We’ve been excited waiting for the premiere of Big Jay Oakerson‘s new show What’s Your Fucking Deal?! and we are just a day away from that happening. Oakerson created the concept for the series in the late late hours at New York’s famed Comedy Cellar with co-host Ardie Fuqua and after touring the show around the country at clubs and festivals, it’s now ready for broadcast. The series debuts on Seeso March 17. Oakerson and Fuqua filmed WYFD over several days at New York City’s historic club, The Bitter End. Beautifully designed posters featuring Big Jay filled the walls of the club, and now to celebrate we are giving away 5 of those original posters, and they’re all signed by Big Jay himself. Want to win? Just fill out the form below to enter.
The concept of the show is that comics shelve their ‘material’ for the night, because it’s a 100% crowd work show. Some of the comics on the lineup are crowd work pros, others aren’t used to talking to the crowd from the stage, and the result is always really funny, surprising and fresh every time. In the series, Big Jay hosts, and works the crowd while co-host Ardie Fuqua roams the audience with a mic and talks with to people in the crowd with Jay or whoever is on the stage.
The line up is nothing short of brilliant. Rich Vos, Gilbert Gottfried, Hannibal Buress, Bonnie McFarlane, Colin Quinn, Jermaine Fowler, Bert Kreischer, Ari Shaffir, Monroe Martin, Nate Bargatze, Andy Kindler, Dan Soder, Mark Normand, and Kurt Metzger, are just a few of the names who you’ll see in the series.
Big Jay told us that some of the people on the line up are considered crowd work pros. “It was soo cool to get some of those people,” he said. “Colin Quinn, that was amazing, and Gilbert Gottfried was awesome.” Jay said Kurt Metzger, known for his outstanding writing on the series Inside Amy Schumer, was one of his favorites to watch. “I always think its great to watch Kurt Metzger work in a forum like that because he’s so great at writing jokes and such a good strict joke writer that to watch his mind work- he’s such a unique kind of talent that to watch his mind work, on the fly like that always makes me very happy. He’s always brilliant at it.” Other crowd work super stars he mentioned were Bonnie McFarlane, who he called “brilliant,” Bert Kreisher who was “amazing” and Rich Vos. “Rich Vos is obviously a veteran at that,” he said referring to Vos’ reputation as one of the best and fastest minds when it comes to crowd work.
Some of the other comedians were new to doing crowd work, but they had nothing to worry about. “People know that I’ll give them training wheels if they need them, so like Lynne Koplitz wanted me to be a part of it when she does it. Wil Sylvince wants me to do it with him; just help him out and send him off.” Some of the comics worried that if they were late in the line up, all the best audience members would already be mined for jokes by the prior comics, but Jay reassured them they had nothing to worry about. “I tried to give a peptalk to the comics especially some I don’t know doing the show. And I’m like don’t worry about where you’re at in the lineup, don’t worry about anything,” he said. “Everyone’s concern is always that all the crowd work is doing to be done by the time you get on stage. We’d already know what this guy does for a living, we know they’re a couple or they used to date or whatever it is. And I go, alright but did anyone ever ask them if they’ve ever fucked in a pool before? I’m like, yeah just keep asking other questions.”
While Seeso hasn’t confirmed a season two yet, Jay already has some great names he’d love to have on future shows. Names like Jeff Ross, and Dave Attell. “Dave Attell is brilliant at it and we didn’t get him this year. Provided we get a season two which I’m hoping for.. .we’d have another great series.
The key to great crowd work Jay told us, is stage comfort. “It’s not about saying the funniest thing every single time. It’s just– your mind is relaxed enough to say the funniest thing if you have no stage fear,” he said. “You have to embrace the concept. It’s like ahh we’ll see what happens, maybe some things hit maybe some things don’t. and you just go up comfortable.”
He mentioned some of his favorite moments of the show. “Sherrod Small, another guy, whose just one of the quickest wits ever but relies on jokes so much so to watch him get loose under a situation like that is just a pleasure,” he said. “Mike Brit, whose a very understated guy, I don’t know how known Mike is but every time he’s on the show he’s been great at it cause he’s just unafraid to be on stage.”
Nothing, he said, was cut for being too offensive or outrageous. “I think some of the harshest stuff was with two of the greatest fans who come to a lot of shows for years now, Gina and her boyfriend are the wheelchair couple. Between Gilbert Gottfried and Kurt Metzger that was just probably the furthest we went but so funny. When Kurt Metzger asked them ‘where’d you guys meet’ and they said we met at camp, and he says ‘my god they put you people into camps?’ That was the line of the thing for me. And then Kurt goes ‘hey people that’s why they call it crowd work and not crowd fun.'”
In another favorite moment a girl came on stage with Bert Kreischer . “The girl showing videos of her doing lesbian shit with some other girl was pretty intense. And then Bert Kreischer pulled out his phone, while he’s going with the girls phone and says here’s pictures of my wife’s tits. Here. So he let her look at those while he was going through her phone.”
While season two is still up in the air, there will definitely be more WYFD shows. They’ll be doing them live at Moontower Comedy Festival next month, and in Montreal at Just for Laughs this summer, and The Bitter End has already said they’re interested in hosting more shows in NYC. Everyone else can subscribe to Seeso, and watch Season One which airs starting tomorrow, March 17, and we’ve got an exclusive never seen before clip from the series. Sign up for Seeso at seeso.com to get What’s Your Fucking Deal?! and an endless amount of other comedy programming.
Watch an exclusive clip from the series below, and of course you can enter to win a signed poster just by filling out the form below!
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