For the past 15 years, Comedy Central’s half hour specials have showcased the future stars of standup. Looking back, the early years of Comedy Central Presents included memorable sets from the likes of Mitch Hedberg, Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Dane Cook and dozens more. Re-branded The Half Hour in 2012, the series continues to feature the best up-and-coming comics in the country.
For many comedians, it’s that history that makes doing a half hour special so significant. While a half hour may once have been a comic’s first major exposure, comedians now have many ways to build an audience. Almost everyone who taped a special this year does non-standup comedy as well, branching out into the worlds of podcasting, sketch and improv, web series, acting, and more. In this new series, I sat down with each of this year’s 16 Half Hour comedians to talk about their specials, their careers, and their generation of comedians. Each interview will also feature an exclusive clip from the special. All the interviews can be found here.
Sean Patton has been seen on Conan and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, his first album, Standard Operating Procedure, is available on AST Records, and he acted in the slasher comedy Shotgun Wedding, out now on Netflix. He also co-created the long running and much beloved Comedy as a Second Language show in New York, which just celebrated its sixth anniversary. I caught up with Sean over the phone to talk about being disapproving audience members and why standup is the hardest art form.
How did the taping go?
I felt really great about it. But it went by so fast. It was literally, I blinked my eyes and it was done. And I don't know how many other people have said this, but I can hardly remember even doing it. It’s all just a blur of LED lights and laughter. [He laughs.] How'd I do it? I don't even know how I did it. Was I conscious? Did I black out? It was crazy. I mean, it was awesome, but you just spend so much time preparing for it that when if finally happens, you're like, “Oh that's it? That was it? Okay.” But it was really good.
Any memorable incidents from your taping? A couple people I’ve talked to screwed up jokes, and Andy Haynes had a heckler.
No. I heard about Andy's heckler. The one thing I do think is funny — someone took video on their phone of the monitor in the green room that was showing the audience while we were on, and there was one part where I slit my tongue odd, like a lizard you would say, but in a sort of sexually suggestive manner, and the camera was on this one middle-aged white dude, just shaking his head in disapproval the whole time. Just really not into that. And someone had taken a two minute video clip of that. I hope they keep that guy in, just disapproving. Being like, “Wow that's disgusting, he's performing orally on a woman. That's disgusting.” Because he really he didn't like it. READ MORE