STAND-UP TUESDAYS: Robert Buscemi

Robert Buscemi One Pretty Peacock

Stand-Up Tuesdays is 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, Angie puts a spotlight on Robert Buscemi’s standup career. If you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email utgjames@gmail.com.

On January 15, Rooftop Comedy released the third album from comedian Robert Buscemi, aptly titled, One Pretty Peacock, successfully resulting in a new comedy crush for yours truly.

Seriously. This guy’s just amazing.

Recorded at one of Los Angeles’ best weekly comedy shows, Holy Fuck, One Pretty Peacock features forty-five minutes of intellectual absurdity and fast-paced delivery that’s somewhat different from Buscemi’s prior release, Palpable. The Los Angeles-based comedian attributes this more streamlined style to his use of Twitter, which has afforded him a platform with which to test out different approaches.

“Most material from One Pretty Peacock started as Tweets – many verbatim. If people like a joke on Twitter, I try it on stage. If it gets solid laughs, it stays and gets fine-tuned from there. It’s a perfect way to tighten my material,” Buscemi tells me. “I then string the small jokes together. Because I gravitate toward certain subjects, I find it easy to weave my best Tweets into longer stories. Lately, l tend to Tweet about birds, show-biz, night-life, dating and hanky-panky.”

Robert Buscemi’s comedy is quite unique as he’s managed to maintain a balance between silly and smart – even successfully meshing the two together to come up with something completely original.

“Sometimes when I can’t sleep I’ll go down to the beach and listen to the water for fish hymens popping,” Buscemi quips on the album. “I like to imagine them rolling in from Japan because sound travels really well under water. It’s the only thing that puts me to sleep anymore.”

While most comedy albums undergo a healthy amount of editing once recorded, Buscemi’s One Pretty Peacock remains unedited, offering fans a true live-comedy experience. It’s also a testament to Buscemi’s preparedness, as one listen to the album will leave you convinced that it just had to be touched at least once post-production – but alas, that’s just how good Buscemi is at what he does.

One Pretty Peacock happened in a single, long, unedited take,” Buscemi reflects. “I was delighted at the magic in the room, because it took a year to build to that one performance. I take my silliness seriously, so I like to capture the journey exactly as it happens.”

Buscemi addresses various subjects in his new album, including church attendance (and showing up for midnight mass a la Rocky Horror Picture Show style), jobs he’s held in past lives, and the evolution of the male fantasy as one ages. And while such topics may not be altogether new in comedy, it’s how Buscemi approaches each that sets him apart from others.

“It’s funny; your fantasies evolve as you get older. When I was a younger man, I just wanted to make love to two beautiful women on the beach at sunrise,” Buscemi quips. “But now, all I want to do is beat a man to death with his own shoe. And it’s always Bob Costas.”

Buscemi is no newcomer to the comedy game and got his start in Chicago, amongst some pretty notable comedy names – something that just might surprise fans.

“I share the same rich Chicago stand-up soil as breakout film star TJ Miller, Pete Holmes from the podcast You Made It Weird and The Midnight Show produced by Conan O’Brien and soon to air on TBS, NBC Up All Night regular and MADtv cast member Matt Braunger, SNL and 30 Rock writer Hannibal Buress and Comedy Central star Kyle Kinane,” Buscemi tells me. “We all started out performing weekly at Chicago’s now-legendary Lyon’s Den open-mike a decade ago.”

A particular favorite of mine from One Pretty Peacock is a delightful tale in which Buscemi watches a butterfly attempting to come out of its cocoon: “Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I dumped like nine napkins into what was left of my Chai tea, and kind of mulched it up into a paper mache mixture and smashed a new cocoon right over the old one as hard as I could. Because fuck you.”

When it comes to Buscemi’s creative process, the comedian certainly knows exactly what he’s after.

“I strive to do high-minded comedy that attracts like-minded weirdos — the bright, the aware, the curious, the switched-on, the joyful. And those with a taste for magic. In other words, the truly discerning fan who’s looking for comedy that’s smart, creative, and unusual. I want to push my writing on stage, on Twitter, and in short and long film formats and see where it takes me. I’ve always led with my stage product and walked through any doors that open from there. And I’ve been lucky thus far.”

One Pretty Peacock is Buscemi’s sharpest to date. Packed with material about his speedo collection, holistic food, and living in a celebrity bubble, Buscemi jumps swiftly from subject to subject, leaving a trail of laughter and peacock feathers behind him. Pick it up today from Rooftop Comedy!

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