Inside the Comic Mind

By Andy Simmons from original
Andy Haynes getting a lift from a fellow comic prior to his Conan debut.

One of the roughest years of my life was the day I took to the stage to perform a comedy routine. It was the culmination of a stand-up comedy class I took for an article I was writing. To put it mildly, I bombed. My friend Mitch was on hand to watch the debacle, and here was our conversation following my act:

Mitch: You were awful. Just terrible. Your act was amateurish. There were no laughs. Nothing redeeming whatsoever.

Andy: And?

Mitch: And you’re the worst comic I’ve ever seen. The rabbi at my mother’s funeral had better material than you.

Andy: So what you’re saying is, my act requires a bit of refinement.

Mitch: Yes. If you can refine yourself and your jokes out of your act and leave just a bare stage, the act would be improved immeasurably.

I took Mitch’s advice. After all, comedy is not for the feeble. Filmmaker Scott Moran knows that. In a series of behind-the-scenes videos called Modern Comedian, Moran follows and interviews comics to see what makes them tick. Episode Six, the most interesting, is dedicated to comic Andy Haynes as he prepares a routine for his biggest show ever—six minutes on Conan O’Brien. Moran shows how he edits his act and decides what jokes stay in and which ones get the boot.

Language alert! There is one “bleepable” word uttered.