Music and comedy for the holidays
IFC is getting festive with its very first slightly off holiday special, Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special starring two time Emmy Award-winning actor Tony Hale. Taping at the beloved Joe’s Pub inside the historic Public Theater in downtown Manhattan, the live comedy and music event-special will feature a variety of holiday themed performances from acclaimed comics, singers and actors including Bridget Everett, Jo Firestone, Jen Kirkman, Nick Thune and many more. Funk and soul group THE DAP-KINGS will serve as the house band for the evening. Joe’s Pub Presents: A HolidaySpecial is produced by Show Shop.
Read our exclusive red carpet interview below:
Q: What is it like for you to be performing at this special?
A: Well I technically haven’t performed here yet. We have done rehearsals but it is a really nice space.
Q: Can you give us a little insight on what you are going to perform on this special?
A: Well, Tony Hale is hosting and it is in the style of, not in a mocking way, but more like a celebratory way of the old 1950’s holiday specials. And I am playing a robot version of myself because I couldn’t make it because I am imprisoned in the future for helping elves protest for getting safer working conditions, a living wage, and healthcare. So I got arrested for that.
Q: What is the future like in this scenario?
A: It’s pretty bleak.
Q: Because of Trump?
A: Yeah, it’s pretty bleak. But every Christmas will be a white Christmas. So, the character I am playing is a take on the ghost of Christmas future where I am telling them what next Christmas is going to be like. So I am playing a robot version of myself.
Q: Looking at this lineup who are you excited to see perform live?
A: Well, I have already seen them. Everybody is really cool. I had met Tony before, Bridget I know, Jen I know, Matteo, Lisa—I just met Isaac and he is great. And I just met Kurt and he is great. So, most of the people I know already. But, it’s also cool just to put a mix of comedy acts and music so it’s cool to see that.
Q: With so many new comedy specials being released recently, do you have a favorite one?
A: I haven’t seen any of them, I am still trying to release my own. I am self-producing my own album. It’s either going to be a 60 minute comedy special or it’s probably going to be a 90 minute documentary. It’s called ‘America is the Greatest Country in the United States.’
Q: Can you talk more about that documentary?
A: Well, I should have finished it 6 months ago but since the election, there’s a lot of new material that ties in with it. The title of my album is one of the jokes and sums up the theme of it. I satirize the idea of American exceptionalism as well as U.S. domestic and foreign policy. So it’s all satirizing and talking about big issues such as racism, sexism, classism, wars and all kinds of things like that but in a satirical way.
Q: Anything else coming up for you that you would like to share?
A: I did a short form web series for The Onion and it’s called ‘Judas vs the Machines’ and it’s me interviewing different AI and robotics companies. So that will start streaming in January. It’s information but also comedy.
Q: What is it like to perform at this special?
A: It feels good. Joe’s Pub is such a special place and to be able to perform here and perform with all these people like Bridget Everett who I think she owns Joe’s Pub a little bit. So, it’s nice to share the stage with her, share the stage with Tony Hale, and of course the Dap-Kings are amazing.
Q: Can you give us a little insight on what you are going to perform?
A: I will be one of the three wise persons. We came from the East. It’s going to be good. But other than that, no spoilers. No mangers or anything like that.
Q: Who are you excited to see perform live?
A: It’s kind of awesome because I have been watching rehearsals. So I have seen the Dap-Kings already—this probably sounds so dick but I am ready for them to take it into another gear. It’s going to be really good. I don’t know, it’s a weird gumbo of people so it’ll be nice to see what happens. As long as I don’t fuck up my lines it’ll be great.
Q: Is it completely different performing live than doing it in rehearsal?
A: It’s just an extra schmear. Something happens and we all come alive. I definitely have a nice vomit and now that the vomit is out I go and do my thing. That’s the difference. It’s a process. Don’t do it on stage though but if you do they won’t forget you.
Q: And anything else coming up for you that you would like to share?
A: Yeah, I am on a new Netflix show with Keegan Micahel Key. And I am starting to work with NowThis because they are starting to do more comedy.
Q: What it is like for you to be performing at this special?
A: It’s totally weird but it’s fun. I got invited, I don’t know how. But I morphed one of my songs into a holiday song.
Q: How was the process like to morph one of your songs into a holiday song?
A: It was easy because I am a complete bullshit artist.
Q: So looking at this lineup, what should fans and viewers look forward to seeing from this special?
A: A lot of my fans might enjoy my song and think it’s weird that I am on this.
Q: Can you talk about what it’s like for you to perform at this special?
A: It’s wonderful. I love Joe’s Pub. I was an artist and resident this year. I am a writer and I wrote a book called ‘Intimacy Idiot’ and I am doing an author reading and half standup comedy. So it really means a lot to be on the show because I love this venue and it has been such an artistic venue for me and I love IFC so I am delighted.
Q: Since Joe’s Pub is like home for you, does that add any extra pressure for you?
A: Well certainly. It is a big and exciting night and I am here with Lisa Loeb. I am thrilled. And there is something about the holidays and having a home to go to—I mean I have a wonderful biological family but to have a chosen family as well is great.
Q: Can you give us a little insight on what exactly you are going to perform?
A: Delivering Chinese Food. And then I am reading my lonely Christmas poem. A sort of condensed version.
Q: And with this great lineup who are you excited to see perform live?
A: I love Bridget Everett. I think she is just astounding. She is just the best. I see her perform live all the time but I am excited to see her perform some Christmas songs. And I love Tony Hale, I am a big fan of his, and Lisa Loeb.
Q: What is it like for you to perform at this special?
A: I like it because I don’t have to do a whole set. I get to tell stories I don’t get to tell because they seem out of nowhere and sad otherwise. I am doing a two minute story about finding out that there is no santa clause. I get to wear a snuggie, a lot of it is scripted, so the pressure is off. And I do a group sing along.
Q: And who are you excited to see perform live?
A: Well, I have already seen rehearsal so I am excited to see again is Bridget Everett who I love. Her voice is fantastic and Tony Hale is really, really, really funny.
Q: You taped your standup special, can you talk about that?
A: I taped my second Netflix special and it’s called, ‘Just Keep Living,’ and it comes out January 3rd.
Q: Can you tell us about what you’ll be talking about in that special?
A: Yes! I do a story about traveling to Italy by myself and everybody thinking that was weird. I talk about getting a tattoo at age 41. I talk about street harassment. I talk about getting my period. Hot topics, hot topics.
Q: Can you talk about what it’s like to perform at this special at Joe’s Pub?
A: I love Joe’s Pub. I played here before as a musician and it’s a great and intimate setting for the audience and the performers. It’s awesome to do this with Tony Hale, Bridget Everett, Judah Friedlander who I’ve known forever and the Dap-Kings—it’s a great mixture between music and humor. It’s what I love about entertainment these days and what I have been trying to strive for which is this marriage between heart and silliness and smart humor and cleverness and storytelling. With other people you can trust on stage, it is a perfect combination.
Q: When you saw the lineup for the show, who were you excited to see perform?
A: I was really excited to play with the Dap-Kings because they are an amazing band with their own style and edge. And they bring something different to a Christmas feeling and sound than your average Christmas show. And then Tony, who I met recently and I am a huge fan of ‘Veep,’ so to get to know him and work with is sort of the full package.
Q: And you’re performing with the Dap-Kings so talk about how that whole collaboration was like.
A: As a musician it’s funny because you just join right in. We got along great, worked on the arrangement of a song I’ve done ‘Jingle Bells,’ and kind of in the style of Jimi Hendrix ‘Remember’ like a New Orleans funk march and they really brought that to life.
Q: What is it like to perform at this holiday special?
A: I’m not sure yet, there’s a lot of shit that went down at rehearsal so we are going to take it all in and run with it. Tony Hale is so sweet and so funny and the Dap-Kings I am losing my mind so I am so excited to sing with them. I am terribly sad that Sharon Jones isn’t with them but they are like the spirit of the holidays with so much love and it is great.
Q: And based on rehearsals, who are you most excited to see perform live?
A: Tony because he is so funny and so nervous and it’s great. He is so sweet. He always touches your shoulder to just check in.
Q: Anything else coming up for you that you would like to share?
A: Well, Sundance just announced their lineup and I have two movies that will be at Sundance. I have a drama called ‘Patti Cake$.’ The New York Times said it was one of the four to watch and then I have a movie called ‘Fun Mom Dinner’ that will be with Molly Shannon and Paul Rudd.