by Ryan Meehan
Jack Robichaud is a comedic actor and writer who has appeared in the films “Dirty Dishes”, “Roshambo”, and “Sick Day”. Robichaud was one of the “Fresh Faces” at this year’s Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. He currently lives in Los Angeles and he’s our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: Do you remember the first joke you ever wrote? Who was your target audience, and what kind of response did you get from him/her/them? What was it about that reaction that made you want to keep writing things that were funny?
JR: I guess I never actually wrote a joke out and said it in front of anyone until I did stand-up for the first time. My idea of comedy before that was making videos or just having fun with my friends. I never seasoned the thoughts until I started doing stand-up. I think the first stand-up joke I ever wrote was a one-liner where I asked people if they thought cheeseburgers gave Mexican people diarrhea. And no, that specific joke did not make me want to keep writing anything at all.
RM: I’m super jealous/pissed at you because Facebook tells me that you had the privilege of going to see Hampton Yount’s album taping…What was that like, and how long have you been friends with him?
JR: First off, no reason to be jealous or pissed at me. I have $20 in my bank account. Secondly, yeah that show was amazing. Hampton is pretty much a genius, and it came out full force for that set. He’d probably feel weird about me calling him a genius though. I’ve known him for like 4 years or so if I remember correctly.
RM: What’s more important to you when it comes to writing jokes for the masses: A premise that everyone can relate to, or a punch line that doesn’t leave anybody out?
JR: I think it’s just finding something generally funny to begin with.
RM: What do we need to know about “Dead Kevin”? Who are the other comics in that sketch troupe; and what creative satisfaction are you able to get out of that project that you cannot achieve when you are doing stand-up?
JR: You can find it on YouTube pretty easily. I guess the videos will speak for themselves, but they’re all very short, and I’d encourage being a little high for the full effect. The other comics are Ahmed Bharoocha and Ryan O’Flanagan, who also both do stand-up. I think we put less of a pressure on the meticulousness of the writing when we make the videos. It’s a very loose process and we mostly improv a very general premise. Stand-up has such an immediate reaction, whether it’s good or bad, but with the videos we have to wait.
RM: You were one of the “Fresh Faces” at this year’s Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal…How would you best describe that experience to someone who has never been there before; and what was the best part about that whole trip? Did you have more fun performing or networking with the other comedians you were meeting for the first time?
JR: That whole experience was incredibly fun, but also emotionally and physically tiring. It’s an honor to do it, you get to see Montreal, which is a beautiful place, and I made friends with some great people that I hadn’t met before. It was important for me to stay relaxed there. It’s very easy to get into your own head in that situation, but it was an amazing group and I was friends with a lot of the other comics beforehand, so we all supported each other and made it a blast. I’m still not the best networker, so that probably needed some work, but it was a truly great time. Lots of late night dance parties.
RM: Speaking of freshness, what is the most effective way to keep parts of your act from becoming stale when you’ve been doing those bits for an extended period of time? When do you know that it’s time to euthanize a joke?
JR: Good segue, man. I’m not sure how other people handle it, but I usually put those jokes on the shelf for a little while. Sometimes giving them a rest helps because you can work on something else and then re-visit those bits with a fresh mind. I usually only kill a joke when it doesn’t work. If it usually gets a good response, I’ll keep it for years and just try to build it.
RM: How often does somebody mispronounce your name and put an unnecessary emphasis on the last syllable with the intention of thinking it’s humorous, and that they are the only person to think of that? Does it bother you anymore, or are you pretty used to it by now?
JR: I’m way past the point of caring how someone pronounces my last name. I really don’t even hear it anymore. People are polite enough to ask sometimes and I usually just say “whatever comes out of your mouth will be fine.”
RM: How can you tell whether or not a certain joke that doesn’t require multiple performers will be more suited to developing as a sketch premise or a stand-up bit?
JR: I’m not sure really. You usually just know when the idea comes to you. Most of the sketch stuff comes from us actually hanging out and being idiots together. It’s more of a team effort, where stand-up is a little more personal.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2014 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
JR: This is weird because it’s the same reaction I have when I talk to my parents. I wish I could drop some exciting news, but there’s really nothing right now. Ask me again in a year or two?
Jack on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JackRobichaud
Jack on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jackrobichaud
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I remember the first joke I ever wrote. “Poo Poo.” That was last week.