Stand-Up Tuesdays is a weekly comedy spotlight written by the wonderfully talented Angie Frissore. Covering both known and unknown comics, Stand-up Tuesdays is your new source for all things funny.
This week, Angie puts a spotlight on Dave Ross’s comedy career. If you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email email@example.com.
Every so often, a little gem comes your way that makes you stop and remember why you do what you do – and for me, that gem has arrived in the form of a new two-disc recording from my friends at Rooftop Comedy entitled “Holy Fuck. Live Comedy.”
You see, every Tuesday at a pristine movie theater in Los Angeles, comedian Dave Ross pulls together some of the most talented names in West Coast comedy for an absolutely insane night of hilarity at his weekly “Holy Fuck” show – shows which have included names like T.J. Miller, Dana Gould, Eric Andre, Kyle Kinane, Rory Scovel, Moshe Kasher, Natasha Leggero and Jackie Kashian. In only four years, Ross has brought “Holy Fuck” up from a small comedy showcase to a weekly comedy destination in one of the biggest cities for live comedy there is – and finally the folks at Rooftop Comedy decided it simply wasn’t fair to keep such awesomeness a Los Angeles secret and are sharing the wonder nationwide.
Recorded over four nights in January and February of 2013, “Holy Fuck” is truly the culmination of today’s best and brightest stand up comedians. Led by hosts and founders Dave Ross and Jeff Wattenhofer, “Holy Fuck. Live Comedy.” features forty-seven tracks of absolute insanity that will leave you, quite literally, struggling to catch your breath. So excited was I to enjoy this almost-perfect collection of comedic talent that I simply had to jump on the phone with founder Dave Ross to dish about the project and share a collective comedy nerd-gasm over our shared favorites.
UTG: Tell me a little bit about how ‘Holy Fuck’ got started – and I’m just going to say the name over and over again, because I love it.
DR: (laughs) As do I! It got started like right around when I started stand up, actually. I had been running an open mic for a little bit for a few months, and my friends ran this art gallery that doubled as a speakeasy on the weekends, where they would have bands play and sell brews until seven in the morning illegally. They got busted, and they needed to make money with their space, so they asked me to throw a comedy show there. I agreed to it, and the original name – the original idea was so stupid and hokey. I was thinking I was going to highlight comedians people had never heard of before – so they show would be like, ‘Holy Fuck! It’s Kyle Kinane!’ That would be the name of one of them – then I just shortened it to ‘Holy Fuck’. So that’s the story of how I got started, and then week of the first show, they got evicted from their place. I remember thinking – I had Matt Braunger booked as the headliner – I was so new, and I just loved him so much. I was like, ‘I can’t let Matt Braunger down!’ So I scrambled for a venue and I found this movie theater with 250 seats, and it didn’t seem like a good idea, but it also didn’t seem like I had a choice, so I had it there. That was four years ago.
UTG: How intimidating was it to get such big names in there at first?
DR: It was daunting, and hard – it was a lot of work. But it wasn’t really intimidating because, well, the first person to do the show was Kyle Kinane, and even then he was already pretty big and amazing. He emailed me back, like, right away and was like, ‘I can’t do that date, but yeah, I’d love to.’ Same with Braunger. So after that, I just started emailing people and most email you back, even if they don’t do the show.
UTG: That’s awesome. Sometimes all it takes is to ask.
DR: Yeah, pretty quickly – I had no idea what I was doing, and in the first year I was doing it people would be like, ‘How did you get Jimmy Pardo on the show?’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t know, I emailed his manager.’ That’s it. I think it seems like these big comics wouldn’t give a shit about your dumb show that you put together, but I think that they’re also looking for spots. It’s lucky for me that I happen to be in a beautiful venue – it’s this big beautiful movie theater, like brand new and super comfortable. So I think once I was able to get someone in the door, they’re like, ‘Oh, wow,’ and so most of them will come back and do it.
UTG: It’s on a Tuesday night, correct?
DR: Yeah, Tuesdays. That’s a big comedy night, I don’t know why. It was at the same time as Comedy Bang! Bang! (well, it was Death Ray for awhile) but we never had a problem with that. Big comedy night.
UTG: I know here in Boston, that’s kind of a night where the comics can just get out and test out new material.
DR: Yeah, it’s especially the case in L.A. and New York – probably in ever city because people just leave on the weekends. Every time I visit a city – and Boston’s pretty good for this – but, like, getting shows on Saturdays is so hard. No one gives a shit about comedy on the weekends, I don’t know why, but that seems to be the case. We all leave I guess.
UTG: You’ve got a pretty good mix of levels of comedians on there. How do some of the newer comics feel sharing the stage with some of these bigger acts?
DR: Can’t really speak for everybody, but I do know how I feel. It is an honor – it’s great. It’s just really cool to realize that you are all a part of the same big thing. It’s also difficult, depending on where you go in relation to them, it can make it harder for you to do well because they’re more experienced than you. But that in itself is also good – it’s also challenging. It’s one of the reasons I love doing stand up in L.A. – you start doing shows, you’re just on shows with these people who do it for a living.
UTG: Well, it’s one hell of a CD, I can tell you that.
DR: Oh great, you liked it?
UTG: Oh my god, every time I think I’ve found a favorite track I end up finding six more.
DR: That’s so cool.
UTG: I think the set times are perfect – it’s like a culmination of comedy. I love it. When I saw the track list alone, I think I started salivating.
DR: I’m really proud of it. I love every comic that’s on it; I love the comedy of all those people. It’s just incredible to have been able to put them on it. A lot of those people are my friends, and all those people are my age-mates in stand up. So it’s just really cool that we were able to make something that has both our comedy and the comedy of people that we look up to and admire.
UTG: Right, and it really sounds like the bigger names are just really having fun with it, too. They’re not up there trying to do their one-hour special – they’re having a great time up there and you can totally tell that.
DR: It’s fantastic. Kyle Kinane’s set is so great. So funny, man. Sean Patton’s set I think is my favorite set on the album. It’s just so silly and dumb, I love it. They’re all just fucking around, it’s great. Ron Lynch’s set, like, is genius. It’s perfect. It’s like a four minute chunk of the perfect comedy arch, it’s crazy what he did.
UTG: All day yesterday I was singing the ‘Duck Tales’ theme thanks to Baron Vaughn.
DR: (laughs) You should have seen that set, too. All the shows we taped were great, but then Baron showed up and that particular show became insane. That was maybe the hardest I’ve seen anyone kill. People were crying and unable to listen to him they were laughing that hard. It was crazy. I wish there was a way to convey how much people were losing their minds – I mean, obviously he kills on his track but, fuck….the level at which he killed was crazy.
“Holy Fuck. Live Comedy.” hits retail outlets on Wednesday, May 29 and will be available for download at Rooftop Comedy’s website (you can pre-order your copy today).