Needle in the Thay

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Twitter, Buddha and placenta all feature in this interview with stand-up comedian and writer Chris Thayer.

Chris Thayer is a man that I have deeply admired since 2012. He is a boldly honest performer with a unique mind. He moulds his experience and pained perspective into a comedic casserole. His body and mind a seemingly oxymoronic statement, youth, and experience painted on his skin. He is a man who uses his art as a mirror, we gain a deep understanding of ourselves through his comedy.  

Please note: This video contains strong language

I wanted to learn more about him and his feelings on art and life. I asked him some questions, he sent me some answers… these are those questions and answers.

If you had to choose. Chess player god, connectivity between every being or “hey man, we are just floating potatoes”?

I think there is connectivity between every being on an absolute molecular level, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that people interact with life on a relative level. Maybe “we’re all one” in some way, but I think it’s important not to turn that into a platitude that helps you detach from the everyday reality of life. Thinking you’re in on the cosmic joke doesn’t mean that everyday struggles and injustice don’t matter.

Why do people take comedy so seriously? It is an incredibly oxymoronic medium. How do you feel about this?

Humour is a gift! The profession of comedy is a perversion of that gift.

Is there a hypocrisy in life that gets on your t*ts?

I give really great (unsolicited) advice while taking none of it for myself.

Artists that inspire you and why? (Doesn’t just have to be comics) Sandwich artists count!

Kate Berlant is so smart, funny, unique, disorienting. She’s amazing at being thought-provoking while also being viscerally hilarious.

I like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jenny Holzer. I like text in my visual art and trying to figure out what it all means. Maybe that’s a sign that I’m too stuck in my head?

Richard Pryor is my favourite stand-up of all time because of the honesty and vulnerability he displayed. He struck a really perfect kind of bittersweet balance in his stand-up and I’m finding out for myself that it’s really f***ing hard to do.

Iggy Pop is someone I looked up to a lot when I was younger. On one hand, his lyrics are at times really dumb and juvenile and his performance (specifically in The Stooges) was this exhilarating mix of terror and sexiness and goofiness, but then he’s this really intelligent and thoughtful and charming savant-like guy offstage. I also think Iggy has historically had great style.

Maria Bamford has always been great and she’s only getting better. I saw her a few months ago and I really felt like I was seeing a master at work. Also, she talks about having taken time off to tend to her mental health, which I really appreciate. In comedy, there’s a lot of bravado around and romanticising of overworking. I hear people say, “I’ve been doing this 28 years and never taken more than 10 days off.” If that’s a balance that works for you, more power to you. For myself, I didn’t question that attitude for a long time and instead accepted it as what was expected of me in comedy. A lot of years went by where I felt like I was somehow failing or not doing enough if I ever took some time off, regardless of how I felt or what was going on in my life.

Which philosopher do you connect with? Which one can you not get into?

I think Siddhartha Gautama seems to have some pretty good stuff. Ayn Rand, not so much.

Do you have a word that births nostalgia in your heart?

“Placenta”

If you could tattoo a statement on a past version of yourself (memento style) what would it be?

Don’t Join Twitter.

If you would like to learn more about his work then go to thisischristhayer.com

(I love him… I truly do.)


Related articles and info:

Ramblin’ with Hamblin

Review: Cardiff Comedy Festival – Holly Burn, Steffan Evans & Drew Taylor @ The Other Room, Porter’s

Mental Health


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