Comedian Brett Davis has been busy around town, performing and hosting comedy shows in NYC. Now he has a TV show on Manhattan’s cable access network, MNN, in the time slot previously held by cult favorite, The Chris Gethard Show (who is now moving on to network cable). Can Davis do the time slot justice or will he be chewed up and spit out? New York, New York. If he can’t make it here, well… I sat down with Davis for a one on one.

What is your MNN TV show about and what are you trying to accomplish?

Well, I love the medium of television. I remember discovering all the television shows that shaped who I was on a daily or weekly basis. I grew up in a very regular town in New Jersey, and didn’t have access to a lot of cool stuff.

Late Night with Conan O’Brien was a huge thing for me because I was maybe 7 or 8 when I first saw it, and it really shaped my taste in weird humor. I was able to stumble upon cool things. I remember seeing Ariel Pink for the first time on New York Noise in like, 2004, and being like “oh, so THIS is a thing I’m missing out on.” The landscape is different now, but there’s still somebody who might be exposed to my weirdo comedy friends and underground bands and be into it.

How did you start off in comedy?

I do characters and my first one originated on The Best Show on WFMU. In retrospect, I was just an awful teenager trying to hijack the show for a minute, but for some reason the host, Tom Scharpling, kind of encouraged me to keep that going, and I started doing live shows, opening for bands in New Jersey.

What was performing like for you in New Jersey?

I kind of came up performing with a crew of my friends, playing shows with bands in punk basements in New Brunswick and weird venues in and around New York. I open with these weird comedy pieces and we would all start to collaborate on things. Eventually I realized I didn’t need the crutch of doing things outside of a music context and that comedy would actually work better when people are expecting it.

What do you think about the NYC comedy scene?

I think there’s a LOT of untapped talent, and tons of potential for crossover. I was lucky to find a lot of like-minded comedians that do more than just your typical stand-up or sketch or improv that is the norm these days. I think my friends and I are starting to carve out a little niche in the scene for weird stuff.

You host several regular comedy shows (including your Annoyance Theater shows). How do you have the time or energy for all this?

I like to keep busy. As long as I’m not dead, I really enjoy putting different shows together. The Macaulay Culkin Show is fun because it’s at a really great venue (Shea Stadium) and it always feels special. The Lethal Lottery is fun because it’s completely wild and unpredictable. Sure, sometimes that cuts into my time more than I’d like, but I feel like I’m just capitalizing on my enthusiasm for everything that’s going on right now!

Do you make money from the shows or do you have some alternate source of cash (i.e., Mommy & Daddy)?

I still work a day job and try to supplement it with creative stuff when I get the opportunities to do so. But I’m still very much just getting by, and I don’t really have anybody helping me at the moment.

How did you get the Gethard timeslot? There are plenty of people in and around his scene that probably deserve it more.

I’m sure there are. I think the appeal of passing the slot to me is that me and my crew are still very much underground. We’re keen on collaboration and I love exposing talented people to new crowds. It would be crazy to say I’m the one that “deserves” it but I’m thankful to Chris and JD and that crew for giving me the opportunity. Plus, I was a huge TCGS fan, and can’t wait to see what they all do on Fusion. You’ll likely see some familiar faces on my show, because there is a big crossover.

Do you think you’re getting a big head now that you have a television show?

Gosh, I hope it’s not coming off that way! I’ve worked hard to get to this point, but I also try to acknowledge the people that helped get me here.

Then why is it called The Brett Davis Show?

It’s actually called The Special without Brett Davis. It was kind of a joke about naming the show after me, that I would never be on. Plus, down the line you can expect to see The Special with Julio Torres or Good Cop Great Cop. I’m not trying to make it all about me, I’m just setting the tone for now.

You were a pretty big asshole in high school. Care to comment?

Did we go to high school together?

Answer the fucking question.

It’s not even a question. Do we know each other? This seems like it’s a personal attack on me.

You were a real dick to me.

I’m really sorry if that was the case. Yeah, I think everyone’s a bit of a jerk as a teenager, but I’m really sorry if I personally hurt you in any way. What is your name, again?

Do you really think anybody cares about your little public access show? A bunch of nerds playing pretend on television. The only funny joke here is you.

What the fuck!? I apologized. For what, I don’t know but I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know who you even are.

I’m just kidding.

Really?

Yeah.

Okay.

I “Smithed” you.

Ha ha. You got me.

You didn’t even recognize my name, huh?

Um, what was it again? Sorry.

And I see you deleted my number.

Who is this? Did we actually go to high school together?

Typical.

I’m not playing this game.

Ha. You were always so wrapped up in your little pretend bullshit games to actually pay attention and care about what others were doing for a change!

Ohh okay. I get it now. I’m the one wrapped up in pretend bullshit. Ha. Should I bring up Boston? You want to talk about pretend bullshit, how about a full day of pregnancy tests and a fucking trip to Planned Parenthood? And for what? Just to see if I was lying when I said I wanted to make a commitment. Huh? That’s not a thing you fake, Carole. That’s not something you do to somebody that actually cares about you. Or what–what about Chicago? Freaking out at me at my sister’s party? God, the second you don’t get the attention you so desperately crave it’s like the world has to bend to your will. Do you even write for a blog or is this all a big setup?

You’re fucking petty. You know that?

Oh I’m–I’M THE PETTY ONE?

Yeah, well, maybe I was emotional but you drove me to that place by cheating on me! I wasn’t strong enough to deal with it like an adult because I wasn’t one. And when you asked why I was feeling sick, I honestly didn’t know why! I mean, I did. I don’t know. I…don’t know.

Fine. I was going to say it, but I’m not going to.

What?

Nothing.

Oh, you’re going to bury your feelings again.

[Brett takes a sip of water.]

Well?

[Brett walks over to the window.] Don’t you see?

See what?

This…all this. It’s all for you.

Hey Carole can you sign these–is this a bad time?

Yes.

Yes.

What do you mean “all for me”?

I want to have a child. I want to build that perfect little world where I can follow my dreams AND provide for a family. I just have to keep working. I don’t want any more regrets.

Say it.

I…I still love–

[EXPLOSION!]


(Wednesdays at 11pm on MNN/online)

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Carole Garden

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