In case you haven’t been following Sammy Obeid for the past 999 days, he’s been performing at least once a night every one of those days and nights. And last night, Obeid made his debut on Conan.
It’s the latest twist and turn in Sammy Obeid’s 1,000 Days of Comedy project, which ends (but not really) on Friday night at Largo in Los Angeles. He has been documenting his journey online via journals and also via film for you to watch at a later date.
Obeid told The Comic’s Comic overnight that he’ll be posting a teaser for his documentary in the coming 24 hours, “just something to build awareness of this as it finishes.” “We will shoot the final days…do some post shots, then release a trailer maybe late fall, early next year,” he said. The plan for the book isn’t settled just yet.
This other trailer showed up overnight, too, promoting the Friday night show at Largo.
Just 1,081 days ago, I’d reported here on The Comic’s Comic that Obeid had caught a break during the 2010 San Francisco Comedy Competition and become a last-minute substitute into the semifinal rounds.
“Funny…that SF comp is what kind of shaped this,” Obeid told The Comic’s Comic this morning. “I was thinking about quitting when I got eliminated…then I got back in and worked my way to 3rd, which was bittersweet…it was both a success but a not quite there. So I figured if I’m going to do this, I have to work harder, and that’s where the getting up every night thing came about…”
Fast forward back to last night, and Obeid’s hard work resulted in an appearance to perform stand-up on TBS and Conan:
I noticed you packed a lot of jokes into your set — how has your style evolved over the past 33 months?
“I’ve definitely done a lot of fat trimming….in the beginning I had long set ups, took my time. Tommy at The Comedy Store told me I need to ‘get to the funny faster’ but I didn’t really know what he was talking about. I thought it was fine. And then I got eliminated from America’s Got Talent…where I was only able to get 3 jokes in my 90 seconds, when Tom Cotter, who moved on, had about 11. And then I realized how important economy of words is for TV…and I went through everything and just trimmed trimmed trimmed. Also, people told me that they liked that my material is ‘smart’. People would tell me this before, but I never really made much of it. To me it was just me thinking like me. But then hearing this more and more in these last 3 years, I started to try to keep that up…and so I guess I aim to write smarter stuff?”
Did you find that your voice or what you liked to talk about onstage changed significantly since embarking on this effort?
“I wouldn’t say I’ve found my voice but I know I’ve gotten closer. I definitely know that I like to analyze things, and use logic…I’m a math major…when I started comedy I was afraid of being to logical or analytical because that’s how my mind words but I didn’t think people would find it funny, and now I’ve found ways to use my background in my comedy. It’s pretty refreshing, though I’ll admit I alienate some people. I also have been very good at wordplay but early on was scared of doing too many puns because sometimes they get groans, but now I’ve figured out how to package them so that they are shameless.”
Do you believe you’re an “outlier” as defined by Malcolm Gladwell?
“I do think I’m technically an outlier, because of the sheer hours I put in, and how I know they differ from my peers. However, I never considered myself one of the funniest or most talented…I’m just a hard worker to compensate for what I think is mediocre talent. Also, I don’t know how long I’ll keep this up for. So even if I’m an outlier now, who knows what I’ll be in a few years.”
Sammy Obeid’s 1,000 Days of Comedy project continues with Night 1,000 at Largo in Los Angeles, followed by Night 1,001 at the Punch Line in San Francisco on Saturday. Following that, Obeid tells The Comic’s Comic he plans on disappearing for a few weeks. A much-needed, much-deserved break.