by Ryan Meehan
Hampton Yount is a comedian and webcomic writer. He was born in Virginia, started comedy in DC, aged four years, and now lives in Los Angeles. Yount won the DC Improv Comedy Competition in 2008 and other lesser important comedy contests in VA. He soon made a name for himself as the premiere contest winner and cheater of DC. He’s been invited to the Bridgetown Comedy Festival three times now and picked out of 600 hundred comics to compete in the Laughing Skull Festival where he made it to the semi-finals. Yount has previously worked as a creative consultant on Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory (MTV) and is currently a creative consultant on MTV’s “Ridiculousness”. Hampton has appeared on the G4 Network, done contributing writing for Chelsea Lately, and performed his stand up to millions of listeners on the Bob and Tom Radio Show and the Nerdist Podcast. And he’s also our guest today in 5 Questions.
FOH: Congrats to you for making Esquire’s list of “The Best New Standup Comedians” where the author mentions that you “have the ability to build a premise in a way that you don’t see the joke coming”. Were you a writer before you did standup? If so, what made you want to get into performing at comedy clubs?
HY: Thank you, I really appreciate that. I wrote for the webcomic I made with my brother Clay (He’s an amazing artist check him out. http://clayyount.tumblr.com/), which only turned over the smallest of profits. It got my feet wet in writing and getting feedback and maybe a year later started standup in a rickety bar in Blacksburg VA. I performed three times there and unceremoniously dropped out of college, moving to back home to be closer to a comedy scene. I guess stand-up always seemed like the unattainable profession. I think growing up I just always assumed everyone wanted to be a stand-up but the only people who did it were people lucky enough to be born in New York. Little did I know I could find a whole new level of depression in stand up.
FOH: Why do you think so many people have gravitated towards the Nerdist podcast? Is it more than just the material covered, almost more like a brotherhood of people that are into “nerd” types of activities?
HY: Because it’s just so good. Sure it appeals to this or that demographic but at the end of the day Hardwick knows how to make a compelling interview. Add in the two gumdrops Matt and Jonah and you have a real sweetie pie convention on your hands. I used a baby’s severed hand to type that.
FOH: You’ve been a creative consultant on both of the Rob Dyrdek shows “Fantasy Factory” and “Ridiculousness”. For those who might not know what that defines that role, what exactly does a creative consultant do on a television show? And do you think America will ever tire of seeing people in uncomfortable situations or wiping out? What’s the difference between working on those two shows as opposed to “Loiter Squad”?
HY: Hollywood secret revealed: It’s basically being a non-union writer. I write funny things and pitch them in rooms, then go to set and make stuff happen. Same thing with Loiter Squad. The difference with Rob Dyrdek shows is Rob has something like 7 years of TV already behind him and the dude is a brand, so there is already a style that you have to follow. Loiter Squad, while certainly following Odd Future’s sense of humor, is a little more open, even just because it’s sketches and pranks and that is inherently more open. I love writing and working, I want to keep working with nice people and so far it’s been a dream.
FOH: Could you tell us a little bit about your webcomic at www.robandelliott.com? I see you’ve been doing it for 7 years, is it one of the longer running webcomics available on the internet?
HY: Well it is over now, the site is still up so people can see the archives, but yeah I think the amount of time we did it for and amount we made but us in a small percentage. We just ended it because Clay and I are both too busy. Clay wants to work on some other projects and make a comic of his own and I spend all my day writing and nights performing. It’s unfair to the fans and ourselves to do a crappy version of a thing all parties loved.
FOH: Is there such a genre as “smart standup”, or is it just kind of an obnoxious classification like “alternative comedy”? How would you describe your act in three words or less?
HY: I mean it’s all just comedy and no rule really stays constant. “Alt” acts play clubs, “club” acts play alt rooms. I’d say I classify audiences and what material I do by, are they attentive or inattentive? I can certainly dumb it up when I feel an audience is inattentive. I have a saying “Dumb people deserve to laugh too”. Dear god I have so much material about porn. What have I done. Three words? “Nine Eleven? Cool!”
FOH: What’s on tap for Hampton Yount in the next twelve months to come? Any special plans?
HY: I’m going to be working on more shows till, my guess is, Spring. And only just in the last few days I was throwing out some ideas with friends about doing fun stand up shows back east in VA for like a week in May. So if I have the free time I will follow through with those dates. But shit just always pops up, it’s so hard to plan ahead. No matter what, a ton of shows in LA. Not to sound prideful or anything but the fact is I do have easily another CD’s worth of material. So it’s in my mind that I could record it this year and release it, spacing it a year from the last one. The logistics are annoying if I decided to do this one also independently. So who knows?
Official Website: http://www.hamptonyount.com/free-cd/
Hampton on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hampton.yount
Hampton on Twitter: @hamptonyount
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To write for Rob Dyrdek, do you have to take a stairway railing in the junk?
You don’t have to, but I’m sure it can’t hurt your chances. It can hurt your balls though. LAMF.