By Ryan Meehan
Eric Schwartz‘s passion for entertaining started early, and his first audience was his parents. As Eric grew up in Thousand Oaks, CA, the brave couple sat through hours of kid-produced variety shows in which he and his siblings would sing, rap, break dance and break lamps. Video footage exists and is still used as blackmail. At age 14, they reluctantly let him spend all his Bar Mitzvah money on DJ gear. He began spinning at parties all over, which made him look pretty cool to his peers until they realized Eric’s parents were waiting in the car outside to drive him home. But little did Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz know, they were fueling a bright future. Today, Eric Schwartz aka Smooth-E electrifies audiences worldwide with his blend of stand-up, music and video. Behind his geeky facade lies a multi-dimensional showman, actor, producer, director and writer whose creations have been seen on “The Tonight Show,” Showtime, E!, BET, The CW, TMZ, G4 and more. Audiences worldwide follow Smooth-E’s mantra to “Surrender to the Blender.” Eric is one of the Internet’s hottest stars. YouTube selected him as one of its NextUp Creators in 2013 and to produce content for their first-ever Comedy Week. He has created for Disney, Yahoo and top YouTube channels like Machinima, Maker and MiTu Network. “E! News Daily” host Ryan Seacrest says he is “rocking the web” with “video that’s got everyone Googling,” while Forbes.com applauds him for having “a minor industry in pop music parodies.” And we are delighted to have him our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: Where did you get the name “Smooth-E” and how does it relate to your on-stage persona?
ES: I used to be a DJ. “Eric Schwartz” didn’t exactly sound good in a scratch. “E-E-Eric Schwartz on the turntables” doesn’t get the dance floor moving. So, Smooth-E, like the drink. Take a sip. Surrender to the Blender. The Jamba Jew. Some people think I get my name because from my smooth head, but I got the name when I had hair. But I do drink a lot of smoothies because I am what I drink.
RM: Could you tell us about your first experience doing standup comedy and how you did? What was the biggest mistake you made during that performance and how did you go about correcting it for future shows?
ES: When I was 19, I went on a family cruise. I entered the guest talent show and was allotted three minutes. The first joke went over well, the second bombed and the third crushed.
My first time was kinda like…my first time. I started off super excited, hit a wall in the middle, then finished up strong. Afterwards, I wanted to keep doing it for the rest of my life.
RM: What’s the meaning of the title of your new stand-up special “Surrender to the Blender”?
ES: I called the special “Surrender to the Blender” because I blend different entertainment styles together and I want the audience to give in and get lost in my world. The ingredients in Smooth-E are stand-up comedy, music, dance skills, videos and technology.
(Editor’s note: Short Mini-Review – Eric Schwartz’ new hour-long special “Surrender to the Blender” is everything there is to love about entertainment. Equal parts Robin Williams and Rakim, Schwartz proves that he can work the crowd with his comedy as well as freestyle. And that’s what makes it his best weapon – he can nail you from either angle at any given time. “Surrender to the Blender” may indeed reveal that he is the savior followers of the Jewish faith have been pursuing for so long. If nothing else it’s proof that indeed America does have talent, and sometimes its star has six points instead of five.)
RM: You recently did “Rob Schneider and Friends” at the Laugh Factory with TJ Miller and Whitney Cummings…What are those shows like for you? It is hard to make yourself standout amongst people that are that well known in the comedy community?
ES: I can’t answer that question because it would be poor form to brag about myself. So, I’ll channel my inner Kanye West, who says, “Eric Schwartz stands out on these shows because he is unforgettable. They almost always put him on last because nobody wants to follow him. This is some next-level shit! The audience sees a guy who looks lie Dean from ‘Community,’ but experiencing Eminem meets Justin Timberlake meets Robin Williams. Just because you ain’t heard of someone don’t mean they not on the same talent level as the people who are already famous. You ain’t got the answers, Sway!”
RM: I see that you wrote a very heartfelt blog about your relationship with your last vehicle…Is there anything that you kept from your old car as a memoir of your time spent together? How is your relationship with the new car coming along? Do you think you could do a video where the two of you go to counseling together?
ES: I did find a box of unused condoms in my old car. I’ve had them since I bought the car and they had still not expired, which might explain why I’m thinking of cars like girlfriends. Understandably, I’m both a traveling comedian and a Californian, which put me in the highest percentile for auto attachment. I’m still getting to know the new girl, but quickly falling for her satellite radio. I guess you could say things are getting Sirius. – #Punmaster5000
RM: As someone of Jewish descent, how would you recommend a solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? In all seriousness, do you see something like that happening in our lifetime?
ES: In all seriousness, way to bring down the interview! I’m doing all I can to promote world peace. I’m part of a comedy tour called Ahmed Ahmed’s Next Generation of Comedy. Ahmed co-created the Axis of Evil, the first big Middle Eastern comedy tour with Maz Jobrani and Aron Kader. They had a special on Comedy Central and everything. NGOC also features many Middle Eastern and Arab performers and I’m really excited at the possibilities. If Arabs are able to laugh at Jews and vice versa, we understand each other better. I think entertainment can have a very therapeutic effect on society.
RM: What’s the biggest misconception people outside of the industry have about standup comedy? And why do you think that people feel that way?
ES: The common misconception is that comedians are depressed, substance-addicted losers whose only joy happens in those minutes on stage. We’re not all beat poets! In fact, I ran the marathon this year, shop organic at my local farmer’s market and moisturize nightly. I’m much funnier healthy. For me, comedy isn’t a coping mechanism for sadness, but a spreading mechanism for my happiness. Sure, I want to turn frowns upside down, but I’m not a neglected child who needs to exorcise my demons. “That is a tough business” is something comics hear from outsiders all the time. I don’t think it’s as hard to be successful for good comedians with their heads on straight. Maybe it’s harder to become a household name, but there are plenty of very successful comedians you’ve never heard of. I don’t know why these misconceptions exist. Maybe the rumor has spread because it’s more romantic when someone pulls comedy from tragedy. Man, this question is getting me down. I’ll move on…
RM: Where did you come up with the idea for the Menurkey?
ES: The Menurkey is a very rare menorah-turkey mutation that is only seen on the hybrid holiday Thanksgivukkah. Since Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fell on the same date this year, I put two and two together. Or in this case, five and five. I took the hand-traced turkey drawings kids make for Thanksgiving and just kept drawing around my other hand to create the tryptophandelabra. It’s actually anatomically accurate to the menorah’s eight candles and 9th shamash (helper candle) in the middle. If you missed it, don’t worry. Thanksgivukkah will be right back, in 2070.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
ES: My one-hour comedy special comes to iTunes, Amazon and Netflix in early 2014. You can get it now via my website, but being on these platforms will give a lot of new fans a chance to discover me. I’ve been known for my parody songs on YouTube in the past, but I’m working on a new album of original comedy songs. I always have tons of projects and touring in the works and people can keep tabs at my website.
Official Website: http://ericschwartzlive.com/
Eric on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ericschwartz
Eric on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ericschwartz
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