While in Vegas, I got a chance to meet up with Mr. Brian Mollica, who is a 10 year vet in the comedy scene--and he's only 29, folks! He was generous to donate his time and indulge me with my adolescent comedy questions. I have a bit of the interview scattered throughout today's post. I will try and learn FTP so that it's a little more user-friendly. Until then, enjoy!!!
Quest: So comedy, in general, how did you get started? How did that crazy idea enter your head?
Brian: I've been obsessed with comedy for a really long time. It's true. When I was a kid, my grandma had cable, we didn't have cable. My grandmother had cable. It was coming up during sort of the comedy boom in the 80s, where there were literally, I mean, for 24 hours there was comedy on somewhere. And I don't know something about it just really took to me. And I would watch from about five years old. I just watched it constantly. When I figured out that it was a job, that's when I really wanted to do it.
Quest: And that was what age?
Brian: That was probably around 6 or 7. I mean, I was the shyest kid ever and really nervous about doin' that sort of thing. So I guess I never really thought that I would.
And then when I was 17 in high school, I knew a guy who was working at the comedy club in Tucson [Arizona], where I was growing up. He was just workin' the door. And I don't know, he was having problems with his grades and he needed someone to pick up two nights during the week. So I did. I picked up two nights during the week. And I mean, it paid almost literally nothing. For two weeks, my paycheck was thirty dollars. That's what I was taking home. But I got to watch all the shows for free. And I did. And I watched every single night that I could, I would watch the show.
I just got so into that I finally probably about a year and a half, after I started, about 19, I started doing a couple open mics and it went, it went really well. And it sorta when from there.
Quest: Can I ask your age now?
Brian: I'm 29.
It probably didn't get serious until I was about 21. I did some open mics then I did some guest spots and some hosting. And then when I was about 21, I started taking opening jobs and going out on the road, while I was finishing up college.
Quest: Going out on the road?
Brian: You know, just local SouthWest stuff: New Mexico, Texas...
Quest: That's still a lot of experience at such a young age.
Brian: Yeah, no it was. It was good. It was good and bad, sometimes I think about it. It's great that you start young just because I got... I got a lot of attention first of all because I was young and I look even younger. I really did look like I was about 14 years old when I started, so you kinda get a little extra attention when you look like that. But at the same time, comedy is one of those things that if you go too fast you can kinda burnout. And there was definitely sometimes where, that's why I sort of weaned away from the road recently. It's just not really... It's not really what I wanted to do anymore, work the road.
Quest: I heard roadgigs are good pay-wise.
Brian: Can be. Yeah, can be, absolutely. It's the whole spectrum. The road, that's one of the big problems with the road too, is the money has sort of been the same. In the 8 years I've been workin', as far as the club circuit, the money is pretty much the same in eight years, which is insan--it's ridiculous! It costs me more to get there and to eat and everything else. Everything else is the same.
You can get good gigs on the road. You know, a lot of the Casino's I've worked pay well. You get corporate stuff. So yeah, there's money to be made out there. And if I, I always say, you know, as far as my career goes, if I was going to be a fulltime comic, I would have to be a road comic. And, yeah, it's just sort of not... I did it for two years and it was great. Nawh. Now I'm kinda done with it.
Quest: So now you want to focus on...?
Brian: Now it's more trying to set up something for me. The road in and of itself, I think, is dying a little bit. And that's sad, at least with the club scene. If you're a bigger name and you can pack a theatre, you can make tons of money. But I know I'm not there and I probably can't get there. For a club comic, a road club comic, I mean that's just. I think that's going to dry up really soon. So I want to start focusing more on local comedy. And maybe start bringing a package of comedy out to places. You know it's easier to book yourself as a comedy show so you sort of solicit rooms. You don't necessarily have to contact clubs anymore. You can go to colleges and say, "I do this Las Vegas comedy show." You know something along those lines. That's kinda where I am right now sort of trying to produce something a little bit more unique and get away from sort of the cookie cutter club industry that's not doing so hot.
Quest: Interesting. And what have seen throughout the years with regards to relationships with managers, bookers...
Brian: Absolutely. I think the biggest thing is and this is one of the things I try to do a lot on Behind The Bricks is... you have to understand that at some point it's not just writing jokes that make people laugh and gettin' the nerve to go up on stage. So much is focused on that and everybody thinks that's what you have to do to be a great comic. That is two percent of it.
Quest: Wow! So talent?
Brian: Yeah talent, I mean, please. And I'm sure if you're a comedy fan you've seen people either on TV, or big names. And you're just like, "They're just not that funny." Talent is a part of it. And a small part of it, unfortunately. I've hung out in small comedy clubs for ten years. And the funniest people I've ever see in my life have never been on TV and probably won't ever get a deal. It's just the way it goes. So much of it is marketing yourself. And trying to get set up with the right people. And luck is a huge part of it. You have to keep in mind that... there's a business aspect of it. And the business aspect is more important in a lot of ways than the comedy aspect.
A lot of the people in comedy now hate Dane Cook. Everybody hates Dane Cook.
Quest: Wait! Let me get this on tape.
Brian: Every comic you talk to hates Dane Cook. And regardless of whether you think he's funny or not they hate him because he's Mega-famous. As a comic, it's hard to actually become famous as a stand-up comic, not a lot of people have, you know, maybe oh they got TV--anhhn-yaa! now they have a good comedy career. But he became famous as a comic. And the reason why is because he marketed himself in the most unbelievably brilliant ways. I mean, any avenue that he could, he put his name out there. And he had a following. And by the time he already was on TV, he had a huge following. People look at this Comedy Central special that he had 6-7years ago and from that he's a full-fledged movie star now. And there's a lot jealousy there. Regardless of whether or not you like his comedy, I don't understand how you can't respect a guy that's done that.
Quest: Exactly. I agree. I agree. He was purely a businessman in that sense. And I think a lot of people don't--not a lot of comedians want to invest in the time, I guess, in having to market themselves and having to package themselves.
Brian: There's this idea that, "I'm an artist. That's what I'm here for. I write jokes and I make people laugh." And that's great if you have some sort of really aggressive management team. Or an agency. Then yeah, you can afford to just be an artist. But I mean, I've been with two different agencies. And even when you're with an agency, you still gotta get out there and you still gotta market yourself because they can only do so much for you.
Quest: You have two blogs. (one comedy, one sports show) Please explain the sports show.
Brian: It was kind of a weird thing. I used to do a poker show. That was the first time I ever got involved in any podcast or internet radio. And I only took it because I really wanted to get into radio. And I had interned a little bit in New York and I wasn't really happy with my experience. So I kinda wanted to do my own thing and this seemed like, you know, It was the only place that was offering my anything. So I took it even though I wasn't all that into poker. It just sort of morphed into more of a radio show. And then had a little bit of stuff mixed in. And people were kind of into it. But it got to a point where I was completely unqualified to be talking about any of it.
So I wanted to get out and I met somebody. I got a part-time job when I moved out here. And I met a guy who was really into Sports and Sports betting. So we kinda just started talking and we came up with this idea to sort of a Vegas Sports show and it's morphed from there. It started off just once a week. And we're doing it three times a week now. And we've picked up a couple sponsors. So it's actually working out, okay.
To be continued...
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