Young comics relocate to either New York or Los Angeles to get “serious” about their stand-up careers.
It’s one thing to “kill” in Pittsburgh, St. Louis or Detroit. The best of the best do it on the coasts, and that’s where the talent agents find tomorrow’s stars.
Is Joe Rogan changing that decades-old wisdom?
— Jim Breuer (@JimBreuer) May 2, 2023
The Spotify superstar has been drawing comedians to Austin, Texas, for the past few years. He’s been boasting of the city’s charms while using his switch from L.A. to Austin as a roadmap for others to follow.
Some did just that, including Bridget Phetasy and (briefly) Tim Dillon.
More may come following Rogan’s new comedy enterprise, dubbed “The Mothership.” The space-themed club gets a heady feature story in The Free Press, Bari Weiss’ attempt to bring balance back to journalism.
Rogan mocked the corrupt press during a recent stand-up appearance at his Comedy Mothership club for dubbing his brand of humor “anti-woke.” It’s just “comedy,” he said in full fact-checking mode.
“When people do risky subjects, it’s my favorite s***,” he says. “We don’t do it as an alternative to comedy. We do it because that is comedy.”
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The Mothership, the article notes, is a safe space for comedians canceled elsewhere. Think Roseanne Barr, Shane Gillis and Dave Chappelle.
They’ve all felt Cancel Culture’s bite, but Rogan and co. welcomed them with open arms in recent weeks.
Barr recently enjoyed her first TV special in years courtesy of Fox Nation, but she’s no longer welcome in mainstream Hollywood. Gillis got kicked off “Saturday Night Live” when one of his comedy podcasts “resurfaced,” but now he’s selling out clubs and delivering great clips via his “Gilly & Keeves” duo.
Comedian Tony Hinchcliffe has plenty of good things to say about comedy clubs in L.A. and New York City to The Free Press. He draws a stark line between the venues and the crowds in question. Their uber-liberal pieties make telling jokes a chore, he says.
As for Rogan, he sees the growing groupthink and narrative-aligned forces as more fodder for stand-ups willing to stick their professional necks out.
“You know, when you start believing things that you inherently know are not true but you say them and repeat them because the cult wants you to do it—this is something you can exploit in stand-up comedy, and that’s what stand-up comedy is all about. It’s all about that.”
And now they can visit Rogan’s Mothership to tell the jokes you can’t say elsewhere.
Rogan’s maneuvering has radically changed the Texas city.
In the two years that it took Rogan to build his club, Austin had transformed from a “one comedy club town,” in the words of one venue owner, to a kind of mecca. On “Dirty 6th” alone, the downtown strip where the Mothership is located, as many as a dozen comedy joints opened, including Vulcan Gas Company, which pivoted from musical to comedy acts, and The Creek and the Cave, a club that owner Rebecca Trent moved from downtown Queens, New York, at the height of the pandemic.
Tom Segura, Phetasy, Deric Position and Hinchcliffe now call Austin home. More may follow, according to Hinchcliffe.
“This is where every comedian that has real jokes and real raw talent wants to be.”
Today’s rebel comics flex their podcasts, Patreon accounts and YouTube channels to build their brands and fan base. There’s still nothing like a live comedy club to work on material, and Rogan is letting comedians say whatever they want along the way.
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