STAND-UP TUESDAYS: Anthony Jeselnik

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We have been saying it for weeks, but Under The Gun Review is undergoing an evolution of sorts and part of this change involves the unveiling of many new, recurring features. Today we are continuing the debut one of our most anticipated features, a weekly comedy spotlight written by the wonderfully talented Angie Frissore. Covering both known and unknown comics, Stand-up Tuesdays is your new source for all things funny.

This week, we are putting a spotlight on Anthony Jeselnik and his latest special, ShakespeareIf you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email utgjames@gmail.com.

This week on Stand Up Tuesdays, we take a close look at Anthony Jeselnik’s debut comedy CD, Shakespeare, which was released in September 2010 and quickly named one of the best albums of the year by The Onion AV Club and Comedy Album of the Year by Punchline Magazine.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Jeselnik moved to New York after completing a BA in English Literature from Tulane University, where he worked as a writer on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Often appearing in the show’s numerous comedy skits, Jeselnik was the first comedian to perform stand up on the show (an accomplishment he’s quick to point out at the beginning of his recorded set).

Cockiness is a hard quality to successfully pass on to fans, but Jeselnik does it flawlessly. His brand of comedy combines the self-assured cockiness of Colin Kane with the deadpan, hilarious delivery of Steven Wright. Even the ‘fan testimonials’ on his website back up his cockiness: ‘“He’s the best!” – everybody.’

At several points throughout Shakespeare, Jeselnik pauses to reiterate his awesomeness, explaining to the audience at one point, “What I’m doing right now? It’s called killin’.”
Jeselnik is truly a comedic talent in his own right, as his methodical delivery leaves the audience guessing just what will come next. Addressing topics from Asian stereotypes to domestic violence, nothing is sacred in his act. Recalling his attempt to run for class president in high school (and losing to a wheel-chair bound classmate), he cites his smear campaign as his downfall: “Vote for Anthony – his ideas have legs.”

Perhaps it’s Jeselnik’s boyish good looks, or perhaps it’s his egomaniacal persona – but Jeselnik’s comedy is wildly unpredictable and borderline unsettling. He jokes about an audience member responding to his jokes about retarded children, who stated he had a retarded son at home.
“What are you doing at a comedy show? You should be at home, laughing at your kid,” Jeselnik jokes.

I sort of went into Jeselnik’s CD expecting to be unimpressed – naturally, as cockiness in a comedian is a hard thing to get right. Not only does Jeselnik back up his ego with his hilarious talent, he also is known for his impression of Dane Cook (and I love a good knock on that guy).

“How many of you know who Dane Cook is? I know this half of the room does, because they’re all over thirteen,” he quips, before launching into his impression.

Jeselnik has performed all over the country and has numerous television appearances, including Late Night With Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Down and Dirty with Jim Norton and Last Call with Carson Daly. Named one of Comedy Central’s breakout comedians of 2009 (along with Nick Kroll, Aziz Ansari, Whitney Cummings, Donald Glover, Matt Braunger, T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, and Jon Lajoie), he was jokingly referred to as the most attractive amongst the group by the others.

Be sure to pick up Anthony Jeselnik’s Shakespeare via digital download today – and prepare yourself to see him conquer stand-up comedy, as Jeselnik is only getting started. He takes on the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal beginning on July 14. Visit Jeselnik’s website for more dates and info!

Written by: Angie Frissore

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  • Ilaughatmyself

    Saw Jeselnik in Baltimore. Was absolutely hilarious. Great show and set. Can’t wait to see him in DC in a few months. Hopefully he comes around this way more often. He even signed my album ‘Matt, Fuck You. -Anthony Jeselnik’.