Many times I’ve sat on the train with an hour to kill. Best use of that time? Listening to podcasts. Specifically, comedy podcasts. Though the first time I saw his work was through a series of offensive tweets (which he goes into explaining on his Netflix stand-up special, “Thoughts and Prayers”), Anthony Jeselnik quickly became a firm favorite of mine. He has a practice of sending out a tweet in wake of a tragedy. Here’s a joke that’ll give you perspective on his sense of humor:
“Whenever I meet a pretty girl, the first thing I look for is intelligence; because if she doesn’t have that, then she’s mine”. -Anthony Jeselnik
Obviously he isn’t looking for social approval. Jeselnik operates on the basis of provoking the audience, relishing the process of coming up with jokes riskier than the last. It’s gotten to the point where his audience has exceedingly high expectations for his level of dark humor, claiming his tweet on the day of the Paris attacks weren’t offensive enough. According to Anthony, that’s when it stopped being fun. Wanting to be one step ahead of the audience and providing the unexpected is a part of his comedic ‘persona’. As soon as there’s a demand for that content, the challenge becomes obsolete.
His stand-up routine ‘Caligula’ is on Spotify and is pure gold if you like your laughs induced by a shock factor. To see what Anthony decides to use as his next challenge will be interesting. Maybe his ‘shock factor’ will consist of venturing into a different comedic style.