ADAM TO SALLY:
ADAM: How is the comedy scene different now from when you started?
SALLY: I started in the late 90s and it was all about getting a development deal and now it is more about getting views and followers and I actually think that is a bit fairer now.
ADAM: You are a huge animal advocate, rescuer and foster parent. Why do humans suck and animals are so cool?
SALLY: Animals are cool because they are grateful and cute even when they are greedy. They are simple yet brilliant and don't give you STDS. The only time they break your heart is when they die and they know you are special. I could probably go on forever and I don't hate people I'm just British.
ADAM: When you feel like giving up, what keeps you going?
SALLY: I never ever feel like giving up. I don't plan on quitting drinking either.
ADAM: Is there one joke you’ve heard from another comic that you wish you wrote?
SALLY: Yeah that happens all the time, at least once every Zoom mic but when joke envy really hits you I just enjoy it.
ADAM: What is the secret to being a great host?
SALLY: Open with material you know works.. make the house a house and keep it moving.
ADAM: What do you wish someone told you when you first started?
SALLY: This is a hard question because people were always really supportive without blowing smoke up my ass and I was given so much good advice. I do wish someone would have told me to do a comedy special earlier though. I am grateful some folks stayed on me about that even if it was in the form of drunk rants on The Comedy Store patio.
ADAM: What is the first joke you ever told on stage?
SALLY: I just did a pilot. He flies for Delta. Okay bad, even for '98
ADAM: You can go back in time and handle one incident in a club differently. What was the incident, how did you handle it and what would you do differently this time around?
SALLY: One time I did a shot of Wild Turkey before I went on in front of some industry and had a struggle set as the shot kicked in and my face got red. Looking back I wish I'd done a different shot. I kind of blew that one. I see a lot of new comics using booze to help them get up onstage but if I grew out of it I am sure they will. I don't need to drink to have a good time doing stand up as long as I don't hang out at the club after. I sometimes wish I had hung around the clubs and networked more but I would have gotten numerous DUIs plus it just seems to be that the funniest comics are the least social. I love to work so I make my connections through working. I ran a great mic in Hollywood for five years and some people say they became a comic at that mic. That makes me feel good and the social aspects were organic. I look forward to more of that.. and thanks for asking!
ADAM: What was the worst show you ever had?
SALLY: In My first year of comedy I bombed hard in front of a guy who had just dumped me ..and he was there with another girl. This was at the IceHouse side room when they called it The Annex. The room was small and it was so intimately sad! The thing about dating comics is you then see them see you bomb. Once you get out of the first few years of bombing every other gig you like all the feels more.
Also i took the last line from Adam's 4th question to me and moved it here
SALLY TO ADAM:
SALLY: You started stand up late and have come really far fast. What are some advantages and disadvantages of starting stand up over 40.
ADAM: I've worked with, produced and written for comics periodically throughout my career so when I began going up myself I had a working knowledge of joke structure and a tad bit (just a tad, mind you) of confidence that I had the potential to be funny. And while I envy comics that start performing young, I know that young comics often struggle in the beginning because they have no life experience to draw from. They don’t know who they are, what they stand for or what hand life is going to deal them. It takes them the first five to seven years or so to find their voice. That’s no slam on young comics. No one has it all figured out at 23, 24 years old. While I did not step on stage fully formed, I did hit the ground running in that I had life experience. Work. Marriage. Kids. Views on the world and my place in it. I had real experiences to draw upon and point of view.
On the flip side, I was 40+ doing open mics and bringer shows with comics in their 20’s. Yes, I had real sh*t to talk about, but most young comics and young audiences couldn’t relate to my “real sh*t." When you are 25 and swiping right every night you really can’t fathom being 40, married and hardly having sex anymore because your kids beat the crap out of you. I was an alien life form to them. Audiences that do relate to me are not going to see comedy in a bar at 11p on a Wednesday. They are buying tickets to a club weeks in advance, getting a babysitter etc. It got to the point where I had totally different sets depending on the age of the crowd. Wife and kids stuff for the 30+ crowd, dick and porn jokes for the 30 and under crowd.
SALLY: You have achieved a lot as a TV producer, yet as a comedian you are humble and always supportive to other comics. What is a trait of some comedians you would prefer not to be around?
ADAM: Regardless of whatever success you've had - it’s never an excuse to be a dick. I learned early on that people like to work with people that make your life easier, not harder. In my day job producing TV, I will hire a nice, positive person with less talent over a super talented asshole any day. And walking into these comedy shows, I know the producers/bookers/club owners etc. have a million things on their mind. A million fires they are putting out. So I am very conscious not to add to that stress. I won’t be the comic to bitch about their spot in the line-up, the length of their set or demand another drink ticket. Not only am I not going to be another headache, I’m going to do what I can to relive their headache because 90% of the time these folks are comics that also have to perform in the midst of this chaos. Want me to help at the door? Handle walk-on music? Bus a table? I’m here. Use me. We’re all in this together. It sounds corny, but it’s how I approach it.
I try my best to support other comics because I’ve gotten to the age where I know I don’t need others to fail for me to succeed. And although I am the furthest thing from a spiritual person, I don’t enjoy negative energy. I don’t enjoy sitting around trash talking people or shitting on someone. The angry, bitter, jaded comedian cliché doesn’t appeal to me. Have a coke and a smile and shut the fuck up. We’re doing comedy. Let’s keep it in perspective.
SALLY: You were just in Reno at the Laugh Factory. Who did you work with there?
ADAM: I spent a week opening for Brian Holtzman and Eleanor Kerrigan and it was awesome. I respect the craft and art of stand-up so much, I tried my best to just watch and learn. It was like grad school. They are both incredibly gracious and supportive and have a million and one amazing stories I could just listen to them talk shop all day. By the end of the week and a million late night cups of coffee later, I’ve made it my mission to convince Eleanor to write a book.
For comics like me, constantly hustling for gigs, 8 shows in 6 days was a dream. In LA, 8 shows could take me a month and you can’t build muscle by going to the gym once a week. You need constant repetition. To be able to do multiple sets a night, back to back to back really got me in shape mentally.
SALLY: How do you feel when you see someone eat shit onstage?
ADAM: It all depends on how the comic is dealing with it. If they are having fun, I’m having fun. Brian Holtzman is a perfect example. He is so larger than life, such a huge presence on stage - he kills 90% of the time. But on the rare occasions he doesn’t, he takes it to a whole other level. It’s almost like he’s hate-fucking the audience and, although he’ll probably deny it, he’s getting such a perverse thrill out of it, it is a joy to watch. He’s even quicker and funnier. On the flip side, if someone is floundering and sweating bullets I’m usually analyzing what’s not working so I don’t do the same.
SALLY: Do you think women love men with a sense of humor?
ADAM: Are you kidding me? It’s what my entire adult life has been based on. My high school social life was very….active. And it certainly was not because of my looks. It’s how I managed to date so many girls/women out of my league. It’s how I managed to marry a woman so out of my league. Beautiful people are some of the laziest people in the world. I gotta work to get out of that speeding ticket. My looks are nothing but a liability.
SALLY: What are your plans as a comic for 2021 and where do you see your comedy in 2 years?
ADAM: I feel like I am on the verge of something. I don’t know what. The shift is subtle, but I’m starting to be offered some really nice opportunities, be on some bills with bigger names. Not consistently, but it’s starting. Baby steps. But at least it is forward momentum. I want to make sure I am always learning and honing new skills because I’ve set the bar very high myself and I have a long, long way to go. My goal for 2021 is to continue to work with people I like and respect and hopefully get more chances to be the one comic on the bill you’ve never heard of. That means I’ve stepped on the court with superior players. In two years I’d love to be featuring for headliners you’ve heard of on a consistent basis and maybe headlining small shows of my own. I’d also love to learn not the beat the shit out of myself, but fat chance of that happening.