Mike Vecchione talks with us about the release of his new comedy album The Worst kind of Thoughtful.
Mike Vecchione’s newest comedy album, The Worst kind of Thoughtful, was released on August 24th and has immediately gained acclaim from fans and fellow comedians. As a follow up to his 2014 album, Muscle Confusion, Mike’s talent to turn mundane life experiences into comedy has only sharpened for his latest release. We had a chance to speak with Mike two days after the release of his new album about how much his writing, and even the concept of the album has changed since his first release, Muscle Confusion. The Worst Kind of Thoughtful is available now on iTunes.
The Interrobang: With your live recording, The Worst kind of Thoughtful, I really loved that you left in some of the energy you actually feel at a comedy club. There’s some table talking and waitress chatter and glasses clinking. It makes it feel more alive, like you would feel at an actual Club. Did you announce that you were taping that night– because it seems like there was a lot of ambient energy.
Mike Vecchione: I did it at Governors in Long Island. I appreciate the compliment on the energy, but honestly, it wasn’t really the plan. That’s the great thing about that place, I told them that I was taping and they were still doing all that nonsense. I went back and forth with the amazing sound guy, Aaron Hodges, because you can hear all the extra noise. We decided to not fight it, so you hear some people talking after a joke, and that’s after me telling them that I’m ta aping. They were really good crowd… they really wanted to help, It’s just the nature of being in the club. I chose to tape it there because it’s a really great place, and I really had a lot of success on Long Island. And if a joke fails, it’s not their fault– it’s because the joke just doesn’t work, not because of them.
Sometimes in the New York clubs you can get some people who act like “I’m above this”, but I know the joke is funny. They are resisting it for some reason, or I’m not connecting in some way. But at Governor’s…I know if a joke does good there it is going to do well on the road.
The Interrobang: The new album has 35 tracks, which I really liked, because I kept wanting more. What was behind the decision to release so much material at once… compared to other shorter comedy albums?
Mike Vecchione: I think it was because I wanted the previous album to fit on a CD, so I wound up cutting a bunch of stuff. For Muscle Confusion I decided to cut it all down and get the best tracks. This time I didn’t do that, I was like no… 35 tracks is good. The fantastic Ben Rosenfeld helped me edit, and there were a couple tracks there I was going to cut, but I’m like… no… some people may like this. I need to stop questioning whether I should keep something, just put it out and see what happens. I have to restrain myself from being such a perfectionist sometimes. I have to stop being like “no… cut that, and let me get it super super tight”. It’s almost like that’s not the thing anymore, now it’s… do it… and put out as much content as possible. You need to strike a balance, and still need to make sure it’s good, but there just wasn’t a need for such meticulous editing this time.
The Interrobang: And now everything is digital and in a cloud somewhere.
Mike Vecchione: It just seems it’s better to put out more content. It’s like a weight off my shoulders to get it out there to everyone. Some people tell me different models to use to push content, and now that I’m talking about it, maybe I should have split it up a little bit more. See, this is the indecisiveness I deal with in life. I think getting 35 tracks out right away is the best way for me to do it right now. Maybe in the future I’ll break it down and release a couple at a time, but this gave me the chance to get all of my content out there and just move forward.
As a comedian, I need to get it on to something and to document it. So now I can move on to other stuff. If you don’t have a special after a while, you’re like “okay I don’t know what I’m doing”. I’m using this material on the road; I’m not going to be using it forever. You’re always developing more material. If I get the material on a special or something I can always refer to it, but at least it’s not just sitting in my notebook. I got to have it out there instead of just sitting in my head.
— Mike Vecchione (@ComicMikeV) August 24, 2018
The Interrobang: So is the album a culmination of all the work since the last album- Muscle Confusion? Will you scratch the material and move on from here?
The previous album is me sitting down in the coffee shop and thinking about jokes. It was before I completely realized I could take my joke writing ability and apply it to my real life. It was really a big thing for me.
I didn’t want to redo any tracks on this album, so I had to listen to the whole other album — which to me is a painful process. I thought to myself “this is an example of where I was”. The previous album is me sitting down in the coffee shop and thinking about jokes. It was before I completely realized I could take my joke writing ability and apply it to my real life. It was really a big thing for me. So instead of sitting in a coffee shop and thinking to myself “well I need some jokes about working out”… I just took the same skillset and applied it to my actual life. I figured people would be more interested in that. So that’s what I did with this album, and that’s the main difference. There’s a lot of truth from something that’s really happened, especially when it has a comedic spin at the end of it.
The Interrobang: You often go back to your family for some of your material. Is everyone aware that they’re being used as part of your stand up?
Mike Vecchione: Yeah yeah… they’re good. I remember when I did Last Comic Standing…I did a boxing joke which was “My father taught me to box growing up– When I got older I realized he wasn’t teaching me how to box… he just liked to hit me”. The show’s producers were like… “Your dad has to sign a clearance to make sure this is okay with him”… and my dad was fine, he was just laughing– he thought it was hilarious. I should have told the producers that I can’t take it to my dad because he would be mad at me and possibly hit me.
The Interrobang: Is there a process or headspace you need to get in touch with to make comedy out of your actual life experiences.
Mike Vecchione: It’s always great that it starts with the kernel of truth, and then you extrapolate it out to the extraordinary which makes it funny. I like people that argue with jokes, they’re like… “No … that’s not right”. Relax Lady… it’s a joke. It’s a kernel of truth extrapolated out to the insane. My roommate Dan Soder and I talk a lot, and he has a different process than I do. I’m almost jealous of his process, he just kind of flows. He comes up with a very unique premise, riffs off of it, and then finds the jokes that way. I’m more kind of building a house brick by brick. So I layer it, kind of like one on top of the other. I feel like my process is more mechanical; so I get jealous of guys like Dan who are very organic and can take a premise and spin it in to a bit. It seems more labor-intensive for me and it makes me jealous of other comedians.
The Interrobang: Your podcast, No Disrespect, is on the GAS Digital Network— Luis J. Gomez has put in a lot of work to bring that business model to fruition; how has the business relationship been with GAS?
Mike Vecchione: Our relationship with GAS has been unbelievable. The studio is really really nice, and our producer Shannon Heyer is unbelievable. The support staff that we get there allows us to enhance the show. They do all the technological stuff that I would never be able to do. It’s a podcast but we have a heavy video element as well. The GAS staff are just very on board, they are really in it for everybody’s success. They’re great because they figure if your podcast wins than they win… so they’re very open to everybody being successful. People are really clamoring to get on to the network, and I can really understand why. We will also always bring Shannon into the show because she has a nice feminine vibe, and gives us another point of view that we may not have bought up.
I was actually against doing a podcast for a long time, because I felt like — what am I going to do sit there and talk about myself for an hour? But what I have learned is… you have an hour, and then you have to figure out how to put the show together in that hour. The whole thing is it’s all up to you. If you want to make it a hang and just go in there and talk shit, that’s what you make it. I need to have a little more organization to what I’m putting out, so we prepare different segments. Some segments work, and some we’re still figuring out— but I still prefer to have a plan going in. Figuring out how to prepare for the show has really helped me comedically. What we are trying to do with the podcast is be funny, be ourselves, but also separate ourselves from what other people are doing. We want to be unique and I think the uniqueness comes with our personalities, but it also comes with unique segments.
The Interrobang: A few comedian podcasters have told me that they begin to get fans that know them more as podcast personalities or entertainers. There are some Podcast fans that may not even be familiar with their standup.
Mike Vecchione: Yeah that’s right… and it’s always been really strange to me because stand-up is primarily what we do for a living. People start to recognize us as hosts and may not really be familiar with the stand up until we go out to their city. Sometimes it’s great to not just know you as a comic, because you don’t have to burn all of your material when you’re doing the podcast. If somebody sees you once as a comedian, then they may have seen all of your material. Then they are like… “Okay what else– I guess I’ll see you in a year when you have more material”. So the podcasting has another element to it where they actually get to know you as a person.
The Interrobang: Now that the album has been out for a couple days, I was checking some of the Social Media reactions and it looks like people are loving it.
Mike Vecchione: The fans have been great, everybody’s really positive about it. But the overwhelming amount of comic support I’ve gotten is breathtaking– I am really really touched. Many Comics have shared it, liked it, and retweeted it. The positive reactions are nice, especially because in this business I’m in a middle ground. I have some credits, but I haven’t broken into a household name either. So I’m in that middle ground where many of us are, sometimes you’re in this abyss where you’re like…“is anything I’m doing matter”. Then I put something like this out, and I released it independently, and to see the number of comics come out and support me it’s like “Oh… It does matter”. But to know other comics care… comics like Big Jay, Dave Attell, Judah Friedlander, Bert Kreischer… sure these guys are friends of mine, but they are also mentors that I look up to. For them to provide all this support… it’s really very touching.
Mike would like to add special thanks to the following people that helped with his special: Aaron Hodges for doing the sound; Ged Cuff for the album artwork; Ben Rosenfeld for editing & Governors Comedy Club in Long Island.
Mike Vecchione’s new album The Worst kind of Thoughtful is available now on itunes.
Find and follow Mike Vecchione’s twitter at @ComicMikeV Check out Mike’s Instagram as he brings “distasteful” jokes from old joke books to life with the help of friends and family- @ComicMikeV