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 Ari Shaffir’s standup career. If you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email email@example.com.
On Tuesday, February 5, comedian and host of the popular podcast “The Skeptic Tank”, Ari Shaffir, became the latest in a growing line of comedians to self-release a special direct to fans. His first ever special, “Passive Aggressive”, was released via Chill.com, an exciting new platform that allows any filmmaker, comedian, musician, or artist to directly release premium video to the fans who love them through social integration.
Shaffir, who is well-known for hilarious series, The Amazing Racist, decided to partner with Chill.com to get his work out there to fans without being bound by censors or labels. He recently took the time to speak to me about the decision to self-release his first special.
“It was a mixture of things; between one – no network was ever coming to me and saying ‘we want to do something with you’, so that helps. After years of that, it started to make me think I needed to find another way. I had talked to [Jim] Norton once about Comedy Central and he told me that he tried to get a half hour special one year and by the next year, he had risen up in fame and popularity a lot. By the next year, they said, ‘Okay, we want to give you one now,’ and he said, ‘Nah, I don’t really want to do with censored bleeps anymore,’” Shaffir explains. “I guess it’s a better place for that type of comedy. With releasing online, there are no standards. I don’t have to worry about anybody telling me what to say or what not to say. Nobody. I remember on Late Friday, this show they used to have on NBC, I think, and Joe Rogan was hosting (it was right after the war broke out). They told Joe Rogan, ‘no George Bush jokes’. It had nothing to do with being clean, or FCC standards, it was just what they wanted at the time. And you’re like, ‘That’s not supposed to go into the material developing. It’s supposed to be what a crowd finds funny.”
“Passive Aggressive” offers fans over an hour of the cutting-edge, no-holds-barred type of comedy they’ve come to expect from Shaffir, in which the comedian leaves virtually no stone unturned. He’s got some beef with a lot of things, and he isn’t about to hold back on any of it – from fat people to how much better life is when you live alone.
“I really do want to stop letting people I hate choose how I live,” Shaffir quips in his special. “It really does suck.”
With the recent success enjoyed by other comedians who have self-released material, Chill.com expands on this concept, empowering artists to engage their audiences and build customizable communities where fans and talent can interact. Chill.com differs from other content outlets in that artists are able to retain creative control and flexibility over content as well as ownership of intellectual property. There are no royalties or hidden fees for artists with Chill.com – just a simple revenue share – which will no doubt open up a tremendous amount of opportunity for artists who may otherwise be held back in putting their content out there for fans.
“Once Louis [CK] did his thing, releasing it online,” Shaffir explains, “I’m friends with Joe Rogan, and he was like, ‘that’s what I’m going to do’, and I saw Gaffigan and Bill Burr did the same thing. I think I’m on the borderline of in touch with the fans enough to try to do that. As production gets cheaper, it’s like, let’s just give it straight to them and that way, the fans – they’ll decide what to do with it, if they support a comic or not. I heard something on NPR about self-publishing for writers, and how it used to be this black mark. It was the grossest thing you could do. But now, it’s just like, the writers are giving up to 80% of book sales, including Kindle sales, through Penguin releasing it or what have you. Now, they’re giving up like 10%. You ask a writer, and they’re like, we just don’t need them anymore. There are so many modes of distribution now that you don’t have to rely on someone okaying you.”
Shaffir has been featured Down and Dirty with Jim Norton on HBO, TBS’ Minding the Store, ESPN Classic’s Cheap Seats: Without Ron Parker, Latino Laugh Festival on Si TV, and has made a few appearances on The Opie and Anthony Show. His-widely downloaded podcast, The Skeptic Tank, is a favorite among both fans and fellow comedians, and, after officially getting his first special under his belt, Shaffir is already hard at work on the next.
“I’ve already started working on the next hour. This year, I took on to do it, to be able to come up with all this stuff in an hour. I had a big talk with Louis at the Montreal Comedy Festival a couple of years ago and he broke down his whole process of doing it and why he does it. So it stuck with me for a while, but I wasn’t able to put it into play, but after I recorded a CD I was like, well let me try this as an artist. Let me try to do this and take this on.”
Be sure to download Ari Shaffir’s “Passive Aggressive” directly from Chill.com for only $4.99. You will not only be supporting independent artists, but will also have a rip-roaring good time in the process.