Comedian Liam McEneaney on How a Joke Is “Borned”


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IFC recently launched Comedy Drop, a web series where comedians perform in unexpected places for unaware–and usually baffled–audiences. To get an insight into the mind of a comic, we asked each performer a series of 7 questions. First up: Liam McEneaney, a hilarious stand up who recently released his debut comedy album Liam McEneaney: Comedian.

Aside from Comedy Drop, where was the strangest—or most interesting—place you’ve done stand up?
Marco Francesco’s Backhanded Carnival. Lulu the Dog-Faced Girl was the MC, and I performed while a team of go-go dancers reinterpreted the hora behind me, wearing body stockings and OJ masks. We drank so much we thought we’d die that night, but instead we ended up in a New Jersey cornfield the next morning, blinking and wondering whose Maserati was parked head-first in the ditch. Creamed corn never tasted so sweet.

Where was the first place you ever performed?
The question I’d like an answer to is, where is the last place I will ever perform?

Performing in front of crowds—especially ones not expecting comedy—has to be tough. Do you have any rituals to shake pre-show jitters?
I sit and I pray for a bomb threat to clear the room and end the show in a way that will still allow me to get paid. When that doesn’t work, I call a local Catholic orphanage and ask them to inform the children that there is no God. It’s pretty much the same ritual I follow before dates and and IFC.com interviews.

How do you approach joke writing? Do you hunker down and write, or does inspiration need to find you first?
In exactly the same way I approach getting answers to interviews with IFC.com; I put a set amount of cash in a paper bag and leave it under a certain tree on the first night the moon is gibbous waning. The next morning, the bag is filled with jokes stolen from Louis CK’s notebook.

Is a joke ever fully “ready,” or is it always “in progress”?
It makes me “laugh” to hear civilians talk comedy. The technical term we use are “fertile,” “pregnant,” and “borned.” Once a joke is borned, you send it out into the world and never look for it again. Just like in Eskimo culture.

Also, I put the word “laugh” in quotation marks, because the official comedian term is, “explode with rage.”

What is the best piece of stand up advice you’ve ever heard?

I was in the crawlspace above the office of the owner of a certain comedy club in New York City, and I remember he was talking to a comedian whom he liked enough to actually talk to. At the time, I was in the crawlspace because I wanted to break into show business, and was very into doing things in the most literal way possible.

I didn’t catch what the owner said, but his tone of voice was so soothing that I fell asleep and dreamed that it was, “Whenever you’re conducting an interview about comedy, be as serious and truthful as possible.” Which is advice I’ve carried with me to this day, in this paper bag otherwise filled with jokes stolen from Louis CK’s notebook.

What’s a joke that makes you laugh, or smile, every time?
The entirety of my album, Liam McEneaney: Comedian, which is out on October 1st, 2013 on ASpecialThing Records.

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Car Notes

Portlandia Keeps Road Rage In Park

Get a lesson in parking etiquette on a new Portlandia.

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It’s the most American form of cause and effect: Park like a monster, receive a passive-aggressive note.

car notes note

This unofficial rule of the road is critical to keeping the great big wheel of car-related Karma in balance. And naturally, Portlandia’s Kath and Dave have elevated it to an awkward, awkward art form in Car Notes, the Portlandia web series presented by Subaru.

If you’ve somehow missed the memo about Car Notes until now, you can catch up on every installment online, on the IFC app, and on demand. You can even have a little taste right here:

If your interest is piqued – great news for you! A special Car Notes sketch makes an appearance in the latest episode of Portlandia, and you can catch up on it now right here.

Watch all-new Portlandia Thursdays at 10P on IFC.

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Naked and Hungry

Two New Ways to Threeway

IFC's Comedy Crib gets sensual in time for Valentine's Day.

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This week, two scandalous new digital series debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib.
Ménage à Trois invites people to participate in a real-life couple’s fantasy boudoir. And The Filling is Mutual follows two saucy chefs who invite comedians to make food inspired by their routines. Each show crosses some major boundaries in sexy and/or delicious ways, and each are impossible to describe in detail without arousing some awkward physical cravings. Which is why it’s best to hear it directly from the minds behind the madness…

Ménage à Trois

According to Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer, the two extremely versatile constants in the ever-shifting à trois, “MàT is a sensually psychedelic late night variety show exploring matters of hearts, parts and every goddamn thing in between…PS, any nudes will be 100% tasteful.”

This sexy brainchild includes sketches, music, and props that would put Pee-wee’s Playhouse to shame. But how could this fantastical new twist on the vanilla-sex variety show format have come to be?

“We met in a UCB improv class taught by Chris Gethard. It was clear that we both humped to the beat of our own drum; our souls and tongues intermingled at the bar after class, so we dove in head first.”

Sign me up, but promise to go slow. This tricycle is going to need training wheels.

The Filling is Mutual

Comedians Jen Saunderson and Jenny Zigrino became best friends after meeting in the restroom at the Gotham Comedy Club, which explains their super-comfortable dynamic when cooking with their favorite comedians. “We talk about comedy, sex, menses, the obnoxiousness of Christina Aguilera all while eating food that most would push off their New Year’s resolution.”

The hook of cooking food based off of comedy routines is so perfect and so personal. It made us wonder about what dishes Jen & Jenny would pair with some big name comedy staples, like…

Bill Murray?
“Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to… Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to avoid doing any kind of silly Groundhog Day reference.” 

Bridget Everett?
“Cream Balls… Sea Salt encrusted Chocolate Ganache Covered Ice Cream Ball that melt cream when you bite into them.” 

Nick Kroll & John Mulaney? 
“I’d make George and Gil black and white cookies from scratch and just as we open the oven to put the cookie in we’d prank ’em with an obnoxious amount of tuna!!!”

Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen? 
“Definitely a raw cacao “safe word” brownie. Cacao!”

Just perfect.

See both new series in their entirety on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Dark Arts

Foot Fetish Jesus And Other Nightmares

Meet the minds behind Comedy Crib's latest series, Quirks and The Mirror.

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The Mirror and Quirks are really, really strange. Deeply disturbing yet hauntingly beautiful. But you really don’t need to read a synopsis of either of the aforementioned shows to understand the exact variety of nightmare-bonkers comedy these shows deliver — that’s why the good lord made links. Instead, take a peek behind the curtain and meet the creators.


Let’s start with Kevin Tosi. Kevin does the whole show by himself. That doesn’t mean he’s a loner — Kevin has a day job with actual humans. But that day job is copywriting. So it’s only natural that his suppressed demons would manifest themselves in biting cartoon form, including “Foot Fetish Jesus”, in ways that somehow speak to all of us. If only all copywriters channeled their inner f*ckedupness into such…expressive art.

The Mirror

Onward to the folks at Wham City Comedy.

These guys aren’t your typical comedy collective in that their work is way more left-field and even elevated than your standard digital short. More funny weird than funny ha-ha. They’ve done collaborations with musicians like Beach House, Dan Deacon & Wye Oak, television networks (obviously), and others. Yeah they get paid, but their motivation feels deeper. Darker. Most of them are video artists, and that explains a lot.

See more of The Mirror and Quirks on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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