Actor and comedian Brooks Wheelan knows how to take a joke—especially at his own expense. With credits on HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and a stint as a writer and cast member on Saturday Night Live, Wheelan is bringing his brand of self-deprecating humor on tour this summer. We caught up with the stand-up comedian before he takes the stage at Laugh Boston on July 8.
What’s the format of your show like? Just straight stand-up. I riff and tell jokes and stories. Actually, imagine if I said magic. That would make it interesting. Can that be my answer? My show is full-blown magic. Full-blown magic—with tigers. That’s my final answer.
Do you have a favorite topic to joke about? Myself. I suppose that’s who I make the most fun of pretty consistently. Mistakes in my life and not learning from said mistakes.
Do you prefer performing on stage or in front of the camera? Stage, for sure. It’s great. It’s immediate feedback and also you can pivot: If something’s not working, you can bail on it and go to something else. [Laughs.]
You went to college for biomedical engineering. what made you decide to go into comedy? It’s more fun. I pursued medical engineering for four years after college, but I was doing stand-up every night in Los Angeles trying to be able to make that my living.
Who is the funniest person you’ve ever worked with? Probably this guy Allen I worked with when I was a biomedical engineer. He was hilarious. He killed me. Allen is definitely the funniest person I have ever worked with.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why? I would say Billy Mitchell. Billy Mitchell is the guy who held all the records for best video game scores in the world and he just got stripped of all his titles because he was cheating. I just want to pick his brain. He’s also in the hot sauce industry, and that’s an industry I wouldn’t mind stepping into—I would collaborate with him in a heartbeat.
What do you hope crowds take away from your show? Hopefully they just leave having a good time. I hope they leave being like, “Shit, we should really do that more often!” That’s what I hope people walk away from my show thinking, “We should go out and do more different types of things.” I think going to see live stand-up comedy is a cool thing that people don’t do that often. If they leave my show and want to do it again, that’s really all I could ask for.
SUMMER ARTS PREVIEW 2018: DANCE | VISUAL ARTS | BOOKS | PERFORMING ARTS | COMEDY | MUSIC