It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since Carl Lavin suggested that Matt Wilding and I start doing a comedy show called The Gas at Great Scott in Allston. We were still working with our sketch group Anderson Comedy at the time, which is still the name I use for the shows that I produce, though the sketch group sort of fell away. The other people in the sketch group were nervous about producing a weekly show, and they may have had a good point. Back then Matt and I had only just begun to do stand up and neither of us was very good.
If I recall correctly, my style back then was like if someone were to do a mean impression of what I do know and really exaggerate all of my shortcomings. I spoke extremely slowly and had huge unnecessary pauses in my delivery. I said “um” and “like” a lot. I told really long stories with no points. It was sloppy, really sloppy.
Matt always had integrity. He had political jokes that sometimes went above the audiences head, and I respected him for sticking with them. He had weird conceptual bits, like a bit that involved mimed juggling, that sometimes worked, often didn’t but was always 4 minutes of no talking on a stand up show.
When we started we didn’t have chairs. We would be up on stage telling jokes, and whatever audience might show up was 5 yards away sitting at the bars in the back of the room. Soon though, we started using the chairs from Great Scott’s patio, which was great during the winter, (thought they often broke, loudly, during shows, particularly when we’d have a headliner. I think it happened during three consecutive Neil Hamburger shows.) but during the summer if people were still out on the patio, we’d just have to start the show with no seats.
In the past four years we’ve hosted some great national headliner shows. We’ve had Marc Maron, Tig Notaro, Hannibal Buress, The Whitest Kids ‘U Know, Christian Finnegan, Todd Barry, Jamie Kilstein, and Rob Cantrell. We’ve also had some great local headlining shows with people like Gary Petersen, Shawn Carter, Josh Gondelman, Steve Macone, Ryan Shea, and Cam MacNeil.
We’ve had the Globe comedy writer take a literal drunk Irishman into the back of the bar and buy him more booze to stop him from interrupting the show. We’ve had Gary Petersen prank call a guy who was rude to me at my open mic live on stage. We’ve had Guitler Raphael show up an hour and a half late to host The Shortest Month of the Year show, much to the chagrin of substitute host Langston Kerman. I was way too mean to Brett McCabe at his “McCabe Interruption” show.
It’s been a great 4 years, and I hope we’ll have many more before us.