Mike Vecchione is a New York Metropolis-based humorist who has been performing for over 20 years. He has made a number of appearances on The Tonight Present, in addition to on Netflix, Comedy Central and Hulu. Vecchione’s comedy particular “The Attractives,” launched in March this 12 months, explores topics starting from relationships to working with literal bulls.
On Friday, Vecchione carried out on the Bing Live performance Corridor Studio as a part of the Stanford Stay 2023–24 Season. Forward of his present, Vecchione spoke with The Day by day to share his reflections on the early days of his comedy profession, how social media has reshaped the position of a stand-up comedian and the way he finds inspiration for his units.
This interview has been frivolously edited and condensed for readability.
The Stanford Day by day (TSD): Inform me about what drew you to stand-up comedy and your early days performing.
Mike Vecchione (MV): I began in Philadelphia, pre-social media, in 2000. Across the finish of 2003, I moved to New York to attempt to actually give it a shot. There, I used to be working the final days of the Boston Comedy Membership, which is closed now. The Boston Comedy Membership was a legendary comedy membership within the West Village that was the Comedy Village.
I actually received my foothold there, making an attempt to be taught who’s who, meet individuals and hang around. After which I began working the Comedy Cellar in round 2007, then The Comedian Strip, Stand Up New York, Broadway Comedy Membership, New York Comedy. I began working all over the place after that. As I labored extra on the golf equipment, I’d get extra tv alternatives. So, you already know, all of it type of slowly developed that approach.
TSD: What was the comedy scene of New York like within the early 2000s?
MV: At the moment, it was loads of hanging out — I’d do an open mic to work on materials after which go hang around on the golf equipment to see if I might get on, as a result of they’ll placed on the folks that they know. It was loads of relationships, it was loads of getting on stage as a lot as you’ll be able to and making an attempt to earn cash through the day and making an attempt simply to outlive.
TSD: How do you suppose comedy has modified between now and once you first began?
MV: After I began, the aim was to get on tv. And also you needed to depend on gatekeepers, principally, individuals within the trade who would let you know “sure” or, extra usually, “no.” Now it’s good within the sense that social media means that you can create content material and talk immediately with the followers.
TSD: How has social media modified your stand-up, if in any respect?
MV: It was once to get stuff prepared on your hour. You didn’t need anybody to see the jokes out of your hour since you needed them to see it once they noticed your hour. I believe that’s all out the window now due to TikTok, due to Instagram. So it’s identical to, your stand-up act is extra of a long-term factor that you just’re engaged on. You’re at all times, at all times engaged on it long-term. However you’re additionally engaged on content material for YouTube, engaged on content material for TikTok, engaged on content material for Instagram Reels and all these things as a result of it makes a distinction.
It’s good as a result of it’s such as you’re in control of your personal future. You’ll be able to create no matter you need. You don’t want anyone to greenlight you. You don’t want anyone to offer you funding.
TSD: I’m curious concerning the precise development of your units — the way you go about observing the world and discovering what you’ll craft into jokes.
MV: It modifications up. Generally I really feel like in case you do the identical factor on a regular basis, it will get stale.
I used to be journaling for some time. I used to do it with pen and paper, however now I simply do it on my telephone. I’ll write the date, I’ll write the place I’m after which I’ll simply go for half an hour.
I’m engaged on a jury obligation set now as a result of I received known as to do jury obligation. It’s concerning the battle of making an attempt to get out of that and never be in a three-week trial as a result of I’ve highway dates. And so I’ve to hone that have. Should you simply journal, you then’re simply scratching the floor of each matter. What you actually wish to do is you wish to have a plethora of subjects, after which work on them.
So it’s a mix of issues, in a brief concise reply. It’s free writing. It’s taking subjects after which joke writing, throwing jokes at them or honing a narrative. After which it’s making an attempt it on stage and even making an attempt it into the video or audio recorder and listening to it again to get the beats of the story down.
TSD: Once you’re out on the earth free-writing and observing, what do you are feeling such as you’re often in search of?
MV: There’s a thousand humorous or doubtlessly humorous issues that would occur to you day by day, from the time that you just stand up to the time you shut your eyes at night time.
Should you have a look at it by this lens, every part is both a joke or doubtlessly a joke. There’s so many conditions the place it’s like, you had an interplay and also you begin considering the interplay went nice and it appeared like a traditional interplay, nothing out of the peculiar. However this might have gone south. How might this have actually gone south?
TSD: Nicely, for instance, right this moment — in case you needed to, what would you identify as a pair belongings you observed?
MV: I went to go get espresso. I used to be in some city, I don’t know what city, however I believe it was Missouri. I am going to get espresso at a espresso store. It’s an artsy espresso store and I order it and it’s $4 and the man goes, “$4,” and I am going, “Okay,” so I stick my bank card in and he turns the display screen round.
That is occurring on a regular basis. He turns the display screen round and says, “What would you want your tip to be?” So I hit “$2” after which flip it again. Then he fingers me my receipt and the cup. He goes, “It’s over there.”
So it’s like, what did I tip him for? Not solely am I not tipping for waiter service, I’m not tipping for counter service. It’s simply, I’m tipping him for what? He gave me the cup to go do it myself after which took my tip. And never solely did he not do something, he advised me like, “You go do it.” So I really feel like we’re coworkers. And the humorous a part of it’s: how far does this go? The subsequent time I stroll in, he’s going to throw espresso grounds at me? He’s going to throw beans at me and be like, “Go determine it out”?