AXE runs brilliant ad campaigns. C’mon, we’ve all seen them. AXE knows their demographic and they go after ‘em without fear. Goofy looking scruffy dudes with hot chicks and humor. It’s a pretty smart combination, and this winning formula is in full effect when you see the AXE Twisted Humor Tour (okay, maybe Donald Glover isn’t scruffy or goofy looking, but he is hilarious).
The comedy tour kicked off at the beginning of April at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, and the Manolith team was invited to see the first show. The tour features Chelsea Peretti, Donald Glover, Whitney Cummings and Nick Kroll, four comic tastes that all taste good together.
Chelsea Peretti served as the MC. She has a smart, self-deprecating vibe and a mastery of observational humor. Chelsea’s been doing comedy for almost a decade. She’s a regular on The Smoking Gun Presents on Tru TV, and she’s has appeared on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham and HBO’s Aspen Comedy Festival. She co-created BlackPeopleLoveUs.com and was a founding member of Variety Shac. Chelsea has also written for Details, The Huffington Post and The Sarah Silverman Program.
Donald Glover brings an energy and raw talent to the stage that can only get better with time. The guy was hired by Tina Fey out of college to write for 30 Rock, but he ended up leaving the show to pursue stand-up more seriously. Along the way he landed on the NBC show Community. Glover’s first comedy special aired in late March on Comedy Central, and the guy still finds the time to blog a bunch and work on music on the side. Donald’s set included interesting takes on Michael Jackson, bachelor parties and Muppet Babies, along with an upbeat breakdown of what a Lady Gaga and Kanye West tour would look like. Donald also does a pretty damn good Obama.
Whitney Cummings is hot, quirky and filthy. She can power through ball jokes and navigate through male stripper material with force, and she can follow all that up with a logical breakdown of why women are crazy. Whitney has appeared on Punked, Chelsea Lately and she was a writer for a bunch of different Roasts on Comedy Central before she skewered Joan Rivers back in 2009. She’s going to stick with the roasts, and she’s shooting an hour long special on May 15th and an upcoming pilot for Comedy Central. She’s also not a afraid to lift up her shirt up if the situation calls for it.
Nick Kroll described himself on stage as a cross between Jeff Goldblum and a Nazi propaganda caricature of a Jew. He’s a UCB alum who plays Ruxin in FX’s The League, lends his voice to Stu on HBO’s The Life and Times of Tim, and he’s developed a bunch of memorable characters that he uses in his stand-up sets (like the gay craft food service guy Fabrice Fabrice) and online videos (like his spot-on Jersey Shore audition video featuring Bobby Bottleservice).
The dude’s funny. He’s written for the Chappelle Show and his stand up set was polished. He also had some great advice for young comics looking to get started:
NK: I would recommend doing long form improv. But if you want to be an improviser, I would still recommend going to do stand-up. If you’re a stand-up, I would recommend going to do an improv class. If you want to just write, take an improv class. I think it benefits you even if you want to be a lawyer. I honestly think taking improv is a super useful skill set to have.
CS: So you can stay loose and all that stuff?
NK: Yea, stay loose, and if you are interested in getting into to it, you take a class, you meet other people and some dude’s like hey, I wanna make a video and I need someone to be in it. It’s a great way to meet other people so you’re not like an island, you know. It’s super useful. If you’re doing stand-up, it comes in handy on stage to be able to just riff and talk to whoever you’re talking to.
CS: So outside of improv is there anything else you’d recommend for young comics trying to get their feet wet?
NK: Start making videos. Go shoot stuff. I do Bobby Bottleservice, this character, and all that is, is me on my computer. Didn’t need a lot of stuff and it worked. It built out, you know. I think you just want to go make videos. Go do improv, ’cause all the movies I’m doing like Date Night and Get Him to the Greek and Dinner for Schmucks and a bunch of movies, every one of those movies, they hire people like me because we can tweak and add jokes and stuff like that. And it’s all the training from improv to get comfortable and find stuff. So I recommend to everybody – go make your own videos, go take an improv class, find people you like to work with and just start doing it. Go do open mic – it’s the only way you’re going to get better. Keep doing it. Keep doing it.
Chelsea Peretti also offered some sound advice for young comics who are just getting started:
CP: The best advice that I could say is don’t take advice from people. Just get on stage as much as possible. That’s the best advice I ever got. Your basically looking for a short cut when your’re starting out. Some people just luck out and blow up fast.
CS: Like Donald?
CP: Yea, like young Mr. Donald Glover. But you just have to keep getting up and keep getting up until you find your voice and figure out what to say that’s unique and not imitative. You know, some people never do and others do.
So if you want to get into comedy, just start already and keep at it. Build your skills and produce. Find people you like to work with and just keep tinkering.
You can find out more info on the tour and check out some videos on Funny or Die. Here are some upcoming dates for the tour:
4/17/10: UC Santa Barbara
Isla Vista Theater
4/22/10: Florida State University
4/28/10: Indiana University @ Bloomington
Whittenberger Auditorium @ Indiana Memorial Union
4/29/10: Ohio State University