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Seth Herzog on His Awkward Dog Shelter Performance

seth-herzog

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Seth Herzog currently holds the cushy gig of opening for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. To bring him back to earth, IFC had Seth perform in a New York City pizzeria for our new web series Comedy Drop. Unsurprisingly, the comedian was skilled enough to pull off the guerrilla-style gig unscathed. To find out how Seth was able to get his comedy to that level, we interviewed him about his process.

Aside from Comedy Drop, where was the strangest—or most interesting—place you’ve done stand up?
I once agreed to perform at a benefit for stray dogs that need rescue. There was no stage, no mic, no amp. Just people talking loud [and] standing around a dog shelter, which smelled exactly the way you’d imagine. First of all, performing without a mic doesn’t help, and having everyone standing isn’t a bonus, but having a several dogs barking and howling interrupting your set pretty much nails it. The dogs were getting many more laughs than I was.

Where was the first place you ever performed?
My 5th grade talent show. I didn’t feel like doing something with other people (ie: figuring out an idea, organizing rehearsals, etc.) So I memorized some jokes from side two of Steve Martin’s Let’s Get Small. It was his least popular comedy album, and I figured if they heard it, they may not have gotten to side two. I didn’t even get why half the jokes were funny (and apparently neither did my follow elementary students). Either way, it was a great experiment in just getting up by myself and being funny for others.

Performing in front of crowds—especially ones not expecting comedy—has to be tough. Do you have any rituals to shake pre-show jitters?
When I’m particularly nervous, I’ll walk out into the audience and touch each audience member on the face for 5 seconds, while my eyes are closed. Just to create a connection with each person. Then I leave the stage for several seconds or minutes, to get my head together. Then I return to the stage, having not changed clothes or anything and talk about “who was the crazy guy who touched everyone’s face?! What a freak show.” It just gets me relaxed.

How do you approach joke writing? Do you hunker down and write, or does inspiration need to find you first?
I do set aside time to sit and write jokes based on ideas I think might have potential, but the best material, that often end up becoming staples, is stuff I just think of while walking or just living and then it forms the first time on stage.

Is a joke ever fully “ready,” or is it always “in progress”?
Well, you are always trying to figured out the maximum amount of “funny” you can squeeze out of a concept with the appropriate wording, timing, etc. However, to keep it feeling and sounding fresh, new and alive to the audience, I’ll often change up the way I word a joke just a little and sometimes it will lead to a new angle to tangent on it. So jokes can be always be [in] progress, if you want them to be.

What is the best piece of stand up advice you’ve ever heard?
It’s about trying to write the best jokes you can, it’s more trying figuring out how to be the most “you” you can be on stage, and they way you are funny in a way that no one else is, and get really comfortable doing that. That’s where the magic is.

What’s a joke that makes you laugh, or smile, every time?
There are so many, I may have to get back to you on that.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…