Comedy Issue: The Next Generation of Comics Answer Our Questions

Chris D’Elia, Tig Notaro, Nikki Glaser and Rory Scovel
Ramona Rosales

 Chris D’Elia, Tig Notaro, Nikki Glaser and Rory Scovel photographed by Ramona Rosales on May 6th at The Bungalow in Santa Monica.

Tig Notaro, Chris D'Elia, Nikki Glaser, Rory Scovel, Rikki Lindhome, Kate Micucci, Michael Che, and Nick Kroll may have started out on the club circuit, but now they have Hollywood hot for them — and a slew of NSFW war stories. They answer a few of our questions below.

Who are your comic idols? 
Chris D’Elia: Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy. The way they inhabited characters astonished me. 

Exclusive Photos: Billboard's Comedy Issue / Outtakes

Tig Notaro: Growing up, I had all of Chris D’Elia, Nikki Glaser and Rory Scovel’s albums.

Nikki Glaser: Amy Schumer, Dave Attell, Jim Gaffigan, Gary Gulman and Henry Phillips. 

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Rory Scovel: Steve Martin, Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor, Maria Bamford. 

Riki Lindhome:We love other musical comedians — Tim Minchin, Bo Burnham, The Lonely Island, Flight of the Conchords, Tenacious D, The Girl’s Guitar Club — all of them.

Favorite bit by another comic?
D’Elia: The one where Eddie Murphy talks about his aunt falling down the stairs. She doesn’t just fall down, it’s like this epic, ridiculous free fall down Mount Kilimanjaro. And she’s screaming “Oh, Lord Jesus, help me!” The longer it takes, the fun- nier it gets.

Notaro: These days, I’m pretty into Mike Birbiglia’s “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” and am inspired by basically any word or noise that falls out of Maria Bamford’s mouth.

Glaser: Henry Phillips has the best joke I’ve ever heard: “If you asked me my two favorite things, I’d say cooking and masturbating. And I’m not sure what the second thing would be.”


Worst heckling you’ve received?
Glaser: Not too long ago, a very pretty, very drunk girl who reminded me of every popular girl from my high school was talking during my set. When I confronted her, she said something like, “Well, maybe if you were funny I wouldn’t need to talk.” I went off, calling her a c—, among other things. I had an out-of-body experience. It was the best and worst I’ve ever felt onstage.

Most memorable groupie experience?
D’Elia: I was taking pictures after a show in Chicago, and this girl walks up. She’s like, “You’re my favorite comedian.” Then anotherguy comes over and says, “Hey, I’m this lady’s driver. I just want you to know that her husband” — he points to a guy standing a few yards away — “said she’s totally allowed to sleep with you.” I came up with this lame excuse, like, “I’ve got to take all these pictures.” It was too weird for me.

Describe your comedy in a single sentence or less.
Lindhome: Musical feminist dick jokes.

Michael Che: My comedy is a bunch of jokes in a row.

Nick Kroll: It’s a catch-as-catch-can of stories, character moments and observations.

The moment that you first knew you had earned the right to call yourself a comic.
Kate Micucci: We’ll let you know when it happens.

Worst dressing room you’ve ever used?
Micucci: In Vancouver, we had a dressing room with no bathroom and had to pee in the alley before our show.

Your favorite bit by another comic?
Che: Ever? Maybe when Eddie Murphy is talking about his dad in Raw.

Kroll: One of my favorites is a bit John Mulaney does about his father taking his family to a McDonald’s drive-through, and all he does is order black coffee. It just makes me laugh.

The most embarrassing thing that has happened to you onstage?
Kroll: On one of those nights when there were three people in the audience, I asked Bill Murray to watch me do stand-up. I was performing at a place called B3 in New York, and a waitress told me Murray was in the restaurant part of the club. I totally interrupted him having a drink, and asked if he’d watch me perform. I’d only been doing stand-up for like six months at this point, so there was no reason he should’ve said yes. But as I was onstage, I watched him walk in and sit down. And I just froze — totally bombed. After my set, I thanked him for coming, and he nodded his head politely, didn’t even make eye contact, and went on with his evening.

The worst heckling you’ve received and how you dealt with it.
Che: I had a show on the night of New York SantaCon, and a guy in a giant penis costume and a Santa coat and hat sat upfront. He got as drunk as you can be without passing out, and heckled every comic on the bill. Usually when somebody’s heckling, you can just power through it. But when a guy is in a penis costume, there’s no way to ignore him. He has everybody’s attention. It was the first and only time I had someone removed from the audience.

-- As told to Eric Spitznagel