For those of you who don’t know, there is a Monday night showcase at Niagara Bar called Alphabet City Soup, and it manages to find some of the strangest and less well known people in NYC and bring them all to one place and turn them into superstars. These are not your average, run-of-the-mill nobodys, but people who are just not famous.......yet. Who might we have to wrangle all of this talent? None other than the fabulously funny comedian, Julian Stockdale, who managed to take time out of his fervently busy life to let me in on some of his dirty secrets.
Do you think you're funny?
Me? Do I think I'm funny? No...But other people do and I'm a "follower".
Are there any drawbacks to being a comedian?
Are you kidding me?
The biggest drawback I have, and I get it all the time, usually comes right after I meet someone for the first time. You're at a family gathering or a bar with friends and one of them introduces you to someone in the crowd and you start talking and then they ask that dreaded question: "So what do you do for a living?" and this never fails, but right
after you say "Oh I'm a comedian" they say
"Oh yeah? Tell me one of your jokes"
I fucking hate that and it never fails.
I've really been considering making something up next time they ask, like "Yeah, I work at Home Depot" instead, but I'm really terrified that they're just going to ask me to help install their bathroom tile after that.
Some people just expect you to be funny ALL the time in your personal life, and I kinda cherish the option of feeling downright miserable every once in a while.
Give me some backround on your life. Where are you from? Why did you start doing stand-up comedy?
I'm one of the last native New Yorkers. They should put my accent in a jar after I die, because there are already people I've met from fucking Wisconsin or wherever, that have no idea that there's such a thing as a New York accent.
It's a long story but I wanted to do comedy as far back as I could remember. In the early 2000's when I was in high school, I started getting seriously into comedy and making movies and filming skits with my friends. I even did a wonderfully terrible show at New York Comedy Club around that time. After high school when the class clown is finally unemployed, I decided to give being a professional "serious person" a shot, and I became a mischievous poet and writer...and I was really good at it. But then after a couple years of all that I realized a room full of people laughing sounded a hell of a lot better than the sound of a room full of people scratching their heads.
What made you go back to comedy?
Well, this sounds awful, but I'm really inspired by one night stands. My one night stands are like these little inspiring "The More You Know" segments. About two years ago I had a one with a comedienne, I'm not going to mention any names, but she was one of the funniest girls I've ever met. A dark, sly wit. By this time I was winning spoken word slams but I was cracking more jokes on stage than I was dropping "head spinning lyrical aesthetic", and this girl kind of subconsciously sealed the bag for me somehow and I went back to comedy.
How did you end up the host of Alphabet City Soup?
Well, like any responsible young man, I make most of life's most important decisions when I'm extremely intoxicated. So I really don't recall how the deal was made...I just woke up one morning with all this responsibility. I had a lot of fun naming it though.
How did you become involved with the Antagonist Movement who produces the Soup?
A extreme case of mistaken identity... After I broke with most of my serious poet and writer friends, they practically put a Fatwa out on my life, so I started to hang out more with my OTHER friends like the party kids. There used to be this great party called Motherfucker by Michael T. and Justine D. a couple years ago downstairs at Niagara, and one particular week, probably one I haven't slept, I was under the impression that Motherfucker was going on one night, but it was the wrong night, and I walked into an Antagonist night downstairs and the first thing I saw was the artist Rib One painting some naked girl and I said "Wow, this is more fun than fucking Motherfucker." It's been a wonderful romance since then.
What's the best thing about being involved with the Antagonist Movement, Alphabet City Soup and Niagara bar?
Growing up in New York, I've had friends everywhere in every group and scene you could think of...the skaters, the hood rats, the musicians, the comedians, the party kids...and now the Antagonist Movement...and through them I've found in them not only some of my best friends I've ever had, BUT some of the best friends I've ever wanted to have.
Believe it or not, Comedy is an art form... and Ethan Minsker, Un Lee, Ted Reiderer and everyone's support, even when they didn't know me very well at first, was remarkable. There were times I've been my usual fucking mischievous self and a very, very bad boy.. and I needed a good kick in the ass from Ethan or den mother Un or whatever, and that was great. A lot of the Antags have been around a while and they're older than I am, so there's a lot of looking up and looking out going on there and I love them for it.
Niagara is my generation's Mudd Club and Alphabet City Soup is going to be the next TV Party. It's going to be a pretty big deal because we're going to make it a big deal.
What would you be doing if you haven't decided to do comedy?
I don't know. My grandmother scared the shit out of me when I was little because she said I had "hands like a priest"... so I thought about nothing but entertainment a little too fucking early. Little priest hands don't almost choke their grandma's because of stupid comments.
Some people think I'm a musician because I guess I look like one...but I'd never be able to be in a band. Comedy is basically the only profession that allows you the excuse to consistently break the rules of life and look good doing it at any age. People assume you could do this as a musician too--- but who looked cooler on stage at 65, Mick Jagger or George Carlin? Schocholautte are going to be sexy 65 year olds, though.
Finally, tell me a joke. Make it funny.
Don't be a smart ass.
(Photo courtesy of Allison Harris)