by Ryan Meehan
James Adomian is a daredevil dancing queen — but don’t you know deep down he’s just a kitten? James was a top-10 finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and is a frequent guest on Comedy Bang Bang and other wild podcasts. He performs stand-up and characters live at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and festivals, theatres, gay bars, party schools and radical political events across North America. Set phasers to “chill!”, as James Adomian is our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: You just did San Francisco Sketchfest…How would you describe those events to somebody who has never been to one? When did you first meet Baron Vaughn and why do you like working with him?
JA: Sketchfest is a comedy festival, which involves lots of comedians converging on a city at the same time. SF is the only one I know that spreads the festival out over a month of consecutive weekends, so it’s like carpet bombing the Bay Area with laughter. I think they appreciate this. Baron Vaughn and I have never actually met, we’ve only interacted on stage many times. We hate each other very, very, unironically much. Besides that we’re very close.
RM: What made you really want to get into doing voices and voiceover work in general? Is that something that you practice a lot or do you consider yourself to be a very natural talent when it comes to voiceover stuff?
JA: I consider it my godddamned birthright to do every fucking voice on the planet. Everything I’ve done in voiceovers is in service to that audible Adomian singularity – whose day is nigh.
RM: You recently did “Getting Doug with High”; the podcast hosted by Doug Benson where he invites his guests to partake in his favorite activity…Are you surprised to see a couple of these states actually decriminalize pot; or do you think it’s way overdue?
JA: Thank you I had forgotten about all that. When it comes to marijuana legalization, or any other legal/political issue, it’s obvious that government and corporate power is always hopelessly behind what the people believe and need. So let’s just make our own customs and let the state catch up or become powerless to stop us. Anyway that’s what I say, to very little positive reaction.
RM: What is it about the format of podcasts that makes you enjoy the medium so much? Did you listen to a lot of terrestrial radio growing up?
JA: I did listen to a lot of radio since I didn’t have cable TV. Particularly Phil Hendrie, who is a genius. Podcasts are like radio except there is no commercial concerns, no content restrictions like you get in broadcast media. So you can have insane violence and profanity and also work at the top of your intelligence with bizarre references – and there is literally nobody to stop you. Nobody to stop us at all! MWAHAHAHAHA!!!
RM: You did an impersonation of George W. Bush during your appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson…How did you go about attacking that impersonation knowing that other comedians (particularly Frank Caliendo and Will Ferrell) had already done well-recognized versions of that character?
JA: Actually I was ahead of Frank Caliendo but nobody cared because I was very young and not famous. Will Ferrell did a great Bush but he left SNL after Bush’s first year in office, so on TV and pop culture there was this incredible gap where almost literally nobody was doing a good impression of a laughably evil man. So I started doing Bush in 2003 and that was my take: I focused more on Bush’s arrogance, privilege and casual evil than other people imitating him. I used to take questions from the audience like Bush at a press conference, but you had to be at one of those live comedy show in LA because it is apparently illegal to get any kind of improvised content onto TV.
RM: What’s the most irritating thing about the industry of standup comedy at the moment? Why do you think that exists and what can you do as a comedian to fight it?
JA: Actually I think standup comedy is pretty great right now. The comedy happening on live stages – comedy clubs, music venues, theatres, bars, festivals – is demonstrably better than most of what passes for comedy on TV. If you like laughter, it can be found at live shows between 8pm and midnight most nights in most cities in North America, to a degree that is not allowed anywhere else.
RM: In your experience, what is the most crucial part of the writing process when it comes to developing new material? Why do you think that’s so important to you when it comes to creating a great product?
JA: Get stoned and/or drunk but WRITE DOWN your fucking ideas when you are high. Then come back and work them out sober or just try them on stage or on a podcast or whatever. Sometimes I can be the weird guy hanging out with my friends, writing stuff down on paper. Other times I just say fuck it and let the ideas fly away. I’ve lost a lot of fun ideas to the narcotic haze. I don’t know if that’s advice or just a cautionary tale.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
JA: Doing a lot of podcast appearances as usual, along with a lot of live standup dates on the road. I’m working on a hacker/espionage comedy pilot with Scott Aukerman for IFC, which I hope people get to see. And I do occasionally make guest appearances on Comedy Central, Adult Swim and IFC as myself standing up or a deliciously insane character.
Official Website: http://jamesadomian.com/
James on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jadomian
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