7 Questions with Jon Fisch
By Ryan Meehan
Comedian Jon Fisch has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, has been featured in Maxim Magazine, and was the host of the widely popular podcast, “In the Tank”. A prolific monologist with universal appeal, Jon focuses on the idiosyncrasies of city living. Shortly after moving to NYC from his native Boston, he was chosen as one of Comedy Central’s Fresh Faces of Comedy and named one of Back Stage Magazine’s 10 Standout Stand-ups. His appearance on Last Comic Standing 4 – where he was the New York City Capital One Audience Favorite – earned him wide recognition and a new legion of fans. His other TV appearances include Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, VH1, Celebrity Apprentice, and 3 Men and a Chick Flick on the WE Network where he served as a host. Jon has performed at multiple festivals including the 2007 HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen and the 2010 Great American Comedy Festival at the Johnny Carson Theatre in Norfolk, Nebraska. In addition, he was a critical favorite at the prestigious Montreal “Just for Laughs” Festival where he appeared in both the “New Faces” showcase and the Club Series show “Dating It.” Following his impressive performances, Jon was singled out by the Hollywood Reporter and the Montreal Gazette as a “stand out performer”. Most recently, he was invited to perform at this year’s TBS “Just For Laughs” Comedy Festival in Chicago. Jon also tours the country performing in theaters and colleges, corporate events and clubs. A staple in the NYC scene, he is a favorite at Gotham Comedy Club, the Comedy Cellar, and the World Famous Comic Strip Live and he’s our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: What is “The Bald Truth”? Are there any particular life lessons one can learn from being or becoming bald?
JF: I don’t know exactly where that came from. On the top of my website there would just be a random title and I asked my friend who designed the site if I could put something else there and he said yes. And that was the best I could come up with. I don’t think I had thought of that phrase before that.
Yes, life lesson (from my act): When you realize you’re going bald, turn to whoever you are with and propose.
RM: It’s been almost eight years since the release of your last comedy album “Notice Anything Different?”. When do you plan to release another record; and what have you noticed about yourself that’s different when it comes to how you’ve developed as a comic? What’s the biggest difference between who you were as a comedian then and what people see on stage today?
JF: Funny you should ask but I have recorded a new album and we’re in the process of producing it. Hoping it will be ready this spring or by summer the latest.
As far as what I talk about I have definitely become more and more personal on stage. Which is good I think, because as far as style I have become more and more myself on stage. I suppose when I started I was still myself, just a very nervous version of myself. I think with each year that has gone by I have shed more of the nerves and have been able to get closer to being the real me up there.
RM: You were one of the hosts of the online radio show “In the Tank” but I notice that you haven’t uploaded a podcast in quite some time…What is the reason for that? Do you think that comedy fans might be starting to feel like the market is a little oversaturated when it comes to the number of readily available comedy podcasts?
JF: I was THE host! My friend Shaki was the sidekick and Dan Allen was the “producer.” We like to say that we are on an extended hiatus but in actuality we stopped doing that podcast. It was a great run and we put out about 70 episodes over 3 years. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun but it played out for us. I am proud of what we did with it and we have actually been doing a Throw Back Thursday thing on Facebook and Twitter where we remind people that we existed.
Do I think the market is over-saturated? Maybe in general comedy terms but having your own podcast is a great way to reach fans that don’t live near you and establish a connection on a weekly basis with people that may not be able to get to see you live. So although there are a lot of podcasts, just like with stand-up, if you can find an original idea, I say go for it! Other than logistics, I think that was the main reason we stopped doing the podcast. When we started, we were one of the very few to be doing a podcast talking about standup. That became something that was being done a lot and so it didn’t feel original to me any longer.
RM: I notice on your website that it says “Of his numerous credits, people seem most impressed with Jon being handpicked to open for Jerry Seinfeld at Gotham Comedy Club”. Do you think that’s because of the magnitude of the career that Jerry had with his television show; or the fact that he decided on you when he clearly had the choice of many other comics to open up for him? Have you ever written a television pilot yourself? If so – what was it about? And if not, what could you foresee as being the comedic focus of the Jon Fisch Show?
JF: It’s funny because when you go do a show and the promoters ask for your bio, you send a few paragraphs. I just started to notice that the “opened for Jerry” credit was always the one of two or three that were mentioned in my introduction or on their promotional materials. And even when it was mentioned in my intro at shows, people in the audience perked up or asked me about it after the show. There’s a short clip of it that I put online because we were talking about on the podcast a few times.
I was actually handpicked by Gotham Comedy Club to open for Seinfeld. Chris, the owner, has always been great to me and thought I would be a good match. I haven’t written a pilot but if I did it would be called “Uncle Jonny.” Something about me being a single guy and moving back to be around his parents and brother’s family. My act now has some stories about my nieces and my family in general.
RM: When somebody comes to see you live and after the show they meet you, hint at the fact that they want to be a comedian, and tell you that they would like to tell you a joke – What’s the first thing that pops into your head? What pet peeves do you have regarding comedy as an industry; and how do you deal with those issues when they arise?
JF: I think, “How can I can get out of this situation as quick as possible without being rude.”
I think you may have just given me an idea for another podcast: Pet Peeves of Comedy as an Industry. Let’s just say I have some but am trying to stay positive these days and not focus on the bookers who don’t get back to me or the opportunities I don’t get. It’s like anything you do in life that you love, there are going to be some things you need to endure. That’s what I tell myself.
RM: When it comes to the writing process, what do you feel is your biggest strength in getting the ideas on paper to come alive so that an entire audience of people will laugh at them? What’s the biggest mistake you see younger comedians make when it comes to writing new material; and why do you think that is?
JF: I think my biggest strength these days is to explore something that is very personal and seemingly sad and then find the funny in it. If I’m not happy with what’s going on in my life, at least I can find the funny in it. And that in turn makes me very happy.
RM: Which American city outside of the Five Boroughs (NYC) is your favorite to perform at and why? What is it about that environment that is so conducive to a comedian being able to land jokes for an entire weekend?
JF: No brainer, Boston! It’s where I’m from and where I feel at home. Plus I get to see my family.
RM: What’s the one thing that you’d love to do in the entertainment industry that you haven’t had the opportunity to do yet? In ten years, do you think that you’ll be able to say that you’ve done it?
JF: I would like to be a staff writer on a late night show. YES! give me 1 year.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
JF: Well, like I mentioned earlier my new album “He Has Friends” will be out soon. I’m working on a web series. I’m traveling like a mofo and when I’m not I’m in NYC doing shows.