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2015 had some funny moments. 2015 had some sad moments. Let’s begin with the good news. The bad news comes out next week.

30+ of the funniest people we know chime in on what made the last 12 months a chucklefest. No one used the word chucklefest.

Jonathan Katz

Jonathan Katz performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball.

Bentzen Ball Day 1-14

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

​The David Feldman Show.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing right now?

​Binge watching Grey’s Anatomy​.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?​

Using the word “hello” as a punchline​.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

​The one about Powerpoint produced using Powerpoint​.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Checking my body for tumors​.

Myq Kaplan

Myq Kaplan performed at the 2014 Bentzen Ball.

BYT hosts Bentzen Ball 2014 in Washington, DC.

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

It’s always so difficult to pick a favorite thing, because there are so many wonderful funny people making things all the time (comedians that I’ve seen things that I love in the past DAY include Aparna Nancherla, Henry Phillips, Zach Sherwin, Nick Vatterott, and more), but in the spirit of picking things, I’ll say that one of my favorite comedy things that happened in the past year was Nate Fernald’s Spider-Man Tweet situation
BUT ALSO EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE ELSE FOREVER.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

What’s “this”? Answering these questions? Doing comedy? Being alive? In any and all of these and other cases, the answer is the same: existing or not existing as a being or non-being of some combination of actuality, possibility, imagination, potential, love, hope, and/or kindness.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Questions about what I wish would disappear. Unless it’s a comedy magician who then REAPPEARS and it was all part of it. I don’t actually have any specific wishes about comedy, other than for people who love it and are good at it to keep doing it. I don’t have to watch almost any comedy that I don’t want to, and neither do you probably! Happy new year! (Addendum after I read the SCARY question section: if something had to disappear, I’d say joke thievery. Does that work? Can you make that happen? Also, it’s fine if someone steals this idea from me, especially if they can make it happen.)

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

You’re the Expert with Chris Duffy, or anything in the world that Jo Firestone does. Or lots of other people and things. Can the answer to every question be “everything”?

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I don’t think of it as “killing” time so much as “living” (BARF). But comedically folks… I read books and comics and tweets and magazines and jokes and news. I talk to friends. I write and walk and think about doing tai chi more than I actually do tai chi but sometimes I do tai chi. I talk to people who aren’t my friends (but also if you want, you’re my friend). When I’m in a town I don’t live in, I look for used book stores, botanical gardens, comic book stores, fun places to walk, and good vegetarian/vegan restaurants. Right now, I’m doing this.

Jena Friedman

Jena Friedman performed at the 2014 Bentzen Ball. She’s been one of our Funny Human of the Week.

Bentzen Ball 2014 Part 2-14-5873

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Documentary Now.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Fighting Ebola.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Donald Trump. He’s a great performance artist but I don’t think he should be president.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

What’s a podcast?

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Tweeting.

Ben Kronberg

Ben Kronberg performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball.

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

I’m a Pisces and its impossible to pic a favorite. My least favorites: Louis, WTF, the vine guy who raped the vine girl, Scrubs etc.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I would be PPH bill collector.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

CONTENT RESTRICTIONS.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Doug Loves Movies should be a movie.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I open and close FB app over and over.

Phoebe Robinson

Phoebe Robinson performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball. Read her Nightmare Gig.

Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Of the year?! My friend Baron Vaughn has this great bit about performing down south and shopping at store like a place called “The Cotton Exchange.” It’s whip smart, super funny and is a great way to talk about race and slavery. Love the bit. Love him.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I would either want to be a chef or an interior decorator. Basically anything Reese Witherspoon/Sienna Miller/Meryl Streep in a Nancy Meyers movie would do is the kind of stuff I would wanna do.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Being asked anything about women in comedy/are women funny. Christopher Hitchens wrote that absolutely dreadful “Why Women Aren’t Funny” article for Vanity Fair and that seems to be haunting every single woman gets into comedy. Guess what? He died and so should this dumb ass theory. I will never, ever address it again, so stop asking, please.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

The soon-to-premiere 2 Dope Queens WNYC podcast that Jessica Williams and I are releasing in mid-February. If I have to nominate something I’m not involved in, then anything James Adomian is doing. He is amazing, brilliant, and hilarious. I devour any and everything he does. I’m such a fan. Also, Michelle Buteau. Her and I FaceTime quite a bit to run lines/catch up on life and I feel like that could be a show.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Netflix! That is honestly how I catch up on so many shows. I watched half a season of You’re the Worst in about a day. Also, working out. I love working out. Did not think I would ever become one of those ppl, but I really do feel like a better person because I’m active. Wandering around whatever city I am. Long walks are so pleasant when you’re in a place that is not home. And also, eat. I wish I could say “sex!” but dudes aren’t trying to smash female comics after shows. Which is fine. Food is better than trying to get some strange.

Nick Vatterott

Nick Vatterott is a NYC based stand-up. Read his Nightmare Gig.

cctwo

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

I watched this video on the Internet of two people having sex. It was crazy. I’m surprised it wasn’t viral.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t filling out this questionnaire, I’d probably be helping the poor. Sorry poor, gotta do this questionnaire instead.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Comedy club owners that could care less about comedy.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

There’s this live show down the street where these naked people dance. I’d watch that on television. It reminds me a lot of this Internet video I saw.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I’ve been reading a book on how to reverse learn a language to help me forget all the Spanish I know.

Ian Abramson

Ian Abramson performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball. Read his Nightmare Gig.

Bentzen Ball Day 3-8

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Comic: John Eisenrich is every person on the bus that doesn’t quite seem dangerous, but you know to avoid anyway. His characters feel completely off the wall, but remain fully human. Troubled, intense people that make decisions that are completely absurd, while revealing what is deeply wrong with them. No one makes me laugh like John Eisenrich.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBtAaAUemyA

Film: The Wolfpack made me wish that I had grown up with 6 brothers, and never left my apartment. If you’ve seen it, that makes sense, if you haven’t, I’m still exactly who you think I am.

Bit: I’m in a public library, going through the twitter feed of Cullen Crawford to find just one that I like, but the bald man with three boxes, two external hard drives, and a jug of water that I’m sharing a table with keeps staring at me for shaking the table as I silently laugh, so I’m just going to say his whole feed.

Podcast: You Must Remember This is well researched stories about old Hollywood. I can’t stop listening. I get arrested, and I can’t hear my Miranda Rights over a story about Mia Farrow hanging out with Salvador Dali.

Twitter user: Look, I already said Cullen Crawford, okay?

Pixelated Boat, and Zach Reinert also make me laugh daily.

YouTube Video: Grimy Ghost does a lot of really cool stuff, using footage they find elsewhere in really cool ways.

They’re the best thing on Vine for sure, but also, they found a video from a state fair, where they held a contest for wives to pretend to call their husbands in for dinner. It’s heart breaking, funny, and surreal all at once:

Whatever of the year: Matt Byrne is an amazing comedy producer. There’s nowhere else to say this, but anyone who has seen him work knows that it’s true.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Honestly, I’d still probably be in this public library, even though that same man in keeps getting really close to his screen, and grunting.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Comics using the stool like the four legs are udders, and they are a cow. Hack.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Jude Tedmori and Alex Hanpeter have a sketch show called “George Washington: The Original American Badass” and it’s just grand. It’s at UCB, and will make you feel like you’ve never sat in a public library next to a man who whispers lines of poetry to himself as he reads it
from his computer.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I just find the nearest public library, sit next to a new friend, and fill out end of the year lists.

Chris Trew

Christ Trew is a New Orleans and Austin based performer. Read his Nightmare Gig.

Big Top

 

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Shoutout to the comedy festivals holding it down in non-major markets who are bringing comedy to their corners of the map, giving comics an opportunity to fill their calendars while meeting new people, raising the profile of the local scene so that moving away isn’t an inevitability. Some of my favorites from 2015: Green Gravel (Iowa City), 2nd Best (Richmond), Scruffy City (Knoxville), Charm City Comedy Festival, and Memphis Comedy Festival.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I would be a fashion model. The Next Top one.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

The bully comics that stomp around their local scene like their shit has never stunk, making life more difficult than necessary for those trying to get involved. We get it, you’re terrified.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Rob Gagnon is an Austin, Texas based comic who has a weekly show called Sandbox at The New Movement. Rob is such an all-out lover and supporter of comedy and it shows in his anything goes whatever-the-fuck he feels show. People get an opportunity to do something out of their comfort zone. I truly hope Rob gets the opportunity to pay all his bills via comedy someday.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Snapchat has been a ton of fun lately but so is reading and writing. Bring a notebook backstage, buy something from a local bookstore and finish it before your tour is over. This year I also started a postcard campaign (if you want one, find me on your preferred social media and ask! I’m @christrew).

John F. O’Donnell

John F. O’Donnell performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball.

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

The UCB video of Bernie Sanders (James Adomian) debating Donald Trump (Anthony Atamanuik) made me cry laughter tears of joy!

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Real estate…I’d be a real estate agent…real estate…I’d be a fucking real estate agent…Real estate…I’d be doing real estate… real estate, you guys…real estate.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

People having the arrogance to vilify a comedian for one (maybe shitty) thing they said compared to celebrating them for 100s/1000s of (definitely brilliant) things they’ve said.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Murderfist is a prolific sketch group in NYC that has been at it for years. The would burn a television show down to the fucking ground! In a good way.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I like to write right before shows, like leading up to a couple of moments before my set. Sometimes it’s to use that material that same night. Sometimes it’s not. But there’s something about an eminent performance that focuses me in a way where I can right more freely…

Megan Gailey

Megan Gailey is a NYC based stand-up. Read her Nightmare Gig

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

First Comes Love! Created by Kyle Ayers, comedians act out amateur porn scripts. I got to play Topanga in a Boys Meets World porn earlier this year and it was the most important role of my life! Also anything Bridget Everett or Nick Vatterott! VEEP!!! Scream Queens!!!

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I’d still work at a retirement home!

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Hotels without free breakfast.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

I did a Denver based show called Uncalled Four where comedians wrote answers for Cards Against Humanity that I loved!

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I harass my family text chain. And I watch Bravo! And I text everyone about Bravo!

Mike Lebovitz

Mike Lebovitz performed at the 2014 Bentzen Ball. Read his Nightmare Gig.

Mike Lebovitz

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I have no idea. Delivering pizzas? That’s what I do these when I’m NOT doing this…

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

My latest pet peeve in stand-up is when–after the punchline, the comedian will deliver a fake, half of a next sentence and then stop. Like the laugh line will be, “Why would you put your dick in the blender?” And then follow he or she will follow it up with “That’s just…” and then never finish the sentence, having never intended to finish that sentence. It’s a timing mechanism, I get it, but it’s cheap, and it’s overused. I hear it everywhere. It’s phony. You’re starting a sentence, and then pretending to trail off. It’s everywhere, and it’s effective, but it’s not good comedy. I catch myself doing it all the time.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

You, Me, Them, Everybody, baby! Or 8-by-8. Let’s get more quality exposure for stand-ups on TV. And let’s have them be shows where I’m friends with the creator and likely to be booked.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I try not to kill time. I think time is such a precious thing. I try to be fully present as much as I can when I’m on the road, or backstage, or waiting for a pizza. Sometimes I’ll be on my phone, sometimes I’ll listen to music or a podcast (I’m into Hardcore History with Dan Carlin now), but I try as much as possible to use, rather than to kill that time. Yes, the few minutes I am on stage are generally the best, most invigorating of my day, but I try to bring that joy and exhilaration into every moment. Not that I am always successful, but that’s always the goal. So when I am driving, I drive. When I am sitting, I sit. And listen and feel. Killing time implies that there are certain moments that are important and the rest are just in the way, but all of this is our life, and it is so very short and anyway it is all we have, we should be there for as much of it as possible.

Haywood Turnipseed Jr

Haywood Turnipseed Jr performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball.

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Comic: Myself. I really like what I’ve done this year.

Film: Straight Outta Compton

Bit: Chappelle saying he’a ‘running out of t-shirt space in his closet’ #BlackLivesMatter

Bit: The Black Guy Who Tips

TV Show: Black Jesus/It’s Always Sunny in Philly/Homeland

YouTube Video: Terry Crews & Kendrick Lamar “Hittin The Quan”

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

If I weren’t doing this I’d be doing…nothing.

What do I wish would disappear from Comedy forever?

Hate speech, from either side. I can be angered by something without hating it.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Three Guys On

Clark Jones

Clark Jones is a NYC based stand-up. Read his Nightmare Gig

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Comic – Sheng Wang
Film – Straight Outta Compton (comedic genius)
Bit – Heard this bit about amnesia, the punchline escapes me right now
Podcast – Denzealots
TV show – Golden Girls
Twitter User – @BdotAdot5 (great NBA imitator)
YouTube Vid – Steph Curry highlights

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Black Lives Matter Czar

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Hypocrisy

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Making that one face at some of my comedian friend’s Facebook status’.

Tiffany Puterbaugh

Tiffany Puterbaugh performed at the 2014 Bentzen Ball.

Puterbaugh Sisters

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Stairway to Stardom on YouTube. There is too many amazing comics to list each of them as my favorite , but I truly mean it when I say my favorite comics are people that I have been doing comedy with that either have gotten great success or just made me laugh. We are all so lucky to surround ourselves with such incredible amazing performers and call them friends. Also watch anything Bridgette Everett does or anything Nick Vatterot says.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Probably being a bartender at an Olive Garden part time while making hats for a community theatre production of Brigadoon.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Jealousy, pettiness, the booking pattern of certain clubs. Places like Boners or The Who Farted Factory that are afraid to take risks on alternative acts because they think people in that area won’t find it funny. If we begin to give people the chance they may just like the change. Also all female showcases.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

I’d like to have a show on Adult Swim with that sister I live with. Maybe we drink in hats for HATpy hour, maybe we talk in wigs, maybe we sing about kitchen women over old 50’s ads and call them kitchen women. Either way it will be on at 3:57 to 4:20 in the morning.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Danielle and I make fake set lists or draw pictures of garbage people we have slept with.

Curtis Cook

Curtis Cook is a Portland based stand-up. Read his Nightmare Gig.

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Steven Wilber is a lot of fun to follow on Twitter. In real life he is a bright-eyed shambles and we should all pray for him. But on twitter tho? Damn. Just: Damn.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I’d probably still be working in the sticker factory, which sounds like a magical, childlike joy-land of a workplace. But it’s not. It’s just a factory.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Think pieces.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Nathan Brannon’s Hamster Village podcast is a lot of fun. That could be a dope show. And Adam Pasi and David Mascorro run a show in Portland called Funny Humans vs. The Wheel. That would be cool to see on television. #PointsMe

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I look at my phone and wish people I don’t remember a happy birthday on Facebook.

Will Miles

Will Miles is a NYC based stand-up. Read his Nightmare Gig.

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

@brandonwardell on Twitter. He is super funny. I feel like its semi-satirical, but maybe it’s not. Supposedly I’m a millennial, but I’m in my 30s constantly worried about financial stability. He’s the real voice of the younger millennial. He mostly talks about funny phrases, Drake and Future, Justin Bieber, and Bernie Sanders, and it’s all hilarious. I also love all of those things. I don’t even know him, either. I laugh out loud at some of the things he says, though. It’s great. I watched his stand up at Meltdown and it was hilarious, too. He will be very well known very soon.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

My favorite job aside from comedy was working at Murphy’s Hot Dogs in Chicago for five years. If I weren’t in comedy, I’d be quickly rising in the ranks over there again. My boss was dope over there and it was an all around great vibe.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

I wish the argument about political correctness would disappear forever. The side where comedians are saying that can say anything because of freedom of speech is stupid. You can’t yell fire in a theater. You can’t threaten someone. Those things are literally illegal. And just because you have freedom of speech doesn’t mean audiences have to like it. Let them hate it if they want to. If it’s real offensive, it’s probably not funny anyway, and we are paid to be funny. And the side where audience members are filming and uploading comedians videos for public shame is stupid. We aren’t politicians. While we can’t say just anything, we should be allowed to work jokes out in public without worrying about some asshole putting it online before its ready and writing a think piece. If we got the first draft of a bob dylan song today, we’d probably write 1,000 think pieces on it instead of waiting until he was finished with it and just enjoying the finished product. Comedians should be afforded the same respect as Bob Dylan in 1972. Yeah I said it.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Well, this will all be self serving, but Comedy At The Knitting Factory would be a great television show. They have some of the best comedians in the entire world (seriously we have had the best comedians from South Africa, England, and Australia recently). And three hosts who are best friends onstage is a dynamic that is not really seen anywhere else.

Also the podcast Hopefully We Don’t Break Up is a great look at love from a loving couple interviewing another loving couple. That should definitely be a television show, too. It’s rare to have an honest look at love from people admitting they are just trying to figure it out, also.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I read books and magazines. I don’t like to look at the internet so on the road I bring books and magazines so my brain remains as focused as it can possibly be without the strain of wondering what everyone is talking about.

Danielle Puterbaugh

Danielle Puterbaugh performed at the 2014 Bentzen Ball.

Backstage, The Lampshades + Puterbaugh Sisters

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Comics- Bridgett Everett. Amy Poehler helping produce a lot of good shows for women that are made by woman. Anything Melissa McCarthy ever does.
TV Show- Bojack Horseman
Instagram page- Thrift store art. It’s just what it sounds like, pics of art and crappy stuff from thrift stores.
Twitter user- My sister can do a pretty good twitter crush @puterbaughs

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Living in a hippie town, not shaving my arm pits and making jam or canned things to sell at Farmers Markets.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

The competition and ego. It affects all of us, even if we don’t admit it or it just exist on social media.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

I’d like a show on adult swim with my sister. Listen to me world, listen to me world, listen to me world out there.

Tim Barnes

Tim Barnes is a Chicago based stand-up. Read his Nightmare Gig.

Final

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Comic: The new Marvel Lando comics have been pretty awesome. I’m sad it was a limited series. He is one of the characters from the original series that deserves to be explored more and these comics really delivered.

Film: Creed was one of the best movies experiences I’ve had all year.

Bit: I don’t know if he has it on video yet, but Michael Timlin has a great new bit about buttons. He gets two actors to do what he’s saying and it becomes wonderfully theatrical. but at the end of the day it’s still a joke about buttons. That’s why I love it.

Podcast: Buzzfeed’s Another Round is amazing.

TV show: I’ve been a real sucker for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Twitter user: Janelle James is fucking hilarious. You can here her voice in every Tweet.

YouTube video: Here’s a sort film about Star Trek and Star Wars that some poor kid spent a lot of time on. I think you’ll see why I like it.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t doing stand up, or if I wasn’t answering this question right now? If I wasn’t doing stand up I’d probably be back in Riverside, California praying for the manager position at a movie theatre. If I wasn’t answering this question I’d be doing work at my day job.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Once my girlfriend pointed out to me how often comics say “girl” instead of “woman” I can never un-hear it. I just wish comics would say “woman” more.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Ian Abramson’s 7 Minutes In Purgatory needs to be on TV and I predict it will.

Brandon Wetherbee

Brandon Wetherbee performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball.

Haywood Turnipseed Jr

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

7 Minutes In Purgatory. Goodrich Gevaart’s memes.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Telling my cats that I love them.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Drink minimums.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Entertaining Julia.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Look at photos my wife texted me of our cats. Think about Dwayne Johnson.

Stephanie Hasz

Stephanie Hasz performed at the 2014 Bentzen Ball.

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Jane the Virgin

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

“Finding myself.”

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Complaining about the PC police, which has maybe been around for my entire life, so I guess this will end with my death.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

On the road, I find a body of water and stare at it. Backstage, I wait for everyone to stop staring at their phones and chat with me.

Ben O’Brien of Wham City

Ben O’Brien performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball.

Bentzen Ball Day 3-270

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

​Best thing this year, by far, is Bernie Sanders. In a field of rotting shit he is a ripe red apple. It’s the first time in my life I will be voting for someone, even if only in the primaries, that I actually want to win.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

​If all of my current artistic and comedic exploits somehow completely crumbled I often fantasize about becoming a farmer or a massage therapist, or working for an environmental organization. Basically I would do something where I could give back to the world which is really just what I should be doing now because the entire world is turning to garbage, and the one thing it definitely doesn’t need is another comedian.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

I wouldn’t be sad if social media disappeared, but most of all probably narcissism and jealousy.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

​I really think Maria Bamford should have her own talk show/sitcom/reality show/anything. She’s the best.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Photography is a great hobby to have on a tour since your driving all over the US. My personal favorite thing to do on tour is sleep as much as possible.

Joe McAdam

Joe McAdam is a Los Angeles based stand-up. Read his Nightmare Gig.

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Steve Harvey Family Feud clips are the thing to beat for me. Have you seen the “naked grandma” clip? That or The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Probably owning a home in a Midwestern city, working at a bar and playing drums with a band on a couple gigs a month. I bet they’d know my name at the grocery store. I could volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters in my spare time. I’d have a loving wife, and be close to my supportive family.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Comedians.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

I just saw a live show in LA called George Washington: The Original American Badass put on by Alex Hanpeter and Jude Tedmori and I want it to be an Adult Swim special.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

If I’m “on set” I’m usually taking advantage of using the #OnSet hash tag on Instagram.

Tommy McNamara

Tommy McNamara is a NYC based stand-up. Read his Nightmare Gig.

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

The second season of Review (with Andy Daly) was a masterpiece. There’s something magical about a show that can keep you emotionally invested in a narrative while also having an episode that culminates with a shootout between a cult, a swat team, and a man who has undergone plastic surgery to have the “perfect body”. The show was written with the attention to detail and honesty of a prestige drama, yet still managed to make me laugh harder than any other show this year. Andy Daly may be the funniest man in the world, well, it’s either him or those clowns in Congress!!!!

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

The only thing I want to be is a musician. And sure, I don’t have “rock star good looks”, and sure, I don’t have “rock star musical talent”, and sure, I can’t “read music”. You know who else couldn’t read music? Elton John (this is according to something my mom told me one time and there is literally no evidence to back it up but I still recite it as an anecdote). I guess what I’m saying is if I wasn’t doing comedy I would have written Chicago’s answer to “Philadelphia Freedom” by now.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

I get really frustrated with comedians who try to act like they don’t care about doing well. People who are totally fine with a crowd being uncomfortable and silent and just act like they don’t give a fuck. My friend Saurin Choksi described this style of comedy as “aggressive indifference” which I think is a perfect term for it. I think it’s a fear of failing thing, and some people would rather look cool than to look like a try hard, but I’d rather go down swinging than looking.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Ian Abramson’s 7 Minutes in Purgatory is a TV ready idea. For those who don’t know it’s a stand up show where the comedian performs in a separate room from the crowd and has to do his act in a vacuum. It’s a fun conceptual show and everyone brings their own flavor to it so it never gets stale (unlike my damn milk). Now the real question is what channel would it work for? I think it would do great on NBC because they already have a lot of comedy shows with no audience!!!

Also someone needs to start giving money to my friends from the Late Live Show/Wheel Show crew out in Los Angeles. They are some of the funniest people I’ve ever met (see their IFC webseries) and once they got Lisa Loeb to read a joke about 9/11 on stage.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

There are three way ways to kill time, my man: ass, gas, and grass!!!!!!!!!!!

Steven Wilber

Steven Wilber performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball.

Bentzen Ball Day 3-77

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

My favorite thing this year, hands down, is this Halloween skeleton and when you squeeze its hand, it plays a parody of Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” titled “Boos Like Jagger.” I’ll never be that funny. Also, Eric Dadourian blows my shit clear off.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing right now?

Wishing I had the balls to do this.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Old timey crooner mics on show posters.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

The boys at WOMEN are gems and I would eagerly watch 22 minutes of their antics on a weekly basis.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I have a strict regimen of stressing, eating, and stress-eating.

Goodrich Gevaart

 Goodrich Gevaart is a Chicago based stand-up. Read his Nightmare Gig.

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

I’m going to do one of each because its too hard to do only one and even then I’ll feel some regret for other things I didn’t laud.
Comic: Eric Dadourian is my friend but he also makes me laugh so so so so much.
Film: Fuckin MAD MAX FURY ROAD BRO
Bit: Todd Glass heckling James Adomian during the Comedy Expo’s closing show at Up Comedy Club. James is talking about being gay and Todd yells from the back of the sold out club “Oh, tha’ts just gross! I didn’t pay money to see that up there!”
Podcast: The Best Show! Always and forever an FOT.
TV Show: Difficult People
Twitter: @shutupandrosky Josh Androsky trolling Ted Cruz while raising money for Planned Parenthood was the best use of comedy in the internet this year. Also @vornietom is so good at twitter I had to @ reply to tell her exactly that.
Youtube Video: ALWAYS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ke-_nKHpDs

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

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What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Comedians trying to who do not identify as gay IRL talking about how they wish they were gay.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Give John Eisenrich money to make a show please.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Self doubt!

Alyssa Cowan

Alyssa Cowan performed at the 2014 Bentzen Ball. Read her Nightmare Gig.

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Bojack Horseman. Dear god, it’s almost criminal how good that show is. The dialog is great, and the sight gags are hilarious. It’s also a bit “too real” at some points, so you’ll watch episodes and get kicked in the dick, so to speak.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I’d probably be trying to work for the WWE somehow. Or just drinking beer in public not at a comedy show. I’d probably catch up on my email.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Guys who shout shitty things at female comedians.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

I just want another Bojack Horseman to make double Bojack Horseman. Can we do that?

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Riffin’ bro, gotta riff it up with the comedians. Also, I read books.

Sophie Johnson

 Sophie Johnson is a Chicago based stand-up. Read her Nightmare Gig.

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

I loved Difficult People. I hate that I loved Difficult People, because I can tell that it’s flawed (it’s written like a Twitter feed, for example) and I knew it would be unhip to like it, but I loved it anyway. I loved how mean Julie Klausner was, and how she never apologized for it.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Crying.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

“White people be like,” as written by other white people.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

I wish the New Orleans comedian Molly Ruben-Long had a show. She’d be like the Amy Schumer who’s not afraid to talk about sex. Oh wait.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Crying.

Sammy Arechar

 Sammy Arechar is a Chicago based stand-up. Read his Nightmare Gig.

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Going to ITT Tech in hopes that my hard word would pay off and I’d get to wear an orange polo and have a family in a commercial for them.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Contests where the winner is based on how many friends that person brought.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

DJ Khaled inspirational quotes. It’ll be called “Dr. Khaled”

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Listening to the entire Waka Flocka Flame catalog.

Matt Byrne

 Matt Byrne is a Chicago based comedy producer. Read his Funny Human of the Week column. 

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Movies: Tangerine and Ex Machina were both really cool
TV shows: The Leftovers is, I think, my favorite TV show ever. Rectify is second. They both had incredible seasons this year.
Twitter user: @GiddyUpYaHorse
Youtube:

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

This being filling out the survey? Answering work emails or something!

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Facebook!

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Give Wham City as much money as they want to do anything they want.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Oh BOY this question is not for me. I pace around a lot before shows that I’m helping produce.

Sonia Denis

Sonia Denis is a Chicago based stand-up. Read her Nightmare Gig.

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

My favorite album of the year is Summertime ’06 by Vince Staples. I actually just found out about this album this month. Every song is amazing. The production is fantastic. His lyrics are great. I discovered him because of a GQ interview he did where he critiqued all of their Man Of The Year covers from the last 20 years. It’s hilarious. Watch that and listen to the album.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I’d be dead. That’s morbid and dramatic but honestly, my life would be very boring. I have a degree in Computer Science and I was using that and leading a very dull existence before I started stand-up. Now my life is constant rejection followed by the occasional yes and I couldn’t be more happy/miserable.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

White men? No, I’m kidding. My boyfriend is a white man. White men are great. My biggest pet peeve is comics who confuse being funny with being shocking. People will get on stage, say something really racist/homophobic/sexist/transphobic whatever, get a reaction, then think well that’s comedy, right? No one laughed. You’re terrible.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I read a lot but that’s a very pretentious answer. I also play Fallout Shelter on my phone, a lot. It’s an app created by same people who made Fallout 4 which apparently is a popular video game I have never played. In fact, I can count on one hand that number of times I’ve played a video game this year and if you don’t count the times I played with my boyfriend, that number is 0. But the game is really fun and addictive. So it’s either that or Kurt Vonnegut.

Andrew Bucket

Andrew Bucket performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball. Read his Nightmare Gig.

Bentzen Ball Day 3-27

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

The smiley facial expression of the kid in why the fuck lyin’ is the most salient image of the year.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I’d be an acoustic singer songwriter.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Shit talking other comedians.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

The Todd Glass Show, without question.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Smooching.

Meredith Kachel

Meredith Kachel is a Chicago based stand-up. Read her Nightmare Gig.

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

OVERALL FAVORITE IS SUPER HARD ON THIS ONE. So I have to break it down. Favorite SERIES was probably Difficult People, since it was super easy for me, someone who gets really cringy about even Seinfeld, to enjoy watching bad people be fucking hilarious and awful. Plus, they make fun of Chelsea Handler and that feels great. Favorite EPISODE was the Parks and Rec finale, since it wrapped up perfectly in a neat little package and THAT’S HOW THINGS SHOULD BE. Favorite MOVIE was, hands down, What We Do In The Shadows, only because it made vampire movies actually interesting again. Fave COMEDIAN always goes to Mulaney, and Comeback Kid was incredible. Best YOUTUBE was Lil Dicky’s Save Dat Money. I’ve legit never been so attracted to a man whose eyes are so close together, but funny Jews soak my socks. Twitter sucks and I don’t use it. And as for favorite BIT? I’m going local, and nominating Mike Bobrinskoy for an Emmy for his amazing performance fucking with a scam bot

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I always wanted to be a makeup artist, like SFX. But they get up too early, so I’ll stick with art and comedy.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Long form improv. And Persians. JK, uh, you know oh god: CLAPTER. Seth Meyers coined it. It’s when you’re not even saying something funny, you’re just like “Planned Parenthood is GOOD!” or “Black People Have It Bad!” and people clap and laugh because they’re at a comedy show and you said something they like, vaguely agree with. FUCK that. It’s fuckin’ lazy.

Oh, and honestly? Like on Facebook, I’ll see a comedian make a solid joke and then get swooped in on by some kid they went to middle school with or an aunt who adds on the worst joke ever and you just want to sit that person down and be like, “Look. SoAndSo said something good and you made it bad. Stop trying to relate. Go sit in the rain.”

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

I mean, I’m biased because he is my friend, but I think Joe Kwaczala and The Wheel Show boys deserve every accolade ever. I think/hope they’re all the future of comedy. Also, Late Late Breakfast. It’s just such an incredible concept for a show, and the masterminds (Tyler Jackson and Danny and Liz Maupin) behind it are…brilliant. Just brilliant. It’s weird and chaotic and fun and silly and smart and everything stand up comedy lacks. I think both would be absolutely incredible, and instant hits that would be cancelled immediately because TV executives are garbage monsters.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I look at Facebook and Imgur and drink until I’m not nervous. Are people doing other things?

Sean Joyce

Sean Joyce performed at the 2014 Bentzen Ball.

BYT hosts Bentzen Ball 2014 in Washington, DC.

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Broad City, Tuesdays With Stories, Rory Scovel’s stand-up, Ben Kronberg’s Periscope, Michael Foody’s Facebook, Aparna Nancherla’s Twitter

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

If by this you mean answering these questions, I’d be booking/promoting comedy shows. If by this you mean comedy, I’d probably be getting paid to do something I don’t want to do by someone who doesn’t particularly want me to do it.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

“I’m not a monster,” mic drops, dissecting rap lyrics, puns, white people saying the n-word, dudes saying the c-word, straight people saying the f-word, saying outrageous/controversial/offensive/overly personal things without making an actual joke, criticizing the crowd as you leave the stage, being comfortable never getting any laughs…

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Romane & Lettuce

Norm Quarrinton

Norm Quarrinton performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball. Read his Nightmare Gig.

Norm Quarrinton

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Ash vs. Evil Dead. I was skeptical at first, but Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are fucking geniuses. They’ve just gotten everything right so far.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I’m a pretty dope MC, so probably that.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

The lack of diversity. Oh, and the Fat Jew (but not fat Jews).

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus is a pretty great podcast, and Lauren Lapkus is hilarious–I’m not sure if it would work as a TV show, but she should definitely be on TV in some capacity.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I write dope rhymes because I’m a dope MC. Also Tetris.

Linsay Deming of Church Night

Linsay Deming performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball. Read her Nightmare Gig.

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

W/ Bob and David for sure. I grew up on Mr. Show and this new season holds up big time.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I’d have full time job with benefits.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

White male only writing rooms and shows. The statistics are pretty deplorable. I think anyone running a show needs to constantly check their demographics on set/stage and behind the scenes. It’s important to make sure to include diverse voices, even if that means taking a chance on someone less known or less experienced.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

The Wham City folks are very good at what they do. I’d like to see them take off.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I make sure to locate all the fire exits in case of emergency. Someday, I’ll be a hero.

LeMaire Lee

LeMaire Lee is a Philadelphia based stand-up. Read his Nightmare Gig.

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What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Favorite bit is the last 20-30 minutes of Anthony Jeselniks special. It was dope and tense. It was surprising because he isn’t a story teller really, but when he told the story for last amount of his special (Thoughts and Prayers) it was dope. I liked a lot of TV this year. South Park is having a great season, but my favorite new show of the year is The Carmichael Show. Jerrod Carmichael is one of the best comics around right now. And his show is very different than the contemporary sitcom.

Favorite Twitter Use is me @LeMaireLee because I tweet dope/sad shit.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I’d probably be playing video games. Trying to figure how to be a YouTube personality, and failing because I don’t have the necessary teen like enthusiasm.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

I don’t like that comedians go on stage and say things for an applause break. Like “Bill Cosby, right guys,” or “Caitlyn Jenner, so proud”. Our task is to get laughs. If you’re going to make a hilarious joke after saying those things go right ahead, but if you’re just saying it for applause get better at writing jokes.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

I wish there was a way to bring video games to TV more. Like a game that talks about games and technology. Ever since Attack of The Show went away, there really hasn’t been any great shows about technology or video games. I feel like even a weekly hour long show that is kind of like John Oliver’s, but about technology would be fantastic.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

I mass tweet. I tweet a lot of stupid stuff.

Jessy Morner-Ritt

Jessy Morner-Ritt performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball.

Jessy Morner-Ritt

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Comic -Langston Kerman
Film – Fort Tilden
Bit – Everything I’ve ever written
Podcast – With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus
TV show – Catastrophe
Twitter User – Erin Whitehead
YouTube vid – The one where the cat does the funny thing

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Something that actually benefits the world.

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Nothing. Just like the greater world around us, everything in the comedy world is perfect. All comics, regardless of sex and race, exist in perfect harmony.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Church Night.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Worrying.

MOTHERKNUCKLE

MOTHERKNUCKLE performed at the 2015 Bentzen Ball. Read their Nightmare Gig.

What’s your favorite comic/film/bit/podcast/tv show/Twitter user/YouTube video/whatever of the year?

Invest Four More.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Frumping and Dumping, what else?

What do you wish would disappear from comedy forever?

Reverse speciesist and reverse weightist jokes.

What podcast/sketch show/live show/whatever should become a television show?

Them handsome boys from Wham City.

How do you kill time on the road or on the set or backstage?

Frumping and Dumping, what else?

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