2006_06_brent_weinbach.jpgComedian Brent Weinbach has developed an establish following in San Francisco and has come to New York for his first performance at Mo Pitkins on July 7th.

Tell me about your experience with the Craig Ferguson show.
I got booked on the show. We spent a some time looking through a thirty-minute tape of mine and put together a five-minute set that would work. We taped the show, the audience responded very well, the staff writers told the booker that they were pleased, and the booker himself was very pleased. Basically, it couldn't have gone better. Somehow, I don't know how it got on her radar, but the network executive that oversees all the late night stuff wouldn't allow it to air.

I'm told that Craig Ferguson isn't there when the comics record their sets?
Yeah, they splice it together. I think they usually tape two comedians at a time. I don't know if Ferguson saw my set or not, but I'd be curious to know what he'd think of all this.

How did you get involved with substitute teaching?
I was working as a Pianist around San Francisco at restaurants and stuff. I did it to earn some extra money in the daytime. When I moved back to San Francisco after college, I had plans to work as a musician and thought that it would be a good way to earn some extra money. I had no intention to do it full time.

I've noticed that substitute teaching is a popular job amongst comedians. Todd Barry and Gary Gulman both did it.
A lot of San Francisco comedians do it. It's fodder for a lot of material.

What sort of role did comedy play in your life growing up?
I always watched stand up on TV. I've wanted to do it since I was a little kid. My family is funny. Most of my friends were funny. I prefer to hang out with funny people.

What were you like in school?
I was detached. As far as I could remember, I've always felt distant and like I didn't fit in. In elementary school, I was an outcast and became less and less like that through junior high and high school. I was a bit of a weird kid. I wore the same clothes everyday. It probably had to do with my father, who was worldly and cultured. I was exposed to certain things that a lot of the kids my age weren't exposed to, so I had an appreciation for things that were different.

Can you remember one of the first times that you were aware of your ability to make people laugh?
I used to do voices and joke around in elementary school.

What sort of creative outlets did you have growing up?
I used to draw a lot. That was the main thing that I did though elementary school and junior high, but in the ninth grade I started playing piano, getting into jazz, and playing jazz music. In college I started getting into more obscure music. I also used to make videos in junior high.

What is it that you studied in college?
I majored in film studies and minored in music.

Would you say that your college experience was an advantage or disadvantage for your comedy career?
Definitely an advantage. I wouldn't be able to substitute teach without a degree and substitute teaching was the only material that did well for me. The things I've studied comes out in my comedy. It's a mix of being base and juvenile and also being sort of smart. All the stuff you go through in college helps you learn who you are as a person, which develops your voice as a comedian.

What do you think of starting out at an early age like sixteen?
When I see teenagers do comedy, I don't feel that they know themselves well enough to have a distinctive voice when they're doing stand up. I wasn't able to be who I wanted to be onstage until after college. You really have to know who you are and exaggerate that to shine as a comedian. I think it's hard to do that when you're fifteen or sixteen because you still haven't figured out your identity. I've never seen a sixteen-year or fifteen year old that seemed like they had a distinctive voice onstage.

What inspired you to perform stand up the first time?
I always wanted to do it and I had a friend named Louie Katz, a San Francisco comedian I knew from high school and college. We went down to LA one weekend and he was telling me about stand up and it made me really want to do it. I followed him around for a week in the different clubs and met a bunch of comedians. Being around the scene made me want to be a part of it.

And how did that first performance go?
I guess it scared people. I wrote about sexual frustration. I think I freaked people out more than I they laughed at me.

Could you give me an overview of the San Francisco comedy scene?
Around the time I started, there was a burst of young energy. A lot of guys in their early twenties doing really well. The open mics were like real shows with none comedian audience members. The club comedians were in their thirties and forties at the time, and there were all these young people doing well. A lot of comedians have moved out since then. The stand up scene has become a lot more happening in the last six years.

How much improvisation do you incorporate into your performances?
Not very much at all. My stuff is very deliberate. If I'm working stuff out I might mess around and do some crowd work, but if I'm doing a more important set I don't do improvise at all. Everything is very deliberate in a way. I consider that more like comic theater. Comedy Club comedy to me involves more playing off the cuff.

What have you got planned for your trip to New York City?
I'll be doing a forty-five minute set at this place Mo Pitkins with a San Francisco comedian named Moshe Kasher
to open up the show.

What are some projects you're involved in?
I wrote pilot with Moshe Kasher. We'll show that around to some people. We're working on a feature length screen play.

What do you like to do after a performance?
I like to hang out with the comedians after the show. Show of the most fun in the nights is joking around with other comedians.

You can visit Brent Weinbach online at Brentweinbach.com