I have written a few pieces here where I’ve taken a dump on comedians, but I have always withheld their names because I didn’t feel it was fair to out them because it was just my opinion. I started this blog as much to recognize that there are talented people in standup that don’t live on the coasts. (Get it, Fly Over Comedy.)
So today I’m going to break from this rule. I know it isn’t a really smart thing for me to do, as Rob Delaney is someone who has major representation and has power through all his social media followers. I became initially aware of him as he’s consistently covered as someone who has made a career from Twitter. I try to stay on top of trends in my biz, so I checked out his tweets. They were perfect for gaining twitter followers: extremely snarky, without much intelligence. Now I’m not going to claim that I haven’t produced some tweets that you could say the same for, but I had no interest in following the guy, as what he does isn’t what I want to add to my life. Despite not having a ton of respect for his talents, my hat was off to the guy for being able to find some fame through his own creativity. I feel I have a lot of creativity and fame isn’t part of my resume.
My attitude started to become a lot more negative when I heard he was headlining comedy clubs. With his massive twitter following, I can see why a club would be interested in bringing him in, but from what I heard from a couple comic friends, he was terrible on-stage. This is when I start to get angry. I have been in this biz for a long time and I always worry about some flavor of the month bringing people to the club for the first time and then proceeding to be so awful that these people believe most standup is like it.
Recently on Facebook, I noticed comic Kristen Toomey had shared some thoughts from another comic, Drew Michael about Delaney. Drew had posted this review and a link to Delaney’s set from the Jimmy Kimmel Show.
“Everyone is missing the point. Rob Delaney is famous from Twitter. He has 700K Twitter followers, so he thinks he can do stand-up. And everyone lets him because he’s “famous.” He runs around L.A. and does all the shows. Everyone acts like he’s important. He sells out clubs and theaters on the road and comics play along because maybe they’ll open for him one day! It’s a farce to a terrifying degree. This video, however, exposes him. Or rather, it exposes the mechanisms that allow him to rise to any level. And it’s being hidden and deleted by him (or his team), which is hilarious. It’s an insult to everyone who actually does (or cares about) live comedy.”- Drew Michael
So here was my chance to see what this whole Delaney thing was about. I would prefer you to watch a make your own decision before you get my opinion.
(Edgecast link is here in case youtube clip gets pulled.)
I’m guessing you have already made up your mind now.
If you were able to get through half of it, you are a fucking daredevil. If I include all the sets I’ve ever seen, this would be in the top 5 bad ones…and that includes all open mics. What Drew Michael wrote is totally on the money.
Note about this set. You can’t find it practically anywhere because…
So I ended up putting my thoughts on Kristen Toomey FB post. Here are a few. I’m using them the way I did there as a homage to Rob Delaney…you know…snarky, short bursts of social media.
I made it almost halfway through. Do I get a prize?
I am all for Mr Twitter being on Kimmel, but they should have set up a NBA shot clock type system, where a buzzer would have gone off when he reached his 140 character limit.
(In response to someone saying it was like a standup from 1995) I did comedy back in 1995. There was a lot of bad comedy back then, just like now, but I would historically put Delaney’s comedy somewhere in the 2007 time period. It’s Dane Cook, without the jokes and stage presence. Many frat guys were hitting the open mic doing this type of act in 2007.
(In response to someone posting we should stay positive about other performers) I generally agree with the positivity toward others thing, but when someone like this snarky douche gets big opportunities, it is important to have him exposed. This way he doesn’t take work from actual professional comics and just as importantly damage comedy clubs as we don’t need someone coming out to see this abomination and think that is what usually happens at a comedy club. Expose this fucker. He’s gotten way too much fame off of snarky tweets and looking like the singer from Train’s younger brother.
(In response to how you have to sell-0ut to make it in this biz) Very few people are able to do standup for a living. When some flavor of the month comes on the scene and is all marketing and no ability, they need to be exposed. Just like when some comic steals other people’s material.
(In response to someone’s advice to me “you never know where someone you meet or know is going to be in 3 months in this business. So treat everyone with dignity and respect.”) I’ve burned very few bridges. but when someone like this gets opportunities and is this bad (btw, I have heard from a few clubs Delaney has been terrible) I believe he needs to be exposed. It’s a little different than movies where 1 bad actor doesn’t have to totally wreck a movie. If you go to a club and see a headliner who is as unprepared as this dude, well it is all-consuming. See a bad movie and no one is going to come out saying “I will never see a movie again.” That is not the attitude with standup for some. I do agree with how important marketing is, but that is why it is even more important to expose the truth of someone who is as bad as Delaney. I appreciate his marketing flash. He also writes a lot of stuff on twitter that obviously a lot of people like. Great. Find some way to monetize that, but stay the fuck off stage.
Don’t really have much more to add. I think my views are pretty clear. I don’t relish slamming someone doing standup, as I know how hard it is to be a success at it. Rob Delaney on the fame level is way higher than me. I want to assert that my disdain for him isn’t because I am a bitter old comic and I can’t accept some newbie coming in and rising quickly. A great example of how that isn’t the case is I was at the Laughfest Comedy Fest last week and I saw for the first time a young dude named Mike E. Winfield. He was spectacular. Like watching a young Cosby, but with Chapelle influences. Blew me away. I love when I see that. It makes me remember again why it can be the ultimate entertainment art form. I love standup and appreciate how it has given me a long-career. It makes me ill when I see someone like Rob Delaney get big opportunities when he would be dismal at an open mike. This is why I wrote this today.
To close this piece, let me highlight the funniest person I read on Twitter, Tom Simmons. I should mention I have never met Tom before, but I’ve never met any comic who doesn’t have huge respect for him. He’s smart, he’s funny, he headlines major clubs, but he’s not a household name. My guess this has something to do with him being based in Atlanta. Another reason for you to keep in mind, there is no rule that says you can’t be a great comic and not live in LA or NY. I asked Tom if I could share his hilarious twitter breakdown of Rob Delaney’s set. Here we go.
How are you? Nice warm opening. Sharp suit. Although opening with a question isn’t stellar.
How are u? Followed by did u have a good day? This guy cares about me.
#robdelaneyroast. Oh never mind, he didn’t care. He had a good day.
I am at “I’m not just a taco guy”. Is he trying not to be funny? He is doing that very well.
Where r the punchlines? This set had to work when he ran it, when it was approved- or at least got 6 retweets.
It’s not a normal sun but a pepperoni pizza. 2 minutes in and he has eaten 8 tacos, 2 pizzas, and at comedy on national TV.
He surely turns it around soon. Maybe he reads some hilarious tweets after he finishes his pizza.
This is the worst set I’ve seen on TV since The Situation on the Trump roast.
#robdelaneyroast but he is not cracking. Ups for that.
Got a nice laugh at speed balls not as dangerous as chocolate and cheese. Must be a hot crowd.
The fact that he eats so much peanut butter explains why there are no punchlines stuck to the roof of his mouth.
He vomited all over, in front of old men playing dominoes. That’s nothing compared to what you just did to standup comedy.
Now he’s in the bathroom hiding from his family…. And his comedy writing notebook.
His 2 year old comes in to the bathroom.
#robdelaneyroast oh good a nice touching family moment that makes me like him is coming.
Nope, he calls his 2 year old and simpleton.
#robdelaneyroast even a toddler knows it goes setup Punchline. At least write a shit joke.
Kid hands him an onion, it’s cute. Then he insults his son again and they share an onion on the toilet. I think I just puked on my dominoes
2 yr old brings him am onion, it’s very sweet- you can tell how much he doesn’t love his son.
Gotta give him credit for that close- he really made me not like him even more.
#robdelaneyroast genius if that what he was going for.
Wow. Incredible set. Follow
@robdelaney on twitter- he is apparently extremely funny to read.
So many food jokes for a guy who looks fit. Is he a graduate of that Louie Anderson standup class?
1000’s of people watched that set and said, “I am funnier than that.” And got into comedy. Sad part is, no you are not.
This sets a new record- shattering Chapelle’s marathon set- in how long it felt like it lasted.
I have so far purposely not written a crying onion joke because I assume no one else made it that far in watching.
The wave goodbye was the most professional part of his set. He should start opening with that.
This guy is almost all performance. Tricks me with the incredible act outs into not recognizing the no punchlines.
Now Tom Simmons is the guy who should have a million twitter followers.