Moss Perricone (@mossperricone) is a writer and comic based in New York. He co-hosts Pukefest, a monthly stand-up show and drinking game in Clinton Hill.
This week, Perricone talked with me about memorizing stand-up albums as a kid, watching brands interact online, and writing jokes about his recent breakup.
I watched so many episodes of Pimp My Ride growing up and I feel like Xzibit was always installing juice machines in people’s cars. He might’ve only done it once, but it really stuck in my head. I love when a comic does something based on a thing that stuck in their head and the audience — maybe they’ve never heard it articulated before — realizes it’s been stuck in their head too. I don’t think Xzibit’s Juice Machine is the greatest example of that, but I will use it as an excuse to say being in an audience when a comic hits a moment like that is one of my favorite things.
Who are some of your main comedic influences?
I was pretty anxious as a kid and I would play stand-up albums on repeat, to the point where I still have a few memorized. The ones that stick out are Feelin’ Kinda Patton by Patton Oswalt and My Secret Public Album by Mike Birbiglia. I listened to those two albums so many times from when I was 9 to 14 that I don’t think I’ll ever get them out of my head. Because of that, I tend towards longer narrative stuff, where the jokes are offshoots of a story. A lot of my favorite comics right now are straight-up joke tellers, but that’s never felt right for me.
I was feeling really lonely one night and I saw all these dumb brands tweeting at each other and I felt, for a second, like these stores had more of a life than I did. I think everyone goes through moments where they feel like other people are the main character in their life, but it was bizarre to have that with, like, Applebee’s.
Which brand account would you most want to tweet for?
I don’t know if this counts as a brand, but I used to love James Blunt’s Twitter. I haven’t looked at it in a while, I’m not sure if he’s keeping it up, but he would just field harassment for like 12 hours a day. He would find anything anyone tweeted about him and send the meanest replies. If he would pay me, I’d happily do that for him for the rest of my life.
I am always jealous of people who have a very cohesive voice in various mediums. My friend Rachel Sennott is a great example of that. She’s built such a strong, specific voice that really comes through in her stand-up, Twitter, and sketches. I’ve put some work into that, but I feel like I’ll only ever get so close. I picked this tweet because it is very far from anything I would say onstage.
What is it about Twitter that lets you say jokes you wouldn’t onstage? How does your voice change online?
I think there are a few different reasons, but the main thing for me is how tweets are onetime use. When I’m writing stand-up, I want to have stories that I can tell every night for as long as possible. With Twitter, there’s never the possibility to tweeting the same tweet again, so it feels more like I can just throw stuff out and see what sticks.
Perricone recently went through a break-up and catalogued his emotional response both hilariously and publicly. His jokes on the topic garnered some attention online:
I was broken up with about a week ago in a relationship that was a large part of my life. It was a complete surprise and for a few days it was the only thing on my mind. I couldn’t sit down to focus on anything else, so coming up with these was a small way to feel productive. I don’t think I really appreciated the comedy scene until this last week. Having somewhere to go and people to talk to every night distracted me through the worst of it and brought me, pretty quickly, to a place where I now see the breakup as a good thing. One of the most upsetting things is that I have like five new minutes of stand-up about it and Rachel, who is more talented and prolific than me, has eight. That seems unfair.
Karen Chee is a Brooklyn-based comedian who writes for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and Shondaland, among other cool websites.