We’re Alex Stypula and Tim Ross: Two stand up comics preparing to do a week-long tour of unconventional performance spaces prior to Alex recording his debut stand up album. Ask us anything.
We’re two Pittsburgh comedians going around the midwest under the moniker of The Short Stacks tour. Here’s some cool ass artwork designed by Eric Mrock: http://i.imgur.com/W76T8rR.jpg
We’ve both been doing comedy for five years and started around the same time. We’ve gone on the road with a group of other stand ups under the name Race to the Coffin Comedy. We’ve done festivals and bars and clubs and even a warehouse used to roast coffee beans or something like that I’m not certain tbh I was very very drunk at that show.
You can see some of Alex’s comedy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ufHjnp7YFw
You can see some of Tim’s comedy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EloH-yN4Al8
(Or here. Tim isn’t actually a minister. That’s another way more fuckin’ famous guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88sHjNITI0U)
If you’re a frequent reddit user you may have seen Tim on /r/standupshots putting his own words on his own picture like this: http://i.imgur.com/tOZO6Au.jpg
I made Alex Stypula make one like three years ago: http://i.imgur.com/9JAsOtf.jpg
Alex’s twitter is www.twitter.com/alexstypula and Tim’s is www.twitter.com/TimRossComedy
The dates for the tour are:
June 3 - Detroit MI: New Way Bar in Ferndale. Doors at 8. Show at 9
June 4 - Flint MI at Vehicle City Fest. (More info later)
June 5 - Kent OH: Stone Tavern 5pm.
June 6 - Louisville KY: 8pm. (Updating later. Either a house show or an art gallery)
June 7 - Knoxville TN: Casual Pint- Hardin Valley. 7PM
June 8 - Chattanooga TN: Comedy Catch 8PM
June 9 - Indianapolis IN: Indy Hostel 7pm
June 10 - Columbus OH: Broken Records and Beehives 8PM
June 11 - Pittsburgh PA: Alex records his album at Club Cafe 10PM
The tour is gonna be a lot of fun intimate rooms. If you’re in any of these cities come hang out and get really drunk with us and if you want to bring us drugs that’s fine too.
Ask us anything about comedy or touring or kim davis
ya we fuckin did
Oh man I'm a fuckin idiot. And not the whole time, but a pretty good bit of it. Sorry!
It would be prudent to include a picture of you holding a paper stating your name, date, and a reference to your reddit AMA.
Though I will ask, what was the straw on the camel's back that got you to step on stage to do standup for the first time?
Alex: For Tim is was all of his diabetes material he had built up. For me, it was less of a straw and more of a case of whiskey.
Tim: I took a public speaking class and just did funny speeches and decided to give it an honest shot.
I'm not a huge stand up fan (never seen a live show but I've watched a few HBO specials) and I'm curious what is so different about the spaces you'll be performing in?
Tim: Well when people think of stand up they traditionally imagine comedy clubs or theaters. Because it's a small DIY tour we're going off the beaten path and doing some unique venues that people wouldn't really expect to be hosting a comedy show. We're performing at a Hostel in Indy, a Record Store/Hair Salon in Columbus and in Louisville we're performing in either someone's house or an art gallery. We haven't decided yet. It's a fun and different way to see and perform comedy. The dynamic is much different from what we see when we're performing at more traditional venues.
Would you rather sweat mayonnaise or salivate ketchup, and why?
Alex: Salivate ketchup it's a little more manageable only coming from the mouth as opposed to the whole body, both totally gross though.
Tim: I already do both I have no choice.
NeuPittsburgh or Old Pittsburgh?
Neither of us know what this means
Hey Tim! I follow you on Twitter! You're real funny. Cool to see you on Reddit.
I don't really have a question prepared so damnit why aren't you coming to MN?
I have been there before! I have a friend who lives near the Twin Cities so I would like to get back there again.
Who are you favorite comedians?
Do you get inspired to write or does it just come to you while shooting the shit with friends and you just stem off that?
Alex: Doug Stanhope, John Mulaney. A little of both. Sometimes stuff just occurs but I definitely force myself to sit down and write sometimes.
Tim: Mitch Hedberg, Louis CK, Mulaney as well. Any time I write it's mostly me standing outside smoking a cigarette and talking to myself. Or I wake up with something dumb in my head and write it down.
What is your favorite podcast to listen to? To be on? Why is it Does This Hold Up?
Alex: My favorite podcast to listen to is Radiolab. My favorite podcast to be on is NPR's Fresh Air.
Tim: you mean http://doesthisholdup.net/? My favorite to lsiten to is Fitzdog Radio with Greg Fitzsimmons. My favorite podcast to be on is all of them because i get to listen to myself fucking talk for an hour. Does this Hold Up is super dope. Hi guys.
do you attribute your success more to god? or john dick winters?
Tim: I'm pretty sure you think both of those are the same thing, John.
How do you deal with hecklers?
Alex: Be as creepy as possible so they're too scared to do it in the first place.
Tim: I don't get a ton of hecklers. I am nice. It really hasn't happened often enough to have a consistent approach. I usually try to make any interaction like that relatively cordial or end it abruptly.
Obviously you have a few jokes prepared that you plan on telling, however I was wondering about how you structure your set. Do you prepare a "set list" and write out transitions between jokes or do you guys use improv to connect ideas? Maybe you asses the audiences reaction and add/omit jokes as you go? Just curious.
2nd: Describe a time when a joke didn't go as well as you had hoped and the repercussions from it.
Alex: The most ideal set is quite structured, for me not quite to a T, but I like to have a pretty solid structure for my sets. It's important to gauge the room and go from there, but it's definitely not supposed to be an interactive performance. As far as transitions and using improv I like to play around with that sometimes at open mics to see if something organically comes up and works, but for actual shows I probably wouldn't do that. If a joke I have high hopes for doesn't go well I just get slightly bummed for like a minute but then move on, it rarely happens that I'm really confident about a new joke going in, I just have the mindset of trying it out/workshopping it.
Tim: I do more improvisational stuff than Alex I think. But still not a ton. I don't do a whole lot of crowd work but I enjoy doing it when I work it in. Most of the time my set is a list of words and each of those words represents a bit with a certain theme to it. That bit is generally between 2-7 minutes. So I'll go through those bits and find space to play around with audience a bit or try to be improvisational.
Tim, will impulse buy cat shirts be a key part of this tour? Is there scrapple in the mid west?
Alex, do you plan on buying cat shirts or scrapple on the tour?
Tim: I'll probably need to buy some shirts after Alex stabs me in my sleep for snoring too loud. (I only own one shirt). I don't think so.
Alex: Multi-part answer here: 1) Fuck cats 2) I'll be selling my own shirts 3) Tim snores SUPER loud, so he would totally deserve that
You guys ever come out to cali? There's a growing scene out in the northbay, the whole Sonoma County area, you guys should come out. I can send some names your way if you're serious about doing some little to medium sized shows out here.
Totally, we're not averse to going anywhere for comedy. We just have real world/financial limitations (we are not wildly successful comedians and have day jobs). Pennsylvania is a good location to hit up a lot of Southern/Midwestern/Northeastern cities, Cali is a lot further and harder for us, but definitely hit us up on facebook and hopefully we could work something out!
What's your favorite joke?
Alex: Something about sucking one's own dick, dear boy.
Tim: A variation of this joke is my favorite street joke: An old farmer is sitting on his front porch watching the sunrise when he sees the neighbor's kid walk by carrying a spool of something metallic under his arm. "Hey boy, whatcha got there?"
"What you gonna do with that?"
"Gonna catch some chickens."
"You damn fool! You can't catch chickens with chicken wire!" says the old man.
The boy just laughs and keeps walking. That evening at sunset, the boy walks by, dragging behind him 30 chickens caught in the chicken wire.
The next morning, the old man sees the boy walk by carrying a shiny roll of something. "Hey boy, whatcha got there?"
"What you gonna do with that?"
"Gonna catch me some ducks."
"You damn fool! You can't catch ducks with duct tape!"
The boy just laughs and keeps walking. That evening at sunset, the boy walks by, trailing behind him 30 ducks caught in a long trail of duct tape.
The next morning, the old man sees the boy walking by carrying a branch behind him. "Hey boy, whatcha got there?"
"It's a pussy willow."
"Wait up," says the old man. "I'll get my hat!"
Language is constantly changing. From Shakespeare to Chaucer, the words we use and the syntax in which we use them to communicate ideas are a fluid ever evolving form.
Having said that, my question for the pair of you is. Why are you two fucking narcs?
www.twitter.com/shambonez check it out
Ok someone walks up to you (presumably the Devil I guess) and offers you a choice. He informs you that if you answer yes you will die as the word finishes coming out of your mouth. The choice is either you say yes and die right on the spot or say no and live BUT.... if you choose now, everyone will remember you as going out like a fucking MAN. You'd be the motherfucker who stared death in the face fearlessly and said "let's do this pussy". That's your legacy, that you went out a motherfucker.
You say no and live. Maybe some people think you're a pussy but in the end they wonder what they would have done so they let it go. BUT you are informed that by choosing to live that on your death bed, completely out of your control despite experiencing it fully, you die like the biggest bitch ever. Snot and tears streaming down your face, purposely shitting yourself and throwing a tantrum like a 2 year old saying "I don't wanna die" in a high pathetic squeal while you kick your feet and punch the bed like a bitch. It's so bad that the family at your sides is rolling their eyes and all just want you to fucking die already. This is how you're remembered forever.
Which do you pick?
Alex: OK a few things with that: Well if you're purposely shitting you kind of could just not do that. So you wouldn't really be forced into picking that one scenario. Also, I think throwing a tantrum when dying isn't that big of a deal cuz pretty much everyone thinks dying sucks. So I'll go with hopefully we're in an open carry state for starters so I can shoot the devil. And then I would down at him and say "I choose D. All of the above."
Tim: Alex's answer is good. I like that one.
Best piece of advice you've gotten from another comedian?
Alex: Wear a three piece suit.
Tim: When i first started I ate complete and total shit at an open mic and was standing around outside smoking a cigarette and feeling dejected. The host of the mic came out and I was like "man i fucking bombed" and he asks me how many times I've been on stage.
When I answered he goes "Listen - if you can still count the times you've been on stage you don't have to be concerned with bombing. It happens."
And he's right. After you lose track of how many times you've been up you still eat shit sometimes but by that point it's happened enough that you know it isn't the end of the world and you just move on and try to get better.
I graduated high school with Alex's brother. He was one of the craziest people I remember from those days. Is any of your comedy based on him?
I really don't base my comedy or writing in anything specific other than what occurs to me to be funny. I've heard some of the stories about my brother and that shit is nuts, we just come from a weird family I guess. Or due to a certain set of serendipitous circumstances we both turned out , um, "different." So no I don't base anything specifically on my brother we're just both 2 weird dudes.
I also want to be a comedian but don't know where to start with. Can you give me a little push how to start with ?
Alex: Getting on stage. It seems counter intuitive but writing isn't the most important thing at first. Just do as many open mics as you can.
I'm a fellow Pittsburgh dweller. Where besides the Improv is the comedy here? I hate that it's really the only place we have with the growing culture in the city.
There's honestly tons of stuff going on in the city. The Improv hosts the bigger nationally touring headliners but there's a great comedy scene outside of that. Arcade Comedy Theater does stand up and improv and has some seriously fun and creative shows. Blue Light Special is a consistently great monthly show there. Aside from that there's stuff going on at different music venues all the time. Tonight at Club Cafe is WDVE's Loaded Show. (Alex is actually gonna be on that. As well as Comic Wars at Arcade Comedy Theater tonight)
But yeah check out pghcomedy.com for show listings. There's always something cool going on in the city. It's a strong scene with a lot of really talented performers.
Have you been approached by any companies such as HBO, Comedy Central, etc?
Tim: I used to have HBOGO but now I don't and I'm missing game of thrones so if they hit me up I'm gonna ask about that.
I don't have a real question, but everyone reading this should definitely check out these shows!
Since I have to have a question (stolen from Comedy Bang Bang).. Would you rather summon velociraptors any time you sneeze OR be with a partner who posts public reviews of your sexual performances online?
Tim: I'd rather be eaten by a dinosaur than let the whole internet know how small my dick is.
Alex: The reviews thing. Strive for greatness.
Why is the "Standup Comedy" only readable upright when the rest of the poster can be flipped?
we fucked up
1)Which Joke do you think is underrated OR may come off more of as an offensive statement than joke itself? 2)Any joke which somehow, landed you in trouble?
Alex: Yeah like 2/3 of my jokes
How do you guys memorize jokes and do you memorize them word for word?
Just repetition honestly. Doing the bits over and over. They're not gonna be exactly the same every single time but it's just drilled into your head over many many sets.
Did you guys get drunk and play Rocket League last night?
EDIT: Hey guys we're broadcasting us doing this AMA live on Periscope is anyone is interested. https://www.periscope.tv/w/1mnxewwYDgLG
EDIT: Done broadcasting. May broadcast later.
View HistoryShare Link