Ready for a break from the non-stop holiday programming? Join Joseph Vecsey (who you probably recognize from Optimum’s The Unmovers or Netflix’s Sandy Wexler) and some of his hilarious friends – including Adam Sandler’s nephew – at Bay Street on Friday, December 8 for another All Star Comedy Show.
We caught up with Vecsey, who hosts the popular Bay Street series, to learn about the latest lineup, a possible The Unmovers reunion, working with comedy legends Sandler, David Spade, and Chris Rock, and more.
You host a number of All Star Comedy Shows at Bay Street throughout the year and each one is headlined by new comedians, how do you select who to feature?
JV: I just bring people I think are funny and usually people I’m friends with. People I see around the clubs. Pretty much everyone I bring out I know.
Where do you go to discover new talent?
JV: It’s people I see when I’m doing shows. Sometimes another comedian will refer someone who has been on the show.
Tell me a bit about the December show’s lineup.
JV: We’re got Crystian Ramirez, he was actually supposed to be in the October show, but he and Brendon switched. He’s done a bunch of stuff – he’s been on Adam Devine’s House Party on Comedy Central and Last Comic Standing. I’ve known him for a while and he’s a hilarious dude. I’ve wanted to have him on the show for a while. Emma Willmann was supposed to be on it but she’s doing a Colbert taping so a different comic is coming. It’ll be Veronica Mosey. We did a TV show together, Gotham Live, last year. I also have Omar Thompson, who’s done BET’s One Mic Stand and The Apollo. I’ve wanted to have him out for a while now, too. I have another comedian – usually I only have three, but we have four this time – who’s a real good buddy of mine, Jared Sandler. He was in The Do-Over on Netflix, Sandy Wexler on Netfilx, and will also be in Adam Sandler’s new movie, The Week Of, which comes out in April.
After the December show, do you have any other shows lined up?
JV: Yes, I’m there until May. So we have January, February, March, April and May. It’s almost turned into a residency for me.
How do East End audiences differ?
JV: It’s a different type of group than most audiences, but it’s always fun. The shows are always great. I think sometimes they don’t exactly know what to expect from the show. I think now, because I’ve been doing it for a while, younger people have started to come and different people have been coming to mix in. It is interesting because over the course of time I think it was a little bit of a shock because Bay Street had a certain reputation and I kind of brought in a bit of a younger show, and I’ve got my street ball and hip hop background and I think it was a bit of, oh… this is something new. But, it’s cool because now we’re getting all different people of all different ages and the shows have just been getting better and better. It’s been a lot of fun.
There was certainly an eclectic mix of people at your last show.
JV: Yes, I was going to say eclectic. They always appreciate the show. But, I think out there it is interesting because it’s a theater and the setup. I even notice sometimes I see people looking around at each other to see if this is okay… We are living in a time where it’s more P.C. and I think it’s kind of cool that we bring out comedians who address that type of stuff and they realize it’s okay to just laugh. It’s just a comedy show.
You’ve been performing for quite some time now. Do you ever get nervous?
JV: It’s weird to me when comedians say they don’t still get nervous because they’ve been doing it a long time. I still always get nervous, but it’s for a different reason. When I first started it was because you’re getting up in front of people and that’s scary, but that doesn’t really make me nervous anymore. But it’s more just like you have new jokes you want to try out, you want them to work or want to keep building your act. Plus, I’ve been out there so much I’m always trying to figure out new stuff to do and it’s not easy to get new stuff that you know is going to work out there. So I always have some nerves before I get on stage.
Besides your stand-up, what else are you working on at the moment?
JV: I was a producer on The Week Of, which is coming out in the spring and that’s with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. And there’s another movie I was a producer/actor in – that’s produced by Adam, but it stars David Spade and there’s a lot of other funny people in it. That comes out sometime next year too. As of right now, I’m working on developing some projects.
Are you trying to get into acting more?
JV: I don’t know about more. I do enjoy it, it’s fun. I did get to act in The Week Of and the David Spade movie, which is called Graduate. I love the whole creative process of making a movie, writing jokes on set, and coming up with stuff the day of. So, I really do like the writing aspects of it. I didn’t write those scripts, but I’d be on set just kind of punching up, pitching extra jokes or having different options for editing. But, I write my own scripts. I like it all – writing, directing, but the acting’s definitely fun and helps you become more a draw for your stand-up shows, which is why being in something like Optimum’s The Unmovers which was big in Long Island and Jersey, obviously that helps because people see your face. Being in front, seems, just as important as being behind the camera.
Those commercials are still on all the time.
JV: That’s what I hear. They’re still running hard. They always talk about trying to make it into a TV show and adding some stuff, but I hope they still do because I think that everyone enjoys it. The web show came out really good. I think it all came out pretty good. The fact that it’s kind of universally liked – I don’t hear of anyone that doesn’t like it – is pretty cool.
Now the last time we spoke, you had been on tour with Adam Sandler, David Spade, Norm MacDonald, Nick Swardson and Rob Schneider. What was it like to work with some of those guys behind the camera?
JV: I had actually worked on the movies before I had ever done stand-up with them because I was on the set of The Do-Over and then I did some shows, then I did Sandy Wexler and I did some shows after that too. I just got back from Vegas opening up for Adam at the Cosmopolitan. But, I guess I would say it’s not that much different, except when I’m up there doing stand-up, opening up, it’s all on me as far as my performance. During the movie, you can bounce ideas off and you can also take more of a chance because if something doesn’t work it can be edited out. When I’m on stage if a joke doesn’t work for me… I’ll have to deal with that in the moment.
What are The Week Of and Graduate about?
JV: The Week Of is Adam’s character’s daughter is marrying Chris Rock’s son and it’s two different families getting ready for a wedding. So, it’s the week of the wedding and some of the chaotic stuff that goes on when you’re trying to prepare for a wedding. Graduate is about two kids who just graduated college and they have a debate about whose father would win in a fight. One of the fathers ends up taking it very seriously and tries to fight the other father and then a whole bunch of crazy stuff happens as a result of that. I think the movie trailers are going to come out next year. I’m looking forward to them coming out because they’re hilarious and one of the funniest scripts I’ve ever read. I’m just psyched and grateful to be a part of it.
Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 day of event. The show begins at 8 p.m.
Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For tickets, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.