comedians you should know

Vinny Thomas Will Host a Nature Show One Day

Illustration: Franziska Barczyk

This week, we’re highlighting 24 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, performing, goals for the future, and more. Next up is Vinny Thomas.

What would your Real Housewives tagline be?
I would blink out “Momma needs her wine” in Morse code.

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 “Galactic Federation” video. I think I’m most proud of whatever I’m doing at the moment I’m doing it. Then, a few years later I’ll look back and think, That was just okay. And you know what? That’s growth.

Tell us one story from your childhood you think explains why you ended up becoming a comedian.
There was no way to know. When I was around 4, I used to gather my extended family and make them watch as I stumbled my way through “Bills, Bills, Bills,” by Destiny’s Child. I couldn’t sing. I did not know the words. It wasn’t funny.

If a network green-lit a semi-autobiographical series for you to star in tomorrow, what would your character’s name and job be?
My name would be Thomas, and I would be immortal. But I wouldn’t be a vampire or anything. I’d just be some guy who has lived for like 100,000 years but hasn’t done anything particularly special. I would be in insurance sales or accounting or something. I’d have no big grand plan and no mission. Sometimes I’d host little cookouts for my co-workers, who hate going but feel obligated. The meat is a little too dry.

If you had to come onstage to just one song for the rest of your life, what song would it be and why?
The Gregorian chant song from Halo, and it’s not close. I want to command an air of grand, ominous power. That’s very important.

Tell us everything about your worst show ever.
In college, a group of us were invited to do improv at this comedy festival. It was supposed to be this big thing. Like, they rented out a whole convention complex and everything. They even flew out some celebrities. But when I tell you NOBODY showed up … not a single, solitary soul bought a ticket to this entire convention. I don’t know if they didn’t advertise or what. Maybe the whole thing was a front to launder money? Whatever the reason, we were doing short-form improv games in front of an empty 300-plus-seat double-decker auditorium. And honestly? We ate.

Nominate one comedian you don’t know personally who you think is overdue for wider recognition and why.
Felonious Munk deserves wider recognition (because of his talent and overall vibe).

When it comes to your comedy opinions — about material, performing, audience, the industry, etc. — what hill will you die on?
Do not cherish your social-media posts. Truly. Treat them like disposable little thoughts. Not a single one of them should be beyond the reach of your delete button. If they cause you even an ounce of stress, cull the tweet.

What’s an embarrassingly earnest goal you have?
I really, really want to host a nature show one day. I want to talk to scientists and learn about their work and flip rocks over to find bitchin’ little newts and stuff. I’ve always been fascinated by wildlife, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. It’s a very important part of my identity. You know what? I love a good terrarium too. Maybe a terrarium-competition show.

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? 
Best advice: Walk through open doors, even if they’re not the doors you’ve been waiting on. I don’t remember who told me that, but I think about it a whole lot. I love metaphors.

Worst advice was when my great-aunt (whom I LOVE) told me to “consider sending Lorne Michaels and Colin Jost a short letter letting them know you are interested in applying for a position.” I do sometimes wish the industry worked like that. I wish it was all just résumés and cover letters. I think that might be better. I am so bad at networking. I never know where to stand.

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Vinny Thomas Will Host a Nature Show One Day