It’s a very special edition of Notes From a Comedy Junkie as our own Sara Dahms flew out to Los Angeles to cover the red carpet at Comedy Central’s Roast of Alec Baldwin. Sara is a comedy superfan who even goes so far as to call herself a comedy nerd. Raised on National Lampoon, John Hughes, Gene Wilder, and Fairy Tale Theatre, her life changed after her older sister showed her Eddie Murphy’s Raw in 1988. Soon after, she found Andrew Dice Clay and became a stand-up junkie for life. Eighteen months ago, she took her first comedycation to see Jeff Ross play in Miami on her birthday. Since then, she’s been traveling all over the country checking out the best comedy everywhere, a confirmed comedy addict, and now she’s agreed to share her travels with us. Read all Sara’s write-ups here!
Our Own Comedy Junkie Covers the Red Carpet of Comedy Central’s Roast of Alec Baldwin in Los Angeles with Nikki Glaser, Pete Lee, Chris Redd, Dita Von Teese, Arturo Castro, Derek Waters and the Cast of South Side!
“The Roast of Alec Baldwin” was an amazing celebration of comedy and I was super happy to be there to talk comedy and roasting with roasters and attendees as they arrived to the event and I had an absolute blast doing it!
And on to the glamorous comedy celebrities!
Dita Von Teese
The Interrobang: Fashion is always your plus one and with this weekend being the start of New York Fashion Week, who’s your favorite designer?
Dita Von Teese: Oh, I have lots of different ones and I wear a lot of vintage. Tonight I’m wearing one of my favorites, Ulyana Sergeenko but yeah, I wear a lot of vintage.
The Interrobang: That’s awesome! I love vintage as well. I have a whole vintage coat collection. When it comes to rock and roll and comedy, you are performer that kind of melds both of these worlds together. Do you have any inspiration when it comes to the world of comedy?
Dita Von Teese: Historically, burlesque and comedy have always gone hand and hand. I enlist a lot of comedians for my hosts because it’s important with this type of strip tease to have that little break of laughter and also burlesque in general is all about that wink of the eye and being playful and humorous so pretty much every show I do has something humorous to it otherwise it would be boring.
The Interrobang: In burlesque, just like with roasting, there’s a history to it and without that element of playfulness, it really wouldn’t be true burlesque or a true roast.
Dita Von Teese: Exactly.
The Interrobang: Who are you most looking forward to seeing tonight?
Dita Von Teese: Alec! I’m really looking forward to seeing him and seeing what they do to him.
The Interrobang: I hope he makes it out ok! It was great to meet you! Have fun tonight!
The Interrobang: I’m such a fan of “Drunk History” and I have to tell you that in addition to being a comedy journalist, I’m also a middle school counselor but I actually started out as a teacher and you have done an amazing job of making history fun!
Derek Waters: Thank you! I came from a family where both of my parents were teachers, so that’s the goal. It’s hard to learn. I had the worst time in school so being able to make history fun is the secret goal.
The Interrobang: I know your show is for adults but making learning fun is so important! Back when I was a teacher I had a class that would actually clap for me when I came into the classroom everyday and from the very first time I saw your show, I was like, “He’s done it! He figured out a way to make history fun and funny!” What were you like as a student?
Derek Waters: I was a C+ student. I had a really difficult time concentrating. I would get yelled at by the teacher and get told to leave the classroom. Then she’d come out and say, that I was funny but I can’t say it in class. The best teacher I had was my history teacher. He was my favorite teacher growing up and I’m actually still friends with him today.
The Interrobang: I’m glad you stayed in touch with him. You said that even though school was difficult for you, one of your teachers would actually acknowledge that you were funny, then tell you not to be funny while you were in class. Do you think that maybe the seed of comedy got planted in you as a way of trying to cope with not being able to concentrate or not understanding what was being taught in class?
Derek Waters: Oh yes! 100%! I definitely used comedy to diffuse my reality and making people laugh was fun.
The Interrobang: There have actually been a couple of your episodes where I have been laughing and then crying through my laughter! Is that something you guys set out to do, to be touching and humorous all at the same time?
Derek Waters: Yes. Besides humor it has to have heart. Every story has to have a heart for you to care about it.
The Interrobang: What are some of your favorite episodes?
Derek Waters: I love them all but my favorite that we’ve ever done is probably the story of Claudette Colvin, the girl who did exactly what Rosa Parks did one year before Rosa Parks. The fact that it came from a 14 year old, who had so much heart, made it one of those stories that are like, why haven’t I heard of this before?!
The Interrobang: That is exactly how I felt the very first time I heard Emmett Till’s story. Maybe you guys could share his story one day. I love what you’re doing and congratulations on six successful seasons on Comedy Central. Will there be more “Drunk History” for us to look forward to?
Derek Waters: Yes! We’re just about to start season 7!
The Interrobang: That is awesome! Congratulations and good luck!
The Interrobang: I heard you mention that last year’s “Roast of Bruce Willis” was your first time at a roast. What were some of your highlights from last year’s show?
Anne Dudek: Honestly, I loved it when his ex-wife, Demi Moore, came out because it lent a real authentic touch to the show. When someone who knows him that well came out, there was a feeling of like, uh-oh we might be entering dangerous territory and you start to wonder if something really horrible was going to be said and that was really exciting.
The Interrobang: Do you think that there are any topics that cross over that line and should always be off limits in comedy?
Anne Dudek: I don’t think so. I think you can talk about anything as long as it’s done with respect.
The Interrobang: Awesome. Who are you most looking forward to seeing tonight?
Anne Dudek: Blake Griffin
The Interrobang: Have you ever seen him do comedy before?
Anne Dudek: No, but I know he’s a very famous athlete in the NBA and my son loves basketball. He was like, “Oh my god! Oh my god!” when I told him that Blake was going to be here tonight.
The Interrobang: Well, you are in for a treat because he is actually really funny!
Anne Dudek: Great! I’m really excited about that!
The Interrobang: It was great to meet you and I love your dress by the way!
Cast of “South Side” Kareme Young, Quincy Young & Sultan Salahuddin
The Interrobang: Congratulations on filming your first season of “South Side” on Comedy Central. I actually flew out today from Chicago to be here tonight.
South Side: Yeah! What’s up Sara from The Interrobang?! I hear it’s getting pretty chilly over there in Chicago! You better soak up this sun while you can get it!
The Interrobang: I definitely will! What parts of the culture and experience of our city do you guys share with your viewers?
South Side: Well we’re all from the South Side of Chicago so we are taking all of our experiences from over the years and putting everything into it! I mean I think it’s really important in the writing room and in our performances to be as grounded and genuine as possible and I hope people can see that in the dialogue and stories. You know Chicago can be tough but we also want to show that people can be happy and laugh and we hope to eventually help change that narrative that you always hear when people talk about Chicago.
The Interrobang: Awww! I love that!
South Side: Yeah. We want people to know the other side to the city so eventually their reactions to finding out where we’re from won’t just be, “Oh wow! You guys survived that?!” It will also be, “You guys are funny!” because they’ll know that it is not a third world country in Chicago. We are one of the greatest cities in the world!
The Interrobang: What kinds of traditions or stories do you share to help highlight the positive?
South Side: We really want to put our spin on it and show what Chicago is to us. Everybody has a hustle on the South Side. Everybody. We live, we laugh, we cry just like everybody else. Sure, there are things that are challenging to our neighborhood but that’s not only Chicago. That’s a lot of places across the country. They just don’t get the same type of exposure that we do.
The Interrobang: Where did you get your start in the world of comedy in Chicago?
South Side: From high school, to riding the CTA, to comedy clubs, everyone in Chicago is a comic! Chicago is full of funny people! I first started telling jokes at my mom’s house. Go to someone’s house on the South Side on Thanksgiving and I promise you will be laughing harder than you ever did before!
The Interrobang: That’s awesome! I love that you’re doing such great things for Chicago through comedy. It was great meeting you guys! Have fun tonight!
Pete Lee & Jamie
The Interrobang: Hi Pete! I see you almost every time I’m in New York but this will be my first time formally interviewing you on the red carpet!
Pete Lee: So exciting! I don’t really do a ton of red carpets but this time I got to come in right behind Alec Baldwin and Caitlyn Jenner!!!
The Interrobang: OMG!!!! That’s so awesome!!! Caitlyn was escorted through the red carpet so fast, I didn’t even get a picture of her!
Pete Lee: It was so funny because there was a bunch of hubbub with the press trying to get their attention and they were yelling, “Alec! Caitlyn! Alec! Caitlyn!” and then when we walked up everyone gave a collective groan!
The Interrobang: Aww, Pete! Not me! When they asked if I would like to talk to Pete Lee I was like, “Yes, bring him over! Bring him over!”
Pete Lee: Someday it will be a really big deal when I walk out but I appreciate you for interviewing me!
The Interrobang: Of course! I know how talented and funny you are! So what brought you to the west coast?
Pete Lee: I moved out here about a year ago.
The Interrobang: Really?! I didn’t realize that you moved out here! I still see you in New York all of the time. Weren’t you guys just at that Yankee’s game with Mark Normand and Ari Shaffir?
Pete Lee: Yes. I moved out to California and I love it but I’m still in New York all of the time because I shoot a show for Comedy Central called, “This Week at the Comedy Cellar” so I’m constantly on cross country flights.
The Interrobang: Good for you, Pete and I love you on that show! I watch it every week! What kinds of projects to you have in the works right now? Is there anything you’d like to tell us about?
Pete Lee: Jamie and I have a podcast called “Snuggle Storm” that everyone can follow, I’m about to do my 5th appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and I’ll give you a scoop. I’m actually out here working on a show for NBC that is going to be my own show but I can’t say anything more than that.
The Interrobang: OMG!!! That’s huge! I can’t wait!
Pete Lee: Yeah, so that’s been a big part of my west coast life.
The Interrobang: Congratulations, Pete! That is so exciting! Who are you most looking forward to seeing tonight?
Pete Lee: I’m really looking forward to seeing Alec Baldwin… who’s right there….
The Interrobang: That’s so surreal! We’re just talking comedy over here and there’s ALEC BALDWIN… right next to us!!! No big deal!
Pete Lee: I know right?! My best friend is Nikki Glaser so I’m really looking forward to seeing her tonight. Nikki is an absolute killer. We went and watched her jokes last night and I can’t wait to watch them on the roast. I also want to see how funny Blake Griffin is. He’s one of my favorite basketball players and if he’s funny then maybe I can be good at basketball!
The Interrobang: There is hope for all of us, Pete! It was so great to see you both and congratulations!
The Interrobang: I’m a super fan of “Broad City” and I absolutely loved you on that show! Your character was hilarious and so complex! It was like right when you thought you figured out all of his sides it was like surprise! There’s more!
Arturo Castro: Surprise! I’m a hoarder!!!
The Interrobang: I was super bummed when “Broad City” ended. What can I look forward to seeing you in next?
Arturo Castro: I do a show called “Alternatino” on Comedy Central that’s my own sketch show, I’m doing a show called “Flipped” with Will Forte which is pretty exciting and I’m just stoked to be here tonight and see Alec Baldwin.
The Interrobang: You’re so funny! So, I remember seeing you at “The Roast of Bruce Willis” last year. What was your highlight from that roast?
Arturo Castro: Demi Moore! Having her come out like that was awesome! Wouldn’t it be hilarious if she was here again tonight and she becomes the surprise guest at every roast?!
The Interrobang: That is freakin hilarious!!! Now I hope that happens! Who are you most looking forward to seeing tonight?
Arturo Castro: Robert DeNiro. I might have to rush the stage and give him a hug! It’s gonna be great!
The Interrobang: Is anything off limits to you when it comes to roasting or comedy?
Arturo Castro: No! Not at all! Except for… you know… that one incident…
The Interrobang: Ah, Yes… You know… The one incident! Lol! It was so nice talking with you! Goodnight!
The Interrobang: You were so good last year at “The Roast of Bruce Willis”! You were the first one up to bat and one joke at a time you just completely annihilated the entire dais. It was amazing to watch! What kind of preparation goes into a night like tonight?
Nikki Glaser: Thank you! So much! I’ve never been pregnant before but every time I do these roasts I say it feels like being pregnant and giving birth. As I get closer to the end it gets more like, I just gotta do this fucking thing!!! And your mind goes to some really dark places. To be able to think of these jokes and in order to be as mean as possible you have to be in a constant state of seeing the world from a negative perspective so it makes you kind of a bad person for a couple weeks. I get so mean to my friends and loved ones and I have to explain that I’m in roast mode and I’m sorry because I’m not usually this mean, I’m just in roast mode.
The Interrobang: You’re a method roaster so you’re like, don’t take it personally, I’m just in the mode.
Nikki Glaser: Yes I am and I train my mind to think in the worst possible way to be able to trash everyone.
The Interrobang: Sure, but trashing them is only half of the equation. Once you write that part then you have to find the light to get the laughter and you do that exquisitely! You’re one of the best at that! I still remember one joke in particular you told last year to Kevin Pollack…
Nikki Glaser: The one about him killing himself?!
The Interrobang: Yes! You found the light! You found the funny in suicide and I have wanted to thank you for that ever since! That was amazing!
Nikki Glaser: Thank you for thanking me for that! I don’t like being told that I can’t talk about a certain topic, especially suicide. I remember preparing for that roast and doing that joke and some girl in the front row of a show at some bar goes, “Nope.” So I said, “Oh, babe have you been effected by suicide personally?” and she said “yes” so I said, “so has everyone”! I understand not making fun of the victims or their struggle but merely saying the word suicide isn’t wrong because if we don’t talk about it and if we’re not allowed to laugh about it then it’s not being talked about at all and it’s a huge epidemic. I maybe seem like I’m making light of suicide but what I’m actually doing is bringing it into the light.
The Interrobang: And that is exactly what comedy is. When I say finding the light, I mean finding the light in the dark.
Nikki Glaser: I’ve struggled with suicidal ideations. I’m a comedian! So, for someone to say that I can’t talk about suicide is just wrong because if I think about it, you better let me talk about it and I find talking about it and writing jokes about it to be very therapeutic!
The Interrobang: Absolutely! Thank you for sharing that with me and I love that no subject matter is off limits for you! Who are you most looking forward to roasting tonight?
Nikki Glaser: I really like the jokes I wrote about De Niro and right now; they’re really fun for me because I think they’re unique and coming from an interesting perspective. I’m getting pretty dark with Caroline Rhea and I’ll be admitting something about myself, which I don’t usually do. It’s going to be fun!
The Interrobang: Nikki, I can’t wait! Thank you so much!
The Interrobang: I know they’re calling you inside to get your mic on but can you just tell me what your reaction is to Eddie Murphy coming back to Saturday Night
Chris Redd: It’s amazing!!! He’s the G.O.A.T.! He’s the king! He’s the reason why I know SNL! I am so excited!
The Interrobang: And I am so excited that you will be right there with him! Thank you, Chris!
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Sarah Dahms is a comedy superfan hails from Chicago and travels all over the country checking out the best comedy everywhere.