Scott Aukerman is a comedian who describes his humor as “Christian comedy.” Although not religious, Aukerman does refrain from extensive use of profanity and enjoys making people laugh with his various comedy projects. Both the writer and host of the Comedy Bang Bang Podcast and the IFC original series Comedy Bang! Bang!, Aukerman also frequents Funny or Die videos online with Zach Galifianakis on their shared series, “Between Two Ferns.” Having been a part of the Bonnaroo Comedy Theatre this past weekend and performing with fellow comedian Reggie Watts, The Daily Beacon got to ask Aukerman a couple of questions before his performance about the pressure of making an audience laugh and the comedy community.
DB: How do you decide what to perform?
SA: I’m going to have to decide very soon on what we’re performing. It’s trial and error, much like the Michael Richards film “Trial and Error.” I don’t know if you’ve seen that, but it’s a lot of what we do, just reenact scenes from “Trial and Error.” A lot of it is improvisational, much like the show we can on TV, so there are some little bits that I have done before. It’s just kind of figuring it out up there while we’re doing it. Right now we’re all abuzz trying to figure out a closer, I think we’re going to sing a song that we’re trying to learn right now, but that’s pretty much all that we have planned.
DB: So there’s not much planning beforehand?
SA: That’s the terrifying part about it. You’d think that with these stakes that we would plan a little more but it usually comes out okay.
DB: Is there any pressure to please everyone in the crowd?
SA: That’s the only pressure of being a comedian (laughs). That’s 100 percent of the pressure. If there’s someone who is not pleased you’ll remember that person more than anyone else so yeah. You definitely want to make sure that people have a good time when you’re out there.
DB: Is making someone laugh the best feeling for you?
SA: The best feeling that one can have is an orgasm. And then I think your parents saying they love you is number two. I think watching your newborn baby come out of your wife’s vagina is number three, and four is making someone laugh. A laugh is the most wonderful, wonderful sound a person can hear because it means that you’re spreading joy.
DB: What is the comedy community like?
SA: It’s a bunch of wonderful people who love to perform and love to make other white people laugh. It’s a really nice, I think that comedians are some of the nicest people that you can meet in show business, you know? They’re down to earth, they’ve been tormented usually as youths which means they’re not douchey like actors are, they’re super nice and not messed up in the head at all and pleasant. If I had to do it in one word, which you didn’t tell me to do it in one word so I don’t know why I’m offering that but if I had to pleasant would be it.
DB: How do you structure your comedy differently between the podcast the television show?
SA: A podcast is completely 100 percent improvisational so we never talk about what is going to happen before it happens. The TV show is a mixture of sketches and improv, because I love doing sketches as well so I didn’t want to do a totally scripted TV show because I love doing the podcast so it’s kind of a mixture, 50/50 for the television show. But the podcast is totally all improvised.
DB: How would you describe your type of humor?
SA: Definitely reverent, on-beat. Christian comedy, is kind of how I would describe it, for people who don’t like a lot of foul language in their comedy. I think if I describe it that way I’ll get a lot of Christians to come see me and it will broaden my fan base a little bit and I think they’re in for a big shock.
DB: Who are some of your favorite comedians?
SA: When I was young I was really into Bill Cosby and weird Al Yankovic, a major influence on me. I think the things that are more influential on the TV show were the Late Night with David Letterman show on NBC and Pee Wee’s Playhouse, a combination of those two were where we were aiming for it on the TV side of things. (Comedy Bang! Bang! was) sort of the experimentation of the sketches of the Letterman show with a lot of the energy from the Pee Wee show. I hear Louis CK is good but I’ve never seen him. I’m interested because he has initials as a last name right there so I’m already on board with that right there.
DB: What advice to have for aspiring comedians?
SA: Stop. There are enough of us and there’s not enough money to go around in show business. Please don’t start, don’t come out to LA whatever you do. I mean I could barely get cast on my friend’s shows, I don’t need the competition. I’m not getting any younger, to be honest, and they are. I guess if you’re a 12 year old, I’m not going to be playing at 12 year olds, so come on out if you’re 12. But once you hit 18, I can play 18 year olds, so once you hit 18, hasta la vista as Arnold Schwarzenegger said. So yeah, don’t come out.
DB: Any final words?
SA: It’s a pleasure to be here in Bonnaroo, Tennessee. I’ve always heard about the city of Bonnaroo and I’ve always wanted to be here so it’s just amazing. I’ve read about it in our history books.