Brendon Small is a remarkable fellow. Not only has he enjoyed the success of two animated series on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim (Home Movies and Metalocalypse), but the Berklee graduate is also a gifted musician and standup comic.
Small discusses Metal, why his next television endeavor won’t be animated, acting school, his heroes, and his hopes of returning to standup comedy.
So do you ever plan to revisit standup, and what was that like compared to acting, studying at Berklee, and then today, making cartoons?
It’s funny, ’cause my goals in standup are very specific and small from time to time because I enjoy doing it, I enjoy [it] when new stuff works. I’m kinda using it to develop some ideas right now, but there’s some other stuff that I’m working on. When I go up onstage, when you see me performing, it has nothing to do with the world of Metal, or anything. It’s more just related to my life and my family… it’s kind of almost more… about whatever’s going on in my life at any particular time. But it’s fun, I enjoy it. It’s harder than anything else you’ll do… I just kinda learned how to redo it, relearned the rules or whatever “not to do”. Stupid mistakes people [make] with the audience.
Playing Metal in front of 30,000 people is WAY easier than performing for a small room of 18 people.
Really? The pressure’s that different?
It’s just [that] comedy’s not guaranteed to work. It really is not. When you go see a comedy show, it doesn’t mean it’s gonna be funny. You’re trying something that may not work. When you go and see a Metal show, I can go and rehearse, I can sit with the drummer, I can write some songs, I can put ‘em on a CD, and… I can gauge whether people are enjoying themselves by sales on all that stuff. And then I can go and play them, and chances are good – unless I screw up – that what I give the audience is what they expect, and they’re excited and everything. But that is NOT the case with comedy. I could have a misstep from the very beginning and lose people who are actually fans, by maybe losing confidence in the moment… Even if you do really well at the top of your set, it doesn’t mean that the middle of your set is gonna go well. But you can also potentially get them back again.
Anyway… I’m still very fascinated by it, but you kind of get out of it what you put into it. You have some comics who just want to be standups for a living, then you have people that are gonna utilize it as a tool for writing.