By Ryan Meehan
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Brendan Eyre has been doing comedy for a little over six years. For the last five, he’s been in New York City honing his chops at some of the finest clubs in the country. He co-hosts the “Rad Dudecast” podcast with Greg Stone and Anthony DeVito, and in 2014 he was one of the New Faces of Comedy at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. He recently appeared on the late-night Fox News program “Red Eye with Tom Shillue”, and this Spring he opened up for Bob Saget at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square. When he’s not on the road, he’s fielding interview requests from guys like me who are lucky to have him as their guest today in 10 questions.
RM: What was the first example of culture shock you experienced after moving to New York City after living in suburban Cleveland your whole life? Was there any point in time where you thought that you had made a mistake by relocating?
BE: My dad lived in New York for a time when I was younger, so the city didn’t take me by surprise too much. There was definitely some shock from a comedic standpoint. I remember going to this notoriously tough open mic called the Woodshed – which doesn’t exist anymore – my first week in the city. I bombed hard. Just zero response. Silence. I remember going outside and just being like “Fuck, I gotta move back home.”
RM: When did you realize that stand-up was something that you might actually be really good at? How would you best describe that moment or period which you finally felt that you were starting to learn how to control a room?
BE: I didn’t start standup until I was 27. I think I thought I was really good at it right from the beginning, and I was wrong. But maybe that delusion helped me keep at it long enough to actually get good. I don’t know if there’s any one time or experience when I realized I was beginning to have the skills necessary to handle a room, that’s sort of something that just gradually occurs with repetition. I’m okay at it now, but in New York you constantly get to watch some truly amazing veteran stand ups, and that is always a humbling reminder that I have a long way to go.
RM: How did you solve your recent problem of hitting a bong on camera without smoking weed? What project was this scene for; and how often do you get the opportunity to do digital shorts or similar tasks which require you to act?
BE: I see you checked out my Facebook. We haven’t solved that problem yet. I was looking for advice on it for this web series I am writing and the main guy is kind of a stoner, but I’ve been sober for a while and need to figure out a realistic way to fake weed smoking on camera. We’ll probably use like herbal tobacco or something. We haven’t shot the series yet. I haven’t had a ton of opportunities to act, but I am getting more and definitely love it.
RM: With so many comedy podcasts available today, how do Greg, Anthony, and yourself go about creating differentiation so that your show stands out among all of the others? Can you ever see a scenario where terrestrial radio makes a comeback, or are those days pretty much over and done with?
BE: Our thing from the time we started The Rad Dudecast has always been to do whatever makes the three of us happy. If it’s not fun, we don’t do it. It has led to a really, really loose structure on the show, that our fans love, but drives some people away. It basically just an hour of us fucking around and having a blast. We have never really done anything to actively make our show stand out or to get listeners. It’s always been more like, this is what we are doing, if you want to check it out, fine. As for terrestrial radio, who knows man. It could all be holograms in 20 years.
RM: Back in late August, you had the opportunity to appear on the late night Fox News Channel program “Red Eye with Tom Shillue”…What was the most surreal part of that whole opportunity; and would you do the show again if asked?
BE: I’ve appeared on the show twice now, and am going back on November 23rd. Its a really fun show to do, and it’s been great for me to get some experience doing TV.
RM: Who are some of the other comedians that make up “The Lunch Bunch”? What are some of the places you guys find yourselves at frequently; and do you generally try to avoid discussing the business side of comedy during these get-togethers?
BE: I’m guessing you saw this on Facebook too. This is the future of interviewing! The lunch bunch is actually just Sean Donnelly, Robert Dean, and myself. Usually it’s just me and Sean, Robert makes special appearances. We call ourselves the lunch bunch as a joke. Because it’s just two of us, and because the name makes me think of a group of old ladies who meet at Perkins’ once a week. We usually go to Carmine’s or Mother’s in the part of Williamsburg where we live. We don’t actively avoid talking comedy, but we talk about Sean’s dog mostly.
RM: For those who haven’t gotten the chance to attend a comedy show at the venue, what makes Caroline’s on Broadway such a great experience for everyone involved? When was the first time you got to do a set at that legendary club, and how often have you had the opportunity to perform there since?
BE: Caroline’s is a first rate comedy club. I don’t perform there all that often, but it’s always a great opportunity when I do. I don’t remember the first time I performed there.
RM: Outside of Caroline’s, what are three other venues within the five boroughs that you like to perform at and what is so special about the atmosphere of those rooms that make them so great for comedy?
BE: Whiplash at UCB Chelsea is great. It was a goal of mine to do that show when I moved to the city, so actually getting to the point where I am able to perform there has been a big deal for me. Jeremy Levenbach does an amazing job booking and running that show. The Creek and the Cave was a vital part of my development as a standup. Rebecca Trent has created a venue where comedians can feel at home and not be afraid to fail, plus play pinball. Lately I have been loving doing Hot Soup, a show at The Irish Exit.
RM: Which negative stereotype of stand-up comedians bothers you the most? Why do you think that particular inaccuracy is so troublesome to you; and do you believe that misassociation is something that will change over the new few decades?
BE: I don’t really get bothered by any stereotypes about standups. I don’t even know if there really are any anymore. I just mostly stay out of those types of debates.
RM: Which aspects of your act are you currently focusing on with the intention of sharpening your skills as a comedian? How do you plan on tweaking those portions of your stand-up in order to improve your overall product?
BE: I just try to write as much as possible and let the performing aspect take care of itself. Lately I have noticed that when I get a tight crowd I say “fuck” too much, I guess as a defense mechanism. Not that I’m a clean comedian or anything, I just don’t like leaning on swear words if they don’t add anything.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
BE: Nothing big that I can mention at the moment. I am hoping to do more TV in 2016, but we’ll see.
Brendan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brendan.eyre.16
Brendan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/eyrebud
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