Every comedian is a certain type of funny, and Brendan McLaughlin is the kind that makes you laugh harder a tick or two after the joke, because it’s only then you really get just how smart and funny and, well, even mean it was. McLaughlin is a fixture on the standup scene but you can also seem him lots of other places; he writes for Almost Genius, Best Week Ever, Nikki and Sara Live, and co-hosts a monthly comedy show, Soft Spot, with Claudia Cogan, at Threes Brewing in Gowanus.
When was the first time you remember making someone laugh? What happened?
When I was a baby, less than a year old, my dad would have me stand upright in the palm of his hand. He would do this at parties and people would gather around and stare on in astonishment. He tried to get us on that Stupid Human Tricks segment on “Late Night with Letterman” but it didn’t pan out. The stunt probably got its share of gasps, but there were some laughs in there too. I think that’s when I realized I enjoyed having an audience.
What is the toughest part about being on the comedy scene in Brooklyn today? What is the best?
The toughest part is just that it’s so expensive. It’s getting harder and harder to live here when you work in a business where you have a constant “will they or won’t they?” relationship with paychecks. Right now I’m Sam Malone and the paycheck I like is dating Frasier.
The best part is that there are great live comedy shows happening everywhere. For instance, there’s a terrific one called Soft Spot on the fourth Tuesday of every month at Threes Brewing that’s hosted by Claudia Cogan and some asshole with brown hair and glasses.
Who do you find funny?
Claudia Cogan, who I mentioned. My friends David Smithyman, Matt Koff, Emma Gonzalez, Jen Statsky and Jeremy Beiler. Kate McKinnon. Nathan Fielder. Larry David. Abbi and Ilana on Broad City. Gary Gulman. Naomi Ekperigin. Jon Glaser, specifically as Cock Block on Inside Amy Schumer. Tina Fey and everyone behind Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer (who are also great bosses). Paul Westerberg in interviews. My friends from high school. My mom and dad. My sister Kelsey. My girlfriend Abigail.
What was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
I was in a bar with Brian McCann, Emmy Blotnick, Gabe Gronli, and Chase Mitchell, laughing at a joke I absolutely cannot repeat for you here. All I can tell you is that it was real nasty. By the way, I find these people very funny too (except for Chase).
What are your goals for your comedy career?
You’ve caught me at an interesting moment. I used to have different little goals but they’ve all been replaced by one big one: get a job. I’ve worked as a TV writer for three years and it’s just such a whacky business. You’re either getting paid to make stuff with cool people and do what you’re passionate about, or you’re sitting in your apartment wondering if you’ll ever work again. There’s a lot of flipping through the channels and saying, “This show sucks. I wonder if they’re hiring…” I guess you could say my goal is to have fewer of these interesting moments.
Having said all that, Claudia and I just wrote a pilot that I’m excited to start sending out.
What is your favorite knock-knock (or otherwise goofy) joke?
Unfortunately, I think I have go with that limerick, “The Man From Nantucket.” Not the actual content of it, but just the fact that it exists and is a thing that people know about. It’s so disgusting. Why do we all know about that? Who came up with it, and how did it spread? Did some sick fuck just have a really good limerick agent, and if so, can I hire him? It fascinates me. I guess the funniest part is just the idea of someone with a giant wiener being born and bred on Nantucket.
To see 49 more of Brooklyn’s funniest People, click here.
Photo by Nicolas Maloof.