First Gig Worst Gig

Brandon Wardell

Brandon Wardell

This week we hark back to the great oratorical state of Washington DC, where Brandon Wardell took his first bold steps onto a stand-up stage. The Seattle-born comic and popular podcast presenter is now about to pop his London cherry too, with a six-night stint at the Soho Theatre, from May 9th.

In between those transatlantic debuts? He's supported the mighty Bo Burnham and Bob Odenkirk on tour, appeared in Curb Your Enthusiasm and the absurdly brill I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson, and interviewed huge stars on the podcast Yeah, But Still.

So, what's going on with this Soho show?

"I'm just doing stand-up comedy," says Wardell. "It's all pretty new material that I'm proud of. It's not a high-concept one-man show or anything. I'm just telling jokes mostly."

Simple but effective, although he has also plugged it with this powerful image:

And what about Yeah, But Still? "The podcast is also pretty low concept. But they're both things that people think are funny. Listen to an episode with a guest you already like and then go from there I suppose."

Good advice. Now, back to his nation's capital, where an important untruth once took place.

First gig?

An open mic at a comedy club on the third level of a mall in the DC suburbs. I was 17 at the time. I told my parents I was going to a school play and then I lied and did stand-up comedy. There were about 10 people there. Electric night.

Favourite show, ever?

Hopefully The Soho Theatre in London 9 May - 14 May. 🙂

Worst gig?

I once bombed at a college in 2016 so badly that multiple alums have mentioned this to me in real life six years later. You can't escape the shame. No matter how hard you run or what you accomplish, people never forget your failures...

Which one person influenced your comedy life most significantly?

The girl reading this right now :)

And who's the most disagreeable person you've come across in the business?

James Corden hit me with his car during a Carpool Karaoke segment where he had a few too many pints.

Is there one gag/bit you loved, that audiences inexplicably didn't?

I was ghost writing for Michael Richards back in 2006 and there's this one bit he did at the Laugh Factory that did NOT go over.

What's your favourite moment from the podcast so far?

I always tell people to listen to the episodes with my cousin Johnny and my friend Jamel. There's big, big Hollywood guests sometimes or whatever but the best episodes are the ones with my cousin for sure. Those are literally the best episodes.

Any reviews, heckles or post-gig reactions stick in the mind?

I did a show in Vancouver where a guy paid me and my opener Jamel to hang out with him and his friends afterwards. Nothing sexual. Just got paid to hang out with some guys. Almost wish it was sexual. Would have felt more dignified.

How do you feel about where your career is at, right now?

I was this close to getting the titular role in Morbius so I don't want to talk about that right now.


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