comedians you should know

Jared Goldstein Smartly Followed Joan Rivers’s Advice

Photo-Illustration: Selman Hoşgör; Photo Courtesy of Subject

This week, we’re highlighting 22 talented writers and performers for Vulture’s annual list “Comedians You Should and Will Know.” Our goal is to introduce a wider audience to the talent that has the comedy community and industry buzzing. (You can read more about our methodology at the link above.) We asked the comedians on the list to answer a series of questions about their work, comedy during the pandemic, and more. Next up is Jared Goldstein.

When did you feel that you were funny enough to make a legitimate go at comedy?
After a few months of open mics, I went from bombing every time to bombing sometimes. And that’s when I knew.
Describe your comedy in five words.
A bad Chelsea Peretti impression.

What of your work do you think you’re best known for, and what of your work are you most proud of?
I’m probably best known for my stand-up, but I’m most proud of my Zoom meetings. I never feel more like a Sagittarius than when I’m being let into the room. On any given weekday, you can find me in the breakout room shining, “Touch Up My Appearance” filter on. Shout-out to Laura Pollak, with whom I Zoomed the most. All this said, if I have to log onto one more BlueJeans I’m out and will be enrolling in beauty school.

If there were a ’90s-style sitcom built around you and your material, in which you had to have a different job than comedian, what would be the title and logline?
Will & Grace: Gay lawyer Will and straight interior designer Grace share a New York City apartment.

What have you done for comedy during COVID that you thought you would never do?
I bought a ring light.

Who are some of your favorite comedians right now? Who is putting out work that excites and inspires you?
Ali Wong, Naomi Ekperigin, Rory Scovel, Bowen Yang, Brian Simpson, Robby Hoffman, Ego Nwodim, James Austin Johnson, Jinkx Monsoon, Vanessa Gonzalez, Jo Firestone, Hannah Einbinder, John Early, Chloe Fineman, Alaska Thunderfuck, Chase Bernstein, Kate Berlant, Greta Titelman, Bob the Drag Queen, and more!
What is the best comedy advice, and then the worst comedy advice, you’ve ever received, either when you were starting out or more recently?
It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out that I wanted to do stand-up. Growing up, I thought I just liked comedians. I also thought I just liked my friend Daniel. I first tried stand-up shortly after Joan Rivers died, and most of the advice about stand-up that I follow to this day I heard from Joan in interviews. She said, “Don’t pay for a comedy class, just go to an open mic,” and that’s what I did.

The worst comedy advice: One time at an open mic in a deli, an old man told me he was so inspired by my set that he wrote some ideas down and then handed me 15 note cards. They said things like “Two sailors meet at a dock and suck each other off” and “I look like an Asian woman.”

Tell us one story from your childhood that is a good representation of your life.
When I was 10, I told my mostly white class that I’m Japanese, and a kid raised their hand and said, “You can’t say ‘Japanese.’ You have to say ‘Asian.’” And everyone agreed.
What’s an embarrassingly earnest goal you have?
I’d like to be in a holiday Gap campaign. I’d like this to include both a commercial and a billboard. In the commercial, I’m dancing in a scarf. On the billboard, I’m giggling in a sweater.
If you had the power to remove anything from the comedy world right now, from trends with material to how the industry operates, what would it be?
Comedians who are younger and funnier than me.

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Jared Goldstein Smartly Followed Joan Rivers’s Advice