On Comedy Roundtable, our hosts Jamie Bendall, Adam Haigh and Jamie Hernan interview stand up comedians, and other funny folks, in a series of segments during which the guests choose from a set of categories to answer lightning round questions. Sometimes off the wall, occasionally contemplative, the questions inspire fun conversations and give our listeners the chance to get to know the comedians they have heard on the radio, seen online or enjoyed during a live performance.
Stand up comedian and TV warm up comic Gary Cannon sits down at the Comedy Roundtable to answer questions from our categories for this episode "Pretty Sure That's Not True" and "Hot or Cold," as well to spill the tea a bit on Hollywood and give some insight into the role of the warm up comic in keeping audiences engaged for TV shows from Conan to the Batchelor to the Masked Singer.
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Ladies and gentlemen, comedy roundtable. These are great questions. Yes, good comedian a math question. Really good question. Thank you. This is so much fun, you guys. That is a good question. And that lightning round was so fun. That's a really good question. comedy fans Khan versation enthusiast it is a brand new episode of the comedy roundtable. Pull up a chair settle in. We have a great conversation for you this episode. Let's get this party started. Jamie Pendel Jamie, Hernan Adam. Hey, down. Look at you getting in on the game. I appreciate that. Usually, you're so negative about him giving me the big intro. But tonight you're on the game. I love it. I just figured people deserve to hear it and stereo might as well. I didn't even know that our podcast was available in stereo. Yeah, it is actually then actually. Do you think the SAP button it's available in Spanish? We have saved a chair for you, our listener and we've also saved the chair here at the roundtable for our guest this evening. Comedian hearing candidate Gary, welcome to comedy round table. Gentlemen. It is such an honor and I say That was sarcasm but I am happy to be here. Well, we appreciate you being here. We start our episode off with our guests by reading the most readily available bio. Your data is available through Gary cannon.com Terrific website. By the way, if you haven't visited and under about Gary, it says Gary began making people laugh in San Francisco, but soon moved to LA. After a short time in LA things started happening. He was soon working at all the Southern California improv clubs was a regular host at the Hollywood improv consistently emceeing shows with some of the biggest names in comedy. And I have to tell you here I think that sounds a little short, my friend. Oh, but really any us wait. He's amazing crowd skills, high energy and ability to jumpstart an audience enabled Gary to transition his skills to a television, warm up comedian, anyone visiting LA and seeing a show tape in front of an audience has probably met Gary, he sets the tone before and during the show, creating a fun atmosphere and making audiences enjoy their time, especially when many shows can often take many hours to tape. Did you just learn about website scrolling? It's a new phone. It's a new phone. And I said it's a very nice website. I mean, it's terrific, really. And we have had some guests unfortunately, who have websites that don't really reflect well upon them. It is a new phone. Yeah. You got a new phone. I finally got absolutely like your last phone was the second edition iPhone or the third at most. It was original iPhone SE Yeah, it boys. Yes. Yeah, I'm sorry. It's kind of about me. Oh, right. Right, right. I got it. I have so many questions. I want to ask about the warm up game. Can I just say this? Can I just say Do you remember when we first met and the awkward situation that you and I kind of met in? Do you remember this? Let's play that out? I remember Claire's? Do you remember this? Tell the story. Me. Tell him. Do you know the story? I do remember this, but I'm gonna let you go. Okay, because they'll give me more grief than they'll give you. Yes. And so I had just started to work on the road with Mitch Vitale. We were working a ton together. This is probably 2007, something like that. And we were doing a ton of clubs. And this was when Jamie or the old air you're worth the old club. And so I remember getting in a day early. And you had me up at the Hilton which was right next to the club. Right, the Doubletree, so I check in check in early. Mitch wasn't getting there till the next day. So say that was Thursday he was getting in. So I had to check out this amazing hotel and bring my bags down to another hotel that was called What was the club? What was the hotel called? It was the comfort it was shared the parking lot. It No, no, no, this was even this was like mokwena It was like there were kids. It was just it was a weird. It was like a I can't I wish I knew what it was. Okay, okay, wasn't it? Yeah, I'll think. Yeah, I don't know. It's read the street from this beautiful Hilton, right? I drag my bags down. I check in feels very weird. I'm just angered because I feel like I've been on the road with Mitch Mitch is selling tickets on his opener, kind of get this kind of cocky attitude that well, first of all, Cami was kind enough to give me this amazing room the night before. So I got you know, this beautiful woman on a 10 Right. And then I was going to, you know, this crack or the three I go in there's it's just weird. I am just upset. And so I had literally grabbed my bag and I go back and check into the Hilton. Nice. I say, this is where I'm staying this weekend. Now this was without any approval. No anything. This was just me being arrogant and working with Mitch and thinking, Hey, listen, this is what I'm gonna do. And you were kind enough to say yes. And so I ended up staying there. But that was kind of our first meeting. You could have looked at that and said, Oh, this guy's being a pain in the ass. But you worked me beyond Mitch. I mean, you know, I would come in by myself. So there were no hard feelings with you and I After that event. I have a question about though the warm up game though do we? Can we still ask those? Can we can we? Alright, let's tease that and bring that up in the second segment. That sounds good. Let's Yeah, I love. We'll get to our Lightning Rounds. And we'll get to a little bit more about the warm up game in the next segment. So Gary, here's what we do. We do like kind of lightning round questions. format. So your choices for this evening are altering history. Okay, pretty sure that's not true and hot or cold? Pretty sure that's not true. All right, would you like to go clockwise or counterclockwise? So if I go counterclockwise, we start with Adam. Oh, yeah. Nobody gets asked to follow. Just get to find that. You're the first guest that actually asked the question. I'll do clockwise. I see does not want you to strike clockwise. Started wins. Jamie. All right. Tell me three things about yourself that we would think are all fake, but two of which are true. And let us try to guess the fake fact. Okay. Ooh, like two truths and a lie. All right. Yeah, just trying to avoid trademark issues. But yeah, okay. If one is a lie, one is a lie. Two are true. All right. Okay, this one's easy. Ready to go? Ready? I got to when I first moved to LA, I was on the prices right? And 120 $8,000 in cash and prizes. Wow. I am a huge, huge animal rights activist. And my favorite comedian is I can't say that because it's a lot, let's say and then two truths and a lie. That's to where you're gonna say Jamie Bendel. You said comic. Let's say that's how you do. That's how Gary doesn't. I wish they would bring back the TV show Friends. All right. So I have a follow up just to just to clarify before we have to guess here. So regarding the prices, right, you did say cash and prizes. So I think that's show some level of expertise, maybe a participant because that's, you know, key. That sounds like a good term or a key term, but $20,000 Off the top of your head because you've already experienced this. What was it? Suppose the taxes on that? Yeah. To ask questions. Just get some farmers trying to find a way to do it. So I've got my answer. Let's go ahead and just write your answers down. Yeah. Do it. But how do you spell friends? I before E if Okay. Okay. So I've written my answer down. And I am I think that you are an animal rights activist and that you think they're so French should come back, but you did not win 28,000 on prices wrong. What do you say? Okay, Jamie, what do you before you tell us? What did you say? I don't think he wants to show friends to come back. Okay. Other two or three? Which one? Do you think is the lie? Oh, I don't trust anything. Gary says, well, he told us. He told us one lie. I feel like I have unfair advantage. Because I know. I know. I interact with Gary on a regular basis. So I would know this answer. Okay. Yeah. Okay, let's hear. Jamie, are you gonna tell one? Whoa, yeah. Don't you guys go ahead and guess you've been paying attention we did guess. I also tell what your answers are. Well, I said I think he's lying with the tiebreaker. You just get to decide what you think is the lie. Alright. We're gonna we're gonna pass it off to Gary here. Gary, yeah. Was rehearse this show. You would think the lie is I have never been on the prices right. I should have so good, that he wants friends to come back. So good. I'm so good. I'm supposed to be like FBI or something like was a good one. I figured I said this specific dollar amount, it might look more legitimate. And you full price match and prize. Yeah, you did tear down the lane. So that was good. All right, Adam, you're okay. So a lot of times people are you you come in contact with a lot of people. And the question I'm sure you're asked is people who come off nice to the public, but are huge assholes. And I'm asking you the other way around, people who maybe are not as loved by the public, but probably shouldn't be because they're just awesome human beings. Without a doubt, just a toxic environment that you've read about, but it kind of faded away pretty quickly because of the Elon drama but somebody who was just not a good person, and not a good show to work for was Dr. Phil. Yeah, I've heard that about Dr. Phil. It is that is one of those rumors that's been flying around forever, but he doesn't portray himself to be that. Hey, have fun today. Let's give stuff away. We love each other. So that's why he gets away with it. But that was one of just the worst shows I've ever worked on just brutal. Is there anyone that is in the other category that you can think of that as well, but I think the problem is I think most people who are nice guys, it's very kind of public knowledge amongst everyone that they get, you know, like, like anytime I mentioned working on the Masked Singer Dr. Ken Like, everybody knows Ken is a good guy. Yeah, I think when I worked at Conan, super nice guy, like one of the best Carson Daly, super nice guy. I don't know what kind of reputation he has, but just kind of those people, you know, who I had a chance to interact with? They were just the over the top. You don't I mean, it just, it just genuine, you're gonna mean like not even like forced because they felt that's how they should be. I mean, listen, I know, he doesn't fall into that, you know, celebrity famous level. But you know, there's a guy that just over tips, always over extends, you know, Craig Robinson, another guy, like a lot of those people that are just just good natured and they make working with them so much better. Yeah, good. I like that. Alright, so my turn. So this is my pretty sure that's not pretty sure that's not true. I have a conspiracy theory that I don't think to my co hosts perspective rises to the level of conspiracy theory, but you might actually know this, if you're familiar with the movie, pop star never stopped not stopping the Andy Sandberg movie familiar with it at all? Is that about the backup singers? Or is that something different? Kind of? It's it's a little bit it's a it's a fake mockumentary about a pop star? I don't know. Okay, okay. I've not seen it. So I need to see it to know his answer. Well, I'm gonna, I don't know that you do in the okay. So basically, it's a boy band, they break up when one of them becomes more popular, the other two guys are struggling with kind of falling out of the group, they reconcile, and they come back together to have their big reunion. And the whole thrust in the spinal tap away is all of all of these other real artists talking about the impact that this fake band had on them. So they do the big reunion show at an awards. And in it, there is a portion where they have a costumed fish playing guitar. And they're like, We got to finish playing guitar, but bear in it. It's like this thing and this person saying, hey, but and then at the end, it's Justin Timberlake in the fish costume. Okay. Before he continues, this is the point in which you have to decide whether you're going to be kind Jamie, or you're going to be truthful response. All right. But so listen, Gary knows he's an insight Hollywood Insider. Oh, yes. Right. I believe that is the genesis of the masked singer, that that somebody saw that and thought I can make that into a show. That's interesting. Okay. Dang it. How many years ago? Was that where that movie was? So as it turns out, it was about the movie came out about three years before massinger, which is enough time to launch something through the pitch process and get it on the air. Interesting. Interesting. That is one of those stories where I mean, I wouldn't have the first or slightest idea. If that was true. I wouldn't even know. I mean, I I know the show started out. You know, wasn't it a British version? And then it came here. I was competing theories with every conspiracy theory. Yeah, right. You're the British thing, though. I was hoping that at least Gary could maybe say, pretty sure that's not true. Yeah. All right. We'll be back with more of our guests comedian Gary cannon here on the comedy roundtable. Don't wander too far, because we will be back before you know it. I've been thinking about the ways in which having a warm up person could be beneficial in other areas of life where warm up people are not used to talking about a fluffer No, I was having a legitimate conversation about just that a warm up person in trouble and your loved one. Okay. So first of all, if that's the case, then you better hope that you need the 15 Minute fluffer and not the six hour fluffer Oh, that's a good point. Right? That's a good boy. This is taking a long time answering that right away. Your audiences losing interest, just the last time we get the low budget flood. Ever Hey, listen, anybody want to get a free T shirt while we're waiting for? Those drugs take a long time to kick in. So you got to bring your guy in to get their audience ready, because he's like, I'm ready. And you're like, well, just let me hold on. Bring out my warm up. God is there. Are there live audiences for porn sometimes? Can you imagine if you just show up at a studio and you're like, I don't care what I see. But let's just find something. There's a shorter line of that one. Let's go there. Honey, kids. Come on. We got into one let's go. The following fictional story has been filmed before a live studio audience. Party order a pizza we got to rewrite it. You got to rewrite this costume is now working for me. It's so great and having the audience be like wow Yeah, giving the big laugh You're rolling in. Let's go back. All right, Gary cannon is our guest. Gary, we didn't really get too much into it here on the comedy roundtable. In our first segment, you have built a very interesting niche in your career. And that is a warm up comic. Most people if you've never been out to see a television show taped, there is a comedian who is one of the hardest working people on a tape day to keep an audience engaged and focused on the proceedings. Yes, share with us a little bit about a how that came about. And some of the things you've learned along the way as it relates to warm up. When I worked on Conan, a late night show, I would get there four o'clock. Grab the microphone at 415. Do warm up till 430 was out the door at 437. Well, I mean, it was an incredible job. It was amazing. I would wait. Watch the monologue, make sure the audience was okay and headed to my car. As soon as that monologue ended? Well, with a singer, you're literally involved. From start to finish. You're wearing an earpiece you're hearing from production, what's going on if there's a stop down if one of the celebrities is having difficulties backstage, the good news about a show like that, and it's why I love the show as much as I do. Before the season started this year, we all had a meeting and the producer said to me, what can we do to make your job easier. And that is very rare that that happens? Very rare. And I said guys, there's long stop downs on this show. 2030 minutes, I said during those stop downs, let me just dictate what happens, whether it's play music, whether it's me just going out there Off mic, whether it's me just going out there tossing out a couple of sweatshirts to give away. Don't throw me into the fire during every 30 minute break, because they're gonna hate me, they're gonna be pissed at the show. So because they do that, it made that job so much more enjoyable, you got to remember, this was a time when we had to wear masks. So every commercial break, they were masking back up, you know, they were getting tired. But when a show let you kind of run it like they know you can it's that much easier whenever you go to a taping of a sitcom. Those tapings last four or five, six hours. So that's, you know, a brutal position that you have to pace that audience in order for them to stay and want to be there and be happy. One of the questions I had for the my, my warm up aficionado is, do you know when to stop? Right? Is it when the talents ready? Or is it like is there a time when you've come out and said you know just got a couple of jokes or gotten a little bit of warm up going in? You're like God, these guys are ready like these guys are ready to exploit this is audiences is prep. I'm out? That's a really great question. I have I mean, most of the late like late night shows, you know, you're only going to do 15 minutes, the show starting at 430. I mean, it's always been kind of the standard where Ellen starts on time. I'm sure Jimmy Fallon starts on time. Seth Meyers, like they're not playing games, because they shoot those shows, essentially, what's called Live to take, they should results live. So I mean, they move up pretty quick. The challenge becomes a sitcom. And that's why you can make five or six grand a night doing these shows, because there's so much involved. The problem is there could be 100 things going on behind you. Whether it's the first pass, they did have the script in front of the audience just fell so flat, they have to rewrite that whole scene. Oh, wow. And they, the writers will huddling to a corner and rewrite it and they don't care how long it takes. There's times where you have no clue. None. How long that stopped down, it's gonna be four hours, sometimes it's three minutes, sometimes it's 30 minutes, you just don't know. And the other part of it is the person who is that warmup person really becomes like the liaison between the audience and the show. The goal of it is no matter how bad it is behind you, and how mad you are, because you just want to get the show done. And in the can and heading home, you can not let that audience know that there's a problem behind you. Let me give me a scenario that might invoke a confidentiality clause that you've signed at some point. So feel free now to answer this question. Let's say you're on a show, it's a show like mass singer and you have a there's a contestant might be like a star of a Borat movie ex mayor or somebody like that. Who is revealed. And then you have a host storm off and you have this tense moment. How do you come out there and utilize your skills to address that with the audience? Well, yeah, it's interesting. Right? I know. So in that moment, which we taped early on, they just did I wasn't there for that, that whole thing. They didn't even have me be part of that reveal. I don't know why that was, but there was no reveal. I wasn't there. Right. So I will say I agree with you. But yeah, cuz people kept asking me what was that I was I was not there. And I will The thing about Messinger is, I've never been a part of a show where they do care so much. I mean, despite the fact that it's a show a reality show with these celebrities in costume. Boy, I've never met a group of 200 people that work their asses off as much as that show, but they also reward the people with just some amazing just things that they do back for their employees. I mean, it's, it's where I work at Dancing with the Stars. I mean, like, everybody, there's miserable, it's a miserable vibe. It's a miserable, nobody's happy. So I work on The Bachelor when they do the live shows another show, that's great. Like, there are shows where you just don't want to be part of your like, if this thing gets canceled tomorrow, I could care less, right? But But what bothers me is when you see comics who have never done warm up before, and you know, not to be arrogant about it, but they're like, Hey, if you ever need a day off, let me know. And it's like, no, I need a day off. I'm good. You know, it's a different skill set to write. Yeah, yeah. Listen, I'm not gonna lie. It's like, part of the reason that, you know, I came to get the coning gig was because the current warm up guy took some time off, and I slid in there, you know, brought kind of a different energy than they hadn't seen. And they liked it. You know, it was a great gig for five years. It was amazing. That's why you're the Tom Brady of warmup calm. That's right. I mean, it is awesome to hear the behind the scenes of kind of how that works. But and it's a it's a, you know, you're you're reading a crowd bear, right. So you so in this case, you go, I know, I'm gonna be here for several hours, this person is super exuberant, I'm going to hold them off for a little bit, because I can maybe use them in a law later on and I can start to, you know, ease up on this person, you know, and and people's attitudes change and they relax a little bit and they see that they're not gonna get in trouble and they're, you know, it's all like, I will tell you, I did a show this. This was supposed to be just a great show. I did do remember when Gabriel Yglesias had a sitcom on Netflix called Mr. Iglesias, I got a call to do that show, it was just a one time deal, because their regular warm up was gonna be out of town was right before Thanksgiving, I went in there. So excited. It's Gabrielle all rabid fans, boom, boom, boom. And found out, I don't know, 20 minutes in when the crowd wasn't given it up. It was all VIPs it was all friends of Gabriel for people. So the VIP people are the worst. It's because they don't need to be bothered, you want to try to bring them up to have interaction with them during the show, they don't want it. Instead, what they do is they go down to the floor, they go grab amazing food off the craft services table, bring it up to the audience. Now they're eating it in front of the regular people who just waited eight hours to get in. And it's hard. It's hard because then when the other people who are excited to be there, see that others aren't laughing and you're trying to goose the entire audience to get better. They don't want to hear it. I mean, they're just it's a very weird dynamic. It's I never understood it till later. It was why whenever I went to go see the David Letterman show in New York, they would put the VIPs in the balcony. Oh, yeah, they didn't want the VIPs in front of him because he knew how crappy day Yeah, interesting. Bad, bad intention. I mean, they're not intending to be bad. They're just know they're, they're participating in a different way than that. Yeah. I don't want to say it's a big deal for the artist and it's a person that's you know, interesting. Yeah, let's turn our attention to our choice of questions for lightning round your remaining choices are altering history, or hot or cold so you only get one choice whichever one you don't choose goes into the shredder forever. Dammit, catapult. Yeah, your request will never see the light of day starting with Jamie. Yeah, my alternate history question will no see the light of day because sometimes we tried to bring categories back but that question that question had to do with cannons and Gary Busey artfully merged together in a great Gary cannon question. instead. We're gonna get my name. Hi, good. Yeah, here it is. Okay. So I put all my energy into the other one. So this one's terrible. You've really set the table Yeah. What is a food typically served hot that you prefer cold and vice versa? And if you don't feel like answering it because such a dumb question feel free. Typically their top. Well, that's an easy one. I think pasta is always better served cold. And then what's something that's served cold? That should be? Let's see. What's a good one apple pie? Is that usually served cold? Yes. Oh, that's a big one. Yeah, pretty serious about that. You got to ask for the you got to ask for the heat. How do you want the pie? Yeah. Jamie. First Second, Jamie. I'm even gonna go one better. I'm gonna say because I had this done once at Starbucks. I ordered it and he said you wanted heat it and I said no, but I did. It was a peanut butter cookie. haco me that's, that was pretty badass. I feel like you have given incredible answers to an incredibly dumb question. I know. So I appreciate you resurrecting my reputation. I had cookie thinking about it. Yeah. It's important to me if you had to live somewhere that was 20 degrees hotter all the time than it is in San Diego. Or it was 20 degrees colder all the time than it was in San Diego. Where would you want to live and why? So it 22 Well, I mean, I kind of almost think LA is that I think LA is 20 degrees warmer. I would say I gotta go heat. I gotta go warmer. I don't like the cold. So I'm from Michigan, so I gotta go heat. And you don't like the cold? No. Brutal, absolutely brutal. All right, my turn on the question. In the cold, hot or cold, hot or cold? Alright, so onstage? Do you prefer a cold temperature room or a hot temperature room? No brainer. Cold. always cold. Always cold because I wear sport jacket. tend to sweat a little bit more show. Cold. I think it seems like more rooms are hot. I don't know why but like, yes. All right. Well, that's our two rounds of questions. Yes. For our guest, Mr. Kenan about. We've had a fun evening. I will tell you, it's funny because when I first moved to LA, I remember going to a taping of something. I don't remember what it was whether it was like Frasier or something like that. I walk in, and you're like, Oh, my God, there's the living room. There's the radio station. And then like, 40 minutes in, I'm like, I gotta get the heck out of here. So I know what it's like, you know, on the other side of it, going to sit down and seeing a show. Now that I do it. So I really do try to make it as fun as possible for people. That's that's the goal. Did they have a good warm up guy, but a memorable warm up guy? Well, it is funny, because now that I'm in that world, I know some of these guys that I first ran into years and years ago, whether it was like a Robert like so many guys. Like there's only a handful of people that do it. I mean, it's less than 10. So it's kind of a crazy scene. I look forward to when we get to see you here in Atlanta. Absolutely. Not that I think that I'm qualified to do it. But if your backup ever needs a backup, I could be somewhere on the list of the backups. Yeah, you've always been super, super nice. I've known you for so many years. Thank you for your friendship. You run an amazing club, and I'm excited to get back soon. Yeah, this would be great if he called you out to LA to be the backup the crappy hotel that he would. Exactly. Absolutely. For you to do. And by the way, Marcy who you know, runs the club. I mean, that is somebody who should run every single club in the country because she is when you meet somebody like that you're like, oh my gosh, this is how it should be done. I mean, this she is just amazing. Where are people gonna find you online? Just Gary cannon.com That is it. Right there. Look forward to seeing you soon and continued success. I thank you. So nice. I was trying to stall as long as I could to find that name of a hotel that Jamie put me in but I can't see. But thank you guys for having me. That was so nice. What a nice time. I appreciate it. Thanks.