by Ryan Meehan
Farah Brook hopes to heal you through the art form of standup comedy. She is quickly becoming a regular guest on FOX’s Red Eye w/ Tom Shillue, and performs every night at major venues across New York City. Her YouTube video “Kiss Me NYC” went viral in April and has been viewed almost 5 million times by people all over the world. Her videos have been featured in The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, People Magazine, MTV and more. Farah is the co-host and creator of the popular show “Free Bacon” at The Creek and the Cave as well as a weekly comedy show “Harriet” named after her grandmother. She’s also performed at Madison Square Garden for NYU’s Reality Show directed by Liz Swados, as well as played the role of Kerrie in the off-Broadway show “Awesome 80’s Prom”. She’s also added her unique brand of humor to several online videos, including “Very Successful Web Series” and “Prism Horizons”. We are pumped to have Farah Brook as our guest today in 10 questions.
RM: How old were you the first time you performed in front of a group of people other than your family and felt the need to prove that you could make people laugh? Where do you think that initial desire to entertain people in a humorous manner originated; and how did other people tell you that you did afterwards?
FB: I started performing very young – around age 5 or 6 – in community theaters all over Long Island. I loved being the kid hanging out with all the weird adults. I have no idea where the initial desire came from, but it has always been there. People were very encouraging, probably too much so.
RM: Your first appearance on the cult show “Red Eye with Tom Shillue” was alongside former America’s Got Talent runner-up Tom Cotter and resident FNC wildman Gavin McInnes in early July…Had you met either of those two eccentric personalities before the show was filmed that night? What was the coolest thing you had the chance to experience while getting to do that program?
FB: Appearing on Red Eye has been a blast. I had not met any of the other panelists before the show was filmed that night, and the whole thing went pretty fast. I got to know them mostly while the camera was rolling. The thing I like most about going on a show like Red Eye, is they never tell you what to say. I can bring my own opinions and perspective to the show, which is not a luxury you always get on TV.
RM: Most people are now familiar with you because of a YouTube clip you shot entitled “Kiss Me NYC” where you walked up to male strangers in Grand Central Station and leaned in to kiss them. It seems like based on the final edit that for the most part people seemed to be a lot more understanding than I would have expected…What were some of the interactions that we didn’t see in that video, either because they were inappropriate for the cut or you weren’t able to get them to sign a waiver?
FB: People were a lot more understanding than I expected! It turns out, most people will meet you with positive energy if you are kind and make them feel appreciated. I made it a point not to bother anyone who seemed busy and only interacted with people who approved beforehand. That being said, there was one awkward interaction where a tourist became angry and told me to “Fuck off!” There was also a guy who started petting me on the head like a dog, which I honestly appreciated.
RM: When I first heard about this experiment, I immediately thought about all of the many things that could have potentially gone wrong before I had even watched the clip…Were you worried about the possibility of this resulting in something truly terrible, such as contracting the virus that causes cold sores to getting slugged by women who may have been outside of your peripheral vision?
FB: I was asked to put a prank on camera for an audition for a film. I got the idea, and didn’t think or worry too much about it. I was lucky nothing terrible happened as a result.
RM: At the top of the comments section of that video, the question that was posed was “Now what would happen if a guy did that?”…You didn’t chime in on that conversation, so I must now ask you..What would happen if a guy did that in a place like Grand Central Station, and how likely is it that if he filmed the exact same amount of footage as you did he would be arrested? What do you think that says about society and how we react to issues involving gender and personal space?
FB: I haven’t chimed in on that conversation because I unfortunately cannot predict the outcome of hypothetical events that have not occurred. If this changes, I will surely make it a point to update everyone.
RM: How do you think a group of people in a much smaller town in Middle America view social experiments such as that one? What makes for a really effective experiment involving the general public; and how many ideas do you currently have for similar projects?
FB: I imagine any people who have seen the video probably think I’m crazy and I wouldn’t argue with them. I think being able to do something that surprises people is what makes for an effective public experiment. Also, if you can be the person who ends up embarrassed versus embarrassing the people you are pranking that’s always the best!
RM: Back in late July, you had the opportunity to perform at the “New Bits” show at Muchmore’s hosted by Matt Strickland…For those who aren’t familiar with the venue, what can you tell us about that place? Is the idea of every comedian that is performing doing new material something that alleviates a bit of the pressure among the comics doing time that night; or is it still every bit as stressful as walking out on stage knowing you have three to five minutes of jokes that you’ve never done before right smack in the middle of your set?
FB: I love trying out new material, especially when everyone is aware that you are intentionally doing that. Muchmore’s is a great venue in Brooklyn that is always a safe space for experimentation. It is the best feeling when something you have never said before really lands. When a new joke falls flat, it hurts less than when something you have really worked on bombs, because you know there’s just a lot more work to be done.
RM: How would you best describe the comedy scene in New York City today? Which clubs are you most comfortable performing in; and what is so special about each one of them which allows you to feel like you can always be yourself on the mic?
FB: The comedy scene in New York City right now is truly the best. Everyone is very supportive and the talent blows me away every night. I feel lucky to be growing in a place where I can never feel good about myself because the bar is so high.
RM: When you see somebody on stage doing material that is either stock or hack beyond comprehension yet people are still laughing at the comic, how does that make you feel as someone who goes out of their way to create content that is unique? Why do you think some comics are satisfied with just getting a positive response out of the crowd? Is it more than simply lack appreciation for the writing process?
FB: All different types of things make people laugh, and I try not to judge other comics for what type of comedy they are doing. The great part about stand up is how much variety there is within the form. There is something out there for everyone.
RM: Speaking of the writing process, which portion of that procedure would you consider to be your specialty? Why do you think you excel at that particular? Conversely, which aspect of writing new material would you say that you struggle with the most and why?
FB: I love writing. The hardest part usually is finding the time and space to do it.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond? How would you like the next chapter in the Brook of Farah to read?
FB: I have a lot of exciting stuff coming up, but not much I can speak about just yet. I hope the next chapter reads very busy with a lot of working and writing and performing, and hopefully not dying just yet.
Farah on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebrookoffarah
Farah on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVDNTIyW8hLmMBbuVyNGp1Q
Farah on Twitter: https://twitter.com/farahbrook
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