Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Funny Talk and Andy Boyle

Andy Boyle
I'm in a unique position in the Chicago comedy scene - I happen to work for a news outlet that, on occasion, also covers comedy. For the most part, the Chicago Tribune and RedEye focus on bigger names and bigger productions in comedy. But with Chicago being a great starting ground for many of the big current names in the comedy scene, I wanted to find a way to showcase the people who are still here, before they move on to different cities.

My job as a web developer for the Chicago Tribune and its related news organizations also means I also worked for RedEye, which is geared more toward younger people in the Chicago area. They would be a good fit for a comedian interview series, I thought. My boss signed off on it, the RedEye folks gave me the resources for it -- one of their awesome videographers -- and the space to shoot it. Enter RedEye's "Funny Talk."

The idea behind the show was to make short segments -- two to three minutes long, with a short clip from the comedian's act -- that would be easy to digest in the modern media world. I would ask a comedian five quick questions, which were supposed to be silly questions about Chicago, and then at the end of the video we would show their upcoming dates.

Even with the hundreds of great comedians in Chicago to choose from, it wasn't hard to pick who would be on the first show - Adam Burke. Our talk lasted almost 15 minutes, which is way longer than we had anticipated. We've since retooled the show, focusing on just asking the questions, which has cut down the time immensely.

As you might notice because of my similar outfits, we try and record a few episodes in one day. As it takes awhile to set up the lights, microphones and video equipment, it's just easier to try and knock a bunch out. And it means we don't have to scramble from week to week, trying to book new people.

This week is our eighth episode, and we've got about five more in the can ready to go. Every time we record, we tweak the format a little, I get looser as an interviewer and the end product gets a lot funnier.

Even though I'm a performer, I'm also a huge fan of comedy. And I'm excited I've been given the opportunity to showcase some of Chicago's funniest people. If you ever have a fun question you think I should ask, feel free to yell at me on Twitter - @andymboyle - or on Facebook.
I hope you check out "Funny Talk," and I hope you keep on supporting Chicago-area comedy. The funnier we get, the more people who will come to our shows, and that will just make our scene even stronger.

Andy Boyle - Writer, producer and standup comedian.