Stand-up comedian Brent Weinbach says his comedy is “stupid” in the sense that it’s “nonsensical”. His third album is scattalogical, featuring a song about pictures of his poo and a joke about his unsuccessful attempts at fake burping and farting, but most of “Mostly Live” is Weinbach demonstrating a keen ability to take on a variety of character voices and psychologically mess with his audience.
Produced live by A Special Thing Records at Upright Citizens Brigade LA, aside from two voicemail recordings of Weinbach’s friend Daniel Porter and only one studio bit, “Mostly Live” is particularly engaging because of Weinbach’s unique interactions with his energetic audience members. His delivery is oftentimes deadpan, sometimes creepy and always post-modernly brilliant.
Formerly a professional jazz pianist and substitute teacher who graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, Weinbach’s first love was comedy. His main influences included Harry Basil, Charles Fleischer and Mr. Bean (or Rowan Atkinson), and the first song he created at the age of four consisted of the lyrics “Pee Pee, Poo Poo, Kaka”. But, rather than recognizing Weinbach for his comedy, an older woman that heard him singing the song in a grocery store told his mother: “Well, at least he’s musical.” Although Weinbach didn’t end up as a musician, his sister is a singer and guitarist, and his twin brothers are composers. The family is Filipino and Jewish, and Weinbach is usually asked if it’s his mother or father that’s Jewish, to which he replies: “My name is Brent Weinbach.”
Weinbach is “genuinely peculiar” according to comedian Marc Maron, “beautifully unique” according to Aziz Ansari and in Maria Bamford’s words, “a revelation”. A recipient of The Andy Kaufman Award for his innovative comedy, he’s been hailed as a “Name to Watch” by New York Magazine and has appeared on Conan, Lopez Tonight, Comedy Central, HBO, and the Comedians of Comedy tour. I asked what inspires Weinbach’s creative process, and he replied: “Shaq, Urethra Franklin, and 1980s Madonna.” When I asked him how he relaxes, he replied, “I just get a half gallon of Häagen-Dazs and watch Steel Magnolias.”; when I asked him to be serious, he replied “8 and 16 bit Nintendo games” and then brought out about sixty of his games, hidden under his TV stand in four Trader Joes and Safeway paper bags, which he admitted was weird.
Knowing how strange and sometimes juvenile Brent Weinbach’s comedy is, I was surprised that “The True Life Brent Weinbach” is pretty much a minimalist. He doesn’t decorate his apartment (aside from a doll he has in the corner of his living room that he used in a music video), he doesn’t use a cell phone (he just checks his voicemails regularly), and he makes smoothies on a weekly basis. When I asked Weinbach what occupies his head most of the day, he said: “I don’t know- girls I have crushes on.” And, when I asked him what he wants most out of life, he said: “Fire and Ice for the Nintendo, Alien Soldier for the Mega Drive, and I want to be able to go into Ralphs and buy anything I want- fruit snacks, Good and Plenty, Airheads, Starburst…Budget-wise, I’m pretty much living the American Dream now because I do get to go into Ralphs and buy Good and Plenty if I want to.”
Career-wise, Brent Weinbach is doing well. He acts occasionally and tours often. When I asked him if there was a TV show he’d want to be on, he said, “Well, I wrote a show. It’s an 80s style family sitcom, multi-camera. It centers around a normal, wholesome family, but the dad is me. It’s called ‘Weird Dad’. The mom married this weird guy and the kids are weirded out, but he wins them over. I don’t think anyone would wrap their heads around me being a dad, though.” Brent Weinbach is currently writing an undercover cop movie with Moshe Kasher and Louis Katz and is keeping the details confidential, but let’s hope it gets made one day. For now, help him finance his future dreams by buying his album on iTunes or A Special Thing Records. And, watch my interview above because we get a little silly and random together.
(Photo on album cover by Liezl Estipona – heyitsliezl.com, and Design by Ryan Corey)