by Ryan Meehan
One thousand years ago there was an avocado. In the center of that avocado was a pit of pure onyx: Black, diamond coldness that burnt the flesh of the avocado with its frostiness. And around 1998 Bobby Tisdale found that avocado and put it in his pocket. He could never quite bring himself to make a delightful guacamole from it, but occasionally gave it a lick and a pet, and named it Frederick. Bobby couldn’t know that years later that avocado would go on to become the Vice President of the United States, but while they were together they were the best of friends. But then Bobby discovered comedy, made acquaintances with Charlize Theron the cat chiropractor, and discovered the healing properties of the pickleback cocktail drink, and things were never the same. Today Bobby can be seen preening and musking upon the hill next to the Pulasky bridge, but only in the Harvest Moon, and only then on a leap year. The Avocado was made into a very so-so dip that was ultimately spread on a Tex-Mex take on a turkey sammich. And Bobby himself ended up here, as our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: I read in a 2006 interview with Gothamist that your mom was “a super herbal spiritual meditative woman” and that you “had to meditate a couple of times a week, didn’t have television, and had to take Yoga on Sundays”…How did someone like yourself end up with such an interest in comedy and the entertainment industry? Did your curiosity about modern entertainment have anything to do with the fact that you grew up in an environment where those things existed outside of your family’s lifestyle?
BT: Dooooo whaaaat?! (that was in a southern accent) Modern entertainment versus old school entertainment with a couple pine cones and a lighter? I don’t’ think I’ve ever used “modern entertainment” in a sentence my whole life I was very lucky to have such a supportive family that allowed me to follow my dreams- whatever they might be. My parents and two sisters were always very funny so it was an easy transition from small, conservative southern town, into the NYC comedy scene. As for my mom, I use a lot of her energy that she forced into my chakras in my life and comedy to this day. If I place my hands on your energy zones, you’re gonna feel the hell out of it!
RM: What was the most challenging part about writing for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon? How many writers are staffed on a show of that magnitude?
BT: I think it was getting my mind into “joke machine” mode and being able to pump out material good enough to actually make it on the show. There is a TON of pressure to get material on the show and you only have 13 week contracts to prove yourself. There’s zero job security over there- as it is with a lot of TV shows- so it’s hard to relax and let the funny thoughts flow knowing that if you don’t produce right away, you’re not going to be re-upped for another 13 week cycle. It was a huge challenge the year I was there and my brain got a good workout for sure. I miss doing my reoccurring characters I did on the show, performing was definitely the highlight. Jimmy is super fun to play around with in a sketch. He should let me do my southern characters on the Tonight Show. I know there are at least ten to twenty people in middle America that miss my work.
RM: What makes you qualified to be a cat chiropractor, or at least a guy that plays one in internet shorts? Do you have any pets of your own?
BT: I think cats are always funny and even though I’m allergic to them, I really enjoy getting into fights with them. I will let them scratch me- almost like I’m a cat cutter or some mental problem one might have dealing with anxiety. When I say “fight”, I just tickle their stomachs until they rip into my body. As for my own animal, I have a little rescue dog named Lewis and there is actually a video out there with him in it. (look it up. It might be on vimeo) So, not only do I work with cats, I hit the dog train too.
RM: You have a very interesting feature on your website that allows fans to write your bio for you…Who was it that wrote the one listed above and how often do you change it? What’s the most bizarre bio that you’ve received so far?
BT: Oh man, don’t get me started with my website. I always heard that comedians are suppose to have one so that’s what I did a few years ago. I thought it would be cool for people to write my bio, but in order for that to happen, I actually have to check my website more than once a year to update it…. I guess what I’m saying is, I need to take it down until I get someone to update it. Any takers?
RM: You just did a show back at the end of January at San Francisco SketchFest with Eugene Mirman called “Invite Them Up”…What was the focus of that show and have you done SF SketchFest before?
BT: I love doing SketchFest! This was probably the fourth time I’ve done it and it’s always fun to be out in San Francisco with good friends. The focus on the show? I acted crazy for the first couple minutes, got everyone to engage in The Friendship Claw, the handshake I came up with a few years ago. After that I did a good 5 minute mic check. Then talked about the erection that the man sitting beside me on the plane ride out there had… He was wearing sweat pants and he had a boner the whole time he was sleeping. After about the tenth time I glanced over, he caught looking at it. Not for sexual reasons- I was just amazed how long he had a sleeping hard-on, and I couldn’t believe why the plane’s staff didn’t place a blanket on it. I then talked about how I think that sweat pants always look dirty to me. Even straight out of the package, they look dirty to me. Don’t get me started about packages!!!! Other than that, the focus on the show was to be silly and have fun- Eugene and I did that successfully!
RM: What was the Wards of Merkin? I notice there hasn’t been any dates since April of 2010…Do you have any plans to start that up again anytime soon?
BT: Once again, that is a website casualty! Wards of Merkin is my secret underground comedy show that I host/co-produce in Greenpoint Brooklyn from time to time. I try to do them once a month, but it seems like we do them once a quarter now that I live upstate in Mount Tremper. We also do Wards of Merkin upstate in Kingston when the mood is right. As for what the show is about? You have to get on our secret mailing list to be invited to the show. We have all sorts of rules we abide by, some songs we sing and chants we all recite, and of course everyone enjoys the stand up comedy. It’s a load of fun and the best part about it is we have some of the best comedians preforming on it, but we never EVER list the comics. For the members of our secret society they get the email, RSVP as fast as they can, show up, enjoy the show, and then they tell their friends and family they went to a hidden comedy show somewhere in Greenpoint. (The venue changes from time to time by the way) I would give you the email address, but that would break all the rules of Merkin!
RM: Who are some of your favorite comedians to work with in the industry? And what would you want them to say about what it’s like to work with you?
BT: I enjoy working with ALL comedians because that means I’m actually working! I get along with everyone and I hope that they say that I was a joy to be around. They probably would say that I’m a little too touchy-feely, but other than that I’m a pretty good fella.
RM: What’s going to be up with you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
BT: My wife and I are having our first baby in a couple weeks! After that, I’m writing a TV script for Comedy Central that I hope turns into a pilot. Doing more and more Bob’s Burgers . (I am Zeke)
I’ll be working my land upstate, looking for wild turkey, chasing deer, and hopefully staying positive and passing out Friendship Claws to whoever will take them!
Official Website: http://www.bobbytisdale.com/
Bobby on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bobbytisdale
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