by Ryan Meehan
Geoff Keith is a stand-up comedian from Los Angeles, California. After his first time on stage he walked off and heard an audience member telling his table, “Remember that kid’s name.” In 2005, he was voted Orange County’s Funniest Person and in 2006 he toured the country opening for Pablo Francisco. Since then Keith has filmed secret webisodes with Ashton Kutcher, been on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Pablo Francisco’s: OUCH!,” CBS’s “The Late Late Show,” ABC’s “Comics Unleashed,” Playboy TV’s “ Night Calls,” HBO’s “Down and Dirty with Jim Norton,” BET’s “One Mic Stand,” Byron Allen’s “Comedy TV,” E!’s “Chelsea Lately,” “Who Wants to Date a Comedian?,” and does various countdown shows for VH1. He was one of the stars of MTV’s “Disaster Date” for two seasons and just shot a TV Pilot with the producers of Jackass for TBS and recently guest starred on “Mr. Box Office” with Jon Lovitz and Bill Bellamy. Keith’s book “Guys Have No Game, A Book of First Impressions” is a compilation of the funniest online dating site pick up lines and is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Campus Activities Magazine named him one of their Hot Comics for 2011 and he is nominated for Comedian of the Year for 2012. His 3rdfull length comedy album “Catch It Between Your Cheeks” is available on iTunes. Keith is currently one of the stars of MTV’s “Jerks With Cameras” which airs every Thursday at 11PM. His resume shows he appeals to a variety of audiences and he’s our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: You’ve done a couple of “panel shows” and you seem to be really comfortable in your appearances…Why is it that you think that format has become so popular? Will the feeling that you get doing a television show ever match the intensity of being on stage doing stand-up?
GK: The feeling of being on TV and doing stand-up are totally different. I’m a stand-up comedian and always will be. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than the feeling of making strangers laugh with material I came up with out of my own head either before the show with months of work or in the moment. Being on TV is always a lot of fun too, but it’s a deferred gratification where stand up is immediate. Sometimes things translate better to TV that in the moment weren’t as funny/good and vice versa. There is a lot of in the moment stuff that gets left on the cutting room floor with TV shows because it just doesn’t work when looking at it later and realizing the viewing audience is a whole other world. That’s why I love performing live so much, it keeps you in the moment, by yourself, no safety net and you either sink or swim. The live audience picks up on everything from fear to confidence. I love it.
RM: Pablo Francisco is one of the most respected and sought after comedians in the industry today, and had a lot to do with the development of your career as he took gave you the opportunity of a lifetime. When he first approached you what did he say that it was about your act that impressed him so much; and what was the advice he gave you about the industry that followed?
GK: Before I got into stand up Pablo happened to be one of my favorites. I had many favorites, but I really liked Pablo and it just happened by fate that one of his managers saw me early on performing stand up in the side room of a jazz club where they had comedy shows. The manager really liked me and started working with me almost immediately even though I was very new and raw. He got me on a few of Pablo’s shows at comedy clubs in southern California as a guest spot or host. Pablo is a very awesome guy and he was complimentary of me right off the bat. Then one week I got a call from the manager that Pablo’s feature act (middle act that does 30 minutes before Pablo, the headliner) had to drop out and they wanted me to fill in. I had the best week on stage of my life that week and Pablo was even more gracious saying to the manager, “That kid isn’t a host, he’s a feature. I want him on my tour.” I owe a lot to Pablo, more than he probably realizes.
RM: What can you tell us about your podcast “Guys have no Game” and why should comedy fans download your podcast when there are so many other options within that genre? And why is it that guys have no game? Is it just some guys; or all males in general?
GK: My podcast Guys Have No Game is a spin off actually of my book “Guys Have No Game: A Book of First Impressions” which I co-authored with Ian Gulbransen. The book is a compilation of the funniest online dating site pick-up lines and is available on Amazon. We broke it up into sections and added some of our own jokes when needed, but these pick-up lines (or sometimes paragraphs) stand on their own. The podcast is a lot of fun. I get guests from the modeling world, acting world, and of course stand-up comedians. I’m branching out soon and having a celebrity therapist on. I think people enjoy it because I don’t hold back and my guests don’t either. I’ve always been very honest and up front and that gives the podcast a “comfort zone” feeling where no one feels judged and they tell some pretty funny and interesting stories. I use that as a way in and we discuss horror stories from dating and relationships as well as hilarious stories that sound fake, but aren’t and also talk the entertainment industry and share those stories because people really seem to like them. It all depends on the guest. I do a little steering, but not much.
RM: How does the book differ from the podcast? Do you plan to mail the book to any of your old English instructors from high school?
GK: Not planning on mailing the book to any English teachers of mine. I have an unpublished book that I wrote, “Guys Have No Game: A Book of First Impressions” was more of a compiling of screen shots and organizing. It’s the type of funny book you flip through on the toilet or in a waiting room or anywhere actually. It’s really funny to men and women because guys get to see how weak their competition is and girls can laugh at what they’ve probably come across themselves on these dating websites. Also, no one is more than once removed from online dating at this point. Everyone has either been on a site or knows someone close to them who has. The book is super funny and a no brainer.
RM: What are the best and worst parts of doing college shows? Do you feel you have to alter your material at all compared to what you do at a comedy club or a corporate gig?
GK: Corporate gigs are sometimes way more restrictive than college shows. Every college show is different because every school is different. Some say “Anything goes!” and some tell you what to stay away from. I have plenty of material so for me I just pick and choose which bits to do and leave things out if I was given instructions. I don’t look at college shows negatively like some comics do. The positive aspects are there as well. You have to learn to perform in any situation and some are extremely tough to deal with if you don’t know what you’re doing. Also, being told not to talk about or say certain things can be viewed as a plus because it gets you out of your comfort zone and makes you think and also write more. The best parts are making people laugh which is what makes me happiest and the worst are sometimes the school didn’t promote the show so the crowd is tiny and there’s a blender going off during your set while the weird kid feels the need to heckle. But that’s ok, if you can perform under those circumstances and turn the room in your favor, other venues are a cake walk.
RM: To what do you attribute the success of “Jerks with Cameras”? What is it like working with Grant Cotter and do you think there will always be a market for prank-based television?
GK: Haha, working with Grant Cotter! I don’t know, amazing to say the least. I’ve known Grant for years so we had a lot of fun. Grant was probably the most enthusiastic on set which is always fun to be around. Our success has to be attributed to 495 Productions who really know how to package a show and make it work. Sally Ann Salsano, Joel Zimmer, Kyle Simpson, and Brad Kreisberg our director, really know what to get down on camera so the show will be fun for everyone.
RM: Ralphie May one told you “You’re hilarious. Seriously. Never think about doing anything else. You’re a comic.” When you hear something like that, do you think that in this line of work it’s more of a mindset just as much as it is being a good writer and working hard to perfect your craft? What do you think you’d be doing for a living if you weren’t in the field of standup?
GK: If I wasn’t a comedian I’d probably be dead. There’s nothing else I want to do besides act, but stand up is my life. Making people happy is my life. What Ralphie meant when he said that, in my opinion, is that I’m a naturally funny person. I don’t go on stage and say things I’ve heard work before or things I think the audience will laugh at. I say what I want and what I’m thinking and I bring the audience into my world and my mind.
RM: What’s the one thing that you’d love to do in the entertainment industry that you haven’t had the opportunity to do yet? In ten years, do you think that you’ll be able to say you’ve done it?
GK: I want to have my own TV show and get into movies as a comedic actor. I am confident I’ll be where I want in 10 years. I’ve had some unexpected bumps in the road that have derailed my path more than once, but I have learned a lot from each one and I am stronger and smarter for it.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
GK: Nothing I can talk about. On a college tour right and developing some show ideas along with working on selling some already finished ones.
Official Website: http://www.geoffkeith.com/
Geoff on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GeoffKeith
Geoff on Instagram: @geoffkeith
Guys Have No Game: https://www.guyshavenogame.com
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