If you don’t already follow comedian Brian Gaar on Twitter, you’re really missing out. He’s consistently hilarious and knows more about Mario Kart than you know about your birth parents. His debut stand-up album, “Never Gonna Be Famous” comes out April 29th so we sat down together and talked about some very important life issues.
So what can you tell us about your new album?
Well, I’ve been doing comedy for awhile and I’ve noticed there’s a real lack of people in the industry who look like me. That is, white dudes with beards. And it made me sad, because I thought, “Who is that 8-year-old white kid in the suburbs going to look up to? What kind of role models will he have?” So this is really my message to that kid: Hang in there. One day, society will change and you too will have the opportunity to advance in this society.
Would you say your target demographic is 8-year-old boys?
Absolutely. And for anyone who’s 8 years old at heart. Do you like your punchlines to include the word “butts?” Is your mom not the boss of you? Then you’ll love this album.
For people like me who have enjoyed your Twitter account for some time know you’re passionate about things like video games and comics. Is that something you focus on in the album as well?
Yes, but not as much as I talk about them on Twitter. I grew up indoors watching professional wrestling, reading comic books and playing the original Nintendo Entertainment System. And I still do all of those things.
But the album is a lot of storytelling too — about my job, relationships, living in small-town Texas and airline food. I grew up in the South, where there’s a long tradition of storytelling. And that is really evident in my standup, in a way that it’s not on Twitter.
But don’t worry, there’s also some brilliant commentary on Street Fighter IV.
Who are your top five favorite wrestlers of all time?
Bret Hart: great wrestler and the Montreal Screwjob is basically the Kennedy assassination of professional wrestling. When I was a kid, for some reason I thought his matches were real and everyone else’s were fake, because he was so skilled in the ring at making it all look believable.
Mick Foley: unbelievable promos and storytelling. And a really underrated wrestler; people remember all of his highspots, but the dude could WORK. His feud with HHH at the end of his WWE run is one of my favorites — then he came back and made Randy Orton with that no-holds-barred match at Backlash.
Ultimate Warrior: Not a great wrestler, obviously and his promos were insane. There’s no way someone like that would get on TV nowadays. But with all that said, It’s hard for people to understand how monumental it was when he took the belt from Hulk Hogan in WrestleMania VI. Because NOBODY beat Hogan. It’s still my favorite Mania main event.
Eddie Guerrero: Such an amazing talent. I’m still not over his death, especially because he was just getting the push that he’d always deserved.
Macho Man Randy Savage: Old-school Savage was my favorite of all-time. He’s the band that everyone else covers now. Guys like Shawn Michaels and so many of the new guys owe their careers to him. He could get a good match out of anyone and my god, could he cut a promo. Go back and watch his match against Ricky Steamboat in Wrestlemania 3, it’s a work of art.
We could not disagree more as far as wrestlers are concerned, but I’ll let it slide. This is your first album, right?
Yeah, I’ve been doing comedy for about six years and over the last couple of years, people would come up to me after shows and ask if I had anything they could buy. I finally felt like I had a solid headlining set and so I recorded it at Cap City in Austin in December. I’m really happy with how it turned out — I recorded over two nights. The first night was fine, but there were a few spots that I wasn’t happy with. But then the second night sold out and it was one of those magical nights you have as a performer where the crowd is completely with you the whole time.
I got off stage, and a friend of mine said, “Print it. That’s the album.” So here we are.
And that friend? Louie CK!
If by “Louis CK” you mean “an open miker who wanted me to buy him a beer” then yes!
Have you ever had a really bad heckler or someone that completely ruined your set?
Yes. It was 2003 and I was opening for a friend’s band in Wichita Falls, Texas. The crowd was not there to see comedy. I tried doing 20 minutes and an Air Force guy started yelling at the top of his lungs for me to get off the stage.
It went on and on until my sister went over and yelled, “THAT’S MY BROTHER!!” And he called her a crazy bitch.
Coincidentally, Wichita Falls is currently going through a terrible drought and the residents are having to drink their own recycled toilet water. I hope that guy still lives there.
Who are some of your personal favorite comedians or influences?
So many. The first one was probably David Letterman. Or the Amazing Johnathan, because I was a dumb-ass rube from Wichita Falls.
The late 80s Saturday Night Live cast, especially guys like Phil Hartman and Jon Lovitz, were also huge. Then when The Simpsons started, it was all over. Also Chris Elliott and Get A Life, shows like that were so important to small-town kids like me, because they let us know that there was a larger world out there — which was really important in the pre-internet era. That there was more sophisticated comedy out there than Jay Leno and Carrot Top.
I also have been a fan of Jon Stewart’s ever since his MTV show in the mid-90s. It was so clear that he was hilarious and deserved to be famous.
As for standups : Bill Hicks, Chris Rock, Louis CK, Mitch Hedberg and Patrice O’Neal, whose last album is one of the funniest of all time.
Oh, and The Three Amigos. We rented that as a family and I thought my dad was going to have a heart attack laughing, especially during the singing bush and the invisible swordsman part.
So where can we get your album?
Is there anything else people need to know?
Don’t race as Toad when you play Mario Kart. His “superior cornering ability” is a bullshit myth propagated by the mainstream media to keep you under control. Get someone with good top speed and race like a fucking adult.
And if your opponent plays Blanka in Street Fighter and tries to spam his stupid shock move, just sweep him. And then go home with his girlfriend.