if I want to improvise more or like throw a character into each
Joke, you know, something like that, or go off.
Like cat revenger?
The cat revenger!
You can write that down.
You can have that.
Everyone watching the show has to sign an mba.
Well, speaking of mba's, we've asked this question before of comedians and writers.
How do you find work shopping things in a world of technology?
Like where people are able to snapchat your sets as you're work shopping things.
People are able to sort of get that information out there before it's really kind of baked.
How do you deal with that?
Or what's like your response to that?
Does that annoy you?
Is that something that you've learned to work around?
How has that affected you as a comedian?
That's a great question.
I think it's like When people video tape me, there's two thoughts where I'm like, "Could you please stop doing that," would be a thing but also, if they put it online, if I'm not good enough to write a better joke after that, if that for some reason puts a roadblock on my career, then I need to be a better writer.
You know what I mean?
It's like, please don't do that but also I have a responsibility
To be good enough to you know keep writing and coming up with a new thing.
But, yeah, there's a cool thing where Hannibal Buress, who's a great comedian, he tried out this technology.
I have no idea how it works.
But, it kills Kills, like it doesn't kill your phone but like your phone won't work.
We have that guy on the show, its called yonder and you put your phone in a little magnetic pouch and then it locks when you're in the venue and you can't take you phone out until you leave.
I love that I think that's really cool
I'm off for that also like to enjoy an art, you know?
Sure, to be present.
Yeah and it really does like, I don't know, just being present I think is so underrated.
It's just like no, just enjoy what you're doing right now, it's okay, you know.
Like Might need a second screen experience for life.
Yeah, I mean sometimes, there's times where I was like put it over there, like my friend Todd when he has people over, you put your phone in the bowl, like when you walk in.
You leave it there.
Whoever's you get out of the bowl [CROSSTALK]
I like that, yeah.
Yeah, it's Jessica's phone now.
You get to use that Uber account.
Right, ooo, I like that.
That's basically it if not anything else.
Is the Uber, it's pretty good.
I do like the one where it's like you get together with your friends.
Everybody puts their phone on a stack on the table.
And whoever touches their phone first pays for dinner.
I like that too.
That's a good rule.
Unless you have really broke friends so then you just go get it, you go get it generally done.
Rotary phone in the middle.
Just like we know it's shock sitting here.
Your friend to call somebody else's phone, I mean it's ringing right there and they have to get and then you win cuz you're gonna have to pick it up.
Or change one of the names in their phone of the friend to the name of their child calling them.
They make it up all over and over and over again.
It's kind of evil, but funny.
That is super evil, I like that.
Do you sit down and write jokes, or do you kind of craft them while on stage?
What's your process of
Of making comedy.
I'll do both like I like putting in the work of actually writing it out.
But then kind of bullet point it and then like when I bring it on stage like just almost like improvise the thing.
So like I'll have both.
oath where if in the moment I come up with something funnier it's like okay cool and I'll record it on my iPhone and then listen back and be like okay I can plug in that thing that I thought of on stage there but I also like having the pre-written thing
Almost, not as a safety net but as like you know a foundation of it, I guess.
Sure, the skeleton of your joke and then you can sort of see what happens when you take it up on stage.
Right and I just throw genitals out.
Just feel it out.
[LAUGH] They do say skeleton plus genitals equals.
Equals comedy, yeah, it's the same.
Not tragedy plus time, that's old, that's
Sold.>>It's a downtrodden topic.
Genitals plus skeletons.>>Yeah, it's the 21st century.
We gotta spice it up a little bit.
Thank you so much.
My god, thank you!
Our time's already up.
The album is called The Blake Album, it's super easy, you guys.
Find it on iTunes, right?
And other places.
Other places, yeah.
Find those other places.
A little challenge for you at home, find my album on the internet.
And if you can't find it, what is your website so that people can go there or your, cuz you're the same everywhere on the internet.
Yeah, yeah, it's blakewexler.com and @blakewexler on
Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter.
So follow this man but not in real life cause that's weird.
Follow him on the internet, get his comedy album, enjoy it and laugh and thank you so much for coming on the show.
My god thanks for having us its so much fun.
We will be right back with a, with what I'm very excited about which is I'm gonna grill you on which ones better vibe or ocular.
So stick around its tomorrow daily.
We say goodbye to the show by toasting the future (Tomorrow Daily...