Co-Producer / Emcee for Broadway's Next H!T Musical
After years of performing in a nightclub in Orlando where the audience was wonderful but largely tourist, I love going to the audience. The fresh inspiration of each town excites me.
I usually use Wiki as a starting point. It has really quirky data and great demographics from the last census. It gives a great foundation.
I'll start writing jokes before we arrive but the real work starts after we leave the airport. As we head to the hotel I'm looking for businesses that stick out, oddly named streets, people watching, etc.
I always take time to interview some of the people that we meet. That's always fun. Hearing about the town from people who live and work there really give me an idea of what's going on and what people are prioritizing.
I'm guessing the whole process takes about four hours…totally worth it.
Is there anything off limits when you are writing local material, or is everything fair game?
I don't know if it's fair, but everything is on the table.
What's the most surprising reaction you have had to a joke you told while on the road?
It's amazing what people don't notice about their own towns. Fresh eyes bring fresh perspective. Parker CO for example. Every building is beige or brown. I mentioned that and you saw a lot of people turn to each other as if to say, "Oh my God, that's right."
We spent two weeks in Iowa. I think the audience was actually surprised that this group of comedians from NYC thought their town was cool - but it is and we loved being there. It's always an adventure.
We were staying at a hotel in Olympia, WA. It had a Hall of Governors - very fancy. I always found a reason to walk through that area. One of their governors looked like Hitler. Not sure they loved me pointing that out.
What do you do differently when you are hosting in NYC as opposed to when you are on tour?
It's a totally different approach - usually in NYC our audiences know us better. Our points of view are established so there's less exposition. NYC audiences are a little more demanding in their own way. After all, they have about a billion things they could be doing instead of watching our show.
When you aren't out on the road with BNHM, what are you up to?
I own the world's smallest production company. It's called Strategic Entertainment. We provide a variety of creative services for companies such as the Tribeca Film Festival, the World Science Festival and Disney.
What is your craziest BNHM travel tale?
That's hard - every tour has some sense of adventure…that's one of the reasons I love doing it. Once Robert Z. Grant, Gary Adler and I went into what we thought was a gay bar. We spent over an hour there talking to guys and wondering why there were so many straight couples there, why they only played hip hop. The mirrors on the ceiling were cool, but other than that we thought it was the worst gay bar ever.
Well, it turns out the gay bar was next door. We were in the wrong place. Being good improvisers we made a new choice and headed to that bar and started all over.
What is one thing you think your BNHM cast-mates would be surprised to learn about you?
I'm kind of an open book. They'd probably be shocked to know that I gave serious thought to becoming a minister. Sometimes when I'm frustrated or over something I try to imagine what that life would've been like and am happy for the parishioners that didn't have to put up with Reverend Greg.
Thank God I didn't go into the business of God.