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« Inside With: Bart Coleman, Talent Coordinator | Main | The Honey Shot »
Thursday
Jan292009

Inside With: Rob O'Reilly | By: Andrew Singer

BABY FACE "Some pimple-faced kid decides whether I get to pay rent next month" --Rob O'Reilly | Photo: Phil Nee
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Standup comic Rob O'Reilly has steadily been winning the hearts and minds of comedy fans around the world. A regular performer on the college circuit, O'Reilly has also been featured on Jay Leno and Comedy Central's Live at Gotham. We recently chatted with Rob about life on the road, becoming a man and baring all.

How are you making the transition from a youthful comic to a grown-up comic?
I've only recently started to realize that my hook or gimmick is no longer there. I used to be the young kid who could get away with anything because I was adorable. But now I'm just old enough to not get away with it, yet still too young to tell a dirty joke without making an old person uncomfortable. They look at me and they see their son, and they don't want to hear their son talking about vaginas. Nowadays there are some much younger comics, such as Billy the Kid, who is like 15. Billy makes me seem like John McCain.

Photo: Aemiessence Fine Arts
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Did you ever get caught using a fake ID when you first started performing standup?
No, but I started when I was 16. And once I was supposed to emcee a club and the bouncer wouldn't let me in. I told him I was the comic and he didn't believe me. Probably because I looked like I was about 10 years old.

What's it like to perform at NACA expos (National Association for Campus Activities, one of the main ways performers get booked for college shows)? How do you get the most out of college kids?
A NACA is a college showcase, for anyone who doesn't know. They are very strange. They're not like normal comedy shows. They have huge crowds of young college kids who don't really laugh so much as cheer. So it's more like being a cheerleader. You have to be like, "Remember this thing from your childhood?" And they go, "Yeah!" They like you if you're clean and full of energy. Neither of which really describes my normal act. But I do well because I'm about their age, so I can talk about stuff we'd all remember, like the Skip-It, Tamagotchis, or Nintendo. The whole thing is really insane. I mean we're talking about an 18-year-old kid who's put in charge of the school's $100K budget to bring entertainment to campus. So some pimple-faced kid decides whether I get to pay rent next month.

Tell us about your group The StraightMen.
The StraightMen is a group of three stand-up comics: Barry Rothbart, Mike Ennis and myself. As a stand-up, a lot of times you have an idea that would only work as a sketch but not a video. So we all had a lot of great ideas and then started making sketches, both video and live. Because we started performing them at stand-up shows, a lot of our live sketches come out of a staged interruption. Like someone starts heckling and the whole audience usually thinks it's real at first.

We love that guerilla-style of comedy. And our video sketches are great because Barry and Mike own a video production company called WolfAngle Films. So they have nice equipment and are great at editing. We just released a new video that I think is our best yet. It's called "Show It, Joey."

Is there any truth to the rumor that you sometimes perform naked?
Yes, it's true. I co-founded the Naked Comedy Show at The PIT with Andy O'Fiesh. Andy started the show at the Improv Boston, and I helped him bring it to New York. The show is very popular and generally sells out. We do it the first Saturday of the month at 8pm. All the comedians perform completely nude. And yes, the comics are all completely naked. And yes, I'm not kidding. And yes, we have female comics. And yes, I usually have a good set and sometimes I go long.

You've gone on tours that have lasted more than two solid months. What do you do when you're not traveling or on stage during that time?
I stay busy by writing. It's my goal to break into TV or screenplay writing, so I've been writing spec scripts. Plus, there's always masturbation.

--Andrew Singer is a contributing editor for The Apiary. He performs regularly as "Soce the Elemental Wizard." He recently interviewed Ann Carr.

RELATED
• Catch Rob O'Reilly's "If You Build It" @ Karma (#51 1st Ave.), SAT, FEB. 7 @ 8PM.

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    Inside With: Rob O'Reilly | By: Andrew Singer - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website

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