Woolly Mammoth Panic Attack
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Matt Nagin
July 6, 2013
What is your job on this show?
What is your show about?
A debut standup comedy hour best described as a spellbinding, irreverent odyssey into my hilariously neurotic psyche.
What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I enjoy comedy that pushes the envelope and plays with what is considered acceptable. A lot of comics do a joke about how the loudspeakers on the subway produce a muffled noise and then imitate it. I would never be the type of comedian to do that joke. I think the goal with any practice is to try to test the boundaries and push into new territory so that suddenly you're standing on Mars and then you're in Alpha Century and by the time you know what happened you're in a parallel universe but it's cool because the aliens pick up the gas bill and you're in a dual-star system so it's very easy to get a sun tan.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
The great element with theatrical entertainment is the immediacy of response. It is incredible to be able to interact with the audience and get a tangible reaction to your madcap ideas. Film or TV are enjoyable but there really is no equivalent to experiencing the uniqueness of a theatrical moment in time with a crowd, which is something that can never precisely be repeated. Heraclitus said "you can never step in the same river twice." The same holds true for a stage. You can never step on the same stage twice. I need to keep this in mind when I go to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival, for I will technically be performing at the Jekyll & Hyde 24 nights in a row--although it won't be the same stage--metaphysically speaking. I mean I'll think I'm in Edinburgh but all the while I might as well be in Bombay.
Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
I wanted to produce this show because I did not feel my comedy neatly fits into the scene. I perform at clubs and can do those shows and enjoy them, but what I really want to do is a bit outside of that whole system. I also have performed on a lot of alternative shows, which are great too, but I feel my comedy is the alt of the alt. The alt is not alt enough for me. The fringe festival seems to be for people who have nowhere else to go. We are the homeless of the theater. No one will have us. We are wandering, wandering, aimlessly. So we become fringe guys. And get fringe attire. And fringe out, man.
Which cartoon character would you identify your show with: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Marge Simpson?
Bugs Bunny. Because he is a trickster. He always surprises you. And he always comes out on top. The image of him eating that carrot and laughing would be a fitting icon for my show. Although my show would be more about a severely-disturbed Bugs Bunny on anti-depressants and sort of thinking of slitting his wrists while watching an old episode of The Jetsons and maybe crying into his beer while considering calling the police for domestic abuse...while he was living alone.
Who are your heroes?
I like dark comedy, so one of my biggest heroes is Stanley Kubrick. I am obsessed with his films and have watched them far too many times to be considered entirely sane. How many times can you watch A Clockwork Orange before you snap? Kubrick is a hero because he really points out some uncomfortable truths about human nature in dramatic form. In terms of comedians I like Gilbert Gottfried, Andy Kaufman, Bill Hicks, George Carlin--to name a few. Carlin I probably rank highest because he was such a careful, methodical writer and because he was so prolific and precise. But I definitely like comics that are uncompromising and a bit zany and that really have something to say and/or say something in a unique fashion. Incidentally, I want to be one of my own heroes, and so, of late, I've started 'liking' my own facebook posts. At this rate any day now I'll actually genuinely start liking myself.