Sam Brown [Interview]
October 25, 2013 1 Comment
It is no secret by now that I am huge fan of the legendary sketch comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U Know. We’ve had two of them on the site before, and today we are absolutely ecstatic that another one of these fine gentlemen has agreed to speak with us! Sam Brown is a crucial member in the WKUK and is responsible for some of my personal favorite moments from the television show and live performances. Sam brings a brilliant sense of mild mannered showmanship that is vital to the all of the success that WKUK has seen in the past. Picking a favorite cast member is like trying to pick your favorite child: you KNOW which one is your favorite, but you are too afraid of hurting the others so you tell them you love them all equally, although that his horse shit. So I am just going to be honest….. Today we are featuring my favorite Whitest Kids cast member.
And if his comedic brilliance isn’t enough, he apparently has the stamina of a god damned race horse. Lucky NYC fans will have a great chance to catch Sam performing at Piano’s at 9:00 p.m. for the Sam Brown and Greg Johnson comedy hour……all after he runs a literal marathon! Yes, Sam is repeating a venture he did a few years ago of hosting a lovely after party for the New York City Marathon. This is some all new sorts of craziness in my lazy ways and eyes.
And even more great news! If you are looking to break in to the comedy business, or just want to impress your co-workers with some wit and wisdom from the comedy world, Professor Brown may just be at your service. Keep on reading below to find out how he might be able to make you not just a much funnier person, but probably a better person altogether. So on that note, we are absolutely honored and humbled to introduce Sam Brown!
What made you want to join the world of comedy? Was it always something you thought you would do when you were a kid?
I come from a pretty funny family (in my opinion) so being funny just used to be how you got noticed. Besides that I remember always being drawn to characters like Gonzo from the muppets that celebrated being weird which later turned into an admiration for performers like Andy Kaufman. I always wanted to be different and not in that obvious teenage rebelion way that now means heading down to your local hot topic. I remember when it came time to take Senior photos in high school since I’m from Cape Cod the thing everyone would do was get thier picture taken on the beach, so I thought it would be fun to take it a little further and actually get chest deep in a full suit and tie in the ocean. It was freezing because it was only march but the pictures turned out great. It was like a Pink Floyd album cover. Unfortunately the yearbook editor decided that itd be best to crop the pictures at my shoulders so it only looks like I’m standing in front of the ocean. That bitch.
Of all the televised sketches in history, what would you consider to be your favorite sketch, whether you were in it or not?
Definately not one of my own, what kind of ego maniac do you take me for? How about I give you a few and if its too long you can just cut some out.
MONTY PYTHON: The Arguement Clinic. The writing masterfully evolves where once you get what they’re doing, they do it in a new way. I mean there’s no one right way to write a sketch but really thats how you should do it.
SNL: Steve Martin’s Christmas Wish is definately up there. A sketch that has a brilliantly written build up slowly transforming a genorous man into someone who is lustful, greedy and out for revenge.
THE STATE: they did an intro once where David Wain explained that in the group they all had different jobs and his was the editor and while it wasn’t as glamorous as being the star it still had its perks. No jokes just thirty seconds of talking before the intro. Then they roll the intro which at first seemed to be the one they always had but slowly more and more shots of David Wain were cut into it until finally its just all him then they cut to the group shot and he actually is spotlit. This was very influential to me. It showed me that in sketch you could break your show for the sake of a joke.
For me there was really two modes of the show, writing and performing so each has thier own high point for me.
As far as writing I think when Trevor and I came up with the Jaws sketch is a moment I look back on fondly. It just felt like a different joke and ultimately what I am trying to do is get someone to laugh at something in a different way. That one makes me proud.
Performing: anything where I get to yell a lot. Normally I’m a really mellow guy but from time to time I totally lose my temper so when I get a roll where I can go off I can channel that pretty well (Cubicle Boss, Loveliest Bride, Sam’s Miss March Audition).
How are your experiences on the road with the guys after all these years? Have you all grown closer over the years or you all just tolerating each other at this point? Or is it all the same kind of man love as it was so many years ago?
Its tough but I love it. It isn’t being stuck with the same four other people all the time that makes it tough. Its just travelling. Flying has quickly become one of my least favorite activities on the face of the earth. Not even because of a fear of death or anything. Its just the constant nickle and diming. I feel like pretty soon airlines will charge you money not to sit on a bear trap. Its the other guys that actually make it bareable for me. WKUK is something that I still feel the whole is greater than the parts. There’s a certain energy that we have together that I could have faith in before we had a TV show. I felt like if I can just make these guys laugh we can really be something and now all these years later (13?!) and I still feel like if I can make them laugh we can be something greater. I’d put up with whatever the airlines can throw at me for that. I’d proudly sit on that bear trap.
You and the rest of the WKUK have a fan base is unlike any other out there.
Thats not a question. How long have you been doing this? But yes, I like them. Thats one of the things I like about doing a live shows, meeting the fans. It can sometimes be longer and more work than the actual show but signing stuff and taking pictures with everyone can be the most rewarding part. When I was seventeen my mom brought me to go see John Waters speak which I thought was pretty cool, so when I see parents bringing thier kids to our shows and telling us that our show has brought them closer it makes me feel good.
Has there been any progress made on the WKUK movie? Is it still in the works?
Yeah, we’re still plugging away at it.
How much time do you figure you spend on Twitter and Facebook? Do you justify it as “work” as many of us do?
Not enough. Its like homework for a comedian and I’ve always been bad at doing my homework. I would love to delete my facebook but I need it to advertise my shows and classes so I would see that as a pretty selfish act considering how often I work on shows with other people. Twitter is a good joke writing tool but sometimes I am just too down myself to hit send. Either that or I am just not funny enough.
I understand you are going to be running the New York Marathon this year, and following it up with a stand up show….what the hell man? I would think you would allow yourself to sit down after a run like that. How has the training for this event been for you? And can you tell us about the post-run event?
I ran it six years ago and did the same thing and it went great plus this is both an easy way to plan an after marathon party and pack a show. I’m really excited though, the people on the line up are some of my favorite people to spend time with and its at Pianos which is where WKUK performed weekly for years so it’ll have a homecoming feel for me. The training is good. This is actually the third marathon I’ve trained for since I trained last year and hurricane sandy had other plans but I’ve run my long practice runs and now I’m in the taper weeks where I rest more than train. I feel good.
I also understand you are looking to be doing some sketch comedy writing workshops in the L.A. are this winter. Would you like to pimp out some details on what you are offering?
This is one my favorite things to do. I never took classes myself which made it really nerve racking at first but the more I just vocalized what I found to be true in my experience the more I discovered that through thirteen years of writing sketches I figured out how to do it. Now its just a matter of talking about something I’m very passionate about with people that hopefully share that passion. In the end I feel like I’m learning along with the students. To top it all off I do this all through a really small comedy school, Miles Stroth Improv, that has some of the smartest and funniest comedians I know teaching thier classes. Find out more info at Milesimprov.com.
Well my birthday is on Saturday so theres that. Mainly though I have a movie that some other comedian friends and I raised money to make. We didnt really raise much money either so its going to be a challenge but I feel like adversaty can create a better outcome in the end.
What was the last thing that made you smile?
While I was writing this my dog, Party Dog, farted. He farts a lot and it always smells awful but also always I laugh.