Â By Sally Deering
Itâ€™s been said that doing stand-up stands out as one of the toughest show biz paths to take, a lonely venture of telling jokes to a boozy crowd with the intention of getting them to laugh at your hilarious observations.
Even Jerry Seinfeld started that way.
The difficult life of a stand-up comic hasnâ€™t deterred Jersey Cityâ€™s Brett Druck, a funny man who has taken his observational humor to comedy clubs in New York and New Jersey, Sirius XM Radio and TV. He plays comedy festivals and just began performing at colleges â€“ his first will be Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, and heâ€™s working on his first comedy album.
Druckâ€™s jokes go something like this:
â€œI made out with a â€˜cougarâ€™.
But then in the middle of it she stopped.
She said, â€˜I canâ€™t do this, I have kids.â€™
I was like, â€˜Itâ€™s okay; I have parentsâ€™.â€
Â Hereâ€™s another
â€œPeople say the children are our future.
That terrifies me.
Iâ€™ve been around 12 year-olds.
Iâ€™ve heard the way they speak.
Fifty years from now youâ€™ll hear some girl like â€˜OMG srsly. I canâ€™t even, bye.â€™
And youâ€™ll be like, that was a terrible State of the Union Address.â€
Â Dreck holds a BA in Communications from William Paterson University in Wayne and performed his first paying gig at Just for Laughs in Chicago. Since then, heâ€™s been a finalist inÂ The Andy Kaufman Awards,Â and in 2012, Dreck was featured on NBCs AMERICA’S GOT TALENT. Heâ€™s played the Jersey City and Hoboken Comedy Festivals and New York Stand-Up 360; and he tweets jokes and performance dates to his 19,000 followers on Twitter.
RVO: Are you originally from New Jersey?
BD: I grew up in South Orange, in the suburbs. Iâ€™m the youngest of three; I have an older brother and sister. My parents experimented with the first two â€“ â€˜Heâ€™s not going to do anything crazy,â€™ â€“ and figured Iâ€™d be alright. Â Their biggest fear was that Iâ€™d eat a bunch of candy.
RVO:Â How did you get into stand-up comedy?
BD: I went to William Paterson University which was great. Itâ€™s the reason Iâ€™m doing stand-up. They offered stand-up comedy by the American Comedy Institute, as a free elective, so I took it. I enjoyed the writing and performing aspect. At the end of the class the final was a performance at Carolineâ€™s in the City. It was great. My professor really encouraged me. He told me I had a knack for it. From then on, I could have signed up for a second class, but I did it on my own, which was dumb. I went in blind. I had this idea you are just funny or youâ€™re not. You get lucky and famous and thatâ€™s how you get your career â€“ or you donâ€™t. I didnâ€™t realize how long it takes to become a good comic.
Â RVO:Â How long does it take?
BD: Â Iâ€™d say it takes five to ten years. Making people laugh and the intricacies of what comedy is are only learned by an extensive amount of stage time and analyzing life from a comedic stand point. There are a whole lot of aspects.
Â RVO:Â What do you think the state of comedy is these days?
BD:Â Comedy fluctuates. The root of it was the Catskills comedians. That will never change:Â set up, punchline, set up, punchline.
Â RVO: Who are the comics that you enjoy watching; who inspires you?
BD: I love watching Jim Gaffigan â€˜cause heâ€™s punch, punch, punch.
RVO:Â Do you remember the first time you made someone laugh?
BD: Itâ€™s a very vivid memory. I was at Friendlyâ€™s with my family, I said something weird and my whole family was laughing, one of those good laughs.
RVO:Â Do you enjoy standing up on a stage alone telling jokes?
BD: Itâ€™s the best feeling in the world. Thereâ€™s an expression; â€˜The second best feeling in the world is laughing and the first is making people laugh.â€ You gotta earn your chops doing stand-up exclusively. Itâ€™s a refined art.
RVO:Â What does it take to be good at stand up?
BD: Doing stand-up, a big part of it is getting comfortable on stage and getting centered emotionally and mentally. The hardest part is each crowd is different, you have good shows and bad shows. You canâ€™t let the bad shows affect you emotionally. You figure out what worked, what didnâ€™t and you donâ€™t let it affect your confidence. Get on stage, get those 10,000 hours to be good at anything.
Another aspect is developing your material. Itâ€™s scientific whittling. Stuff that works with 80 percent of crowds, you stick with that material. If it keeps working almost all the time, thereâ€™s something there. You can hear it in the laughter. It gets that huge laugh, that pop. Keep at it. Thatâ€™s how you get a successful act. Â It could take me two years to get one joke right.
Â If you go:
Brett Druck will be performing at the following clubs. Check his website, www.brettdruck.com for info.
Wed, Thurs, Fri, Apr. 15, 16 & 17: Marcus Monroe Show at TBA
Sat, Apr. 18: Comedy Cabaret; Marcus Monroe Show at TBA
Tues, Apr. 21: Fancy Show, Brooklyn, NY