by Ryan Meehan
Jared Logan has appeared on John Oliver’s New York Stand-up Show and Comedy Central’s Mash-up. This year he was asked to perform in the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival. He is a delegate for Comedy Central’s Indecision 2012 and a warm-up comedian for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. You may have also seen him on Live at Gotham or Last Comic Standing. He lives in New York City but is originally from Morgantown, WV. And he was cool enough to be our guest today in 5 Questions.
FOH: How did you get your start doing comedy? What were some of the first life experiences that you felt comfortable sharing with the crowd in your first few gigs?
JL: I think I always knew I wanted to be a comedian or a funny actor or something like that. My earliest memory of performing was when I was five or six I would do what I called “modeling”, putting on different outfits and then striking various poses all over the living room. My family would laugh their asses off when I did this. This is a memory I am not at all embarrassed about now that I am a straight adult male.
The first life experiences I shared with a crowd were some stand-up routines I still do about growing up in the Pentecostal church, where everyone spoke in tongues during the service. Those experiences warped me, deeply.
FOH: You worked the Chicago comedy scene, but eventually moved to New York City…What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each city? Could you ever see yourself relocating to Los Angeles area to complete the circle of doing standup based out of each of the three largest markets in America?
JL: Chicago comedians are some of the most creative because they’re not doing it for money. There’s no showbiz industry there, so those performers are doing it because they love it and they want to express themselves. That makes for some powerful stand-up. But no showbiz industry also means it’s very hard to make enough money to support yourself from comedy, and most people are not going to be able to do that living in Chicago.
In New York you realize the rewards are bigger but the lows are much lower. New York raises the stakes. In New York you will bomb in front of drunks, then you will walk in the rain to the subway, only to find that your subway train is out of service. When you finally find a coffee shop to regroup and get out of the rain, a bum will walk in and lick your face and then they will charge you eight dollars for a cup of coffee. But the first time you do a show with one of your comedy heroes, and he tells you that you were funny, it’s totally worth it.
FOH: I read on your blog that you were part of the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival this summer, and you had mentioned that it seemed to be a much larger event than you had originally anticipated…Other than the Hitler baby ads, what was the biggest culture shock that you felt during the event? As for the performance itself – Who did you follow, who went after you, and how did you think it went overall?
JL: Well, in America, I always feel like stand-up, and really performance in general, is sort of an annoyance to people. I don’t know why but there’s something about performance people find UN-american. An American comedy club crowd will heckle you and you’re like “Hey, you guys PAID to get in here!” You can forget about doing a show where you ambush a crowd of people in a bar and say “Hey, there’s going to be a show now.” They will cut you. Nobody wants theater they haven’t been thoroughly prepped for.
In Montreal, I saw a comedy improv singing group (any comedy fan will tell you this is the most annoying type of performance possible) get on stage and give a performance for an hour and a half in front of a mixed group of people (old, young, families) and the audience LOVED it. And the audience didn’t know they were going to get a performance. They were just in this restaurant eating. At the end of the show the group asked everyone to get out of their chairs and dance with them AND THE AUDIENCE DID IT. Unbelievable. That would never happen in America in a million years. In America, some guy in the front row would call them “queers” and then the entire audience would proceed to eerily pretend the improv group wasn’t there and talk over the performance.
FOH: I’ve heard a lot of comics say that sometimes no matter how good the material is, some rooms are just dead. Would you agree with that statement? Are there any past examples from your career that would reflect that at all where you felt like you had a great set, but the audience was just going to hate it no matter what?
JL: I talked about how tough some audiences can be above, but I never give up and say “Oh this audience is just going to hate me, no matter what.” If I did that, I would suck as a comedian. There are some comedians who do that and they really suck. I believe every audience deserves to laugh and I try to make them laugh. And I believe I’m funny, not just the jokes that I wrote, so if my material isn’t their cup of tea, I talk to the audience. I console them. I ask them if they are having trouble at home. I pet them on the head. So nah, there are no past examples of an audience who was going to hate it no matter what. There are audiences that I have failed. But I learned something from those audiences so it’s all good.
FOH: This year you appeared on both John Oliver’s Standup Show as well as TJ Miller’s Mashup, which have exposed you to a whole new television comedy audience. Do you ever feel like people who only watch standup on TV don’t realize how intense live comedy can get at times?
JL: To borrow an over-used metaphor, if you only see videos of stand-up, you’re seeing the shadows that a comedian makes on the wall of the cave. You’re not seeing the real thing. Live stand-up is an emotional experience. When it’s bad, it’s twenty times more excruciating than watching a bad video. But when it’s good, it’s a hundred times more intense and wonderful. It will make you happy. Truly, truly happy. At least for minute or two. Pretty good.
FOH: What’s your writing process like when you are working on an entirely new set? Are you one of those guys who writes stuff down on a little piece of paper as your go about your daily business, or do you set aside a certain period of time each week for working on new material?
JL: I write ideas down as I walk around doing things. I get a lot of my bits from talking to people. I often don’t know what I think until I say it to a friend. I tend to write down a lot of ideas when I’m doing something that’s new to me, out of my comfort zone, or when I’m doing something difficult or frustrating. And I get more ideas in the morning so I try to get up early.
FOH: What’s next for Jared Logan in the twelve months to come? Any big plans in the works that we should know about?
JL: In the next twelve months I am going to star in my own TV show that plays on EVERY network and is the highest-rated show on the entire earth. Just watching it will relieve back pain and headaches. That’s how good it will be. Your shitty grandma is going to be all like “I LOVE this fuckin’ show!” I am going to marry the woman I love and have a child that will one day bring peace to the galaxy using his/her magical glowing genitals. All of my dreams are going to come true, and therefore yours as well.
Also I’m shooting a VH1 pilot and I’m working on an NPR thing. Those are my “back-ups.”
Jared on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/jared.logan1?fref=ts
Jared on Twitter: @jaredlogan
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