First of all, this is the first interview I have ever done.
Second of all, I have been watching Chris Gethard do improv ever since I was a little girl. He is super-talented. Like beyond talented. If you don’t live near a UCB theater, it’s okay because you can go to UCBcomedy.com and check out his videos. You can also read his Twitter and you can check out his actual show at thechrisgethardshow.com. And now, he’s got a book out (his second, actually) called A Bad Idea I’m About to Do: True Tales of Seriously Poor Judgment and Stunningly Awkward Adventure. It’s really funny. Well, the parts my Mom let me read are really funny.
Third of all, he’s a HelloGiggles BFF. Totally. He gets it.
So here’s my interview and please check out the HelloGiggles YouTube page – the whole interview will be up there, too.
Ruby: Were you awkward when you were my age?
CHRIS: I was definitely more awkward. My impression of you ever since we met is that you’ve got it together pretty good.
Ruby: Not in school. I’m just like…there.
CHRIS: Well, I know that feeling. I was definitely very awkward. But I was also like a big-headed, weird-looking kid. I had glasses. And a giant head. My childhood nickname was Mega-head. So I was physically very awkward. Yeah, I had that. Plus my last name. I don’t know. That might be inappropriate. You know what I’m saying? It spells “Get Hard”. That wasn’t cool. So I kind of had a deficit. I started out with a handicap as far as awkward goes. I look like this and that’s my last name.
CHRIS: I’ve gotten that reaction from many females.
Ruby: Tell me about your first date.
CHRIS: Well, let’s see. I started dating a little late in the game. The first girl I kissed, but we didn’t really go on a date. I guess that would count. She just came over my house and we watched TV in the basement. You look grossed out., thinking about me kissing a girl. But you asked about my dating life, you opened this can of worms.
Ruby: Whoa, I never asked about kissing anyone. I asked about a date.
CHRIS: My first actual date, I was in high school. I took her out for Valentine’s Day to a restaurant and I wanted it to be a surprise. And her mom made me tell her all the details because her mom did not trust me.
Ruby: I’m sorry.
CHRIS: No, you don’t have to apologize. I was less awkward than you. I’m more awkward than you. You’re less awkward than I was is what I mean to say. Even this is awkward. Even me trying to figure out the grammar of this has been awkward.
Ruby: I call myself an awkward rock. My friend has been going out with this guy for two months and they’ve only gone on one date.
CHRIS: How does that even qualify as dating?
Ruby: That’s what I say. I have a question for you. What were you thinking in this photo?
CHRIS: That’s a fair question. Now, how old do you think I was in that picture?
CHRIS: 18 years old. I look younger than you are now.
Ruby: I thought you were like, 14.
CHRIS: I was what they called a late bloomer. That picture is regrettable. I would say it’s regrettable in every way. But I don’t know, I think it’s pretty funny. I just owned it. I just owned it.
Ruby: And your grandpa?
CHRIS: My grandpa, who I write about in the book, was in the hospital for actually being crazy which I never knew. I just grew up and thought he was a weird funny guy. He did a lot of strange things. He once lit his lawn on fire because he didn’t feel like mowing it and he tried to blame me for that. He used to just crash his car around. He told everyone in my family that my brother was gay even though my brother is not; he just thought it was funny. Nobody expects your grandfather to start lying about you, you know? Yeah he was nuts. He was an influence on my life in many positive ways and also in negative ways. But I learned a lot from him.
Ruby: So…I met you at UCB.
CHRIS: We’ve done shows together dating back many years. I bet you don’t even remember the first time we did a show together.
Ruby: I do not, but I have pictures.
CHRIS: Right around the time I turned 20, I started taking the train in to check out UCB. I felt a little lost and didn’t really know my place. Finding it, I was like, okay, this is where I should be hanging out, this is all smart funny people hanging out at this weird underground place where you’re allowed to be weird. It was great, it was great. I think it’s still a very welcoming place to society’s cast offs. I got a ticket for a show that started at 6:30 and I think I watched all the shows through midnight and from there I was there four nights a week, watching shows. That first night I saw Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel, Rob Riggle…all these people, all on the same night. I was just like this little awkward kid, I looked pretty close to that picture. I was like, yeah, this is cool, this is cool. And then I was there all the time, all the time.
Ruby: Yeah, I like UCB, it’s like home. A lot of my friends don’t get the humor that I get.
CHRIS: You know Diddy, Sean Diddy Combs, Puff Daddy? He did my show at UCB. That’s impressive, right? I hung out with Diddy. That would impress an 11 year-old, I would like to think.
Ruby: Yes it would. Let’s talk about The Chris Gethard Show.
CHRIS: It’s been a fun experience and we’ve had some interesting times…
Ruby: Yes, you have.
CHRIS: Thank you. Now, you said that in a way that sounded judgmental but you’ve told me you enjoyed the show.
Ruby: Yes! It’s very funny! The Human Fish!
CHRIS: The Human Fish, he’s a half-man, half-fish creature and he just hangs out. It’s almost everyone’s favorite thing about the show. You like the Human Fish, right?
Ruby: Yeah, it’s like, what is the Human Fish thinking? Does he not shave just for the show?
CHRIS: His body is hairy. Most boys don’t shave their bodies on a regular basis.
Ruby: That’s pleasant.
CHRIS: Did you just learn that? Is that a thing you just learned about the world?
CHRIS: When you were on sandwich night, were you like, ‘Oh no, people can see me on this crazy thing’?
Ruby: No, I love being on your show. So let’s talk about feminism.
CHRIS: I support it. I think it’s a good thing. And I think I’m a pretty liberal guy and I’ve seen many situations where things are unfair like especially in comedy. I think ladies get judged more and they have to hustle harder. And being a comedian, I’ve been around that a lot. And it’s just a myth. There was a guy that put out an article a couple of years ago entitled “Why Women Aren’t Funny?” And it’s just so dumb, you know? It’s so dumb ‘cuz you know who owns my theater? Amy Poehler! The funniest person in the world. She’s a lady. Who’s funnier than her? Tiny Fey and Rachel Dratch, all of them, and you know my friend Shannon O’Neill!
Ruby: Shannon’s so funny.
CHRIS: She’s so funny and it’s not like she has to be a girly girl to be funny. She does her own thing, she has her own voice, its not defined by anyone saying, ‘Here’s how ladies should be funny, here’s why ladies aren’t funny.’ Shannon’s ten times funnier than I am, wouldn’t you agree, honestly?
Ruby: I don’t know, I think you guys are both pretty good.
CHRIS: I think we’re both funny but I think she’s much funnier than I am.
Ruby: I have one last question. For people who want to get into improv, what’s your advice?
CHRIS: My main advice for people who want to do improv and comedy is that you’re going to fail a lot, many more times than you succeed. You just have to be okay with that. That’s the main thing I can say: you just gotta be ready to stick with it and you gotta be ready to be knocked down. I’ve been rejected by every job in New York, but I just keep finding new things to do, I just keep trying to be creative and do cool stuff.
Ruby: And you have The Chris Gethard Show and it’s a show in your name! It’s really fun!
CHRIS: Exactly. It’s a lot of fun and that is what’s important. Thanks, Ruby. You do not know how much better this is making me feel about my life.