Ari Shaffir’s “This Is Not Happening,” a storytelling webseries on Comedy Central via CC:Studios, originated as a live show at the Hollywood Improv’s side “lab” room in which stand-up comedians could share experiences from their lives that didn’t fit neatly within the confines of their stand-up sets or personas.
Not that they couldn’t be outrageously funny at times, all the same!
Shaffir since has moved to New York City, and last week, hosted a night of fight stories at the Village Underground. He plans on recording a new season of “This Is Not Happening” back in Los Angeles this fall.
To celebrate both, Shaffir and some of the comedians who told stories for the first online season of “This is Not Happening” answered questions on Reddit, thereby providing even more backstories to their stories.
As Shaffir explained to a fan who wondered what makes this show different: “It’s degenerate comedians telling stories instead of just some guy. Comics are experienced at self deprecating and we’re just funnier. We’re just funnier. So you get these interesting stories told by naturally really funny people. Watch the Jon Huck story. The girl in your office would’ve told that story a lot worse.”
How’d it start?
Shaffir said: “They came about when me and Eric Abrams were telling each other mushroom stories and I had a thought to have a whole show of comics telling shroom stories. Eric wanted to change it to psychedelics in general and so we did the show. It was me, Joey Diaz, Dylan Brody, Dan Madonia, Steve Agee, and Marc Maron. And man, that was was the tits. There were MAYBE 20 people in the room but it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It was so good we wanted to do another one. So we did “So I’m Fucking This Girl, Right?” and then “Psychedelia” again. I think “Heartbreak” went after that. Of course Maron did that one. And we just kept doing it once a month and the popularity grew. It really is my favorite show to watch.”
So if you haven’t caught yourselves up yet, or you’d like a little bonus commentary with your stories, sit back and enjoy the rides. The first season includes stories by Doug Benson, Julia Lillis, T.J. Miller, Sean Patton, Joey Diaz, Kyle Kinane, The Walsh Brothers, Jackie Clarke, Harley Morenstein, Tom Segura and Jon Huck. To get you initiated, here is your host Ari Shaffir, with a story from opening on the road with Joe Rogan and a night at a strip club in West Palm Beach, Fla. Happy ending?
Here is that Jon Huck story, which finds him at Oktoberfest without his pants!
Jon Huck: “I definitely approach a story tellers show differently. Instead of having a flow of jokes that needs to be in a certain order to relate certain ideas you are only telling one joke… and it needs to be funny and relatable. You have to make sure there are places for the audience to laugh along the way… not just at the end (unless you want them to tune out after a minute).”
The Walsh Brothers, Chris and David Walsh, live in Los Angeles now, but grew up in Charlestown, Mass., aka “The Town” across the river from Boston. Here’s an old story about the time they witnessed a stranger in the night on the night before Thanksgiving in Boston.
“dear walsh brothers, are you real? or are you a cartoon?”
“We’re real but that doesn’t keep us from hitting each other with a frying pan every once in a while.”
Harley Morenstein from Epic Meal Time once did drugs he wasn’t too sure about.
“Hey! Harley here. This actually was a mini nightmare for me at first. When I first heard what this was I didn’t hear of the line-up and was told it’s a night to share a story, so I gladly obliged to be a part of it. I mean it’s filmed at a strip club and hosted by Comedy Central, so why wouldn’t I? When I got there and saw the actual line-up and the heavy hitters involved I immediately felt nervous, which is rare for me. I felt underprepared considering this show was all great joke-tellers and I had never done anything like stand up and my story didn’t really have punch lines. You can’t see in the edited version but I must’ve made every amateur mistake in the book, from apologizing for myself to looking at the floor and diddling the mic chord. At the end of the day I pulled through and it turned out ok. It’s kind of a blessing as I always wanted to do stand up and never had the balls. This was the equivalent of ripping the band aid right off. I essentially performed with extremely talented people and even went in a little lacking on the content. Now, I have a desire to write more of a set (which I’ve been doing lately) and take my hand at stand up once again. This was super motivating as I found myself going on stage after TJ Miller and before Doug Benson. Not many people have a first time opportunity like that.”
T.J. Miller almost died in 2010 from a seizure. Sounds like fun?! Don’t worry. He’s OK now. His “proxy” made it so.