Comedian, actor, and writer Barry Rothbart coming to Mill


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Standup comedy is not just fun and games, at least for Barry Rothbart. In his latest comedy album, Streets on Fire, the actor, writer, and comic draws material from his insecurities, while masking some of his deeper emotions — such as his hatred for some people in his audience. 

“I try to have a little twinge of irony,” he said. “There are rarely jokes where I tell it like it is.” 

Rothbart will perform standup at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., at 9 p.m. today as a part of his tour to promote Streets on Fire. 

Audience members might recognize Rothbart from his feature role as Peter Deblasio in the movie Wolf of Wall Street or his appearances on "Conan" or “The Tonight Show.”

Tonight's event will feature Rothbart with fellow comedian and friend Danny Solomon. 

“We’re actually both writers. We write together,” Rothbart said. “We’re currently writing on a show we sold to Comedy Central.” 

“ ‘300 Sunny Side’ is the name of the project,” Solomon said. “It’s a really simple premise. It’s about six roommates who live together. It’s out now on comedycentral.com.” 

Solomon, who is also a writer for Tru Tv’s “Upload with Shaquille O’Neal,” has been paired with Rothbart throughout the tour. The two say they enjoy coming up with ideas together, but developing jokes involves a good deal of trial and error. 

“In the beginning, you do a lot of bombing,” Solomon said. “People hate it the first seven or eight times. You just find something that kind of works, and that ends up becoming a joke.” 

The two also said social media presents a problem for comedy in general today. 

“Everyone needs you to put a context on your jokes,” Rothbart said. “ ‘This guy hates women’ or ‘This guy hates the South because of his joke.’ I think that’s an ideology people get.” 

Solomon agreed. 

“Facebook gives you an opportunity to hear all the young negative opinions,” he said. “'Oh, this guy’s just an idiot.’ If you’re clearly trying to be funny, people should understand that’s what you’re doing. Facebook and Twitter people just decide how they think of you, and everybody jumps on it.”

Brooks Wheelan — a University of Iowa alumnus, comedian, and another writing partner of Rothbart’s — echoed the others’ frustration with trying to make it in the modern comedy industry.

Wheelan was recently fired from “Saturday Night Live” after one season, a trying event that has fueled a number of self-deprecating jokes on his recent standup tour. 

“Definitely the hardest part is being told 'no' all of the time,” he said. “It’s easy to get discouraged considering how hard it is to get started in comedy. I mean, I just got fired from a comedy show, and that was a bummer, but you gotta just keep going all the time and get better.” 

Rothbart and Soloman, who share this belief, said they were excited about tonight’s show and the many other projects going on in their lives. Comedy Central recently bought the pair’s concept for another show called “Barry Makes Good.” 

“We’re actually fortunate enough to get people to listen to [our ideas],” Solomon said. “We set up things for people to listen to our dumb ideas.”

Comedians’ Words of Wisdom

‘In comedy, there’s sometimes some sort of message, but it’s always funnier to talk about dicks and butts. Just talk about it in a way that it’s never been done before. Then you can talk about dicks all you want.’ 
— Danny Solomon

‘Oh, the money. That’s my favorite part — getting paid.’
— Barry Rothbart on why he does comedy

‘My favorite part of what I do is that I care about my job. I was a biomedical engineer out in LA for four years, and I didn’t care about my job at all. It sucked, but now I really honestly love comedy and creating it, and it’s crazy to me that it is, literally, all I have to worry about now. I’ve been super lucky.
— Brooks Wheelan

In today's issue:

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.