7 Questions with Joe Bartnick

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By Ryan Meehan

Joe Bartnick was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Pittsburgh is where he learned to eat, drink and be funny.  Joe moved to San Francisco and began his career as a standup comic in 1997. He worked his way up from performing in coffee shops and laundry mats to play prestigious venues such as The Warfield and The Palace of Fine Arts. During that time, Joe became a regular at the world famous Punchline and shared the stage with numerous comedy legends including Dave Attell, Bill Burr, Dave Chappelle and Robin Williams. In 2006, Joe moved to Los Angeles and jumped into writing and acting. He has since written for many television projects including ESPYS, Snoop After Dark and Eddie Griffin Going For Broke. As an actor, Joe starred in Dirty Jokes: The Movie. He has created and starred (fully clothed) in the Playboy TV series, King of Clubs.  One of Joe’s biggest thrills was roasting Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee on the show Battleground Earth. Joe has traveled the world opening for the Queen of Mean, Lisa Lampanelli.  In 2011, Joe published the best-selling book, You Might Be A Douchebag. He follwed this with the release of his full length comedy album, Salute! in 2013.  In the summer of 2012, Joe began producing content for the NHLPA (National Hockey League Player Association). He has also written for the NFL on FOX, and he’s our guest today in 7 questions. 

RM:  You’ve done some writing for a major NFL pregame show, so I must ask:  What did you think of the way this year’s NFL season ended?  When you see a guy like Daniel Tosh doing a lot of jokes about sports, does that sometimes make you wish that more comedy fans were also sports fans because it would give you the opportunity to do more sports-related material?

JB: The Super Bowl was nuts. We started the game about an hour late (TIVO) to miss all the BS so first is the safety ,then Peyton choking, the kickoff return it was surreal because it all took like 20 minutes TIVO time. Then they said Manning set a completion record and I thought we skipped a quarter. Just a weird game. I think comedy fans are sports fans and vice versa, that’s Grantland’s whole premise. I do sports jokes in my stand up just big picture jokes like concussions or women’s basketball. When you get into specific teams and players it tends to get personal and I try not to just attack teams because sports get people more FIRED up than any other subject and why alienate or piss off the crowd. Specific people I joke about in sorts are all bigger than the game, like girls know who they are, it’s been discussed on the View, like Tiger Woods or Mike Vick.

RM:  Speaking of sports, what is it exactly that you do for the NHLPA?  Who is your team and how do you think that this NHL season will pan out?  Any early predictions?

JB: I wrote jokes and sketches and did some interviews for the NHLPA website. It was a dream. My team is the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Kings because I live in LA are my mistress team. I think 6 maybe 7 teams can win the Cup. The hardest trophy to win in sports. TheEast will either be Pittsburgh or Boston. The west is Chicago, St Louis and the 3 California teams San Jose, LA and Anaheim. Winner I’ll take Pittsburgh, sleeper San Jose.

RM:  What are some obvious signs that one might be in the presence of a douche bag as suggested in your book?  Do you believe that somebody is born a douchebag; or that they can become one due to living in an exceptionally douchey environment for extended periods of time?

JB: Chances are anytime you’re with a group of people there will be douchebags, the mall, beach or a concert or ballgame. Some folks are born douchier than others but the environment definitely can bring it out in people like the suburbs.

RM:  When does the tour with Bill Burr and Paul Virzi begin and have you ever worked with either of those two comics before?  What do you really look forward to when going on the road?

JB: We are kicking it off the end of March and doing selected cities , like SF,LA,NYC, Boston. Bill is not doing all of the shows but he’ll do a few of them. Our good buddy Jason Lawhead will be on the shows too. I haven’t worked with Paul yet, but we love hanging and I love his act. Bill and me go back about 7 seven of working together and me and Jason work together a lot over the last couple years. I look forward to all the BALL Busting that goes on when 4 funny guys get together. And I like watching their acts, that’s huge. Plus tons of Crown Royal.

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RM:  Do you have any standard pre-show rituals that you practice every night before you take the stage?  And are you the type of comedian that is always trying to figure out how you are going to deliver new bits in your set up until the second you’re introduced?

JB: I always do one yoga back bend to relax and stretch my back. I also always get a drink. Hopefully Crown on the rocks but if not anything to bring on stage. You always want to be able to go to it if you’re dying or killing, something to break to. I always try to change something during a set, to keep it fun and exciting for me and that usually rubs off on the crowd.

RM:  What has been the greatest moment you’ve experienced in your time within the entertainment industry?  Why do you think that meant so much to you; and looking back on it now can you say that you’re certain you appreciated it as much as you should have at the time?

JB: There’s so many great moments I have had thanks to some awesome comics, friends and comedy bookers over the years. It’s hard to pick one because I’ve really enjoyed the ride but recently me and Lawhead opened for Bill Burr on New Year’s at the Wiltern and his crowd was amazing, His crowds always are and I did brand new stuff and any comic will tell you new stuff is the best. And to answer the question I did new stuff because I wanted to take a chance and to be in the moment, I knew the regular stuff would work but let’s take a chance. New stuff worked I and F*CKIN enjoyed it.

RM:  When a comic is suffering writer’s block, what have you found is the best way to work around that problem?  What other methods of coping with that occupational hazard have you tried, but found out did not work for you?

JB: If its writing for my act, I try to just talk on stage on see what happens or I go do something fun that’s is not my normal routine and I might get a joke out of it and get the ball rolling or I don’t but I had fun. If it’s for a job I’ll go take a drive or if it’s an office writing job a walk. Clear your head is what I’m getting at.  If I need a roast joke and I’m stuck, it usually comes to me before I pull out of my driveway. Your mind just needs to quit dwelling on it.
Sometimes when I hate my stand up and want to force new jokes I’ll bring thoughts not jokes to an open mike but then I just leave depressed so I stopped going to them for the most part.

RM:  What’s up next for you in 2014 and beyond?  Anything big in the works that we should know about?

JB: I was just this week asked to do set for Gotham Live on AXS in March, I haven’t got a date but knock on wood. And I have a book about Italian moms called “Benedica” coming out this year and Don Jameson ( That Metal Show) and I have a project we hope to show the world soon. Please keep listening to Puck OFF my hockey podcast with Fraser Smith and Insensitivity Training my comedy podcast I do with Cort McCown.

http://sideshownetwork.tv/podcastsDetails.cfm?podcastid=93

http://allthingscomedy.com/channels/40/insensitivity-training

Official Website:  http://joebartnick.com/

Joe on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/bartnick

Joe on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JoeBartnick

Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.

Meehan

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