When it comes to going out in Hollywood, one usually doesn't have to twist my arm very hard. A casual request usually works, an invitation to Les Deux is even better, which was where I was at on Tuesday night for the DVD launch party of the new comedy disc, Rockstars of Comedy (CLICK HERE for my DVD review of this hilarious disc). It was my first time at Les Deux, mainly for financial reasons and the fact that I'm not a "club" person, but how many times will I be INVITED to a place like that? I'm guessing it won't happen for awhile, at least, so I swallowed my pride, broke open my piggy bank and went clubbin' and it was one hell of a night.
One of these Rockstars of Comedy was Bret Ernst, who was most recently seen on another hilarious stand-up flick, Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show, which I also loved. As I was waiting at the bar, I looked over and saw Sebastian Maniscalo from the Wild West Comedy Show waiting for a drink as well. We started talking and, as per how these things usually work, we started talking to some of his friends, who were some of the other guys in the Rockstars of Comedy disc, Steve Byrne, Sam Tripoli, Ernst himself and later on, Stevie D and Wild West Comedy's Ahmed Ahmed as well. For most of the night, I was a Rockstar Comedy posse member. Great success!
While the drinks were flowing all night long, that doesn't mean I didn't have my trusty digital recorder with me and I also get in a few questions with some of the guys on the DVD. I caught up with Bret Ernst, who had an interesting theory to share with me.
"I have a theory that men think they can do two things: box and comedy," Ernst began. "Every time you're on stage there's this one guy who's staring at you like, 'I could do this.' I've called many people out in a nightclub. I'll be on stage, they want to get involved, I'll go to them and say, 'Do you want to come up and tell a joke?' They'll really come up and try to do stand-up. It's hysterical. So, what I do is I go in the crowd and I start booing them. I won't let them talk."
After talking a bit about the new documentary DVD, Heckler, which he loved because of how it portrayed today's heckler and that, "it's a psychological analysis of a heckler," I had to ask what was the worst heckling he's ever gotten.
"It's hard to think. I've overreacted, though. I'm trying to put a YouTube clip out of how I handled this heckler in San Diego. I wish this would've happened before Jamie (Kennedy, Heckler's producer) made the movie. I pretty much broke down what it takes to be a comic. The s*&t you have to go through, how much effort and thought goes into a joke, and then to have someone just ruin it."
He also gave me some great closing nuggets about the art of stand-up itself.
"Comedy, good comedy, comes from pain, somewhere. Comedy is about relationships, never about concepts, remember that. I guarantee you that if there was someone here from England, from China, me, you, you're from Minnesota. If I start into the basics about groups of friends, they'll relate to some of it. That's what it's about, man."
While it was a pretty crazy night, with people like L.A. Laker Andrew Bynum and, apparently, a few porn stars as well, I was able to snag a few minutes with host/producer Stevie D and he told me how this whole show got started up.
"I've been doing comedy for 15 years and I'm friends with Sam (Tripoli) and Bret (Ernst) and all these guys and I would see the energy that these guys would bring to the stage. They might have 10 comics that night, but certain guys like, Bret and Bryan (Callen) and Steve (Byrne), would bring the level up. So I was saying, 'We're like rock stars.' We all want to be rock stars in our heart, so I thought why not do a rock and roll comedy show that's dangerous, sexy but funny. I didn't want to produce another comedy show where it was in front of a brick wall. If it was going to be called the Rockstars of Comedy, it was going to cost a lot of money to produce. I went to a couple of investors and one was Arthaus Pictures and the VP was my roommate for four years. So I was like, 'Dude, you better give me a lot of money to do this or I'll blackmail you.' So, when they asked what they wanted it to look like, I said I wanted it to look like the Bon Jovi "Living on a Prayer" video. I wanted that camera that sweeps across the audience and they said 'I don't think that's ever been done in a comedy show before.'
He went on and talked about the lineup as well, adding, "Every single guy brought the power. They didn't just show up and say, 'I'm just going to tell a couple of jokes,' they knew they had to bring the party. They had to be a rock star. They were great, great performances and I was very proud."
As the night wound to a close at Les Deux, we took the party to another bar with Steve Byrne, Bret Ernst, Stevie D and others and I just had a blast for every single second of it. Thanks to all of the Rockstars of Comedy for hanging out with an Internet journalist and making me a rock star for at least one night. Peace in. Gallagher out!