The Best Twitter Comic on the Planet?

An Interview with Rob Delaney

by Nathan Pensky

25 March 2012


The Best Twitter Comic on the Planet?

I think you and Megan Amram have the best comedy Twitters on the whole site. Alec Sulkin is also very good.

Thank you. They are both amazing. They make me laugh every day.

Have you ever thought about trying to write a film, or a book? Would you ever consider creating something that had no humor involved?

I am writing a book right now, and yes, I’ll write films. My favorite thing is standup. I want to do that the most.

Can you tell me anything about the book?

It’s a memoir, with massive standup-y digressions. Like, I try to talk about my life then get aggressively distracted by opinions.

Will it be anything like Naked and Bloody?

Aspects of that will be in there, but that’ll just be part of it. Who needs another book about addiction and recovery? Snooze! So it’s a book book, not essays or Tweets. Just me blathering; closer to my VICE columns. But to answer your other question, yes, I would certainly love to work on things that aren’t funny.

From reading interviews with you, you seem know a lot about literature. Who are some of your favorite writers?

Melville and Toni Morrison are my American favorites. I am happy to say I have a joke that came out of Beloved that actually works on stage in front of every audience. Or rather it was inspired by Beloved.

Wow, what is it?

I mention that I recently read Beloved and how important I think it is for people to read to get a clearer picture of the horrors of slavery. I talk about how unbelievably terribly black women were treated. Then I say that I don’t think that financial reparations or affirmative action go far enough for black women. I think that black women should be able to rape a white man in present day America if they want to.

Then I specify that if people don’t agree with that, then at the very least, the punishment for black women raping white men should be way, way less than it is for anyone else. I’ll point at a big man in the audience and say, “Like if I raped you, sir, I should totally get the death penalty. But if a black woman raped me, she should get, like, a parking ticket or a verbal warning.” And that joke has made people happy in San Francisco and Oklahoma City.

Those two cities in specific?

Well, actually, yes. But then others as well. I chose those, because I think they’re “different” from each other.

You’re a very tall man, from what I hear.

I’m 6’3”.

It just so happens I’m also very tall, 6’5’‘. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

Holy shit, you’re a monster.

Yes, I am.

I am like a little petunia next to you. A delicate elf.

Your comedy deals in taboo, but it also deals in absurdity. You also often tell jokes that would embarrass other people. What do you find embarrassing or absurd?

I can be embarrassed. Like, I was at a wedding recently, and I served myself food on a plate that wasn’t for food. It was, like, decorative or something, and I took that by mistake. And people called my attention to it, and I totally blushed and was very legitimately embarrassed. So weird stuff embarrasses me.

That seems very tame ...

But talking in graphic detail about by scrotum in front of strangers is no problem. I guess my embarrassment gland is miscalibrated or something.

Also, the idea of Rob Delaney “blushing” is pretty funny.

Well, I’m a white person of Irish descent, so I can blush pretty well.

You recently filed, or threatened to file, a lawsuit against Kim Kardashian. How is this going?

Well, it’s a Class Action suit now, so that takes a while to come through. My attorneys are hard at work on it, though.

Can you give any detail as to the nature of the complaint?

Well, our standing would hinge on existence of physical proof that the wedding was staged. But it’s looking more and more like that actually exists, so she’ll probably be subpoenaed soon.

You are currently in the process of producing a pilot for Comedy Central. What is it, and what’s it all about?

I can’t say too much, but it is finished and has been delivered to Comedy Central. It’s a talk/variety show fueled by Twitter. So imagine one of my feet in the storied past of American talk shows, and the other one on the deck of the Starship Jefferson Enterprise. And imagine a third foot washing up on the beach in Florida.


Then eat four pieces of Godfather’s pizza.

I was going to do that anyway! Do you know when it’ll be aired?

It’s a pilot, so maybe never. We turned it in, literally, yesterday. And they’ll decide if they want to make it a show, in which case any number of episodes will air, or alternately, none ever. Such is the business! But we had a great time making it. Comedy Central was awesome, and I learned a lot. We’re very happy with the final product, and 200 people came to the taping and laughed a lot, out loud.

Okay, cool. Finally, this is something I ask every comic I interview. Can you give an example of a joke you told that you thought was hilarious, but which completely bombed on-stage?

Well, of course there are very, very many.

But one that you just loved but which no one else got. I think this tends to say a lot about a given comic.

Here’s one: “I like my coffee like I like my women. I like black women.”

I can’t believe that one didn’t go over.

I think that’s maybe the funniest thing I’ve ever thought or said, but I am not joined by others in that opinion.

Well, they’d be wrong in that.

Thanks. I mean, screwing up the format and nakedly admitting that I like black women is hilarious to me. But other people are like, “Huh?” or, “Fuck you, that’s stupid.”


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