Brian Scolaro first got his start in stand-up comedy in 1992. Since then, he’s been entertaining audiences across the country. Now, everyone can listen to his clever, unique material and hilarious sketches as he just released his first CD, “Sneezes, Farts and Orgasms.” I recently had the chance to chat with Brian, and we spoke about his history with stand-up, adventures on the road and unfortunate run-in with Donald Trump’s son.
Q - How did you get involved with stand-up?
A - I was lost at an early age. I was quiet. Shy. No clue what I wanted to do in life.
I wasn't interested in any school subject. Didn't want to be a doctor, a soldier, a fireman, a cop, a builder, a scientist, farmer, hamster, egg whites, nothing.
Then when I was in fourth grade I went to see Bill Cosby at Harrah's in Atlantic City with my family. It was right after his HBO special "Himself" came out. I remember thinking that everyone in the theatre (no matter their age or race) was laughing. He was able to connect with a fifth grader and both my parents. I knew it was special. And I wanted to make people feel the same way he made me feel. Around that time George Carlin's HBO special "Playin With Your Head" came out. I was amazed. Tapes of his old albums started being passed around our classroom and he became almost like a second father to me. He not only made me laugh harder than anyone had ever made me laugh before, but he also taught me to be an individual and think for myself and also to be a bit of an upstart and challenge everything society handed to me. My personality started developing.
In college, a friend of mine from high school did stand up one day. I got jealous. He wasn't particularly funny in real life. I guess that kind of spurred me into finally doing it. And not just dreaming about it. Jealousy started my career. So I did my first show at Stand Up NY on January 14th, 1992. My very next show was the worst show of my career. I tanked in front of my whole college while opening for a hypnotist. I was totally embarrassed. Speechless for months. This did not sway for me quitting. But actually the opposite. It made me want to prove to everyone and myself that I could do it and be great at it. So I started taking it seriously. Performing once a week.
Around 1995 I was at a place where I knew I was able to do stand up and do it well. I quit my job as an intern for HBO's "Real Sex" and got a job working two days a week at a home caring for adults with mental retardation. This freed up my schedule to perform the other five nights a week in Manhattan and fifteen years later there is no turning back. This is all I can do. I am a comedian. Whether I like it or not.
Q - Your first CD, “Sneezes, Farts and Orgasms” was just released. Can you describe what fans can expect from the album?
A - It's kind of like going to Disneyland with no pants on. It's fun but you feel like you are doing something wrong. The album is half universal material and half thinking material. Half Cosby and half Carlin. We got jokes on sneezes. And we got jokes on death. We got fat jokes and fart jokes and jokes about cavemen and jokes about being raped by Santa Claus. It's all very silly.
Q - “Sneezes, Farts and Orgasms” not only includes your stand-up, but also features sketches. How does your writing process vary for different types of comedy?
A - Sketches are easier to write. The back and forth. The conflict. Stand-up is just my thoughts and they have to be written in a conversational way. Even though it isn't a conversation but a presentation. The jokes get tested and tweaked and changed and edited and turned around and upside down until I find the final version that gets the desired results. It's a pain in the ass. Sketches are fluid. A guy wants to buy ice cream. But the other guy only sells monkey shit. The hilarity begins. Stand-up material is like a rock. You got chisel away at it to turn it into art.
Q -You started your career in New York, but now you perform on stages all across the United States and Canada. Where are some of your favorite places to perform?
A - New York is still my favorite place to play. Everybody is there. Locals. Tourists. Families. Loners. Criminals. Priests. Bras. Panties. Oh, I'm sorry. You feel like you are performing to the whole world there. Comedy Cellar is my favorite. I feel like that's the place that I found my voice at and when I play there I feel at home.
Q - While you’re on tour, how do you occupy yourself when you’re not on stage?
A - I try to get out and see the town. Do what the locals do. So in Wichita I did crystal meth. Just kidding. I might've been the only one in the club not on meth. And without a gun. In Alaska I went dog sledding. Until they flipped me over. Those sleds aren't made for sudden left turns and apparently "Why the Fuck are you assholes going left" isn't a command the dogs understand.
Q - What’s your favorite road story, whether it’s silly, embarrassing or just plain awesome?
A - I remember performing at this one club. And there was a loud idiot in the front who was annoying everybody. Eventually another guy got up and smashed a beer mug over his head. Turns out the loud guy was Donald Trump's son. And he threatened to sue everybody as he stood outside screaming at us covered in blood. That was an interesting night.
Q - Who are your favorite comics, and who influences you?
A - George Carlin. Louis CK. Patrice Oneal. Monty Python. Marx Brothers. Laurel and Hardy. Bill Murray. Belushi. John Candy. Steve Martin. I also think Madeline Kahn was the funniest woman who ever lived. There was a great show in Britain called "The Mighty Boosh" and those guys really effected me as well recently.
Q - What’s next for you? What can fans expect from you in the future?
A - Probably suicide. I don't know. I am at a cross roads now and this album represents the first part of my career. The next part is wide open and a clean slate. It's exciting and depressing all at the same time. I've been writing a lot of movie scripts lately. If I can get somebody to read one, I would love to start doing that.
You can buy Brian’s new CD at iTunes here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sneezes-farts-and-orgasms/id419151453.
Kate Brindle is a stand-up comedian from Ann Arbor, MI. For more information and for tour dates, visit her at http://www.katebrindle.com/ Email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org.