Jay Weingarten is a weirdo and weirdos can’t work normal jobs. Instead, they’ve got two choices: get hugely famous or end up on the very fringes of society, forever banished to parents’ basements and midday video store liquidation sales. Jay has chosen the former and, lucky for him, he’s got star chops.
How’d you get your start in comedy?
I started about three years ago. I was a huge fan of comedy and was feeling kind of like I wasn’t really doing anything at the moment. I was a fan and then eventually went into doing my first open mic. At the time, I had a pretty awful job as a consultant.
Consultant? Was that the job you got after graduating?
Yeah it felt like I was living in a David Lynch movie because I was living in this beautiful area, the Oakland hills, living in this cabin, and it was beautiful but I just really hated this job. Everyone working there just seemed like all they cared about was money. Finally, I decided to move to LA because everyone I really liked and looked up to in comedy was in LA. I was listening to a lot of Comedy Death Ray, before it became Comedy Bang! Bang!, and they were all out in LA. So I decided to finally move out and do some open mics. Then I got into hosting some open mics at this place called Echo’s Under Sunset and then doing this show called Holy Fuck that was really popular, but the people running it quit and then passed the show onto me and my friend. That was a really big step for me to have a show pretty regularly and have triple digit crowds in these electric rooms, it was so much fun. I’m doing my first tour in a couple of months; I’m really excited about that. Driving from LA to Chicago with some of my good friends, stopping in 10-12 cities in the middle of the country, it’s going to be really cool.
Is standup how you’re making your bread and butter now?
I actually just quit my job like two weeks ago. Right now I’m not doing anything. I’ve saved up money for about three years after graduating college and grad school and working pretty nice jobs, but right now I’m not working.
Can you tell me a little bit about how you came up with your shtick? You definitely have one.
I do try to do [that whole a/v thing] at least once a week during the open mic that I host because I want to try something new and they have a screen I have access to. I love doing comedy that includes all of the senses, to really create a sensory experience. I’ve met some people in this community called Ghosting and one of those guys works with Oculus. I’d love to somehow try and use that and incorporate it with comedy. I love incorporating video and all kinds of new stuff into standup and comedy. And it’s not like I hate pure standup or anything like that, I respect people who just do pure standup and there are people who just are themselves and a mic and are amazing. I like to experiment on different mediums and use them for comedy and for standup. I like to do as much as possible. I like using Facebook as a medium, just because it’s kind of the best place to just post things and play off other people and just make people very uncomfortable.
What advice would you have for the person who has a consulting job they hate and is looking to break into comedy?
I think my advice would be similar to what other people would say, in that you just need to do it. Look up the nearest open mic and do it. Don’t faint or shit your pants because these are the people you’re going to be doing comedy with for a long time. Watch an open mic and kind of realize that a lot of people will bomb, and just because people bomb that does not make them bad comedians. Realize that you will bomb and it will be for some time. When I started, I just googled how to do it and once you’ve taken that first step out, you’ll see you’re really making a difference.
We’re saving lives here.
We’re saving lives.
And now, here are three reasons to watch Jay’s very special brand of funny. Oppa Gangnam STYLE!
2. Alternative tone
3. Mixed media
Jay Weingarten at The Meltdown
With hints of early Kaufman and Galifiankis mixed with the best bits of Stella’s live show PowerPoint chops, Weingarten’s routine is clearly influenced by some greats (oh, also Tim and Eric), but the dude’s blazing his own path in a way most comics would be terrified to try, regardless of tenure.
The sanctums of this man’s mind are twisted beyond repute, and he’s very down to take us all on a GIF saturated tour.
Jay’s body of work proves that there’s still much new ground to be broken in this thing we call web video and that some of the smartest comedy can be deceptively simple.
Luke is a writer for CollegeHumor and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.