Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing comedian Rob Delaney. Along with stand-up, Delaney writes a very funny column for Vice Magazine and has a Twitter following over 400,000-strong. I asked Delaney about his social media presence, his advice for fellow comedians, and the joke contest which he is launching with Klondike.
The actual Rob Delaney interview video is below. The reason it has taken me so long to post it is because the sound on the questions that I asked him was muffled for some reason, so I had to transcribe the entire thing for it to make sense to those who do not feel like turning the volume on their speakers up to 800% to hear what I have to say, then back to normal levels once Mr. Delaney begins to talk. Enjoy the clip, and feel free to read along if you cannot decipher the questions that I’m asking. I promise that my queries actually weren’t muffled gibberish.
ListenToLeon: Comedian Rob Delaney just might be the funniest person on Twitter. He’s racked up over 400,000 followers and tweets at least a dozen times a day. He’s taken time away from his computer to talk to us today here at ListenToLeon.net. Welcome Rob.
Rob Delaney: Thanks for having me.
ListenToLeon: My pleasure. Seriously, your Twitter account is utterly hilarious. I kind of happened upon it by accident. I ran into your column on Vice Magazine and that’s how I ended up discovering the Twitter account, and it pretty much keeps me laughing on a daily basis. Definitely keep it up.
Rob Delaney: Thanks man. I appreciate it.
ListenToLeon: Can you let us in on your Twitter secret? How you leveraged it to build such a huge following?
Rob Delaney: In the beginning I was motivated by necessity. You know, I couldn’t get a job writing comedy so I just started to put my jokes online. People would say, like, more established comedians would say “Oh, don’t give away your material for free” but nobody would pay me for it. I was like “I’m gonna get it out there somehow.” Thank goodness, gradually, people started to pay attention to it.
The only thing I did that I tried to be meticulous about was only writing jokes up there. Not a lot of back and forth talking with people; not a lot of “Hey look at the picture of this sandwich I just ate!”; but rather, just jokes. So I tried to be disciplined and that started to pay off. I’ve pretty much just tried to stay with that recipe through until now.
ListenToLeon: That’s cool. I have a following, like, a very small following for my site. It’s like 3,000 followers, and I was ecstatic when it got to that point!
Rob Delaney: Oh yeah. That’s great.
ListenToLeon: But to see when people build it into something massive is impressive. So can you tell us a little about the joke of the week contest?
Rob Delaney: Sure! I partnered with Klondike to do the Klondike Comedy Showcase and it’s nice and simple. Basically over 10 week I’ll put forth a joke topic once a week and people will send in their jokes based on the topic and hashtag them #KCS. They can follow me and also follow @KlondikeBar. All the details are at @KlondikeBar. We’ll pick a winner each week and I’ll retweet them. At the end of the 10 weeks the funniest person of all, voted out of all those 10 winners, will get flown to New York and get to come to the New York comedy festival with me and hang out and eat a lot of Klondike Choco Tacos of the flavor of their choice.
ListenToLeon: (laughing) OK. I had my first one recently a few weeks ago randomly at a bar. Somebody gave me a Choco Taco. I didn’t even know they existed!
Rob Delaney: Right on! Yeah, they’re not bad! I just ate one, and I’m gonna eat another one in a little bit. Uh, because they taste good in my mouth.
ListenToLeon: (laughing) Alright, so did you always know that you wanted to be a comedian?
Rob Delaney: No. I knew that I wanted to write and perform in some capacity , but it was probably when I was 20 when I was like “Oh, yeah. I just wanna do comedy.” So, I knew I wanted to do something silly, but exactly what it would be wouldn’t reveal itself to me until I was about 20.
ListenToLeon: That’s really cool to me. Mainly because my whole blog started the same way. I majored in web design and I was working at a job that I wasn’t too crazy about so I was just sending out emails to people telling stories about what I did during the week. A couple friends of mine told me “Hey, you should start a blog.” I wasn’t even that aware of what a blog was at that point but I started it and it’s actually led to me getting onstage now and writing for other places and doing offline events.
Rob Delaney: Great!
ListenToLeon: It’s cool seeing that other people started off the same way and are taking it and running with it. Very cool.
Rob Delaney: Ya gotta!
ListenToLeon: Do you have any advice for other young comedians?
Rob Delaney: You just have to work harder. You don’t have to be the funniest. I’m not the funniest person in the world. If someone tells me I’m not funny, I don’t care. But if they tell me I don’t work hard? Then I’ll wrestle them to the ground and handcuff ‘em to a, I don’t know, a police car or something, because that’s what it takes.
You have to work. You have to get told “no” by so many people, and just keep on trucking. Really, it’s the work ethic. I imagine being funny helps, but you have to work until you literally bleed. I don’t know how you’ll bleed, but it’s not a metaphor. Physical blood will come out of maybe your fingertips, or your ears from stress. But work until you bleed and puke. Work more, when other people go to bed. When other people are still asleep, get up. Work.
Yeah, it’s the grind. But, if you do it, it has to be it’s own reward. Do you love doing that? Don’t do that stuff because you don’t like it. do it, love it and work your rear-end off.
Rob Delaney: I grew up in Boston, and then I went to NYU. Then a couple years after that, I moved to LA.
ListenToLeon: Alright. I’m based out of DC. I’m realizing that there are small opportunities here, but I’m kind of at a crossroads myself & realizing that in the next few years I’m probably going to have to take this show on the road.
Rob Delaney: DC’s pretty great though. I just did a couple of shows at the Black Cat in DC and I had a great time. DC definitely has a bustling scene.
ListenToLeon: Yeah, it’s a cool city. There’s a lot of humor here just because most people here aren’t really from DC, and just kind of end up here or whatever…And the folks that are…you know, It’s just an interesting time to be in DC. A lot of humor found in it. So what are you working on right now, aside from touring and writing for Vice? What other projects do you have going on?:
Rob Delaney: I just recorded a stand up special Friday night here in New York, so I’m going to start editing that, and I’m finishing up a book. Those are the two main things right now.
ListenToLeon: Cool. Well, congratulations on all of that.
Rob Delaney: Thank you
ListenToLeon: Thank you for your time.
Rob Delaney: Great to meet you.
It’s funny how the process of transcribing that interview made me aware of just how much I like to talk about me. I’m glad Rob Delaney kept things interesting, because I was on my way to turning that interview into a “how can ListenToLeon personally start making A TON OF MONIES from comedy” question and answer session. I hope that you all enjoyed it, and please be sure to check out more of Rob Delaney’s work.Tweet