HKL Blog

Comic of the Month – Jay Schmidt


Where are you from and what is it like there?

I am from St. Louis Missouri, which is a super great place to grow up. Pretty much the American dream, good schools, supportive parents, the whole lot. What i am learning now is that situation is not necessarily the best recipe for a stand up comic. When your craziest night is drinking jolt cola too close to bedtime, its hard to gain street cred as a tortured artist.

How has your comedy career met or not met the expectations you had as you began this career?

Too be honest, I’m just glad that i finally got up there and started doing it in the first place. I moved to NYC to be an actor, but always had this dream of stand-up in the back of my mind. There was a tremendous amount of fear that was keeping me from it all. 3 years ago, I woke up at 4 am and said to myself “we are doing an open mic tonight, whether you like it or not”. I walked to the McDonald’s down the street  armed with a notepad and wrote for hours until the mic that night. I threw up in the bathroom of Broadway Comedy Club before i went up, but i had made the first step.  I finally feel like I’m doing what i should have been doing all along, so as far as expectations go, its all uphill from here.

Who are your 3 favorite living comedians?

1. Maria Bamford.
She’s the reason I got into all this in the first place. Her stuff is so theatrically edgy and thoughtful, you really understand who she is from her work, which is very refreshing. Truly, she is the one comic more than anyone out there that i would like to work with in the future.

2. Paul F. Tompkins.
His riffing ability feels me with such a jealous rage! He has opened many doors for those who want to incorporate not only stand-up, but sketch, theatre and other mediums into their work.

3. Kyle Kinane
Listening to so much comedy all the time, this slot kind of rotates for me. Right now, I’ve been obsessed with this guy. Not only are his jokes funny before they even leave the page, his delivery is so original that it’s hard to stop him from blowing you away.

Who are your 3 favorite dead comedians?
1. Bill Hicks.
We all owe a great deal to this man. He was unabashedly truthful and paved the way for all of us. He was both road dog and intellectual and left us WAY too soon.

2. Richard Pryor.
A little obvious, I know. His stand up aside, the guy wrote Blazing Saddles….what more do you need?

3. Mitch Hedberg.
“I’m sick of following my dreams. I’m just going to ask them where they’re goin’, and hook up with them later”
I dare you to find a better closing joke to an album, because it simply doesn’t exist.

How would you describe your material?

Darkly Absurdist Theatrical Storytelling (…..that’s a thing, right?)

How do you balance pursuing comedy as a career with starting and maintaining personal relationships?

In the beginning of a dating situation, it’s amazing. Girls love funny guys, eagerly coming to our shows to support. They playfully warn us not to write jokes about them (while secretly hoping we do).  As time goes on, they start to realize that we keep weird hours, spend a lot of time talking to ourselves in the shower, agonize constantly over what the best tag to our dinosaur hospital joke is. I guess what i’m trying to say is that I’m still in the process of figuring that out, and it hasn’t been easy.

How do you feel about the institution of marriage?

Who doesn’t want a team-mate in all this mess?  If someone makes your life better, go out and get them.

Where would you like to see your comedy career in 5 years?

I’d really like to be making a living at it. Not asking for the world, just a little corner to myself.

What inspires you?
It sounds really corny, but this city really does invigorate me. There is so much to experience no matter where you go it’s hard not to be inspired. I feel like I come up with my best ideas riding the subway with my headphones blaring.

What frustrates you most about the world of comedy?
There really is no clear route to success, which is daunting. You just gotta keep slinging paint and hope it comes out a bowl of fruit.


You can follow Jay on Twitter HERE
See some of his comedy HERE