Comedian Adam Newman’s credits are as unusual and diverse as the themes he explores in his new special. He’s been seen on Letterman, Silicon Valley, The Tyra Banks Show, and Animal Planet’s We Love Puppies. In his new Seeso special Fuzzies (streaming now) he tackles subjects like the dark side of The Jetsons, his lost opportunity to play a role in the sequel to the cult horror comedy WolfCop, and the titular phenomenon of tiny pieces of fabric mysteriously getting stuck to his genitals. Oh, and he also manages to set the record for World’s Highest Mic Drop. I talked to Newman the day after the Super Bowl about his new special, his affinity for Athens, Georgia, and the cure for fuzzies.
How are you feeling after the big day yesterday?
The football day?
Actually, I was referencing the puppy thing on Animal Planet.
That was actually the most excited I’ve been about being on anything ever. Late last year I got a random email that was like, “Hey, do you want to be on this Animal Planet talking head show called We Love Puppies?” I was like, “Are you kidding me? That’s as good as it gets for me.” I think when I signed with my agent they said, “If you were to ever host a show what would it be?” I said, “Anything sports or dog related.” We Love Puppies aired on January 1st, but then they re-ran it and rebranded it for Puppy Bowl as a lead-in. Jungle Jack Hanna is on it. I got to meet a cheetah cub that day. I wish it wasn’t a one-off. I wish it was like a Best Week Ever weekly thing because that would pretty much be my dream job, I think.
Sometimes you put something out into the universe and it eventually comes your way.
Maybe there’s some kind of connection between the puppy thing and WolfCop. Even though WolfCop never came to fruition, it was close.
It was so close. I got the offer. Usually when there’s an offer it’s a done deal. I had the offer, the dates, the script, and then a couple days before, they just pulled it. The version of this story on the special is shorter. There’s a much more detailed version where I had previously tweeted with one of the producers about how I would be willing to do it for free. Then they gave me an offer for more money and all this stuff. The producer was like, “He said he would do it for free,” and then they pulled the offer. I was very disappointed I did not get to be in WolfCop 2 so I take out my anger in the second half of the WolfCop bit.
You’ve released two albums and a Comedy Central Half Hour, but this is your first full-length special. Why did you feel that now was the right time in your comedy career to do a special?
I think of a lot of comedians would have the same answer. I had an hour that I’d been touring on for probably over a year. It had been over a year of having an hour that I was happy with, that all fit together, felt seamless, and was really fun to perform. At the same time I was getting really antsy to write new material so it felt like a good time to document it, put it out, and start working on a new hour. I was ready to start writing again. I had ideas – some a little more outside of the box – that I was getting anxious to put together.
You named the special Fuzzies after what you thought was a strictly male phenomenon of having a small piece of fuzz stuck to the end of your dick after wearing a new pair of sweatpants. I’ve found the same problem with new pairs of underwear. You need a couple of washes before that stops being a problem.
Yeah, it’s crazy. I say in that bit that I was asking a female comedian friend about it. Before I lived in LA I would stay on Nicole Byer’s couch. Before you try a joke onstage you like to run it by a comedian buddy. I was asking Nicole if she knew about guys getting these fuzzy things on the tips of their dicks and she gave me the most insanely funny response that I could imagine, which was way funnier than the bit I was trying to write in the first place. She said she didn’t know that it happened to guys, but that she gets fuzzies in her pussy and that she has to “scoop them out of her stink ditch.” I almost called the special Stink Ditch, but I thought it was a little too aggressive. Fuzzies is a much cuter name and lent to much cuter artwork and cover art. But when you watch the special you see that it’s a very raunchy, nasty, but funny bit. So I have to think Nicole Byer for that one. Did I answer that question sufficiently or would you like to talk about your fuzzies experience as well? Because you’re saying that you need a few washes, but for me if I get a new pair of sweatpants or underwear…I love that new clothes feel. I don’t wash clothes before I wear them for the first time.
I have to wash them first because I have very sensitive skin and a lot of times the starches and dyes make me break out. I’ve been on the road and needed a shirt for the night so I’ll stop at Target, buy one, put it on, and after a couple of hours I’m just miserable.
That’s interesting because I will usually travel with the clothes I’m going to wear onstage, but when I’m on the road for extended periods of time underwear is usually the thing I’ll go to Target to buy. I’ll have brand new, not already washed underwear that I’ll put on and maybe that’s where I’m getting these things from. I guess being a touring comedian really amped up the fuzzies experience for me.
You recorded the special in Athens, Georgia at a venue where you used to work security. I know that you’re originally from New Hampshire, but when did you move to Georgia?
I move to the suburbs of Atlanta – Marietta, Georgia – when I was in high school. My dad got a job in Georgia and I stayed in there for college. I did four and a half years of college in Athens and then stayed for another year after that before moving to New York and started doing standup. I played in bands in Athens before I started doing comedy. A lot of musicians and artists tend to stay around Athens so I try to get back at least once or twice a year to do shows and hang out with my college friends and band friends who still live there. Athens is my favorite place. When I got to choose where I would do the special it was an immediate first choice. I originally thought I would do it at the 40 Watt because it’s where I saw my first-ever comedy show. When I was 19 I saw Mitch Hedberg at the 40 Watt. My band used to play there. A couple of years ago Kyle Kinane shot a special there so I knew it was possible to do one there. When I was talking to the production company they said they checked it out and liked it, but they would rather do a place that had a balcony. I was aiming for smaller because I wasn’t sure I would be able to fill out a theater. The Georgia Theater is right down the street and I used to work there in college. I had just as many sentimental reasons to record it there as the 40 Watt.
In your special you set the record for the World’s Highest Mic Drop. A guy from RecordSetter.com comes out and presents the award to you. I’m looking at RecordSetter.com right now and you are among the ranks of Most Times Getting a Mattress World Employee to Say Mattress on a Phone Call and The Most Bunnies Snuggled with in a Hammock, which actually is a record set by Cameron Diaz.
RecordSetter.com is amazing. Originally when you wanted to set a record everybody knows about the Guinness Book of World Records. I was trying to think of a fun way to end the special. If I dropped the mic at the end of my special I would just be a dick. But I thought it would be fun if the show ends, I exit the stage with the microphone, get into an airplane, jump out, drop the mic, and set a world record. I reached out to Guinness first, but they said they were not interested in the record, mainly because there’s no skill involved, which is infuriating because they have World’s Tallest Guy, World’s Fattest Twins, stuff like that. There’s no skill involved in any of those records. I was disappointed that they weren’t interested. When I worked at CollegeHumor years and years ago the RecordSetter.com people would do funny records for the CollegeHumor live show. I looked them up and saw that they had recently been on Fallon judging the world record for the most Adam Sandler impressions in 30 seconds and all these really fun, silly records. I reached out to them and they were very receptive to it. I could have just jumped out of the plane and dropped a microphone, but I thought the big stamp on it would be actually setting the record. It was fun to have them present it to me when I landed. I’ve even got a little plaque on my wall.