Ethan Beach (@beachethan) is a Canadian comedian and filmmaker living in Brooklyn, New York. He works as a video editor at Comedy Central and co-hosts two regular comedy shows: Oh, Such a Good Show, Oh! at Union Hall and Live! From! Snackland! at Babycastles. Ethan is currently directing and editing a series of in-game videos for the award-winning video game Tuned Out, releasing this year on all major platforms.
This week, Ethan and I talked cooking shows, teenage angst, and his adorable hellion of a rescue dog.
Oftentimes, my creative process for tweets is that I burst awake with a half-formed insane thought that, for no reason, is on the top of my internal mental priority list. This one, though, was just so, so, so horrific, and for that reason, it had to be seen. The pun is just lame, the setup doesn’t make sense (six clones plus the original would actually mean there are seven Pences), and you think it’s gonna be political and then it has nothing to do with politics, except for some sort of half-hearted preaching at the end with the punch line. Just a despicable joke overall, and I really, really love it.
Your brand of comedy is … punny, so to speak. Do you think Twitter has been a good platform for your humor?
I have zero idea. My sense of humor is usually very stupid and not quite as incisive or cutting as some of the comedic tweets that hit hardest on Twitter. I feel like the biggest tweets always have some piece of trenchant insight into human behavior, mixed with a pop-culture reference, usually in an all-lower-case style and a real sense of attitude. I kind of follow my own style, for the most part, which is, again, very stupid (but also … human? Yes … no …).
Does your Canadian-ness inform your comedy at all?
Definitely! I feel a real social rigidness that I learned from being a Canadian child, a constant internal urge not to stir anything up or make trouble, as is the Canadian way. Modesty! Maybe that’s why, to me, the absolute funniest thing is just acting as embarrassing and batshit as possible while still attempting to maintain my assimilation into the rest of society. The lack of awareness of one’s own insanity is very human, and very funny. Canadian comedic sensibility is closer to British comedy, which also laughs at the slightest social faux pas. I get off on confusing people in strange and meaningless ways. I’m also just a weirdo, which cannot, unfortunately, be attributed to the entire nation of Canada.
At the time I tweeted this, the Laurel/Yanny thing had long passed, and no one was talking about it, like, at all. I don’t know why I connected all of these stupid dots together, but I did. I also spent a while on the subway, as I recall, searching for my favorite Yanni picture on Google Images. My favorite comedy to create is the absolute dumbest, and this fits the bill to a T.
You went to school to study film. Did you always expect or plan to make humorous films or shorts? Do you ever make more serious stuff?
Absolutely! I love serious film as well, but I’ve been a hard-core “comedy nerd” since about age 11 or so, when I first discovered HBO’s Mr. Show on DVD. That led me down a rabbit hole of alt-comedy message boards and deep digging into obscure torrent archives of ’90s alternative comedy. But, yeah, in art school, I certainly made mostly pretty serious short films. When I was 18, I made an experimental montage film called teenage angst (all lowercase) that played in a few festivals, and after that, I thought perhaps my career would be in experimental film, but then later realized I think people just liked the novelty of a little 18-year-old making something so inscrutable, and that when you’re older and make weird things like that, people give you more of a shrug or even, perhaps, an eye roll. I now alternate my energies between comedy and film, constantly switching emphasis onto whichever is going better for me career-wise at any given point in time. I’d love to do both, forever — the ultimate goal is director of feature films, preferably comedic!
I thought the idea of someone just taking the song lyric setup for “That’s Amore” completely literally would be funny, so if the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie — then you would have a big moon pizza eye, and nothing more. Also a nice visual for ya. Additionally, this tweet obliterates the idea of love. I have said “I love you” to three partners in my life and still am not fully sure that I’m sure what love is. Maybe this tweet is more exemplary of my emotions than I thought. I self-identify as “emo.”
On one of the shows you host, Live! From! Snackland!, you and your co-host cook food live, onstage. What inspired that idea?
I used to work as a casting editor on Food Network’s Chopped, and I was always thinking about how interesting really fantastic cooking was to watch, and how horrible I am at it. Josh Nasser, my co-host, and I were looking to do a show together and mutually agreed on “learning how to cook” as both a quality skill for us to learn, onstage, and something people would enjoy watching us epically fail at (we heart epic fails!). We figured our incompetence could lead to humor — this has yet to be confirmed, we are still testing.
Please tell us about your rescue dog, Rosie, who is all over your social media.
Rosie is a wonderful spirit and a heck of a mess. She is a one-year-old black Lab mix always full of energy, anxiety, and an insatiable need to lick, chew, and sit on me. She never leaves me alone when I’m at home, and always whines when I leave. She is a naughty dog, too: Last month she broke into my taped-off cabinets and ate, simultaneously, both rat and roach poison. I didn’t even know I had those in the cabinets, but she did, and she really enjoyed them. Anyway, I love this dog and hope to incorporate her into future comedic content. She’s a good little shit.
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