Comedians can have the largest impact on a person. They inspire and influence society to think differently, or change the world. Andrew Mayer, a 25 year old comic from a tiny town in Athol, MA. (He claims you’ve either never heard of it or drove through it once), has been doing stand-up for a number of years. Examiner had the privilege of speaking with the comic about his goals and thoughts on comedy.
Examiner: When did you start doing comedy?
Mayer: My first show was just over 6 years ago (fall 2004). I was a sophomore in college at the time.
Examiner: That was a while ago, how did you figure out you wanted to do comedy?
Mayer: Growing up, I always tried to make people laugh, but not a ton of people really understood my sense of humor. Most people thought I was weird and annoying. To be fair, I was, in retrospect, pretty weird and annoying. But I can convey the things in my head a little better than I could back then, and it’s neat when a whole group of people understand and laugh at the things you wrote for them laugh at. I think that’s what I like about it the most, that feeling that the things you think are really funny, actually are really funny. It’s like you and the crowd have suddenly become part of a secret club that laughs at the same stuff.
Examiner: There are tons of comedians throughout history, and even today. Who are some that have inspired you to go into this profession?
Mayer: I don’t know if anyone in particular inspired me. I mean, I’ve been into standup since I was 10. The first live shows I saw in college were amazing, though. I saw Mitch Hedberg, Dane Cook (2004, mind you), and Lewis Black my first year at URI. After the Hedberg show, I started writing my own jokes down. Now, there are a ton of comedians that inspire me to get better at the form: Mike Birbiglia, Louis CK, Eugene Mirman, Maria Bamford, Patton Oswalt, Kyle Kinane, there are hundreds.
Examiner: So, what is your comedy philosophy?
Mayer: I think, in general, it’s the same as everyone else’s. Get out there and make people laugh. I’m not a physical comic at all, so I do what I can to put the focus on my writing, but beyond that, I guess I just try to take the things in my brain and filter out which ones are accessible enough for strangers to find funny also.
Examiner: Do you have a ‘greatest comedy experience?’ What is it?
Mayer: It’s tough to pin down. Great shows/crowds pop up out of nowhere sometimes, and you end up having a blast for however long you’re onstage. I haven’t really had one of those career-defining-moments yet, so I can’t list that either. So we’ll go with the time an audience member at a show I was on laughed so hard her hair caught on fire.
Examiner: Everyone gets jealous sometimes, it’s a human emotion. Do you ever get jealous of your comedy friends? Or feel good when one bombs and you do amazing because the industry is so competitive?
Mayer: My friends are amazing at comedy, and the catch to having incredibly talented friends is that sometimes they get opportunities that you do not. It just happens sometimes, and there’s really no room in it for jealousy. My friends deserve everything they get, so why wouldn’t I be happy for them? And if it motivates me to be better at comedy, it’s win-win.
Examiner: So, we’ve all had them. What has been your worst or most embarrassing experience on stage?
Mayer: About a year into comedy, I hosted a weekend in Rhode Island on the third floor of a video-slot casino. I had to do 10 minutes each night in front of crowds of 10 65-year-old penny-slot-enthusiasts, and they hated me every show (we don’t have a ton in common). I think those are the only real shows I’ve ever done to complete silence, from beginning to end.
Examiner: Let’s talk more about your stand-up. Whenever you do a set, do you have goals every time you perform? Any examples?
Mayer: I don’t know about every time, but a lot of the time I do. If I have a new bit that I like that maybe needs some work, I’ll make a point of throwing it in somewhere. If an old joke that I like needs to get re-tightened, hopefully I’ll remember to put it in with the new jokes I’m excited about at the time. The goals are always fun, though. I need to be having fun for anything to work. Maybe that should be a philosophy.
Examiner: It’s difficult to keep generating new material. So, whenever you’re in a slump, what do you do to get out of it?
Mayer: I’m a streaky writer, so it comes and goes. I’ve sometimes used a random-word-generator, to try to spark my brain, but I generally can’t do much about it if I’m in a slump. Just ride it out until something strikes you again.
Examiner: What are your goals for the future?
Mayer: Just keep getting better at comedy. I’d like to check out some other comedy scenes around the country, also. See how I fit in. I should have just put “See how I fit in,” as my goal. Sounds meta. Not inaccurate, though.
Amongst being entertaining and making audiences laugh, comedians try to stimulate our brains to think outside the box: they inform through amusement. Andrew Mayer is certainly a comic to look out for in the future.
Follow Andrew on Twitter: @mayercomedy
Website in the works, but none yet.
To see Andrew perform, he will be at The Comedy Studio 11/19 and 11/20
He will also be co-hosting a show with Rick Canavan at Castlebar in Oak Square on 12/8.