Liam McEneaney
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Liam McEneaney

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"Comedy show to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity in Jersey City"

Tonight, sides will be split and homes will be built if all goes well at a comedy fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of Hudson County in Jersey City.

The show will feature comedians like Dan St. Germain, whose work has been featured on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and, Jared Logan from, and Liam McEneaney from Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend.”

Local comics like Calise Hawkins and Rich Kiamco (who will emcee the event), both of Jersey City, will also get a chance to take the stage.

The comedy fundraiser will take place at Michael Anthony’s, 502 Washington Blvd., Jersey City, tonight from 8 p.m. to 11p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Guests can purchase drinks from a cash bar at the restaurant. For more information, call 1-(800) 985-8418. -

"Laughing Off the Pounds"

[...] Thinly veiled self-loathing was a common refrain: “There is a dignity to smoking crack that does not apply to eating an entire package of Oreo cookies by yourself,” one of the comedians, Liam McEneaney, remarked during his set.

“Every comedian who is good is good at self-examination,” he said later. “It’s really, really hard to take something that you feel terrible about, that fills you with incredible shame, and talk about it in a room full of strangers. It’s a double risk — you’re exposing something that’s gross, and you’re trying to make people laugh.” [...] - The New York Times

"Greenpoint Gazette"

[...] “Tell Your Friends!” was hosted by Liam McEneaney, who has held the weekly show at Lolita Bar on the Lower East Side for six years. He decided to collaborate on the film with Varnado because “there are so many great comedy shows happening in New York City. I thought it would be a real shame if there wasn’t some sort of document of the scene.”

Mindy Tucker

The two met at Surf Reality back when they were both starting out at open mics. “Tell Your Friends!” was McEneaney’s first big film project, and he said that working with Varnado was a positive experience because he knew how to go about the process. “It’s great to partner with someone who knows what he’s doing and gets the job done on budget and also does an amazing job. Victor is an artist with the directing and I look forward to seeing what he does in the future.”

“Tell Your Friends!” is being shopped around for distribution, and will be screened at Comicon and the Friar’s Club Comedy Film Festival. It had its first-ever screening at South by Southwest this past spring and premiered in New York City at the Paley Center on September 22nd.

Even though Varnado is busy with the film, he’s found time to make a documentary about people who partake in Live Action Role Playing (LARP). He was interested in the subculture, so he decided to make a television series about it. “It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “There are some people who take it too seriously but there are others out there doing it [just for enjoyment]. It gets a bad rap but it’s definitely a lot of fun.”

Fulfilling his boyhood dream, Varnado recently co-authored “Shame Itself,” a Marvel comic book that’s being released on November 2nd. Other comics like The Daily Show’s Wyatt Cenac and Braunohler are also going to be in the book.

Varnado said the overall theme in his act is to not be so serious, and to have fun. “I have a saying that leads my standup, which is that nothing is sacred because everything is stupid. You can make light of anything as long as you’re smart about it.” - Anything Goes for Victor Varnado

"Earning a Living One Laugh at a Time"

Liam McEneaney is a Brooklyn-based stand-up comic and a writer with a spot on "the fax list," which, despite the outdated reference, is still a term used for those who submit jokes on spec to late-night comedy shows. He estimates that since 2008 he has submitted about 1,100 jokes. Of those he has sold one, to the Weekend Update segment on "Saturday Night Live," which pays $100 per joke.

"I love it," Mr. McEneaney, 35, said, undaunted by his success rate. "To me it's like solving crossword puzzles, figuring out how to get from the true story to the joke."

Enlarge Image
Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal

His notebook.

He is one of a small pocket of New Yorkers who make part or even a bulk of their income from joke-writing. He's had a better run freelancing for VH1's pop-culture smorgasbord "Best Week Ever," where he's been booked more than 30 times, at a rate of $500 for two to three hours of joke-telling.

Another local stand-up comic, Craig Baldo, 40, has submitted more than 250 jokes to late-night shows since 2006, without selling any. Last week, though, he sold a cartoon he worked on to the New Yorker—"and not," he explained, "for the caption contest when you win a T-shirt." His cut: $350.

In New York's market for jokes, these are small-time exchanges—they provide their makers an ephemeral modicum of joy, as well as a possible introduction to more lucrative opportunities. A more steady and well-compensated form of freelance joke-writing is creating "batches" for in-demand comedians, who typically acquire two to three pages' worth of jokes, often collated by topic. Abraham Smith, 31, sold his first batch based on a "never-miss bit about the original Nintendo" that he'd been doing in his own act. "It always, always killed," he said. A comic he knew, who made a healthy living touring colleges, was "hot for it" and made an offer of $7,500 in the summer of 2004.

At the time, Mr. Smith was 24 and saddled with student-loan debt from NYU's graduate acting program. A year later, the same comedian bought a batch about elementary school, this time for $5,000. Selling batches is an open secret in comedy, but, Mr. Smith added, "you don't broadcast the specifics of these things to the public."

One woman we interviewed, who wished to keep her name and clients private, earns a mid-four-figure sum per batch and has two regular clients, both touring comedians. "I sit at this one certain chair at my dining room table, and I think of things, and when they make me laugh, I type them on my computer until my brain is tired," she said. The process takes about six hours. "It's an emotional-slash-cerebral-slash-visceral process."

This year she was brought in to write jokes for a major televised awards show. She and three other writers came up with an estimated 1,500 jokes, from which the best were selected for use. This is part of what separates joke writers from regular people who are funny: the sheer quantity they must produce, under pressure, and on the regular. Mr. Baldo was asked to write 60 a day for a week to be considered for a staff position on "The Jimmy Fallon Show." Kevin Bleyer, a 39-year-old staff writer on "The Daily Show," said he'd write between 20 and 40 a day, hoping that three or four would find their way to the public. "Your joke radar is always up," Mr. Bleyer said. "You're constantly trying to find the funny." He acknowledged the craft involved, but the best jokes "just surprise you—out of nowhere it pops into your head, like someone sprayed seltzer into your brain."

A problem there, of course, is that it's often hard to prove whose head it popped into. Mr. Baldo recalled two jokes of his that were rejected, then later told in a reshaped fashion on the air. In one he'd questioned the word "essential" in "The Essential Kenny Loggins" greatest-hits album; in the other, he riffed that Bernard Madoff's lawyers were having a hard time unloading an apartment shaped like a pyrami - Wall Street Journal

"Pencil This In"

[...] COMEDY: Liam McEneaney was recently hailed by The NY Post for putting on one of the best comedy shows in New York. Tonight he's having a special St. Patrick's Day show called "The Slightly Racist St. Patty's Day Spectacular." Corned beef and cabbage are promised, as is a traditional Irish folk band called...The Leprechaunquistadors. Hosted by Andres DuBouchet and Mike Birch and featuring Eric Drysdale, Erin Foley, Fiona Walsh and McEneaney himself. [...] - Gothamist

"Comedy review: Two American Comedians Lose Their Shirts at the Edinburgh Free Fringe"

THESE kind of shows remind you what the Fringe used to be like – fun. Liam McEneaney is the resident American and, the day I see it, the only American. Ophira Eisenberg is Canadian. Practise pronouncing that name; you will be wanting to buy tickets to see her. She is cleverly, memorably funny. There is a bit in her set about prices on menus and the cost of a grilled chicken Caesar salad, at which I am still laughing. On stage she has that marvellous air of being both relaxed and in charge. I want to know more about her marriage, her tequila rampages and her surgically altered sister. She is a class act.

McEneaney is a rumpled bear of a comic with more than a passing resemblance to Michael Moore. Born to Jewish/Irish Catholic parents, he had the kind of upbringing that could fit him only for a career in stand-up. Women, dogs, karate and Death of a Salesman are the mainstays of his set. Which is like a work-in-progress. But a funny one. His reminiscences of a New York policeman doing drug education at his school are well worth getting out of bed for. [...] - Scotsman Online

"Funny Food"

At 3 a.m., if I’m not out laughing it up, I’m
usually in my little bread box of a room with remote in hand, flippin’ around. So I was really happy
to see local comedian Liam McEneaney on The Best Week Ever, thinking fast.

“You just sit in front of construction paper and talk for two hours,”
explained Liam, who lasted about five months on the show. We were eating a pretty healthy Southern
Italian meal at Cola’s, Nick Accardi’s place on 8th Avenue.

“It’s always been regarded as a good date restaurant,” Nick pointed
out. It’s true that our Artichoke Ravioli was only $15, and the Grilled Tuna with black olives, capers,
and a touch of white wine sauce was $18. It’s a small and airy restaurant; you’d never feel obligated
in a place like that.

“It’s a good place to trick women into thinking I have good taste,” pointed
out Liam, who has to eat on the healthy side after being an obese teen.

“When I was 18, I applied for a job as a booth mopper in a porn place. I was
like 450 pounds, it was Christmas Eve, I was depressed, I was broke. They said I’d have to mop the ceiling
once a week, and I would’ve, too, but they never called me back. I couldn’t even get a job at White Castle
back then. Do you know who doesn’t get hired at White Castle? Nobody,” said Liam, but of course we
were far away from all that now, eatin’ antipasto sotto Roma on the outskirts of Chelsea, home of
the competent.

“I started doing stand up at 19 at Faceboys Open Mike—I followed
a woman who pulled down her pants and scooped menstrual blood. What’s funny is, nine years later
people still talk about it!” said Liam, who’s 28 now and tryin’ to get by.

“There used to be a huge comedy rush—basically anyone who had
a bar put up a mic and a stage, hired a comedian all week, and you could make a living. These old Boston
comics told me that in the 80s, you could make $80,000 a week and never leave Boston, and of course,
it all went up their nose.”[...] - New York Press

"The Best Medicine"

Liam McEneaney, the floppy-haired Comedy Central and VH1 regular, will host “We’ll Kick Cancer’s Butt!” tonight at Comix. The fund-raising event, sponsored by The Onion, will help raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It will feature sets by John Oliver of “The Daily Show,” Kristen Schaal from “Flight of the Conchords,” Caroline Rhea of “The Tonight Show,” Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and others. A nerdy raffle is also on the lineup featuring such special prizes as a new iPod Touch courtesy of TekServe and an autographed script of Fox’s “The Family Guy.” Stay for the free beer afterparty sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery. - The New York Times

"Comedian Hosts 'Hundredaire Matchmaker'"

Don't think Millionaire Matchmaker is a realistic show? Then maybe Hundredaire Matchmaker is more your style. It's hosted by comedian Liam McEneaney.

Copyright © 2011 National Public Radio®. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


And today's last word in business comes from a comedian. He's got his own more realistic version of the TV reality show "Millionaire Matchmaker."

(Soundbite of Bravo's reality show, "Millionaire Matchmaker")

PATTI STANGER (Host, "Millionaire Matchmaker"; Author of "Become Your Own Matchmaker - 8 Easy Steps for Attracting Your Perfect Mate"): Meet my millionaire. I'm a third generation matchmaker with an extremely high success rate.

INSKEEP: That's the show on TV. And you can feel the excitement.

At any event hall in Brooklyn tonight, Liam McEneaney will kick off "Hundredaire Matchmaker."

Mr. LIAM MCENEANEY (Comedian): You know, you're not meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right. Youre meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right in front of you, willing to talk to you.

INSKEEP: This is for singles with mere hundreds in their bank accounts and for those who will not be turned be off when their date offers them Bud Light instead of a Chardonnay.

INSKEEP: That's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. - NPR

"Comedy Central tv’s star Liam McEneaney for Revolution"

American Liam McEneaney began his stand-up career at the tender age of 19 while still in college. Since then, he’s belonged to two (2) bad improv groups, been written up in SPY Magazine (they said you should, “Worship him . . . recognize his genius . . . buy him drinks”) and The Waterfront Review (”Very funny”).

Liam McEneaney has appeared on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” and is a regular panelist on VH1’s “Best Week Ever.” Liam was head writer for The Humor Network, where his work was read on a regular basis by about two-and-a-half million readers. [...] - The Munster Express

"Liam McEneaney, Comedian"

Comedian Liam McEneaney has been blogging for over five years. In that time he's been on Best Week Ever, Premium Blend, and started his weekly show Tell Your Friends, which can be seen every Monday at 8 for free at the Lolita Bar and features talent from the likes of Conan O'Brien, the Onion, and Comedy Central. If that's not reason enough to check out Liam, perhaps this interview is.

I read that when you started doing comedy, you weighed over 400 pounds. How did you lose the weight?
About nine years ago, I as walking down West 11th street when I spotted a VHS cassette poking out of a garbage can. I always take VHS cassettes from garbage cans because I'm convinced I'm going to find someone's homemade porn someday.

Anyway, it wasn't homemade porn, but it did have a handwritten label: "WORKOUT FROM THE COSMOS!!!" I took it home and it was the craziest thing I'd ever seen - homemade in some woman's tiny Manhattan living room with the camera set up in a corner. In the middle of the floor on a mat, a hippy-looking middle-aged woman in a leotard. In the background, a guy who looked like Ravi Shankar's grandfather playing the sitar.

She would lead these aerobic exercises, but because the apartment was so small, whenever the exercise called for kicking or lunging, she would hit her furniture and walls. Hard. Meanwhile, the sitar droned in the background, and the music only stopped for the old guy to croak out some nugget of "wisdom" like, "Your soul is only as strong as your weakest muscle," and then go right back into playing.

At first I laughed and laughed and laughed, but then I decided what the hell, perhaps that tape was put in my hands for a good reason. So I started working out to this insane tape. And as soon as I lost 120 pounds, the tape broke. There weren't any credits or anything on the tape, so I have no idea who made it, and Googling didn't find anything.

I thought I saw the old guy eating at a restaurant once, but how do you approach someone about their hilarious workout tape you found while rooting through their garbage?

Did you notice that people treated you differently before and after you lost the weight? If so, how?
I think I was at my heaviest right before obesity became a national epidemic, before it became kind of a socially acceptable thing to be. Because I started out comedy so young and so heavy, I got condescended to quite a bit, which stopped as I grew older and thinner.

I also think I got booked onto some shows less for my comic ability and more for the sheer spectacle of seeing someone as wide as myself maneuver his way onstage. I had a guy try to audition me in a Titanic parody film his friend was producing called "Gigantic." It never got past the concept stage, thankfully. There's a lot of casual cruelty inflicted on heavier folks.

How has the experience of being overweight effected your comedy and your worldview?
As for how it affected my comedy - When I was a kid, I would watch all the standup shows - A&E's Comedy on the Road, Caroline's Comedy Hour, all those. I saw a comedian with two hooks for hands, angriest comedian I've ever seen. But he just got onstage, hooked his hands to the mic stand, and did his act without ever referencing it. Funny fucking guy, as far as I can remember from 20 years ago.

But my point is, I decided it was cool that he never mentioned the thing that you first noticed; that he had hooks for hands. And I decided that I would purposefully not put that into my act, except in roundabout ways. Also, I figured that at some point I'd lose the weight, and then where would my act be?

As for how it's affected my worldview, I'm convinced that women aren't attracted to me, and will always reject me. It actually helps me avoid one of the big pitfalls of socializing in the comedy world, where everyone is insecure and drinking and immature - hooking up with other comedians. Happens all the time, and thanks to my inability to see myself as desirable, I tend - Gothamist

"Tips for Today: Gossip in London + Kristen Schaal & Janeane Garofalo in NYC"

[...] Tell Your Friends! It's the Spring Fling! at the Bell House
A comedy night to welcome spring with Kristen Schaal (who was so good on 30 Rock this season as a deranged page), Janeane Garofalo, Chrisitan Finnegan and rappers Hand Job Academy, whose album, Red Vadge Of Courage you can listen to here. Hosted by comedian/writer Liam McEneaney. [...] - Paper Mag

"Free & Cheap in NYC: Monday, May 21"

[...] JUST FOR LAUGHS. The weekly “Best of Broadway” series features special guests such as Tom Cotter of the “Tonight Show,” Liam McEneaney from “Comedy Central Presents” and Mike Vecchione of “Last Comic Standing.” 9 p.m. $15. The Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W. 53rd St. (212) 757-2323. [...] - New York Daily News

"Joke of the week: Liam McEneaney"

When it comes to sex, I'm like an Olympic athlete. I train every day for an event that happens once every four years.

Liam McEneaney hosts the Brooklyn <3 Japan Benefit Fri 15. - Timeout New York

"Liam McEneaney and Kevin Hart keep the comedy-film experience alive."

When The Original Kings of Comedy premiered in 2000, and eventually grossed $38.2 million, stand-up fans celebrated the return of the concert film. The genre, once dominated by Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, has suffered since the rise of cable and home video. But this month, two very different films are doing their part to keep stand-up on the big screen.

Kevin Hart may be best known to the general public for his roles in the Scary Movie franchise, but as a stand-up, he's earned his career one fan at a time—and now has 2 million Twitter followers. During its opening weekend earlier this month, his film Laugh at My Pain made $1.9 million in 97 theaters, with very little marketing. It has since opened in 58 more, and will also be released in parts of Africa. The film, which he recorded at Nokia Theatre in New York last year, is typical of a Hart show in that it's energetic and autobiographical. But Hart delves deeper this time, mining laughs from more emotional or traumatizing elements of life, such as his father's drug habit and his mother's funeral. It's an hour tour through his past, produced for $750,000.

On the other end of the concert-film spectrum is Tell Your Friends!, a variety show--documentary about NYC's basement/alt-comedy scene, which was made for $155,000. In the film, Liam McEneaney, who's run a weekly show by the same name on the Lower East Side for six years, hosts five acts, ranging from stand-ups who also have a club presence, like Christian Finnegan, to the genre-breaking Reggie Watts, who sings, raps and loops his own beat-boxing. Having screened at festivals—including SXSW, Just for Laughs and the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival—Tell Your Friends! makes its New York debut at the Paley Center Thursday 22. A panel discussion will follow, featuring cast members Finnegan, Leo Allen, Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal, along with director-comedian Victor Varnado (The Awkward Comedy Show). It's titled "How Alt Comedy Goes Mainstream." Presumably, making a concert film is one of the ways.

SketchFest NY Presents: The NYC Premiere of: Tell Your Friends! The Concert Film! happens Thu 22. Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain is playing at AMC theaters in New York; visit for times and locations. - Timeout New York

"Review: 'American Animal' and 'Tell Your Friends!' offer two types of performance art"

[...] I also really enjoyed Liam McEneaney's "Tell Your Friends! The Concert Film," which managesd to not only serve as a showcase for nine striking comedy voices, but which also makes an effort to describe and define the alternative comedy scene. It opens with a good six or seven minutes of McEneaney onstage, talking about how whiskey is a social drink. It's the first time I've ever seen him, and it's a good riff. It's personal and it's funny and it's broad, a perfect example of what I think the best comics these days do. Watching stand-up evolve over the last couple of decades has been watching an art form grow up and become what I feel like it has always tried to be, an art form that is one of the most revealing. Great comedy works because of the mirror it holds up to all of our quirks and flaws, and the more personal it gets, the better it is. I'm not sure I believe in "alternative" comedy anymore, because I think the mainstream for stand-up has found a way to include all sorts of voices now. Between the various individual performances, we see interviews with a number of familiar faces, and the subject is something that is very particular to a comedian, the value of a good space. You've got folks like Paul F. Tomkins and Marc Maron and Colin Quinn and Jim Gaffigan and Janeane Garafolo in the interview segments, and then we get to see Leo Allen, Christian Finnegan, Rob Paravonian, Kurt Braunholer and Kristen Schaal, and Reggie Watts actually perform as part of the showcase, and it's a great line-up. They all have totally different voices and styles as comedians. [...] - Motion Captured

"WTF with Marc Maron Podcast -Ep.157 - Todd Barry, Ted Alexandro, Liam McEneaney"

Live from Brooklyn, NY, robotics specialist Heather Knight introduces Data, a robot who performs stand-up comedy, Otto and George bring the first ventriloquist act to WTF, Liam McEneaney tries to cope with the success of his new movie, Ted Alexandro agonizes over a strange proposition, and Todd Barry compares bad fan mail with Marc. - Marc Maron


Still working on that hot first release.



LIAM McENEANEY is the executive producer and star of 'Tell Your Friends! The Concert Film!" He has also appeared on Showtime's 'Caroline Rhea & Friends,' Vh1, and Comedy Central, popular podcasts including WTF with Marc Maron and Keith & The Girl, and has headlined throughout the United States and Europe.