Mediocre Comedian has been wowing dumb, infinitely forgiving audiences with his uninspired material for the past 3 years. His new standup special, I'm Not Ready For This But I'm Getting It Anyway, comes out next week.
Janice: How do you come up with your big, broad characters?
Mediocre Comedian: It all starts with a silly voice, and then it stays there. I get a silly voice in my head, and then I'm like, what kind of archetype that we've all seen before fits this? It's a very organic process that I can do with minimal effort.
J: Let's talk about your podcast.
MC: It's going great. It's mostly just me sitting around with mediocre comedians who I'm not really friends with, but have a social media following, you know? I started it maybe two days ago and response has been really positive, which is all the matters, you know? I can see myself doing it for another three, four weeks before my lack of passion for the art form catches up to me.
J: You're very big on Twitter.
MC: (laughs) Twitter's where I go to test out my stuff. When I'm putting together a standup set, I look at Twitter for my most mediocre jokes, and those go in the set. Twitter's a great barometer, too. If a joke doesn't get featured in some clickbait article by some third-rate “news” aggregator, it's not mediocre enough for my act.
J: How'd you get started doing comedy?
MC: I did a lot of mediocre stuff when I was at Harvard. The stuff I did back then was so cringe-worthy and lame, but when I look back on it, I was really testing the waters, dipping my toes into doing the kind of lazy work that doesn't challenge me that I do today.
J: After you graduated, you were part of a comedy collective in New York.
MC: (laughs) Oh yeah, there was definitely a crew of us. We were all poor and struggling and decidedly mediocre. Every day, we would go out and think of ways to build a personal brand, how to get a manager, how to get an agent, how can I sell this, who do I need to schmooze. Back then, it was just about aggressively pursuing success at all costs. I miss those days.
Janice: I love your webseries, by the way.
MC: (laughs) Me too, and I say that with zero modesty. When I was thinking of ways to pump out web content to trick talented people into hiring me, I thought – the 90's had so much pop culture. Let's reference that. And the Internet really agrees.
J: Any advice to young mediocre comedians?
MC: (laughs) Enjoy the ride, man. When you're on stage riding the wave of laughter that comes from people recognizing a thing, it feels incredible. It's got to be what Bill Maher feels when he got lengthy applause breaks for telling a liberal audience that George W Bush sucks.
And don't worry so much. About the quality of your art, I mean, and I use art in the biggest mother fucking air quotes possible. Don't ask yourself these self-destructive questions like, “How can I be funnier? How can I work with people who make me funnier and more fulfilled as an artist and a human being? Can comedy simultaneously entertain and bring about social change, and how do I strive to do both?” I don't ask those questions – I'm too busy having a successful, mediocre career. I'm maintain the status quo and I'm making shareable content for the social media age and I'm confident I'll never die.