Splitsider

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Meet "the Most Influential Comic You Have Never Heard of"

This week, the New York Times comedy column takes on Eddie Brill, the booker for comics on The Late Show with David Letterman and one of the "gatekeepers of television comedy." It's interesting to look at how Brill's own comedy preferences play into his decision-making.

In conversations with a dozen comics as well as Mr. Brill about what he’s broadly looking for, two things come up repeatedly: honesty and vulnerability. About honesty Mr. Brill said: “If you have your base in reality, then you can have fantasy and be silly. But if your base is fantasy, then it’s really hard to have a reality.”

…Among some comics “Late Show” has a reputation for favoring a certain profile. “The types they seem to like are middle-aged white men from the Midwest,” the comic Amy Schumer said. Only one woman (Karen Rontowski) was booked in 2011. “There are a lot less female comics who are authentic,” Mr. Brill said. “I see a lot of female comics who to please an audience will act like men.”

Good to know, I guess. If you want to get on Letterman as a standup, just act like you're constantly on the verge of bursting into honest, vulnerable, ladylike tears.