Ari Shaffir Gets More #Crazy With Season 2 of ‘This Is Not Happening’ (VIDEO)
Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening is happening again.
Ari Shaffir is back for Season 2 as host of the hilarious show, where he and his fellow comedians tell crazy true stories to a live audience at Hollywood’s Cheetahs. Shaffir and guest stars such as Jim Bruer, Nick Swardson, Ron White, Hannah Friedman, Dan Cummins, and Nicole Byer will be breaking out their unbelievable and embarrassing real life stories. Topics will range from crime and drugs to karma and romance.
We spoke to Shaffir about his real and raw comedy, the comedians who have influenced him and his new Season 2 look.
Your show was the first series to be adapted from the digital network to cable, and now you have a second season. Why do you think your comedy resonates with so many fans? What’s your secret?
[Laughs] There’s no secrets, for sure, there’s no secrets. It’s just work, you know. Every new comic always asks me, “What should I know?” It’s like, nobody’s keeping anything from you; nobody’s saying, Don’t tell new people this. It’s just, work harder, everybody sucks until they get better. I don’t know why I resonate with so many fans, but most of the fans I do resonate with, they’re probably into the honest delivery style, the level of honesty and normalness.
What inspired you to create a comedy show based on true stories?
I was talking to my friend about mushroom stories and I realized a bunch of comedians had them. So I just did a show, just for fun, of mushroom stories. [Then it became] let’s do one with sex stories, let’s do one with road stories, let’s do one with family stories, let’s do one with fights.
Season 2 also prompted a new look for you. No signature glasses and you’re rocking a Mohawk haircut. Why the change?
It’s just for me. I saw some dude with a Mohawk at a comedy club in New York. He looked pretty cool, and then I went and saw Mad Max a couple of times and I was like, yeah, I’m gonna get that Mohawk. Then someone said I looked like Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, so I thought I’d get a denim sleeveless jacket. Then I came across a three-piece denim zoot suit on Etsy and I was like, yeah, that’s the one! Got a bolo tie with it, too.
Has a specific comedian been influential? Or any stories been influential?
When I started in Los Angeles at The Comedy Store, I got to see a few people who did one thing better than anyone else I’d ever seen. Joey Diaz is like the most natural comic I’ve ever seen he was just like the same person on and off stage. Joe Rogan, he’s another comedian who’s really good at voice modulation; he would yell then be quiet using whispers. Bob Oschack’s a writer for Bill Maher, but he’s the best at writing full bits; the first time he did a bit, it’s 95% done. Marc Maron did a story about taking acid at a Grateful Dead concert and the way he ended his story was so final, so complete. I was like, I got to work on an ending. You just watch and learn. I just cherry pick technique from all these great comics.
Who has been some of your favorite guests on the show so far?
Sean Patton has been great both times he’s done his story. Joey Diaz is always great. One of my favorites of all time is Tom Segura telling his overdose story. Ali Siddiq. This woman Kate Willett from San Francisco; she’ll be on in a couple weeks. I like finding people who aren’t as developed, aren’t as big and then giving them a stage in order to like shine.
And really surprising people with someone new?
Yeah! Finding these people and taking a chance and then having them rising to the occasion so hard, you’re like, damn! It’s almost like 8 Mile! [Laughs] It’s a wonderful feeling. Ali Siddiq is a comic from Houston nobody knows, and Ms. Pat is a comedian from Indianapolis. Everyone’s expecting Louis C.K. to be good and Bill Burr to be good, but these other people come from nowhere and it’s almost like an underdog story. I love it when people tell me, “I found this comic through you.” My favorite response is, “I’m now a Sean Patton fan and I wasn’t before.” Or I’ll see people on Twitter going, “This guy that you told me about came through Denver so I bought two tickets to his show and it was great.” I’m like, hell yeah!
Is there anyone that you’d really like to work with who hasn’t been on the show yet?
Bill Burr or Jim Jefferies have done the live show but not taped ones, so I always feel like kind of a failure by not having those guys because they’re like the best of the best. I want Dave Grohl, Josh Holmes, Queens of the Stone Age, Brian Regan, Harland Williams. I want guys like Anthony Jeselnik to drop one-liners for a minute. I’ve been trying to get Bo Burnham to do a virginity story! [Laughs] I think it would be cool.
Each episode has its own custom opening. Do you have a favorite?
Yeah, the director, Jeff Tomsic, he’s a crazy person. So the first year we did this, he did some awesome opening just for YouTube, and then the next year we did the same opening again with different comedians. And then I had to fight train with the guy who did the training for 300. Last year we had our first TV version and we had eight episodes, and he’s like, I think I’ll do eight openings. Tomsic does whatever Tomsic wants. I mean he’s buried me in dirt, like he buried me alive shoving dirt in my face. Jeff’s hung me upside down. Last year he had me chased by f—king giant wolves! Not attack dogs, wolves who were trained, but they were on my heels barking and biting at me!
What #hashtag you would you use to describe the show?
#Crazy. Because the stories are like, what? wait! what happened?! And that’s what I want, where you’re like, wait, rewind, he just did what?!
Yeah, I watched a few episodes and they all felt like that!
Nice. Perfect. Which ones?
There was one story about a bear.
Yeah, Bert Kreischer. Being attacked by a bear. Bert’s one of the best storytellers. He had the best ending of a story, about drinking tons of bottles and s–t with Tracy Morgan and getting thrown out of the bar with him. This big fight broke out, Tracy Morgan had his shirt off and then [the bar] threw them out of the door and Tracy Morgan’s shirt came flying out afterward. They were both lying on the ground and Tracy Morgan looked at him and just said, “Now that’s how you get out of paying a $200 bar tab!” [Laughs]
To get a taste of the laughs on Season 2, watch the exclusive clip below of comedian Kurt Metzger giving a humorous spin to his religious upbringing.
This Is Not Happening, Tuesdays, 12:30am/11:30c, Comedy Central