Wayne Federman Gives Some Details About His “History of Standup” Podcast
Judd Apatow Confirms He’s Working on a New Hour Special
It’s another special edition of Notes From a Comedy Junkie as our own Sara Dahms covered a very special pop up show at a Chicago institution. Sara is a comedy superfan who travels all over the country checking out the best comedy everywhere. A confirmed comedy addict, she’s agreed to share her travels with us. Read all Sara’s write-ups here!
This pop-up show of mass proportions was first announced just a few days before it was set to occur. Chicago stand up mainstay The Lincoln Lodge publicized Ian Edwards and Wayne Federman as the featured performers but kept the identity of the headliner a secret until just a few hours before the event took place. Apatow, Federman and Edwards have been touring together throughout the Midwest so when Wayne posted on social media that their mystery guest was going to be “Crashing” the show, every comedy-nerd in the Chicagoland area was hoping that Judd would be the one joining them and in fact, by the time Judd Apatow’s name was officially announced, tickets for the event had already completely sold out.
Wayne Federman opened the show. I saw him once before at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in 2017. He opened for Judd when he filmed his Netflix special, “The Return” and Wayne was just as fun and funny here in this intimate room in Chicago as he was in that theater in Montreal. His keyboard playing comedy style was the perfect way to get the party started and definitely set the perfect tone for the evening. Ian Edwards was up next. I saw Edwards play the Comedy Store in LA this summer and remember thinking that he reminded me of a west coast Wil Sylvince (who is one of my favorite comedians in New York City). Ian’s cool, calm style draws you in and his awesome writing ability and unique point of view on things like the positive side of fear or how he determines if a woman is “ride or die” and the benefits of Trump’s presidency will keep you laughing throughout his set. The first two guys killed, the crowd was hot and we were ready for our final comedian of the night, Judd Apatow!
Meeting Wayne Federman at the Funny or Die Party at Just For Laughs in 2017. He was super nice and took the time to talk Comedy with this comedy-nerd.
I’ve been a fan of Judd Apatow, the writer/director ever since I was a teenager but I didn’t know too much about the man behind the camera until after the loss of Garry Shandling. I wholeheartedly appreciated the beautiful way he paid tribute to Garry. Judd actually helped me and all of Garry’s fans to process the sudden loss of this amazing artist. Just a few months later I saw him perform standup at JFL in Montreal. That was when I became an instant fan of Judd Apatow, the comedian. I’ve never seen him play my hometown and was definitely looking forward to this show and he did not disappoint. Judd has a ton of new, well worked out material since he filmed, “The Return” last year and it seemed to me like his next hour special is almost ready to go. His set included jokes about his childhood, being a dad to teenage/adult daughters and the many mind blowing experiences that are completely unique to the life of Judd Apatow. He also has a very strong calling to fight for justice and equality and has successfully found ways to find the funny in our current political situation while at the same time pressing the importance of voting and standing up for what is right. It was very impressive! I’m also grateful that Judd continues to tell stories of his real life experiences with his fans. A few of my favorites include the circumstances of his childhood that led to the development of “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and the creation of endless characters that made it cool to be a freak or a geek, and being embarrassed by David Letterman and Jay-Z in front of his daughter. I love the way that Judd is able to deliver these tales with just enough humor and humility to connect with the audience and become even more relatable than he was before! He’s amazing and I cannot wait to see this hour again… on Netflix!
I had the chance to thank Judd for everything he did for Garry when I briefly met him at Just For Laughs in 2016 and he was kind enough to take a selfie with me.
I had so much fun and thoroughly enjoyed the show… but then things got even better at The Lincoln Lodge! A couple of comedians and I were able to talk comedy with this very talented lineup and I could not have been more excited to officially meet them all. I told Wayne Federman that his episode of “Crashing” (which is also the one that deals with Artie Lange’s battle with addiction) was my favorite one of all time and asked what he was working on now. He told us about a new podcast series he and producer Andrew Steven had just finished called, “The History of Standup.” It’s a six episode series that examines my favorite art form from its conception in vaudeville and follows the highlights and evolution of standup all the way to the Netflix and podcast era we are living in today. I told Wayne that I was a big Maria Bamford fan and asked him how he came to be one of only three audience members she invited into her living room for her Netflix “Special, Special, Special.” He said that he has known Maria since they came up doing open mics together so when she asked him to be a part of her Netflix special, he said “YES!!!” before she could even finish her sentence. He also said that the special was in fact filmed in her very own living room and the two other audience members were her actual parents! I love the fact that Maria gave her fans that type of access into her life. She really put herself out there! Wayne then pointed out that there are some comedians in 2018 who argue against expanding the barriers and constraints imposed onto the definition of what we should consider “standup comedy.” He even went so far as to say that some of them even make some damn good points. However, the cause and effect of their logic would mean comedians like Maria Bamford may not be given the opportunity to exercise their instrument and that is simply unacceptable. I completely agreed.
Ian Edwards soon came over and joined our conversation. We were (and are) all huge fans of his podcasts, “Soccer Comics Rant” and “The Preposterous Sessions” and he was completely humble and kind. I told him how much I enjoyed his set, specifically his ability to twist the Trump presidency and find a positive spin on it. He said that everyone is doing jokes about Trump so he wanted to look at things from a different angle. Edwards has a completely unique perspective and I haven’t heard anyone else quite like him.
Then… Judd Apatow came out and joined the group!!!! On the inside, I was jumping up and down like a little kid and completely nerding out. On the outside, I shook his hand, introduced myself and told him that I loved all of his new material. I asked him if he was working on a new hour and he said yes. That’s just about the time one of the people in their party announced their car had arrived. I could not let this moment pass me by without asking him one of the hundreds of things I’d love to ask him about comedy… so I did my best to seize the moment! I said, “Can I ask you one question?” And he said, “absolutely!” I took a deep breath and said, “I noticed that there was a thread throughout your material that connected comedy to tragedy. Do you think that in order to truly know comedy, you must first be aquainted with tragedy?” He said no. “It’s really all about empathy. Empathy is the real key and is what’s most important when it comes to comedy.”
I thanked him for his time and with that the group headed out to their car and I was left in complete awe… It was the perfect end to a perfect evening!!!