Get ready to laugh, Las Vegas! Next weekend, Feb. 22-23, some of Comedy Central’s biggest stars will be performing at The Mirage and MGM Grand as part of Comedy Central Vegas, including the network’s newest poster boy, Anthony Jeselnik (sorry Daniel Tosh).
Star of “The Jeselnik Offensive,” premiering Tue., Feb. 19 after “Tosh.O,” comedy’s prince of darkness will be performing Feb. 23 at The Mirage only a few short weeks after his first stand-up special, “Caligula,” premiered on Comedy Central. For those who saw his one-hour special in January (or on DVD), Jeselnik promised about “10 minutes” of new material during his Vegas show, as well as some classic jokes from his 2010 debut album, Shakespeare.
“Since each joke is only about 20 or 30 seconds, it takes a long time for me to come up with an all-new set,” Jeselnik, famous for his one-liners, told Examiner.com. “But I’d say about half of the show will be different from what people saw on TV.”
Best known for his appearances on the Comedy Central roasts of Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen and Roseanne, Jeselnik credits much of his current success to the popular cable network. While Jeselnik’s been perfecting his craft for “10 years now” (“When your number’s called, you have to be ready,” he explained), it wasn’t until his appearance on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” in 2006 that the network really took notice of him.
“It just went well and they kept me in mind,” Jeselnik said when discussing his relationship with Comedy Central. “They had faith in me and put me on the ‘Roast of Donald Trump’ and we’ve been married ever since. They’ve helped me release my albums, my stand-up special, my TV show—everything.”
While Jeselnik credits Comedy Central with much of his success, his role as a writer during the first season of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” also helped prepare him for his own TV show.
“It really taught me how a show works,” Jeselnik stated. “When I started doing stand-up, I took a class in stand-up because in order to break the rules, you need to know what the rules are. I remember I’d pitch a bit that would be sort of mean-spirited and Jimmy would just say, “That’s not for the Jimmy Fallon show; that bit is for the Anthony Jeselnik show.’ After a while I found myself thinking, ‘Man, that Anthony Jeselnik show sounds pretty funny.’”
Jeselnik said his new half-hour series will have all the “staples” of a late-night talk show, but will focus on the stories most talk show hosts won’t discuss during their opening monologues: stories that are “sad, tragic or unlikable—like a hate crime or a murder where the body has been disposed of in pieces.” It will also have a “desk piece like something you’d see on ‘Conan,’ but even more absurd.” Like “Chelsea Lately” or even Comedy Central’s own “The Burn with Jeff Ross,” “The Jeselnik Offensive” will also feature guest panelists, such as comedians Aziz Ansari and Amy Schumer, who will both appear on the series premiere.
Although Jeselnik’s signature arrogant/dark sense of humor will be showcased prominently on “The Jeselnik Offensive,” in real life the New Yorker is actually a pretty nice guy.
“My character [onstage] is just what I find funny,” Jeselnik stated. “I think it’s funny when someone acts like a jerk but they’re not really a jerk. Sometimes people confuse my stage persona with who I am, but that’s okay, because then they just leave me alone.”
When asked to share something about himself that might surprise fans, Jeselnik replied that he’s a “big reader” and really loves literature.
“That usually surprises people,” he said. “They always picture me sitting on some throne somewhere surrounded by baby skulls.”
Something else that might surprise fans are Jeselnik’s dining out pet peeves, as both seem like something his cocky onstage persona might do quite regularly.
“I can’t stand when people are on their cell phones during dinner or are having ridiculously loud conversations—like when people dine in a big party and are drunk,” Jeselnik stated. “I’d rather just be in a quiet corner enjoying dinner with my girlfriend.”
While Jeselnik said he usually orders room service whenever he’s in Las Vegas, what he orders all depends on how much he drinks. Jeselnik said he usually eats what he wants to eat and drinks what he wants to drink when he’s on the road, as sometimes “the only thing available is T.G.I. Friday’s three times a day.” Instead, Jeselnik just works out and tries to eat healthy when he gets back home. Whatever he’s doing seems to be working, as Jeselnik often gets teased by his fellow comedians for being so good looking.
While Jeselnik may have no problem laughing at himself, there are some people that even he has a problem laughing at. When asked who he thinks should be roasted next on Comedy Central, the funnyman jokingly replied Casey Anthony before getting serious.
“Everyone always says Lindsay Lohan, but she’s such a mess I don’t think that would be fun,” Jeselnik stated. “You need someone like Donald Trump who’s on top but still has a sense of humor about himself. I think Shaquille O’Neal would be great, and he has a lot of friends that would probably do it.”
As for what else makes Jeselnik laugh, the comedian known for being a jerk onstage admitted that someone falling down is always “the funniest thing in the world” to him.
“I strive to write the funniest jokes I can, but I can’t compete with someone falling down,” he stated. “Even if someone gets hurt, it’s funny.”
Surprisingly, Jeselnik said he doesn’t watch a lot of comedies on television—he prefers shows like “Justified,” “The Americans” and “The Walking Dead.” However, he admitted he needs to watch more late-night talk shows now to educate himself on which bits have been done before so he doesn’t accidentally copy someone else’s material on “The Jeselnik Offensive.”
While Jeselnik may not watch a lot of sitcoms, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t admire his fellow comedians. In fact, some of his favorites are also performing during Comedy Central Vegas, so Examiner.com decided to put Jeselnik on the spot and ask him if readers only had the time (or money) to see one show aside from his over the weekend, which one should they see?
“I really don’t think you can lose with anyone [on the bill],” Jeselnik concluded. “Nick Swardson is amazing, and I think he has a lot of new stuff. Jim Norton is one of the best comedians out there; I always thought he was very underappreciated. Dave Attell is one of my favorites; he’s a god. But if you only have time to see one show besides mine, I would say go see Amy Schumer (Jeselnik’s on-again/off-again girlfriend) because I don’t want to get in trouble.”
Anthony Jeselnik performs at The Mirage Sat., Feb. 23 at 10 p.m. as part of Comedy Central Vegas. Tickets start at $39.99. To reserve your seats, click here.
For more on Anthony Jeselnik, visit the comedian’s official website, and don’t miss “The Jeselnik Offensive” when it premieres Feb. 19 at 10:30 p.m. only on Comedy Central.