Home Comedian of the Day Comedian of the Day (11/8/22): Greg Berman

Comedian of the Day (11/8/22): Greg Berman

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As part of We Own The Laughs.com’s Comedian of the Day, have a few laughs and get to know comedian Greg Berman. The Khamenets Podolsky, Ukraine native shares some of his favorite moments in stand-up comedy and lets us know how he always owns the laughs.

Name: Greg Berman
Hometown: Khamenets Podolsky, Ukraine/Los Angeles, CA
Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat/Tik-Tok: @bermancomedy
Years in Comedy: 13
Haven’t we seen you somewhere before: Chicago PD, NCIS, and The Rookie
Comedic Influences: Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Bo Burnham, Will Farrell, Eddie Izzard, and Gary Gulman
Favorite Comedy Album: Mitch Hedberg “Mitch All Together”
Favorite Comedy Special: Bo Burnham “Make Happy”
Favorite Comedy Movie: Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Happy Gilmore
Favorite Comedy TV Show: Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Arrested Development, Family Guy, and Veep
Favorite Comedic Character: Gob Bluth, Selena Meyer, and Charlie Kelly
Favorite City to Perform In: Minneapolis, MN
Favorite Topics to Joke About: The absurdity of life
Favorite Type of Audience for a Comedy Show: College Crowd
Favorite Comedy Club: ACME Comedy Club

https://youtu.be/0atKqbnEmjA

How did you discover your passion for comedy:
I was a magician for many years before I did stand up. I started doing magic professionally at birthday parties and corporate events before I could even drive. Ny the time I got to high school, I realized that magic was always just a vehicle for being funny, so eventually I just started focusing on the comedy and just doing magic as a hobby.

What do you remember most about your first time performing stand-up comedy:
My first stand up performance was when I was in high school, I went to a show at the Joke Joint Comedy Club and I did a 3 minute guest set, and I did well… and it felt so good I decided right there that I’d do this forever. I couldn’t walk away from it after that show.

How would you describe your comedic style:
I’m an observational absurdist… if that’s a thing. I like to look at life, pinpoint something, and break it down to a level of absurdity. Create a world where the wildest version of everything is true, then play in that world.

Describe your process for comedic writing:
I have been through a lot of different version of my writing process. Right now I have a very specific hierarchy of folders in my Notes app, and my jokes evolve from premises to material through certain stages with certain rules. When I write material, I will grab my mic and mic stand, set up my iPad nearby and start riffing into a mirror, writing down the stuff I like best. Then I take all of those ideas and mold them.

Describe the comedy scene in your area:
The comedy scene in Los Angeles is MASSIVE. You could go months of doing open mics and still not run into all of the comedians in this city. There are scenes within scenes, and groups that stick together, it’s very communal. It can be overwhelming, but also inspiring. What I LOVE about this scene is how innovative it is. People are always trying new things and open to new experiences. I like to produce very unique and out there comedy shows and it’s rarely tough to find someone who is willing to play with a new concept.

How do you judge success in the world of comedy:
I think success in the world of comedy is when you are able to effectively translate your personal sense of humor to a group of people no matter what age, size, or location. It’s the perfect intersection of what YOU think is funny and what everyone else understands as funny. It takes many years to find that sweet spot of distilling who you are into a package that people can understand.

Who are some of your comedic peers that you enjoy watching perform or inspire you personally and professionally:
I am a huge fan of Steph Tolev and her wild take on comedy. She is entirely unpredictable and so unbelievably raw and vulnerable. I love how imaginative and charming Danny Jolles is, and I’ve yet to see him have a rough set. He is ALWAYS on his best! I also respect Craig Conant, for his lovable charm, Jiaoying Summers, for her brazen attitude, and Jenny Zigrino, for being so playful and effortlessly funny.

What’s been your most memorable moment in comedy:
The most memorable moment in comedy was when I performed for 3,000 people at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas when I was still in high school. The sound of 3,000 people laughing all at once I can still hear, over a decade later. I’m still chasing that high.

What have you learned most from your failures in comedy:
That failure is your friend. You learn more from failure than you do from success. It has taken me a very long time, but I have learned to respect failure and welcome it as openly as I welcome success.

How do people react towards you when they realize that you can make people laugh:
Usually they ask me what kind of comedy I do, which is so hard to explain. I understand that this is a fairly normal question to ask musicians, but for comedians it’s a lot more difficult to answer, and usually doesn’t really give you any more information.

Describe what it’s been like building a career in stand-up comedy:
Writing & stage time. Any comedian will tell you, that’s all it takes. Everything else is secondary to writing and stage time. Of course you need to build a brand, and make connections, and learn how to send your availability to clubs, and learn the general rules of conduct, but none of that will get you anywhere if you don’t have well-written jokes and a delivery that is honed and fine-tuned over years of practice.

If you could change one thing in the world of comedy, what would it be:
I think a comedy union might be a good idea. There are a lot of predatory practices in this industry and most of the time comedians have nowhere to turn. Some sort of central group that offers comedians resources to handle issues and some sort of governing body that helps to negotiate living pay for comics would be great. It’s currently a Wild West of entrepreneurs doing their very best to look out for their own self-interest, but that’s a lot to do for someone also working on their own craft.

Best advice you’ve ever received from a comedian:
A tie between two. Steve Martin said, “Stand up comedy is just you showing the audience your taste.” I love this. It really takes the pressure off of doing stand up right, and makes it a reflection of what the comedian likes, and I think that’s the most direct form of self-expression. The second one is “Anyone that gives you advice on how to do stand up comedy, is just them trying to make you more like them.” Stand up is very personal, and what works for one comedian may not work for another, so all advice must be taken with a grain of salt, and understood that you can use just a shade of that advice, all of it, or none at all, and still succeed.

If you were releasing a comedy special this week, what would it be called:
“I’m Just Here For The Bit”

Funniest encounter you’ve ever had with a celebrity:
I once worked security at Jaime Foxx’s 50th birthday party. At one point in the evening, I had to carry a HUGE $50K dollar bottle of champagne across a stage full of rappers. Snoop Dogg and Ludacris both heckled me, and screamed “don’t drop it!” at me when I passed them. Snoop Dogg said “You gonna be on TMZ if you drop that.” And Ludacris said “I bet that’s worth more than your car.” They were both right. Eventually I brought this bottle to Jaime Foxx and he was very confused as to who I was and started talking to the bottle… as I slinked back into the crowd and back to my cheap car.

Weirdest place you’ve ever performed any form of comedy:
This slightly predates the stand up comedy, but back in my magic days I once opened for an amateur wrestling show in a suburb of Minnesota doing magic. I was 17. I stood center ring, I wore a professional quarter-zip sweater with a bright pink tie and dress pants. I did card tricks. I had NO idea what I was in for. That audience was ruthless, I thought they were going to kill me. I sat back stage with a bunch of dudes oiling themselves up and prepping the tacks that they were going to fall on before the show. It was a wild night.

A Gerg Berman Fun Fact:
I have the world’s biggest sweet tooth. I absolutely LOVE candy… and baguettes.

Where would you like your laughs to take you:
My ultimate goal for my comedy career is to spend my days being creative and finding new ways to make people laugh. To have the freedom to go out and do some stand up, to work on a TV Show as an actor or writer, to show run my own project. Something that allows me to be creative and collaborative with other funny and creative individuals.

What would you tell a potential comedian if they ask you how they can own the laughs:
Be true to yourself. It takes comedians many many years to find themselves in comedy, and the more you focus on being vulnerable and honest with yourself the more the audience will love you. Laughter doesn’t just come from great material, it can also come from the comfort of the audience getting to know the performer on stage and falling in love with who they are.

What are your thoughts on the future of comedy:
I think comedy is going through a huge transition right now, and many people are very concerned with PC Culture and getting cancelled. I think that’s a part of any culture shift and the art that surrounds it, so it’s better to grow with culture than resist it. This doesn’t mean to water down your comedy to make it totally palatable for EVERY SINGLE PERSON. That’s impossible. But I do believe there is a respectful and intelligent way to talk about divisive issues that still forces the audience to take a harder look at their own opinions about it, but doesn’t infringe on people’s feeling of safety. When people feel unsafe, they don’t laugh… and that’s our main job. You’ll never please everyone, but if you are speaking from your heart and from the top of your intelligence, you’ll always be able to defend anything you say, because you truly believe in it.

If you could write one episode for one classic TV sitcom which show would it be and give a brief detailed sentence on the episode:
Frasier. I think it would be fun to put Frasier and Niles in the modern space of social media and watch them try to create social media profiles for themselves and to promote their business. Of course Daphne would make one for Martin as well, and Martin will get tons of followers for just speaking his mind and Frasier and Niles will find it infuriating that their expansive knowledge is not being met with as much adoration as Martin’s simple yet relatable antics.

If you could choose 1 comedy club and 3 comedians to perform with on your perfect comedy show, how would it go:
I would love to perform with Bo Burnham, Eddie Izzard, and Tom Segura in the main room at the Comedy Store! I feel like between the three of us, we’d cover a pretty wide array of comedy styles and it would be a cool show.

What’s next for you:
My next step is record my one hour special and launch a few experimental shows here in LA that I have been planning on executing since before the pandemic. It’s never too late!

Why should a person always laugh at life:
Laughter is an escape. We laugh to release tension to signal to others that we are happy. We bond over laughter, and we heal with it too. It can be so predictable and yet so mysterious. Scientists can’t pinpoint why or how we do it, but all they know is that it’s a good thing. So why NOT laugh. Why NOT participate in something so magical every opportunity you have.

Follow Gerg Berman’s comedic journey on these social media websites:
Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat/Tik-Tok: @bermancomedy
Youtube: Gerg Berman
Podcast: Greg’s Guided Meditation