Christian Finnegan
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Christian Finnegan

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"Interview with Christian Finnegan"

Christian Finnegan can cut you down. He has an otherworldly talent for spotlighting your weaknesses, be they large or small. From just a glance he can determine what job you work, what kind of car you drive, what kind of music you listen to. From some tiny bit of information, he can give you a whole personality"¦then make fun of it. The stereotype he creates for you is the kind that makes your friends say, "Oh yeah"¦that's so true. You do do that."? Christian Finnegan has the ability to ridicule you "˜til you hide your face in shame"¦but he's also a really nice guy.

You would probably recognize Finnegan if you have ever watched VH1's "Best Week Ever."? As a panelist for the show, Finnegan weighs in on everything from politics to passing trends to Paris Hilton. If you missed him there, you may have seen him on "Chappelle's Show"? playing Chad in the Mad Real World sketch. And, if you managed to miss all of that, you can catch him on Comedy Central when his standup special premieres on March 11th. Any way you slice it, Christian Finnegan is one of the country's best young comedians. But it wasn't always so.

"When I went to college I was definitely one of the kids that people were like, "˜Oh just fucking get over yourself.' I would see the guys running around drunk in the dorms and I would be like, "˜Oh, you lemmings.' I listened to The Cure a lot."? Doesn't sound like the makings of a comedian who gets most of his laughs by taking shots at himself. "I was a black turtleneck guy"¦I was deep; I thought important thoughts and read important books. But now, of course, I act like I'm fifteen."?

Back when Finnegan really was fifteen growing up in suburban Massachusetts, things were not always easy for him. "I know it's now cool to say how un-cool you were when you were growing up and I know I'm that guy. But the problem with me was that I was a big kid so everybody thought that I should be tough. But I've always been an incredibly huge pussy. I would get little tough kids always pushing me around like "˜Look, I'm taking on the big tough kid,' and I cried a lot. I'm very sensitive"¦.please make sure you include that in the interview; I'm very sensitive and caring, kind of an old soul, I'd say."?

This ability to make fun of himself is one of his greatest assets as a comic and he taps this for a lot of his jokes. "You know your friend that goes to a club and always comes back with some crazy story about how he banged some random chick in the bathroom? I'm that chick's boyfriend. I'm that one standing by the bar going, "˜Where the hell is Stacey?'"?

In reality though, Finnegan's cracks about himself aren't very accurate. He isn't the hapless loser that his stage persona professes to be. For the past year he has been touring colleges and clubs and is regularly seen on television, something hapless losers don't tend to accomplish. On "Best Week Ever"? Finnegan has gained a solid reputation for reliable laughs, but not all his material makes the cut. "In every taping, you're in there at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half, but only forty-five seconds actually makes it to air. Sometimes I make a comment that's so sick and wrong if just to wake up the cameraman. Ya know, those guys need entertainment too. So if I say something about Paris Hilton getting run over by a drunk driver; that tends to wake them up."?

However, Finnegan admits that there is a limit to what should be said about the people being lampooned on the show. "There is a danger of losing touch with personal courtesy and you start thinking of things within the bubble of "˜this would be good for the show.' But you have to ask, "˜Would I make this joke in real life?' because sometimes the answer is no."? The challenge, it seems, is separating making fun of people for bad things that happen to them from wishing bad things would happen so you can joke about it.

One of "Best Week Ever's"? most popular segments is Finnegan's "What Your Purchases Say about You."? I was curious to find out what I was saying about myself and informed Finnegan that I sort of enjoy Ashlee Simpson. "Basically what you're saying about yourself is, "˜Someone punch me in the face, please.'"? The Darkness? "I'm rocking so hard I can barely keep my tongue in my cheek."? John Legend? "I'm the kind of girl who would fall prey to the sensitive Resident Assistant."? The band Cake? "Everyone in this room is an asshole except me."? AC/DC? "If I don't have your pizza to you within thirty minutes, it's free."? Finnegan, without a doubt, is a funny guy.

Because of that, Finnegan is on the right track to become a huge star. And when he does, he plans on creating a good celebrity urban legend for himself. "I want mine to be that I got my penis stuck in a melon once."? I wondered if he would provide a back story. "Nope, leave them guessing. Was the hole already there? Was he so diamond-cutter hard that he was able to puncture the melon?"? I'd say it's on par with Richard G - CollegeHumor

"Best Week Ever Comic Finnegan Casts Around to find his Niche"

His face should be familiar. Christian Finnegan has been on nearly every episode of VH1's hugely popular "Best Week Ever" clip show since its inception in 2004. He was the main actor in a racially charged parody of MTV's "The Real World" that aired on "Chappelle's Show" just as it hit its peak . He's headlining the Comedy Connection tonight and tomorrow.

Yet Finnegan sounds like he'd be shocked if anyone recognized him. He's still getting used to the novelty of fan mail. "I'm honored that anyone would think to e-mail," he says. "I don't take that lightly. I'm not at the point yet where I could or would want to hire a team of 30 monkeys to respond to my MySpace mail."

Finnegan is at the point in his career where people have seen him, but he hasn't found his niche in the industry. He says he recently went through pilot season in L A , when networks cast for new sitcoms, and tried out for about 25 different parts. Though he has lost several pounds since then, casting agents wanted him to read for typical chubby, funny-guy roles -- the type he calls "football lovin', beer drinkin', wacky friend," characters nowhere near his comic or real- life personality.

"I just remember going in for this part once, and they gave me the [script], and it was like, `Enter Pete. He's no stranger to cheese fries,' " Finnegan says. "That's how we were supposed to know who this character is."

He shrugs it off: You can't get typecast if you aren't cast. And most of his recent effort has gone into his stand-up and his new album, ``Two for Flinching," due out next month . He's hoping the album and his college and club work will separate him from the attitude of ``Best Week Ever."

"A lot of people expect my stand-up to be all smarmy and ironic, kind of above it all, and it's not," he says. "I actually care about the things I'm saying, for the most part. I mean, some of it's just goofy. But the stuff that I want to talk about onstage is the stuff that affects me more, that I have a strong opinion about."

Not that he's complaining about the VH1 gig. It puts people in the seats at his shows and raised his profile enough to book the Connection dates. But he'd like to pursue a broader audience. "I'd rather appeal to [a] hipster than somebody's dad, but at the end of the day, I'd like to be able to appeal to both of them," he says.
- The Boston Globe

"Spazzing Out with Christian Finnegan"

It’s a Friday afternoon and Christian Finnegan is sitting down for a leisurely lunch in New York City before he hits road. His first stop is Washington D.C. In a city so ripe for ridicule and with Finnegan’s wide array of jokes, he’ll have no trouble finding laughs. A versatile figure himself, Finnegan has the multitude of opportunities for comedians covered.

While his steady gig these days – besides standup – is hosting TV Land’s interstitial show Game Time every Monday, he’s still probably most famous for his turn as Chad on Chappelle’s Show’s sketch, Mad Real World. In addition, Finnegan has also recently wrapped work on the movie Eden Court, starring Reno 911’s Thomas Lennon. He also appears regularly on VH1’s Best Week Ever and NBC’s Today.

Finnegan says his ability to appeal to so many audiences is both his strength and his weakness. “The fact is that I’m never going to be the most popular guy in the mainstream room, nor the coolest guy in the alternative room,” he says. “But I can perform well in both. I’m not locked into a persona. I’m flexible. It’s probably because I have no identity of my own.”

At first glance, Finnegan doesn’t look like a comedian. He’s like a farm boy whose come to the city to win everyone over with a gregarious smile and awe-shucks attitude. He politely points out that “I always come across nicer than I really am,” but adds, “not that I’m a dangerous bad boy or anything.”

We shall see.

You tend to stay away from political humor. Are you a closet Republican?
Hardly. But when I’m in a room full of hardcore conspiracy theorists, I don’t believe all of their stuff and I certainly don’t believe Republicans. I wouldn’t call myself a moderate either. That’s such a shitty word — moderate. Comedians are supposed to be the guy in the room that automatically steps back when they hear some statement or opinion and asks, ‘do you really feel that way or do you like the idea?’ You have to watch out for hipsters and phoneyism.

Can you get away with making fun of your audience?
Most blue-staters have a better sense of humor about themselves than red-staters. They realize on some level how ridiculous it is. Liberals will gladly be ragged on for being too liberal.

What about hipsters? You have some bits on them in your act and often perform at some of New York’s more alternative rooms?
Hey, I love [Brooklyn’s trendy neighborhood] Williamsburg. I have like ten minutes of Williamsburg material and it goes over great at Galapagos [an art space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn]. The thing is, nobody thinks it's them. It’s always that other guy in the trucker hat. You know — the one who’s faking it. But most people have a sense of humor

Are there audiences you prefer over others?
Well, I’m headed to Washington D.C. and I love it there because everyone is young, smart and aware but not cool. They were all the kids that started canned food drives and now they’ve all moved to the same city. It’s great. You can do Bush jokes and Barack Obama jokes and they’ll both go over well — not that I have any Barack Obama material. I guess I’ll have to come up with some now.

You’ve been doing stand-up a while now and have had a lot of success. Do you try and model yourself after anyone’s career?
Sure, I still look up to people. I don’t understand people who stop finding others funny. It can be hard to watch comedy without seeing the wheels move. But I can still go into a club and have a pure belly laugh and I’m not ashamed of that. Jim Norton is a great hard working guy. I admire how Greg Giraldo expresses himself. Everything that comes out of him sounds like him. Bill Burr is the same way.

It sounds like you’re quite the student of the game. Were you always a fan of stand-up?
No, I hated standup growing up.

Oh, really?
I always used to walk by the Boston Comedy Club and see the guys trying to get people to come in and think to myself, 'what a loser.' But on some level, I think I just really wanted to do it. You know, it’s like you always hate the people who are doing what you wish you could do. A lot of smart people were turned off by the idea of going to a standup comedy club after the lingering aftershock of the ’80s comedy boom.

So you got your start in theater as a student right?
Yeah, I went to NYU. Nobody likes to admit it. It’s the degree that dare not speak its name.

Were you bullied growing up? Is success really the best revenge or do you want the bullies to have to drink your pee?
I don’t need them to drink my pee. But I think that Gore Vidal said something like, ‘It’s not enough that I succeed. Others must fail.’ Not only must they see me succeed but I also want them to look around their shitty trailers and at their car with a ‘Hagar rules’ bumper sticker and say, ‘That person is amazing and I’m a loser.’ But that’ll never happen because bullies don’t have the self-analysis to do that. They usually go from bullying you to pretending you were friends all a - Punchline Magazine


Comedy Central Records: "Two for Flinching"



Finnegan just completed a Comedy Central college tour in the U.S. named after his debut stand-up CD, "Two for Flinching", released by Comedy Central Records in October 2006. Fans also know him from Chappelle's Show when he played Chad, the only white roommate in the infamous "Mad Real World" sketch. He can currently be seen on VH1's hit series Best Week Ever where he shares witty observations of the last seven days in pop culture and as host of TVLand's game show Game Time. Other credits include his own half-hour special Comedy Central Presents: Christian Finnegan, The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Last Call with Carson Daly and numerous appearances on The Today Show.
Additionally, Finnegan co-starred in the film Eden Court with Kimberly Williams-Paisley & Reno 911's Tom Lennon premiering April 2007 and served as a staff writer for Comedy Central's Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn.