The lineup at the first KAABOO festival to be held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds has more than a few surprises.
The inclusion of a solid comedy aspect got my attention, and I wanted to find out how the comedians felt about being part of a large outdoor festival. I had the chance to sit down with one of the comedians taking the stage, Anthony Jeselnik.
Jeselnik has appeared on the Comedy Central roasts of Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen and Rosanne Barr, and has hosted an original series on the network called “The Jeselnik Offensive.” His dark humor and penchant for long, uncomfortable silence has made him a favorite with fans for more than a decade.
Q: So Anthony, is it strange having a comedy routine during a rock festival? Is this something you’ve done before?
A: Actually I’ve done quite a few festivals with comedy. It’s fun for me because I normally play for my crowds late at night in the comedy clubs. My set and stage times at these type of things are midday or early afternoon. It makes it a whole different experience. I also like that my comedy can be exposed to a lot of people who would never normally see my act. I really enjoy the experience.
Q: Is there a certain band you’re hoping to watch while at KAABOO?
A: Tell me one of the bands and I’ll tell you if I’ll be watching.
Q: Sure, No Doubt is headlining.
A: Actually ... no, probably not. Nothing against No Doubt, but I’ll be doing my set and, more than likely, I’ll head right back up (to Los Angeles, where Jeselnik lives). The Pirates are playing the Dodgers so ...
Q: What are you working on currently?
A: I’m just starting the Oddball tour. Aziz Ansari and Amy Schumer are headlining the festival (which makes an Oct. 9 stop at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista). It can get lonely being a comedian on the road alone, so it’s a pretty amazing thing to travel with your friends and be part of a big festival.
Q: Your humor is dry, sharp and very edgy, often making the crowd uncomfortable with the silence after a dark joke. Where did you develop this style?
A: I loved Steven Wright. He was incredible. He was just straight faced and serious, yet people were cracking up. I always wanted to know how he did that. I always loved the surprise of the joke, you know? Guys like Jack Handey from “SNL.” I always thought that his “Deep Thoughts” stuff was just amazing.
Q: How did you decide to get into comedy?
A: My friend was a writer for Leno and he suggested that I do stand-up comedy before I venture into writing. It’s best to know how to do the joke firsthand so you know it and know how it plays. By the time I got around to pursuing a comedy writer job, I was addicted to stand up. I couldn’t go back.
Jeselnik’s set is on the comedy stage at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18.
To learn more about Anthony Jeselnik go to anthonyjeselnik.com. For more about the KAABOO festival, visit kaaboodelmar.com