by Ryan Meehan
Will Weldon is a comedian based in Los Angeles, but birthed in Canada. He’s done stand-up across both countries, and has performed at the Bridgetown, Riot, & Just for Laughs comedy festivals. He’s also appeared on Comedy Central’s “This Is Not Happening”, as well as Just For Laughs’ “Talk of the Fest”, and is a regular on well-known Los Angeles comedy shows such as “The Meltdown w/Jonah and Kumail”, “Power Violence”, and the UCB’s “Put Your Hands Together”. He likes to think his comedy has a positive message, delivered in a very depressing way. Regardless we are proud to have Will Weldon as our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: At what point did you begin referring to yourself as “Old Man Weldon”; and in which facets of your life do you feel like you seem to be aging the quickest?
WW: Referring to myself that way probably started with my Twitter account. Having other people refer to me that way probably started the second I opened my mouth around someone new. And my demeanor and life outlook are both already pretty old; I’m not sure there’s much room left for them to grow, so I’ll say my knees (they’re shit).
RM: You recently appeared on an episode of the Comedy Central show “This is Not Happening” hosted by Ari Shaffir…Was it a little bit odd to be performing with a stage setup like that given that it’s a very unconventional way for people to see comedy; and if the girl who you were discussing in that episode contacted you by email and said she was bothered by you sharing the story how do you think you’d respond?
WW: I’d actually performed at that strip club (Cheetahs on Hollywood; Trixie is a very nice lady, who will sit and patiently listen to you blab about why your joke about Brad Pitt’s hair just doesn’t seem to be working all night) before, so I was familiar with the stage. Plus, they only had cameras pointed at a small section of it, so by default you didn’t really have to worry about navigating much of it. AND THIRDLY, unless I’m performing on an enormous stage, I’m a pretty stationary performer. Comedy rarely pays enough for me to justify lifting my feet up on occasion.
As for that lady e-mailing me and saying she didn’t appreciate me telling that story, I would maybe point out that I made it pretty clear how wildly opposed I was to her both verbally and physically assaulting me for a solid ninety minutes. BUT I’M WEIRD THAT WAY. But anyway, she blocked me on both Tinder AND Instagram, so either she was so embarrassed about what happened (I think she had a bad reaction to some medication; she told me late in the night she’d taken codeine that morning), or she just thinks I’m an asshole. So I’m not super concerned about having another conversation with her.
RM: “Ugh! A Podcast” is a weekly online radio show hosted by yourself and fellow comic Casey Ley…Is the name of that show a reference to how many comedy podcasts are currently available for listening? Do you think that the podcast market has become a bit clogged with an excess of options since the introduction of the medium; and how do you go about making sure that your show is different from all of the others?
WW: That’s a part where the name came from; I was wildly unenthusiastic about finally joining the ranks of comedians who have them. But it also got that name because I just make that noise A LOT in my day to day life; also, I’m a pretty hardcore hater, so the podcast was originally going to be a celebration of that. And the podcast market is absolutely clogged, and we do absolutely nothing to differentiate ourselves, because we are mind numbingly lazy (for real; I’m poking my brain right now, and can’t feel a thing). Casey and I are friends (same with our producer, Tony Soto) so we just enjoy hanging out and yelling at each other, and it’s a small amount of regular new content for people who might be fans of ours to get to enjoy. God help those poor lost souls if that’s the case, by the way.
RM: Out of all the podcasts you’ve done, which one has been the most rewarding for you to have appeared on and why?
WW: I’m not even going to pretend like it’s my own; I did an episode of Terrified, which is hosted by Dave Ross, who is one of my best friends in the world. It was kind of nice to talk about how much my life had changed, and how I hated where I was and thought I sucked at life. In my dream world, I would somehow go onstage and just crush by talking about how everything is garbage, but my attempts at that have been met with… mixed success (shit mixed with silence). We also had to tape the episode three times, because the first two times one of us would mention the person we were dating, then break up with them the next day. So there was an extra sense of weirdness to it, like what was going to happen after that third one? (SPOILER: jack shit)
RM: You recently posted a status update about the statement Tom Petty released (link) regarding the Sam Smith debacle in which Petty was awarded royalties to “Stay With Me” due to it’s similarities to his 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down”. Your status read “I wish comedians had as much clarity on artistic similarities as fuckin’ Tom Petty does…” Could you extrapolate on that statement a little bit with regards to parallel thinking; and how often do you think instances of such artistic similarities are mistaken for plagiarism in the world of comedy?
WW: I just think some comedians can be absolutely narcissistic babies about their material; the idea that no one else BUT YOU is capable of thinking of a joke you do is ridiculous. There’s an episode of Louie where he does a joke I had been doing for a while almost word for word. I… can’t imagine he stole that from me, y’know? And it for sure sucked, because that asshole writes a new hour every year, and it’s taken me a decade to write one that I’m finally happy with, so I could use the joke more than him. People seem more likely to accuse someone of plagiarism if they don’t know them. I’ve been pulled aside, and also pulled people aside, and gone “Y’know, Baron does a really similar joke to that”, but that’s always by people who know me. And the thing is, I appreciate it, because then I can maybe find it and make the call myself. Then other times you see somebody onstage saying something like “There are seven words you can’t say on TV” and everyone rolls their eyes because how does he think he’s going to get away with this?
RM: I read a Laughspin review of your performance at a festival where it was said that you “Kept the pace quick and the energy high without succumbing to schtick” and that you were “a clear highlight”…Do you feel as if you’ve ever had any schticky nature to your act at any point in your career; and are keeping a great pace and having high energy things that are easier or more difficult to do in a festival or comedy competition setting?
WW: I frequently have the impulse to write jokes making fun of, like, TV commercials, or some trivial thing I noticed, and I have to remind myself that literally no one cares. We all know TV commercials are dumb. I’m the dumb one for thinking I’m making some sort of profound statement about it. I also do pratfalls while talking to a ventriloquist’s dummy; apparently some people think that’s “gimmicky”. The right pace can be hard to capture, because the level every crowd wants is different. But energy is easy; if you just very energetically tell your jokes, sometimes a crowd can’t tell that you’re bombing, those fuckin’ rubes. It’s the same way I approach writing a joke to potentially end my set with; if I can yell it really loudly, it’ll probably be a great closer.
RM: Which aspect of the writing process to you tend to struggle with the most and why? Conversely, which aspect of writing jokes would you consider to be your specialty; and why do you think you excel at that particular component of the practice?
WW: Sitting down and doing it. There are just so many other things I can do, and if I do those instead, then I get to feel like a lazy piece of shit who hates himself later. Win/win. And once I sit down to write, I honestly have no idea what my strengths are. Really, my one strength is realizing very quickly when a premise is absolutely half baked, or just doesn’t fit in with the rest of my jokes. Being your own worst critic is helpful when it means you’re very picky about the material you’ll keep.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
WW: This is a super depressing question, because I have no idea. I’m not someone who generally has things happen way in advance; I tend to get jobs a week before they start (I have a sneaking suspicion I’ve been a desperation fill in for someone who dropped out at the last minute more than once). This will probably be the year I start actually getting out of my bubble and doing stand-up in places that are not Los Angeles (ah, the power of some TV credits!), but other than that, I have no idea. But then, maybe I’ll sell a TV show a week after this, it goes on for five seasons, and I get so fat and lazy I never bother doing stand-up ever again. Oh man, that’d be sweet.
Official Website: http://www.oldmanweldon.com/
Will on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oldmanweldon
Will on Twitter: https://twitter.com/oldmanweldon
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