Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Going to See Doug Benson


I used to write for a couple entertainment websites, but when they vanished, dozens of articles went with them. Since I'm going to see comedian Doug Benson at the Orlando Improv January 3, 2013 - and bringing a couple friends who've never seen him before - I pulled this January 2011 e-mail interview out of the ether.

There's still tickets as I write this. If you're in Orlando, buy some already ...

So what's changed for Doug since 2011? Back then, Comedy Central was still undecided about whether to order more episodes of The Benson Interruption, a thirty-minute show with Doug seated on stage, butting in while friends (including Nick Kroll, Tig Notaro, and Brian Posehn) did stand-up. The show didn't get renewed, but Doug now "interrupts" movies in LA and on the road. He's taking on Robocop and Dirty Dancing in Jacksonville. Enzian - let's get on this in Orlando for 2014!

Doug's podcast, Doug Loves Movies, has only gotten bigger in the last two years. Free on iTunes, Doug usually records around California where he's got access to guests like Jon Hamm, Sarah Silverman and Elizabeth Shue. The podcast is half conversational riffing and half movie trivia games. The Leonard Maltin Game is a lot like Name That Tune, but with actors instead of notes. After road stand-up dates, Doug usually invites the audience to stay and watch a shorter version of TLMG between the comedian he's touring with and an audience member.

Here comes the interview ...

Any stories of coming through or visiting Orlando before – either as a comedian or as a tourist? Any places (bar, restaurant, etc.) that you enjoyed?

I've been a Disneyland nut my whole life, so I love it when I get to visit the parks in Orlando. Several years back, I worked on a tv show that was shot at Walt Disney World and I got to live there for a month. It was heaven.

NOTE: Doug later remembered it was the MTV volleyball show Sandblast, hosted by Kevin James. Facebook has a bunch of clips, but on YouTube, I can only find the commercials.



On a more recent visit I got to go to Disney's Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekends. Two of my nerdy childhood obsessions merging into one. So awesome.

You’re playing a rock club in Orlando instead of a traditional comedy room. How does that change the audience you get and the interplay during a show? Do you prefer one over the other? Tig Notaro and Brian Posehn have also played Backbooth. Is it building a rep for comedy?
(Reminder -- this time, Doug's doing a one-night special engagement at the Orlando Improv.)

Comedy clubs are great but they get a lot of patrons who are coming for generic comedy. They don't care who they are going to see, they just want to laugh. Which is fine, but I've been doing it for so long, I enjoy it more when I play to a crowd who came specifically to see me, who know what I'm about. At a place like Backbooth, they only come for a specific band or comic. Everyone at my show there will know they are in for a lot of pot jokes, and possibly some movie trivia.

How did Doug Loves Movies start?
  
Someone asked me if I wanted to do a podcast, and I thought it would be fun to sit around with my friends in front of an audience and chat about movies. And I was right. I have a great time doing it, and people seem to enjoy listening to it.

Who's coming to your live shows these - The Marijuana-logues fans, the Doug Loves Movies fans, The Interruption fans?  Are you going to play The Leonard Maltin Game?

All of the above. And the game gets played at my shows where lots of people wear name tags. For those who don't listen to my podcast, people in the audience have a chance to win prizes during the Len Maltin Game if they wear name tags. It makes me feel like a cult leader, but it also let's me know if there are podcast listeners in the crowd.

ANOTHER NOTE: Best to be creative with the name tags. Here's a few that got picked for the podcast.



I remember you once saying that you’re a dancer in Captain EO. How did that come together? It’s playing again at Epcot. Have you seen it since the revivial? Can you spot yourself? Any tips for the rest of us on spotting you?

I've seen it recently at D-land in Cali, and I can still spot myself. It's hard to give tips though because the camera doesn't stay on me for very long. My dancing is terrible, but I'm honored to be a part of a Disney attraction.

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