Comedian TJ Miller Wants to Tickle Hitler, Have Sex with Obama and Make You Laugh
When you say that you are making stuff up on the spot, is that completely new ideas, or are you drawing from stuff that you have written in the past and come back to?
It's completely new ideas. It's the genesis of an audience and a performance, two people. It's not even me making stuff up, it's just me talking to them and being like, "I realize this thing..." And they would be like, "Haha, that's hilarious!" I'm like, "OK, that means this, this and this..." It's completely improvised, there is no, "I tried this joke once and went three months, so now I am going to try it in this way..." It's not that, it's literally, "I just thought of this and it is funny." Sometimes it's not funny.
Right, that's the risk of improv.
Sometimes people are like, "This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard, so no laugh."
Based off of what you just said, it sounds like you are doing would be labeled as a standup tour, right? Would you call it a standup comedy tour?
Do you think it is important that comedy has those kind of labels or genres similar to what music would have, so people know what they are getting themselves into when they go see a show?
Maybe. Very perceptive of you. I have never heard these questions; it's great. I had this stereo a while ago that would tell me the genre of the station of comedy. It is like that with music, it is like, "This is blues, this is hip-hop." Right now we still only have three genres. We have mainstream comedy, blue collar comedy, and alternative comedy. Eventually it will be like, "Oh he's an absurdist-observational comedian. He's an observational comedian with a socio-political conscious." I guess there is also political comedy, so four genres.
It's good. Here's my thing: If somebody sees that label and is like, "I don't like alternative comedy," I do not want them to come to my show anyway. Just like I do not want them to come to my show if they are like, "I do not like mainstream comedy." Unfortunately a lot of the people who live in Los Angeles and New York are those kinds of people, but that is OK. I do not really need those people to show because they are coming with a preconceived notion. I do a show every two weeks at a sex shop, a sex store in Los Angeles, and the reason I love it is to even come to a show in a sex shop, you have to be a somewhat open-minded person.
Right. I make the comparison to music because all of the comedy publishing that the Riverfront Times does right now is in the music section because comedy in St. Louis is picking up steam, but it's not Denver, it's not LA, it's not New York.
Right. It's so funny that you say Denver. Denver is fucking bananas right now. They put it in music because they do not know what to do, they're like, "We know everybody likes this and it's incredibly important to everyone, but it's hard to understand it." It's a new art form. Standup, specifically, is. Standup and jazz are the only two American inventions and standup has only been around since the '60s, '70s.
Right, well and standup even spawned out of jazz.
What is that?
I said it spawned out of jazz. Right?
Again, it sprung primarily out of Vaudeville and burlesque, but yes, you're right, the improvisational nature of jazz and more importantly what you are talking about, which is the idea of a solo jazz piece or be an ensemble, but one person just performing at once and everyone focuses on that person, yes, absolutely. The truth is, we are filler for strippers. Vaudeville they had comedians come out... They had a guy come out and tell jokes and then do the stagehand while the girls were changing into their different burlesque outfits.
Why is it not OK to laugh at strip clubs now?
Because strip clubs don't need it anymore. Jay Leno used to perform at Playboy Clubs and all these strip clubs, because once people were like "comedy can be a tough thing," strip clubs were also like, "Get out of here! We will just have them dress less. They don't have to make changes; they can just be naked all the time."
That is how there is less laughter at strip clubs.
Continue to page four for more of our interview.