I am Neal Brennan, a comedian, writer, director, and voice over person. I co-created Chappelle's Show and have done a bunch of other stuff. I host a show on SundanceTV called "The Approval Matrix." It airs every Monday at 11PM. Ask Me Anything.


Comments: 370 • Responses: 92  • Date: 

vynsynt38 karma

I love The Champs podcast. It's the only podcast that I've found which bears repeat listens...seriously. One topic I haven't heard you address on the show is how you and Moshe were paired up. At first glance, it seems like an odd pairing, but I think you 2 are the perfect foils for one another. So, how did you 2 come to create The Champs?

NealBrennan15 karma

I just saw him at the comedy store and was impressed with his presence and experience.

dayofthedead20420 karma

Hi Neal,

Thanks for doing another AMA!

Dave once said that “I guess shooting a white slave master is only funny to me and Neal.” So I’m wondering if you and Dave watched “Django Unchained” and pissed yourselves laughing at the multiple slave master deaths in that movie? Or perhaps was it taken seriously by both of you?

NealBrennan70 karma

Django was a totally different tone. But Dave called me after he saw it with an amazing joke..."Do you think slaves spanked their kids?"

propsandmayhem15 karma

I was on a first date and went to see some standup. You came on stage and said I looked like a pedophile. Were you going to say that about someone no matter what or did that really come to mind when you looked at me? I never heard from her again, so I can't be sure if you helped me or ruined something wonderful.

NealBrennan20 karma

Not planned. I must have really thought you looked like a pedo. Sorry man. Let's assume I did you a favor so I can sleep at night.

thoctor15 karma

Did DJ Douggpound leave because you were too mean to him?

NealBrennan32 karma

Doug never really liked doing the podcast. He wanted to make money from it and felt like me and moshe never gave him a chance to talk. Which is all fair.

Frajer14 karma

What's your favorite Tracy Morgan story?

NealBrennan50 karma

That before 9/11 he was on a commuter jet that didn't have a bathroom so he relieved himself in the cockpit in front of the pilots into a mountain dew bottle.

CB9714 karma

Have you asked Dave to do the Champs? When he said no, how did he say it?

NealBrennan21 karma

He has an open invitation. He said he wanted to do a live one. But… Who knows?

davetastic56213 karma

After one of your shows at the Hollywood Improv, you were talking to some chicks. After you left one of them said something like, "As if... he may have money, but he's too old and not cute." I went over and called her a twat waffle and she flipped out and knocked over my drink. Can you buy me another?

NealBrennan26 karma

That's hilarious. I'll reimburse you. Also, who says something like "he's too old and not cute?" Were they movie characters?

JJRL13 karma

A female friend of mine said she met you on Tinder. Is it true that you have a strong Tinder game?

NealBrennan21 karma

My tinder game varies. Also I'm prone to get sick of it and take it off my phone.

Moetsukiru13 karma

If you could pick any 3 comedians (alive or dead) to hang out in a room and chat with, who would you pick and why?

NealBrennan35 karma

Patrice O'Neal, Mark twain, and Doug Stanhope. Three of the most original minds in American comedy history. I would also throw in Bill Hicks and Bill Burr and Billy Wilder.

aldough12 karma

Hey Neal!

Chappelle recently said on letterman that there was a chance of chappelles show coming back.

Any chance you would be involved in the project?

NealBrennan36 karma

Nope and I'll give you $1000 if the show comes back. hit me up on Reddit.

Yesoh12 karma

Hi Neal,

What's your favourite comedy show on TV at the moment?

NealBrennan38 karma

John Oliver's show on HBO.

P0llyPrissyPants5 karma

What's your favorite on Comedy Central at the moment?

NealBrennan21 karma

Toss up. Schumer, daily show Colbert drunk history Kroll key and peele. Lotta good shit.

waterbottleonmydesk9 karma

I fuck with the Champs in a big way. I think fans would like to see a video recording of the podcast, at least of some of the bigger guests that you have on. Any chance of adding a video component to the Champs?

NealBrennan20 karma

Worldstar actually asked us if we wanted to do a video version on their site. And me and moshe are so disorganized that I forgot until right this moment.

GordoBombay9 karma

Neal. Big fan. Can you go into more detail on how Season 3 of Chappelle's show ended so clunky and maybe elaborate on the state of mind of Dave? How is he doing nowadays by the way. Are you two still friends and stay in touch?

NealBrennan20 karma

Detail? Not really. But yes me and Dave are still friends and do still keep in touch.

naturalglide8 karma


NealBrennan9 karma

Never gonna watch it but dozens of people have told me it's fair and well made. Never gonna watch it because I don't need to see how somebody interprets my life. But it's a cool idea for a documentary

makehersquirtz8 karma

When are you going on the Howard Stern Show?

NealBrennan7 karma

Never been invited but Howard is a huge influence on my career listened to them all through high school every day.

justleslie8 karma


NealBrennan13 karma


fitterr7 karma

When Dave calls you, is he like, "Neal! Neal, it's Dave, Neal! Neal!" but like in that Dave Chappelle's voice?

NealBrennan9 karma


EpicDivorceMan7 karma

How did you and Moshe come up with the idea of The Champs podcast? Also did you feel Riff Raff was genuine after doing the podcast with him?

NealBrennan12 karma

We needed a premise and I have a lot of black friends that are interesting/famous and weren't on other podcasts - so we went for it. Riff raff is and remains pure jibberish. But I sort of like him.

bluelin3r7 karma

Who's been your most fascinating guest on The Champs?

NealBrennan14 karma

One of my favorites is the Robert Townsend episode. But honestly there's something fascinating about every episode. Although for most fascination, I would say superhead

killeralienrobot7 karma

Who are some good, relatively unknown, standup comedians to keep an eye out for?

NealBrennan21 karma

At this point there almost are no unknown comedians. Thanks to bloggers everyone sort of knows who everyone is at this point. But I would suggest watching Jerrod Carmichaels HBO special in October that'll be good. And go to a club near you.

CB977 karma

If Jerrod Carmichael and Michael Che teamed up to do a show, would you consider directing it?

NealBrennan5 karma

Absolutely. I fuck with both of them.

judomonkeykyle7 karma

Whats it like to do @Midnight?

NealBrennan11 karma

It's fun. It's an awesome show. Should have mentioned it in my fave Comedy Central shows. South Park also.

idntfd7 karma

When will you have Chrissy Tiegen on the podcast?

NealBrennan11 karma

Soon. She's a funny motherfucker and a total mess.

wonderbeez6 karma


NealBrennan13 karma

Eddie Murphy for 3 episodes.

colarol5 karma

Hey Neal, you a Kenan man or more of a Kel guy?

NealBrennan6 karma

I guess Kenan. I'm still friends with Kenan.

KorranHalcyon5 karma

neal, your thoughts on bert kreischer?

and you need to do JRE again.

NealBrennan7 karma

kriesher is funny. Supposed to do JRE in next few weeks

justleslie5 karma


NealBrennan5 karma

Can't really talk about it. But I'd never hit a woman obviously.

s1gFromWpg5 karma

How come Yassin Bey (aka Mos Def) hates you?

NealBrennan5 karma

Don't think he hates me.

brimattia4 karma

Hi Neal! I'm a big fan of your podcast! I love it when you guys discuss girls and relationships, I've actually learned a lot from those discussions (I'm a 20 yr old white girl btw)

What's your favorite episode of Frontline?

NealBrennan3 karma

Probably "Bush's War." On frontline. Sad, comprehensive, long. About Iraq.

Malizulu4 karma

Hey Neal! My question is how can I get a job on the Approval Matrix? I'll work for Bangladeshi wages...

Thanks for the laughs.

NealBrennan9 karma

What do you want to do?

Malizulu8 karma

I can do whatever needs to be done.

I can write, pitch ideas, PA, help with setup/breakdown. Seriously anything short of fellacio and I'm down...

and if we're being realistic -- I could be talked into fellacio.

NealBrennan8 karma

Where do you live?

cdub45214 karma

What new hip-hop have you been listening to?

NealBrennan10 karma

Action Bronson big Sean ASAP rocky meek mill

cornponious4 karma

How many Rush albums do you own?

NealBrennan11 karma

None. Are you mad?

cornponious7 karma

Not at all, just deeply disappointed.

NealBrennan12 karma

I get that.

mrwontonsoup3 karma

Will you be having Blake "Big Red" Griffin back on the Podcast? It was one of the times I have laughed the hardest in my life. I made a picture depicting your fight with him http://imgur.com/St0PkjW

NealBrennan6 karma

Yeah. The problem with having BG back is that he's too famous now so any little thing he says will get blown out of proportion. It makes it less fun for him.

thoctor3 karma


NealBrennan10 karma

There is one on Netflix right now called "the battered bastards of baseball." I don't even like baseball and it's an awesome documentary.

tenclubber3 karma

Does Moshe smell a little funny? Cause it sure does look like he might...

NealBrennan9 karma

I don't think so. But I agree. He looks like he would.

wonderbeez3 karma


NealBrennan6 karma

It would have been more cinematic. Like trainspotting. Less goofy and colorful.

I_Need_To_Go_To_Bed3 karma

What is your favorite memory from Chappelle's Show?

NealBrennan5 karma

There's a lot. But I would say coming up with the idea for that jury selection sketch. We were so far behind and needed ideas so badly. And it was a clutch idea. And I love that garbage episode where we only showed stuff that didn't work. That's just what's popping into my mind.

_GrizzlyBear3 karma


NealBrennan7 karma


Belliardm13 karma

Hey what is your favorite room in nyc? Love to catch you live sometime.

NealBrennan4 karma

Comedy cellar. Or Hannibal's night at the knitting factory in Brooklyn.

idntfd3 karma

Are you going to have your birthday at the same bar that you did last year?

NealBrennan20 karma

Great question, weirdo. No idea.

jklap3 karma

What NBA players would you like to get on the podcast?

NealBrennan6 karma

I'd like to get deandre jordan, Dwayne wade seems like he's secretly funny. Tim Duncan is funny from what I hear. Zach Randolph strikes me as a weird funny dude. Russell Westbrook. I could go on.

Handupmanup3 karma

How come all of your answers are really short ?

Do you want to do this or is Sundance making you?

NealBrennan8 karma

What are you, my girlfriend?

Chakrakan3 karma

Do you have any plans to do another comedy movie? Your stand-up game came up and I could only think that would greatly contribute to making a movie with some great jokes.

NealBrennan4 karma

Yeah. I have a script that I'm trying to get made that will smiths company is producing. Hip hop comedy. We'll see.

jdubfresh3 karma

Hey Neal,

Seen you at the Comedy Store multiple times and appreciate the laughs. You & Dave both have mentioned how the script for 'Half Baked' was 10X funnier than the movie. Any chance you'd publish it so we all can take a look?

NealBrennan7 karma

I don't want to publish it because I don't know where it is, and also, I'd hate to have people read it and be like, "this is exactly what the movie became. the fuck are you guys complaining about?"

localh813 karma

Do you like chocolate milk?

NealBrennan5 karma


b-runn3 karma

Hey Neal why'd you have to make Brandon Wardell cry over some tortilla chips?

NealBrennan2 karma

I don't know. I just did.

SoltanPill3 karma


NealBrennan5 karma

Just end it. It's a subjective argument. I know Wigg a little bit. I went to her birthday party this past Saturday night. It was fun.

buttbeast43 karma

Hey Neil! Thanks for doing this.

I just wanted to say I met you once and you were a total dick. I have never encountered a more assholish person in my life. You were horrible to a nice girl at a party for no reason and made her cry. Glad I can finally tell you this. My question is, how can you be such an asshole and still make a living?

Also, your movie about selling cars was terrible.

NealBrennan10 karma

Dearest, buttbeast4, when was this?

NealBrennan9 karma


dendrobates_3 karma

Neal, I grew up on your work. From All That to Chappelle's Show, you've had a huge influence on my worldview. I'm a writer and comedian due in large part to you and Dave. I'll cut to it - how can a nobody like me make the right connections and work with someone like you? I'm confident I have the talent, but so much of showbiz seems like luck and "who you know."

NealBrennan6 karma

It's really not who you know. Comedy is pretty democratic. Get huge laughs With Complex jokes. Everyone will want to help you/work with you. Including me.

shutyourgob2 karma

I liked your recent appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast.

Did Charlie have any good insights into the story about Rick James and his girlfriend kidnapping that girl for days on end?

NealBrennan9 karma

He had no insight about rick kidnapping the girl. But apparently somebody told rick that he'd gone too far at one point. And rick supposedly said "too far? There's no such place."

Maccas752 karma

I've always thought stand-up comedy would be the most nerve-racking job, how do you deal with nerves that come with your job?

And; what was your favourite part of working on Get Him To The Greek?

NealBrennan3 karma

You get used to the stressor standup by doing it every night. And get him to the Greek was fun. It took like 45 minutes four years ago. But people bring it up once a week. My buddy nick directed it. And I'm cool with Jonah and TJ so it was fun.

operative_e2 karma

Hey Neal, big fan of your work, I've been staying showing all of my friends your 'Women and Black Dudes' stand up, you stay killin man.

Anyway enough dick riding, my question is out of directing, writing, or stand up, which is your favorite to do? And what project have you had the most fun working on? Also, what music you playing these days? Keep killing it otherwise

NealBrennan6 karma

Honestly i don't have a favorite. I'll just go where the sin is shining and where I'm the most inspired. Shit is random. I got that samsung voice over job out of nowhere. So I'll just do whatever I feel like I can be good at.

bcamp022 karma


NealBrennan2 karma

Chelsea Perretti is friends with the kid mero I'll see what I can do.

davedemois2 karma

When Chappelle left the show, did he consult you at all? Or did you find out the same way everyone else did?

NealBrennan5 karma

not consulted. just heard before other people

MikeyDeezy2 karma

Hey Neal, big fan.

I just listened to the Aries Spears episode of The Champs a few days ago. Is there any other comics/actors that come to mind that you think needs to lose weight to be more successful?

NealBrennan3 karma

Not really. But everybody looks better skinny.

GotMoFans2 karma

Neal Brennan, I owe the Chappelle Show Season 1 & 2 DVDs, I subscribe to the Champs, I watched the Goods, I own Half Baked, I'm a black guy, and the only thing I don't have is a Samsung phone. Will you please unblock me on twitter so I can start following you without sending messages to the Champs twitter account or Moshe?

NealBrennan5 karma

Why did I block you? And remember, nobody gets blocked for no reason.

tyronebiggumz112 karma

if you could describe your mood at this current moment with a song lyric, what would it be?

NealBrennan3 karma

Arf arf arf. DMX

ThisCityWantsMeDead2 karma

Why do you do that thing with your hands when you give your monologue on "The Approval Matrix"? And do you realize that I always just stare blankly at them while you speak?

Great show, though. You're totally funny. And totally cute for a straight dude.

NealBrennan5 karma

People are really upset by my hands in the monologue. I use my hands when I talk but didn't realize it looks weird to people on TV. I call it the "john gotti." I look like john gotti saying "this guys got a lotta balls." Seth Meyers told me it took him a week to figure out what to do with his hands on his show. I've only done 6 eps. So if we get picked up I'll maybe do something different.

collinevans2 karma

What is on your 'Recently Played' playlist?

NealBrennan4 karma

Fela kuti, sia, Kanye, schoolboy q, gnarls Barkley, Jon brion, crystal castles beastie boys.

KorranHalcyon2 karma

oh yeah, you mentioned mr. show earlier.

my fav sketch show of all time, kids in the hall being 2nd.

what's your favorite mr. show sketch? i think mine is possibly "the audition".

NealBrennan4 karma

Agreed. Or titanica. But mr. show's best jokes were in the margins.

Manny122 karma

Did you and Dave ever talk about his Oprah appearance or Inside the Actors Studio?

NealBrennan5 karma


GiftTag2 karma

Hello Neal! What, please, is your favorite ice cream?

NealBrennan3 karma

Ben and Jerry's cookie dough

AnotherCatLover2 karma

Any chance you could get Chuck D on The Champs? Also, what's your favorite channel at http://RAPstation.com/ ?

NealBrennan2 karma

I would love to have Chuck on the show. Personal hero of mine.

icspade2 karma

Hey Neal...longtime fan of your standup and The Champs. Always wondered, how do standups make money? A spot at the Cellar is, what, $75? I've seen you in the Galaxy spots, so congrats on that. You getting any Chappelle Show residuals? Peace.

NealBrennan3 karma

Standups make money on the road and doing TV. I'm lucky that I can make money doing other stuff. Like the samsung and the approval matrix on Sundance. And I write and direct stuff too. And I still get $ from Chappelle's show.

Poedx2 karma

I saw your set on The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail (Great show on Comedy Central Wednesday nights at 12:30ET for anyone who hasn't seen it and is a fan of stand-up comedy) and thought it was great. When you film your next comedy special, would you ever consider doing a three-mic set, or would it be too difficult to do an hour like that?

NealBrennan7 karma

I'm seriously considering a three mic set for an hour. It'll be hard to pull off but that's the plan. I tried a 20 minute version of it in Ireland that went so-so. But I'll try a longer one now that I'm back in the USA

4redstars1 karma

Guru or Nas?

NealBrennan2 karma

Nas. Guru didn't have enough energy and was an inferior writer to nas

spcms1 karma

Which old/cancelled comedy show would you love to have written for?

NealBrennan5 karma

Mr show or the Ben Stiller show.

justleslie1 karma

Has the Approval Matrix aired yet? I wanted to stream it online legally (we cancelled cable years ago) but I couldn't find any episodes.

NealBrennan2 karma

It's been airing for 2 weeks. Keep searching dog.

Mcander1 karma

Couple questions 1-Why do your hands stay above nipple level during your Approval Matrix monologues? 2- Who's on the writing staff?

NealBrennan3 karma

Stay away from my nipples you bitchass motherfucker. Writing staff was me, Rory Albanese and Kurt Metzger.

justleslie1 karma

You told a short Sia story on one of the recent episodes (maybe you guys dated?) Any other good stories? She's an amazing writer.

NealBrennan2 karma

Did I talk about her? She's got one of my favorite singing voices of all time. I was a fan of hers from zero7 before I met her. She's an awesome artist.

TrashTalkFF1 karma

What was it like working on the set of Half Baked?

NealBrennan2 karma

It was cool. I was young. It was fun to get a movie made.

sheikjonez1 karma

Any reason you chose to go with Sundance as a network? Did you have an existing relationship? Was it the best offer you got? I thought you might get more exposure with a Comedy Central or NBC (or are those just way too big?)

NealBrennan2 karma

They're the ones who wanted me.

unicorn10-101 karma

Who's your favorite superhero?

NealBrennan3 karma

Wonder Woman

sawyerandmose1 karma

If you met a girl, who is also a fan, after a show, would you take her seriously ? Or is that a terrible circumstance for you to meet a girl?

NealBrennan2 karma

I wouldn't disqualify a girl because she was a fan. I'm a dude. And apparently I'm too old and not cute.

[deleted]1 karma

Were you hesitant about working with Comedy Central again when being involved with Inside Amy Schumer? How has the experience been so far?

NealBrennan3 karma

Not hesitant at all. Comedy Central is a great network for comedy. And Schumer is my really good friend.

mrwontonsoup1 karma

What was it like working on All That and Kennan & Kel? Were those your first big writing jobs?

NealBrennan8 karma

My first big writing job was MTVs singled out with Jenny McCarthy and Chris Hardwick and then I did all that and then I just wrote Kenan and kel one episode. And then half-baked. Singled out was really fun it was the first time I was just in a room with other comedy writers. And they definitely felt like my people. Just to give you an idea of how long ago this was there was no Internet and a guy got fired from the show because he kept sneaking into a janitors closet to watch the OJ trial

collinevans1 karma

What are some recent books you reccomend?

NealBrennan3 karma

The goldfinch. And a book called Lit by Mary Karr. Memoir. The lady wrote about 40,000 good sentences in a row.

NealBrennan2 karma

Questlove,Robert Townsend, donnell rawlings, ian Edwards, Charlie Murphy.

ChillestBro1 karma

Neal, there's one thing I've always wanted to ask you. At the beginning of 'Half Baked,' we hear all about the Jamaicans in Washington Square Park. Then, at the end, the guys need to find a Jamaican...but there's no mention of the Jamaicans we heard about earlier. It's been previously established that Thurgood knows several Jamaicans! Why doesn't he ask them for help?

Is this a hold over from previous drafts? A brilliant, intentional subversion of Chekhov's Gun? An instance of stoner memory loss? It's bugged me for over 15 years.

NealBrennan3 karma

Dude you're you're looking a little too deeply into a 6 inch well. Also if Dave had gotten the Jamaicans then we have no scene. We have no comedy.

richardwrinkle1 karma

Big fans of yours and I absolutely loved you as Patrick Kenzie in the movie Gone Baby Gone. Any truth to the rumor that you guys might shoot a sequel?

NealBrennan6 karma

I'm assuming this is an insult but I don't have the energy to google it.

Asreial1 karma

What made you want to become a television host?
BTW, The Approval Matrix is funny. Good Job.

Thanks for reading, Mr. Brennan.

NealBrennan2 karma

Hosting a show is fun. Get to say your own jokes and have other people write for you and get to be on TV. No downside as of yet.

Trapppzillas1 karma

Have you ever been punched in the face?

NealBrennan2 karma

No but I sure hope to be someday.