Tracy Morgan, Frank Caliendo, Joel McHale
Some of televisions funniest personalities are trading in their camera work for live audiences at the New York Comedy Festival this week. TVGuide.com caught up a few of them, including Tracy Morgan, Frank Caliendo, Joel McHale and Carlos Mencia, to find out how they compare their work on television with live stand-up routines in front of thousands of people.
"I freakin' love it," said McHale, The Soup host and stand-up newbie. "I'm there in front of up to a couple thousand people ... I'm usually drunk [laughs]. It's an immediate response and it's tremendous."
SNL alum and 30 Rock Morgan finds his stand-up experiences to be a much more personal one than his work on television. "It's about my life and my experiences as a 40-year-old black man. An American. A human being. I don't bring what I do on television to my stand-up."
Comedy Central veteran Mencia said it's great to connect fans," he said. "Most celebs don't get to meet the people that make their careers. I get to look at them face to face."
But while comedic impressionist Caliendo finds stand-up to be the more fun, the chameleon on Frank TV finds both mediums equally as challenging. "I'm the kind of person who has to change personas all the time even if I do have new jokes with them - otherwise they don't have new stuff!"
Caliendo, Mencia and McHale agreed the transition from stand-up to television seems to be the easiest for comedians offered deals that revolve around sketches.
"Many of these comedy shows are on the more maverick networks like Comedy Central, VH1 or E!," McHale said. "If you look at the landscape of comedy on network television, they're not based around comedians anymore like [Jerry] Seinfeld."
Mencia wants to see more comedians on the major networks. "I think someone needs to do what Everyone Loves Raymond did: reflect society in it's true essence. Where is our Rosanne? Where is our All in the Family? People are dying for a voice that's gonna reflect them. And it seems like no one's going there."
Which do you prefer: comedians in a scripted format or sketch shows similar to their stand-up?