"We kind of like that our category gives us flexibility" --Booth & Pat | Photo: Jason Specland
When comedic musical duo Booth Daniels (above, left) and Patrick Frankfort, better known as Booth & Pat hit the stage, they hit you with infectious energy. Their shows mix music of all genres with a theatrical flair, engaging the audience not just with catchy tunes but also endearing banter. Their act has been successful in New York, earning them regular spots in major comedy clubs and festivals. The Apiary sat down with the comedians to discuss their dramatic training, some of their favorite shows and the joys of winging it.
How did it all begin?
Kind of by accident. Patrick had a gig one evening and asked Booth to lend a hand with vocals that night. The act that was supposed to show up after us never did, the booker kept signaling us to stretch -- our original half hour gig spread to nearly an hour and a half, all the while we filled with more songs that we didn't know we knew and bizarre banter that surprisingly cracked up both of us and the audience -- it sort of fed itself. We didn't go into this with an 'act' in mind, however after doing it on its feet without a net, we knew we had a great onstage chemistry and vocal blending that we wanted to do more with.
How long did you know each other before teaming up?
Nearly a decade. We were roommates for four of them and during that time the only productive thing we accomplished as a team was heckling bad late-night TV. We'd occasionally help the other one out on a solo project on occasion, but never had worked together until this.
What is your official genre?
We're a comic music duo -- although for a while we were trying to figure out just exactly where we fit in the performing world. During our journey, we've crossed over from music clubs to cabaret spaces to stand-up clubs to sketch comedy competitions. We kind of like that our category gives us flexibility -- it allows us more freedom to slide into any lineup or venue.
What was the best thing about performing at the Los Angeles Comedy Festival back last November?
Just being a part of it was amazing for us, not to mention doing our act for an untested region, and seeing what bits click with West Coast audiences.
Do you each do solo work as well?
We're both trained musical theatre actors (we met at the Boston Conservatory of Music). Individually, we've been on regional and touring productions around the country for years. Booth's a studio singer and a voiceover artist. In addition to being an actor/singer/songwriter, Pat's part of the sketch comedy troupe, City Hall. But even with all of our independent projects, we've been putting a lot of time and energy into B&P, and it's been paying off.
I hear that you've been appearing regularly on The Joey Reynolds Show for a few years now?
Yeah, we're coming up on the 2-year mark soon. Joey's been one of our staunchest supporters, it's been amazing to be part of his "gang." Plus he usually puts us on with some of our favorite stand-up buddies so we always have a great time.
What can people look forward to when they attend one of your shows?
People can look forward to experiencing two guys who share their comedy through music, and revel in finding the humor their odd perspectives and misfortune, and allowing the world to laugh at them for all of it. And along with the tunes, constant verbal sparring and bashing amongst each other. Oh, and there's also the occasional dick joke.
You were on the D-List Radio Show that got them kicked off the air. What really went down that night?
Nothing that would have prompted the station to censor and then fire them. We were beyond shocked when we heard about that -- can't begin to imagine how it was for them. That was the first time we had done the show and the first time we'd met Daniel and Matthew.
Frankly, we thought they were brilliant. The show moved fluidly, their guest lineup was eclectic and above par, the space in the East Village was ideal, and they gave compelling, edgy radio. We did an interview, a song, clicked with them on-air doing some fun back 'n' forth banter, and we also got to see them riff with each other and the other guests -- sure, their content pushed many a limit, and no topic was out-of-bounds, but nothing that should have warranted management to pull the show.
East Village Radio is a completely open channel -- it's not even FCC sanctioned! And considering that they were doing a "shock-jock" format, the two of them were doing what they were hired to do. They were one of the best things on that station, and their firing was a tremendous loss. We felt it was short-sighted, unfounded, and ridiculous.
How has your style evolved over the years?
It's still evolving, frankly. Part of our process of creating music and shtick is somewhat organic, so we're constantly surprising ourselves -- both in rehearsal and onstage. It really keeps us sharp and in sync with each other, but it also just lets us play with formats and audience response. We don't always know what's gonna happen next, but it's become part of the style.
BONUS QUESTION: What are your favorite cookies?
Booth: Chocolate Chip.
Pat: Macadamia Nut and White Chocolate Chip
--Andrew Singer is a contributing editor for The Apiary. He performs regularly as "Soce the Elemental Wizard." He recently wrote about Wali Collins.
• Booth and Pat Web site