Here's proof: "The Jeselnik Offensive" premieres this Tuesday 2/19 on Comedy Central after a new Tosh.0.

Comments: 1434 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

pleasingbaritone389 karma

Have you ever stopped doing a joke because it's too offensive?

Edit: Amy Schumer does not count.

AJeselnik497 karma

No. But I will stop doing a joke if it's not funny enough to hold the weight of its offensiveness.

TurdsFerguson378 karma

Be honest... how hard was it sitting through The Situation's roasting of Donald Trump? That was probably the most cringe-worthy moment that I've witnessed in a LONG time. Also, rape.

AJeselnik752 karma

It was funny at first, but then I realized "oh shit, I'm NEXT." That set was ten times worse in person than it looked on TV too. On TV you just hear boos. In person you can hear hundreds of people screaming "get the fuck off the stage you piece of shit!" I will forever give the Situation credit for staying up there and not running off stage.

haterobics207 karma

Is it just me, or do you sometimes have a Christopher Walkenesque inflection in your voice? Intentional?

I still remember how much you pissed off that lady from Facebook HR at Rooster T Feathers. You had so much fun with her, and she had none, hehe.

AJeselnik472 karma

Ha. I remember that chick! I do have a Walkenesque inflection in my voice. My whole family kind of talks that way. I play it up in my act sometimes because it's a great way to hide the misdirection of a joke. Plus, Christopher Walken rules.

jbabbcomics199 karma

If you could roast one person in history, who would it be?

AJeselnik609 karma

Oscar Wilde. The wittiest motherfucker in history.

kareem_abdul_montana189 karma

what is the format of The Jeselnik Offensive gonna be? Sketch show? Clip show?

AJeselnik568 karma

It'll look more like a late night talk show, with a monologue and short comedy pieces like Conan would do from behind his desk. And instead of interviewing a celebrity one on one, I'll have two comics on at once to discuss the most fucked up stories of the week. All dark as possible, of course.

2GateProxyCannonRush185 karma

How do you cope with booing? Do you ever get nervous? How do you hide it, or deal with nervousness in every day life? Thanks dude, youre a skilled comedian.

AJeselnik445 karma

I don't mind booing every now and again. It makes me laugh. Booing is a reaction. What drives me crazy is drunk people talking and not paying attention.

A-punk170 karma

Who has taken one of your roasts the worst?

AJeselnik360 karma

Carrie Fisher didn't handle things too well. Most celebrities aren't too thrilled once it's over, though. I don't get a lot of positive feedback from the rest of the dais, save my fellow comics.

atfakebibleverse162 karma

I saw you perform at Bumbershoot, which included about 40-50 people walking out during the middle of your set. Do you have a favorite 'stick-it-to-the-audience' memory? Something where you just said 'fuck it' and knew you weren't going to win the audience over, so you decided to try to get everyone as pissed as possible (aside from Great Barrington, that is)?

Also - I was able to get a signed CD & picture with you a while back. Just wanted to say thanks for taking a few minutes to talk to a random dude, as you've been one of my favs for a while now...and contrary to what a lot of people think of you, you seemed like a pretty swell dude. Keep it up, man!

AJeselnik298 karma

Thanks. I like meeting fans after the show. Comedy is such a personal thing that I'm honored to have passionate fans. As far as saying "fuck it" and just laying into an audience, I don't think it's gotten better than the Bumbershoot show you mentioned. Having 40 people walk out on me because I told a rape joke just makes the rest of the show that much more fun and satisfying for the crowd that stays.

Cptn_Worchestershire150 karma

Hey Anthony! Big fan.

If you could roast one celebrity in the world, who would it be?

AJeselnik455 karma

Currently? Casey Anthony.

jhawk1212145 karma

On Twitter, you are known to make edgy jokes after almost every high-profile tragedy (e.g. Sandusky, Colorado theatre). Given your reputation as an "evil" comedian, many were surprised that you didn't take on the seemingly-impossible comedic task of Sandy Hook. Did you purposely steer clear of this topic?

AJeselnik421 karma

When I first started making jokes after a tragedy or a death on twitter, I was making fun of people who tweet sincere "meaningful" things on something as dumb as twitter. It was funny to me to just say the opposite. Now I feel like it's kind of become a thing and I've kind of lost interest in that. As far as Sandy Hook, I tried to come up with a good joke, but I couldn't come up with something good enough to stand up to the tragedy. Also, I do not like being told what to do. So people tweeting me saying "Where's your joke?" pisses me off.

realdiez138 karma

Can you roast reddit?

AJeselnik646 karma

How can anyone make fun of Reddit? Bronies rule!

scisorkick123 karma

Has there ever been a joke you came up with and then said it was too offensive even for you?

AJeselnik284 karma

I only have one joke I ever wrote that I wouldn't do because of content. It contained the N word in the set up and punchline and I just didn't want that word coming out of my mouth as a personal choice. Didn't really have anything to do with being too offensive.

KanyeIsDope123 karma

Who are your favorite people in the comedy world to be around?

AJeselnik275 karma

Amy Schumer, Jonah Ray, Kumail Nanjiani, Natasha Leggero, Dave Attell, Keith Robinson, TJ Miller, Pete Holmes, Jimmy Carr...those are my favorites but I'd rather hang with comics than just about anyone else.

awesomeman462122 karma

Did Roseanne have any jokes you couldn't say about her on the roast?

AJeselnik304 karma

I don't think she had any restrictions, but at the last minute she requested that we not tell any jokes about her accusing her parents of molesting her and then admitting she was wrong. We told them anyway, but they mostly got cut out.

Bstings624112 karma

What do your family members think about the jokes you tell about them? How much truth is behind those, jokes about dates, and jokes about past life events? The mom/holocaust defender joke is incredible but I could imagine her hating you for it (or taking it in stride and understanding that it's just a joke, this is why I ask!).

AJeselnik266 karma

My family and friends love my jokes because they know none of them are real. My mom would rather I call her a holocaust denier and know it's totally made up than air private family matters for laughs.

nosnona112 karma

If you weren't a comedian, what would be your job? And what has been your favorite moment doing a roast?

AJeselnik508 karma

My favorite moment during the roast was saying "Lisa Lampanelli? You're cool" during the Trump roast. I had to fight for that one. I just thought it was so funny to skip someone after crushing everyone else. And she really thought I was going to destroy her, so watching her face change when she realized I wasn't going to pile on with another tired fat joke was fucking priceless.

battle_tits111 karma

When did you first realize you had a way with words, with the delivery of your jokes, and with completely captivating probably everyone you've ever talked to? Seriously, you are like a car accident. Can. not. look. away.

AJeselnik308 karma

I think I realized I had something in the second grade, when I insulted a girl in my class, but it was so good that it made my teacher laugh. That was a lightbulb moment for me. Make the teacher laugh and you can't get in trouble.

sadz79111 karma

How did you get selected to roast all these celebrities? Is there an audition process? And if you don't know them personally, do you have to do any particular research or do you go with generic material?

AJeselnik228 karma

Comedy Central hired me to write on the Hasselhoff roast a few years ago and they liked my jokes. Before that roast was taped they told me I'd be on the next one, which ended up being Trump. There's no audition process but CC is always looking out for a comic who can step up and be great in that venue. For roasts, I always have to do a little research, but you can't dig too deep because, for a joke to work, the audience has to be familiar with your references to the person on the dais. For example, Charlie Sheen once accidentally shot Kelly Preston with a handgun while they were dating years ago. No one could come up with a good joke about it, though, because the general public weren't very familiar with the story and it seemed made up.

WorkFriendlyAcct110 karma

Is Amy Schumers Vagina as funny as she is? I imagine they would do an amazing ventriloquist act.

AJeselnik346 karma

Amy's vagina is deadly serious.

TripelNova108 karma

How many rape jokes can we expect during this AMA?

AJeselnik398 karma

Depends on how many rapes occur during this AMA.

Cfmagicpants99 karma

What was the first stand up joke you told?

AJeselnik410 karma

Ha. I remember doing a workshop where I did an impression of my dad getting stung by a hundred wasps (which happened when I was a kid). I jumped around, slapping myself and swearing for ten seconds, which seemed like a minute. When I stopped there was absolutely no laughter. It was humiliating. And I decided right then and there that physical humor was going to off limits for the rest of my life.

nicksloan98 karma

Pittsburgh: Love it or hate it?

AJeselnik174 karma

Love it. I bleed black and gold and I still have most of my family there.

Riosan96 karma

Any jokes that you had high hopes for but bombed in front of an audience? Love your comedy and delivery.

AJeselnik175 karma

Whenever I write new jokes, I always have one or two where I think "oh, this is brilliant!" Nine times out of ten I'm dead wrong. Sometimes I have a joke where I think, this is just okay, but then it kills. That surprise keeps it interesting. I wouldn't have as much fun if I was right all the time.

LXscope93 karma

Hey Anthony, how's your retarded brother doing?

AJeselnik161 karma

Resting comfortably.

ArtimusPyle91 karma

Will you be better than Kroll Show?

AJeselnik143 karma

I love Kroll's show. The Jeselnik Offensive couldn't be more different, though.

liquidm89 karma

How much does your stage character reflects your actual personality?

AJeselnik209 karma

Not much at all, really. It's in there, for sure. If someone challenges me in real life, that persona is going to pop up, but I'm actually a pretty nice guy in real life.

kaflowsinall88 karma

You have a very distinct style of comedy. Do you have a favorite comedian that you believe "delivers" jokes as well (or almost) as you do?

AJeselnik212 karma

I think any one liner comic who makes a living has to have great delivery. I loved Rodney Dangerfield and Mitch Hedberg. Steven Wright is the greatest. Jimmy Carr is amazing. Also, Dan Mintz is less well known, but he's one of the only people I'll watch on stage and think "oh, I wish that was my joke."

Cfmagicpants86 karma

Have you ever had a joke in your routine that didn't get many laughs but you stuck with it cause you personally found it hilarious? If so, what was it?

AJeselnik478 karma

I always have a joke or two in my act that I like more than anyone else, but I leave it in there because it makes me happy. Usually it's something a little more silly than my other stuff. The one I can remember right now is this: I broke up with my last girlfriend because she lied to me and told me she got molested by her neighbor. But I know her neighbor. He's a really cool guy. Not like her creepy ass other neighbor.

Lube_it_with_blood84 karma

I love your stuff! How long did it take you to fine tune your delivery and timing? Did you start out with a different style?

Still friends with Amy?

AJeselnik209 karma

I've been doing this for over ten years now and my delivery and timing are still evolving. I started out as more of a generic "here's a funny thing that happened to me" kind of comic and then gravitated towards one liners. I'd say it took me about two years in the beginning to find the beginnings of my voice. Amy and I are back together, actually.

penuswilliams82 karma

Who's funnier you or Amy?

AJeselnik174 karma

Amy, but it's close.

Debasers_Comics73 karma

I enjoyed your work on the Roast show. Couple questions:

Do they feed you some lines, do you come up with your own, or is it a 50/50 deal?

Does Donald Trump smell like lavender with a hint of pigshit underneath? Every rich person I've ever met has had the pigshit undercurrent.

AJeselnik197 karma

On roasts, the comedians write all their own stuff. The celebrities and guest of honor get their jokes from a team of writers. The writers also offer jokes to comics if we want them, but we never do. Trump smells like money. Specifically, pennies.

orangesodaman71 karma

Your promos for your stand up on comedy central we're terrible. Were they your idea?

AJeselnik127 karma

It was a team effort!

newisalwaysbetter71 karma


AJeselnik99 karma

I'm inspired by all different kinds of artists and professionals. I've been more influenced by Jack White and Bret Easton Ellis than I've been by most comedians. I'm inspired by bad asses. Amy Schumer really inspires me to keep doing my best. And I take a lot of inspiration from musicians because they really don't seem to give a fuck.

ssirin8865 karma

What was your favorite crowd reaction to one of your most distasteful jokes?

AJeselnik158 karma

My favorite reactions are a mixture of uncontrollable laughter, groans, anger and some audible "Oh my God"s. All in about thirty seconds.

mrzzz61 karma

what's your favorite beer ?

AJeselnik254 karma


GameCatW59 karma

A few questions:

  • Which comedians made you want to pursue stand-up?
  • What's your writing process like? Are you a notebook-everywhere kinda guy, or more of a sit-down-and-do-it-like-a-job writer?
  • You're great on Twitter. Has having to work in such a condensed form changed the way you think about the rest of your material?
  • Is there another comedian you love being on a bill with? Anyone you'd hate to have to follow?

AJeselnik123 karma

-Honestly, bad comedians made me want to pursue stand up. The greats, like Hedberg and Wright, always made me feel like I could never rise to that level. -I'm a sit down and write kind of guy, but if an idea pops into my head, I'm ready for it. -Twitter hasn't changed how I right, it's just uniquely suited to my bare bones style. -I pride myself on being able to follow anyone, but I love being on the same bill with TJ Miller. The opposite of my style and a total nut job.

goko58 karma

Hey Anthony. Big fan from Slovenia here. Any plans on visiting us?

AJeselnik89 karma

Someday. I actually just found out about my Slovenian heritage a few years ago. Gotta check it out sometime. Not sure how well my humor will translate, though.

BuckHuckster58 karma

Can you recall your first ever stand-up performance? If so, can you please share?

AJeselnik113 karma

I performed for the first time in the Comedy Store Belly Room. I had taken a class and at the end all the students performed for their friends and family. I went up last because I had the most people in the audience. I remember it being an amazing experience, but I went back and watched the video a few months ago and it was horrible. But I felt like I killed. The second time I went on stage, I thought I had comedy figured was a disaster.

zrossin558 karma

Mr. Jeselnik, You have a great on stage persona, but I'm guessing it doesn't have the same effect at every venue. How have you dealt with hecklers or certain audiences not laughing/getting your jokes? What has been your worse experience?

Congrats on the new show.

AJeselnik117 karma

Thanks. I don't mind hecklers as much as I hate drunk people. Hecklers I can talk to and I have a pretty stellar knockout record. Drunks are just all about themselves. They don't listen and they ruin shows for me and the people around them.

MartelFirst54 karma

I fucking love your stuff! Thanks for doing this AMA!

Do you sometimes censor yourself? Do you have limits? I haven't seen you avoid any offensive subjects, but would you occasionally avoid some in certain circumstances? To take an extreme example, would you have dared a public 9/11 joke a week after the terrorist attacks?

AJeselnik413 karma

I would have loved to do a joke the day of the 9/11 attacks. But it would have to be a great fucking joke. Louis CK's joke about 9/11, almost immediately after the tragedy is one of the most amazing bits I've ever heard. To paraphrase: "You really find out how awful a person you are depending on how long you waiting to masturbate after 9/11. For me, it was in between the first and second tower collapsing."

bucknazty52 karma

Huge fan!

Has anyone come up to you after a roast and said "Dude, that was uncalled for." Or are they all "prepared" for that kind of stuff?

AJeselnik284 karma

There's usually someone who walks up and says "that one joke was too much." Which is hilarious to me because they're actually saying "rape, abortion and suicide were A-OK! But that one joke about domestic violence is wrong!" Fuck you.

ThePige52 karma

What was it like to roast Charlie Sheen?

AJeselnik181 karma

It was interesting, because we knew we were in the middle of this perfect shit storm. It wasn't that fun for me because my girlfriend, Amy, was on that roast. I love when people make fun of me up on the dais, but I am not cool enough to enjoy someone making fun of my girlfriend. I'm just like "fuck you, Jon Lovitz!"

tacoissoggy50 karma

What does Jeff Ross smell like?

AJeselnik126 karma

Jeff Ross smells like roses and Yarmulkes.

thatldopig49 karma

Thanks for the reading tip on @nerdist podcast where you recommended Rodney Dangerfield's autobiography. I've read it since then...
Question, how did breaking out as a stand-up comedian post 80's differ from back when someone would appear on Rodney's young comedian specials?
Kind of a vague question, but what i guess I am asking is 'how does someone have the balls the try and be a stand-up comedian in 2013?'

AJeselnik66 karma

The time period doesn't matter. If you have to do comedy, you'll do it no matter how daunting it might seem to be. There was more money in the 80's, but less stage time and less motivation to try to be truly great an innovative. Today there's twitter and youtube, so people can find an audience.

rabarrett48 karma

Is your on stage persona a character?

AJeselnik134 karma

Yes. I consider my character to be, at best, a bad guy professional wrestler and, at worst, the devil.

coronavegas45 karma

Do you ever see yourself settling down with a wife and kids?

AJeselnik80 karma

Sometimes I think I'd like to have a wife and kids someday. I think I could be happy without all that, but as I get older I think about it more. Not sure if I'd plan a family, but if something happened, I'd be open to that life, I think.

TaffyCrones43 karma

What is your favorite 'Deep Thought' by Jack Handey?

I heard you recommend those books on Maron and went out and got them all :)

AJeselnik108 karma

Last question and then I've got to get back to work on The Jeselnik Offensive! My favorite Deep Thought is this: (paraphrasing) I don't know why I'm so afraid of clowns Maybe it goes back to when I went to the circus as a little boy And a clown killed my father.

Thanks everybody! This was fun.

hitler_youth43 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! I have always wanted to give stand up a try but never had the balls to get up on stage. My question is have you always been as confident on stage as you are today or did it take you a few years to build up a stage presence?

AJeselnik150 karma

When I started stand up, I hated how new and inexperienced I was, so I just faked having the confidence of a ten year vet. Then I just grew into it. All confidence is fake confidence until people start to believe you.

MrPoliceGaming41 karma

In a world where comics seem to be getting constantly lambastered for 'distasteful' jokes do you cross your fingers and hope that it won't be you next time or do you see it more like an inevitability?

AJeselnik90 karma

I've led a pretty charmed career so far. I think that, since every joke I make is awful, then no one joke can really stand out for people. Of course, I'm sure Gilbert Gottfried felt the same way. You never know when those bitches will call your number. I don't give a fuck. It's a badge of honor for a comic, as far as I'm concerned.

drshavargo40 karma

When you started out, was it hard to get gigs since your jokes were so offensive / out there?

AJeselnik82 karma

It wasn't hard to get gigs, really, but I certainly paid my dues eating shit at open mics for more than a few years in the beginning.

murkem39 karma

Hi Anthony - really enjoy you on the roasts and Caligula was hilarious. You've named Steven Wright, Jack Handey, Mitch Hedberg and Michael O’Donoghue as your influences. Although your style differs, were you ever influenced by George Carlin? What did you and other comics think of him?

AJeselnik136 karma

I always liked George Carlin and I don't know of any comics who don't consider him one of the greats. But I never wanted to be like him. I made a conscious decision when I started out that I didn't want to complain about the world. I just wanted to give it right back to the bastards.

SirJism34 karma

Did you ever try any other forms of stand-up? Longer form story driven stuff, maybe? If so, how did that go. And also, How do you get your hair to do that thing that it does?

AJeselnik100 karma

I took an improv class where they told me "you're funny, but you're always Anthony." I said fuck you, Anthony is hilarious. Stand up is great because I don't have to rely on or worry about anyone else. If I fuck up, I'm not hurting anyone else. Plus I don't have to share the glory. My hair routine, while incredibly effective, is really quite simple. Get out of the shower, towel dry my hair, smear some grooming clay on my hands and then run it through my hair a couple of times and walk out the door. I am blessed. The the good lord hair jesus.

rookoor32 karma


AJeselnik49 karma

I love that strip mall in Austin, but next time I perform in the city I'll be at the Paramount theater with Moontower Comedy Fest.

Simaul28 karma

Besides Shakespeare, what other poet/playwright/authors do you favor most? Are there any literary bodies of work that you find most inspiring?

PS, I feel that you will be grading all questions as if this were an 8th grade English class.

AJeselnik61 karma

I like Tom Stoppard's plays and Philip Larkin's poetry. His poem, "To Failure" is incredibly inspiring to me. Bret Easton Ellis' "Glamorama" is one of my favorite books. And "American Psycho" as a work of literature and as a cultural touchstone really shaped how I approach my work.

Memphish_Boognish28 karma

Do you have any plans to be on an episode of Comedy Bang Bang? I know you did a live episode once, but it would be nice to hear you on a regular in studio podcast episode

AJeselnik46 karma

I just did a Comedy Bang Bang podcast that should be out in the next few weeks. I love Scott Aukerman. It was a lot of fun.

Flukie27 karma

Do you enjoy comedy from the UK?

AJeselnik53 karma

I love Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle. Sometimes the accents get in the way for me with the other guys over there, though.

kippa8126 karma

What was your first standup experience like and how did it go?

AJeselnik72 karma

First one went great. It was the second one where I felt like I could just go up on stage and repeat what I did in my first set. I'll never forget it. I did 7 minutes of material in 2 and I was sweating so much that it started running into my mouth and I could barely talk. I got off stage and shook for an hour. Took me months to get back up on stage again after that.

RowGreen23 karma

A couple questions:

  1. What joke gets the greatest difference in reaction between crowds? Like, which joke sends certain crowds into fits of laughter while brings other crowds to sharpen pitchforks?

  2. You're known as one of the raciest one-liner style comedians out there, so do you ever come up with a joke that you think about and just say "This is just too terrible to speak aloud"?

  3. Are there any topics that are off limits to you, and why?

  4. Your new show launches tomorrow; you're known for your one-liners, but what should we expect in a typical episode? Skits, longer story-style jokes, more one-liners?

Thanks, you're probably my favorite comedian, and I really look forward to your premier tomorrow!

AJeselnik43 karma

My dead baby jokes alway divide up the crowd pretty nicely. I mentioned a joke further up that I came up with that I couldn't bring myself to do publicly. Privately, however, I've made quite a few comics laugh with it. No topic is off limits.
No skits on my new show. Lots of jokes and late night style bits. Plus a panel which has a lot of absurdist elements. I think it's going to be very different from anything else out there while maintaining a familiar structure and format.

JayK102622 karma

Hey Anthony, I'm a big fan - thanks for doing this!

Do people ever send you their dirtiest/non-PC jokes so that you can use your persona to say what they are afraid to? Have you ever used any?

I find it annoying that people think certain kinda of comedy is not okay to laugh at and appreciate that you take the stance of an equal opportunity offender.

AJeselnik39 karma

People are always trying to send me jokes that "only I can tell." I never read any of them, though. I have more fun coming up with my jokes than I even do telling them, so I don't want that part of the process spoiled. Although, for roasts, I'll sometimes ask friends to submit jokes. I maybe do one joke per roast where I'm using someone else's bit.

DefaultCowboy17 karma

Hey Anthony I've have dabbled in starting comedy and my humour is more complicated and twisted, however it's so clearly in its infancy and suffering from my inability -- I was wondering when you start using a new joke on stage how often does it bomb/how often does it kill -- does it ever kill immediately or do new concepts usually draw snickers until they've been reworked for months?

I also would generally ask whats your process and where you get inspiration from, do you write everything down and spend time tying concepts together, or do you have that computer brain that's always grabbing things and twisting them together and the fine tuning is mostly in the eloquence of your delivery.

it's long winded and I supposed digresses from the realm of questions but even taking a few moments to vaguely respond to some of the topics would mean a lot! You are one of my idols doing comedy today, I can't wait to get to watching The Jeselnik offensive. Thank you!

AJeselnik43 karma

I approach comedy with a writer's work ethic and I think all writers need to read. So I'm always reading books for inspiration. Reading is like feeding your brain and you need that fuel to create.
I consider my jokes to be like clocks. They either work perfectly or not at all. I like to try out all of my new jokes on stage, but I can tell if it's going to work or not before it finishes coming out of my mouth. Occasionally, it just needs a tweak, but it's usually dead if it doesn't work the first time.

DaywomanND12 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

How much control has Comedy Central allowed you to have over the show? Given the nature of your jokes, was it difficult to find audiences who responded well to your jokes when you were first starting out?

AJeselnik30 karma

It was difficult to find my audience at first. I don't need everyone to like me, but I want some people to love me. I had to let me audience find me. Comedy Central has been amazing to me. They don't want to censor me at all. If there's a disagreement, I win 9 times out of ten. They know the only way The Jeselnik Offensive will be successful is if I'm happy and doing exactly what I want to do.

TheOnlyTheist10 karma

Would you consider using "Can't corner the Dorner" as the punchline to one of your jokes?

AJeselnik116 karma