Interview with Joe Pera

Joe Pera, America’s favorite grandfatherly comedian, has steadily risen up the ranks of the comedy world, creating incredible works of art such as the Adult Swim short Joe Pera Talks You to Sleep and MTV’s The Pancake Breakfast Critic. The Travesty team got a chance to catch up with Joe during the chaos of SXSW:

Joe Morris: We’re here with Joe Pera, who’s got a new show coming out called Joe Pera Talks With You on Adult Swim. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Well, it’s kind of like a follow-up to the other specials I did with them, Joe Pera Talks You to Sleep and Joe Pera Shows You How to Find the Perfect Christmas Tree. It’s kind of the same world of Upper Michigan, except it’s still kind of it’s own thing, with specific how-to’s. One is ‘Joe Pera takes you for breakfast,’ ‘Joe Pera shows you how to dance,’ ‘Joe Pera talks you back to sleep’ – which is kind of just another sleep one – ‘Joe Pera reads the church announcements.’ So each episode is self-contained, with its own how-to’s, and there’s a little story that goes through it all.

Aakash Saraiya: At least one person, on The Ringer, said that you were the cozy sweater of comedians. Who would you say is like the leather jackets of comedians? Well, Andrew Dice Clay is the answer. Or, maybe [JP Talks With You costar] Jo Firestone over there. She’s a very matter-of-fact, tell-it-like-it-is comedian.

Zach Morrow: So, what was it like starting out in the New York scene? It was fine. I haven’t really looked back on it yet, because I’m still kind of in it. But it was mostly just going to open mics as much as possible, writing. It’s really great though, because you can do so many mics and get as much stage time as you want. Being in New York, it was really special.

Max Lopez: You’ve obviously gotten more popular over the last year or two. Have you met any comedians that you look up to, and were they what you expected them to be like? Tom Scharpling [Monk, Stephen Universe] came in and read the scripts with us when we were in a very early stage, and it was nice for him to even give his time and give his thoughts on the series. It’s nice to work with people you respect.

Ben Lively: Do you have a favorite joke that you didn’t write? My friend Dan Licata, we run a show together, so I’ve seen all his stuff a thousand times. I really like this joke he has: a funny bit about jawing with his dad on Christmas morning.

JM: You’ve made it clear that you’re a pretty big Bills fan. How are you liking the Sean McDermott era? Well, it’s already better than the Rex Ryan era. That was a dark chapter in our already grim history. It was nice to turn things around, and it was nice to make it to the playoffs last year for the first time in a while.

Andrew Badger: How do you think the trees – the horticulture – of the Northeast compares to that of the South? It’s very different. I grew up in New York: Buffalo, upstate, so I’m familiar with the trees up there. I’ve only ever been to the desert for the first time a couple years ago, and there’s a whole world of plants I don’t know about; I’m excited about that. When we finish with the show I might take a road trip across the country.

AS: So if you went to church, how much would your tithe be? Like how much money I owe the ch— Are you asking how much money I make?

AS: No, I’m just asking ten percent of the money you make. I don’t know; I would hope very much. Do they still use that word? I thought it was just in the Middle Ages.

JM: What do you think about the recent controversies surrounding the UT Student Government elections? I think it’s flat-out bullshit.



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