One of the hardest working comics is headed back to perform at The Nasty Show this July for the Just for Laughs comedy festival. Big Jay Oakerson has been a stand out stand-up comic for nearly twenty years and there’s no sign of him slowing down. His hilarious Netflix special was released in 2018, he's also appeared on Comedy Central, The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, and released a number of comedy albums throughout the years. Big Jay is a JFL veteran, having performed at the festival a number of times and he always loves coming back to Montreal. Check out my conversation with Big Jay Oakerson below:
Are you looking forward to coming back to Montreal?
Yeah man, always. It's such a cool time and it's like comedy camp. I'm looking forward to spending a couple of days in Montreal and see some friends I haven't seen for a while. What's cool about the Nasty Show is that it starts a few days before the festival kicks off and you form a little family since we've all been there for a week already.
Not only are you performing on the Nasty Show, but you're bringing back your What's Your F@#king Deal? show; tell us a bit how that show works?
That's my all crowd work show and it was actually born at the festival in Montreal. We first did it at the Midnight Surprise show, Jeff Ross and Todd Glass were there, and it was amazing. How it works is I put another comic in the audience with a microphone, and that way the comics can work off each other so you're hearing two comic voices. It's a crazy show, nothing's rehearsed and it's one of the best shows to come to because every time you see this show it's something completely different.
Do you have a creative process to prepare for The Nasty Show?
I'll never keep the same order of jokes for each show. I have a handful of things I want to get out, like new material for example but for the Nasty Show it's definitely more of a set than improv.
How did comedy start for you?
I've always loved comedy. I was obviously too young to go to a comedy club when I was growing up, so I'd watch it on TV and I'd rent VHS tapes. When I was 19, I was attending community college and I caught up with a friend that I grew up with who was actually disappointed that I never tried stand-up. I ended up going down to South Street in Philly and there was a comedy club. I inquired about the open mic nights, chickened out the first four times, the 5th time I brought some friends with me so I'd have no choice to go up and I did. I quit college the next day.
What do you think about the comedy industry and how it's evolved over the years with social media?
It's interesting because when I started 20 years ago, it was like Myspace, Facebook and you'd use it to link up with fans or maybe get laid on the road. Back then the goal was to get an hour of material and go on the road with it, now the mentality is if you can't put asses in seats, why would we book you? It took me a while to get used to social media, but I have a podcast and a radio show on Sirius XM that are huge marketing tools for me. I'm not the type of guy that will post what he's eating but I'm trying to put out more stand-up content online.
What is your favourite movie?
Who is your favourite musician or band?
That's a tough one; growing up was The Doors and as an adult, Marilyn Manson.
Who are some of your favourite comics?
Patrice O'Neal and Dave Attell are at the top of mountain for me. Attell took me out on the road and kept me alive for some time opening up for him. He's a mentor to me. I also pay homage to Andrew Dice Clay because he made stand-up look so awesome.
Are you working on anything else besides stand-up?
I'll be in a movie later this year that was really cool to be a part of. I'm always knocking ideas around with the podcasts and the radio show. I love what I do; just talking sh*t with my friends and making people laugh.
Finally, what song would you have played at your funeral?
Wow, another tough one. "Four Rusted Horses" by Marilyn Manson; you'll have to listen to it to get any context on that.
Be sure to check out Big Jay Oakerson when he hits the stage at The Nasty Show from July 17th-27th at MTELUS. Joining him will be Andrew Schulz, Bonnie McFarlane, Jessimae Peluso, Chris "Comedian CP" Powell and host Bobby Lee. Big Jay can also be seen July 27th at Cafe Cleopatra for his What's Your F@#king Deal show. Tickets are selling out, so buy them now at hahaha.com.
Gianni Fiasche lives and breathes all that is entertainment. Since a very young age he has been a film and music enthusiast. Gianni watches and reviews over 200 films a year, attends hundreds of concerts, and loves listening to old and new music. When he isn’t doing these activities, you’ll find him spending quality time with family and friends. You can follow him on Instagram as @snobreviews.