[Photo Credit: Matt Monath]
Eliot Glazer is a writer and performer, working on shows such as New Girl and Broad City; his latest project is his web-series turned live show, Haunting Renditions. The show features a variety of both comedy and music guests taking songs that audiences often have nostalgic memories for. Glazer generously took some time to speak to me about making the show and what goes into making it. If you would like to catch it for yourself, his next show is at the Bell House in Brooklyn on April 20th.
ALEX SPRUCH: So with your show, Haunting Renditions, you made the infamous comedy-to-music jump, what were some of the difficulties making that transition?
ELIOT GLAZER: The show is mostly comedy. It's not really a challenge of finding the music, it's a matter of picking music that bridges the gap of comedy and music. Lyrics that I think would be funny that are on the periphery of nostalgia. Nostalgia is such a big part of the internet and it's really a natural fit for the show. The internet culture loves reminding you of things from your childhood. Bringing songs that you knew every lyric to as a child and performing them.
AS: Has there been any big ideas for the show you haven't done yet?
EG: I had a drag queen on the show, her name is Milk, she was on Ru Paul's Drag Race. Having her was a really fun and interesting deviation from what we've done before on the show, which was host straight up comedians. The more musicians I bring on the show the better.
AS: What's working with the guests like? You've had Gilbert Gottfried, Phoebe Robinson, and Danny Tamberelli amongst others, do you work with them on the pieces to be performed or do they show up and you're like here: we're singing a Nickelodeon medley.
EG: It really depends on every person. Danny and I didn't really rehearse anything but Ed and I certainly rehearsed. Every time I pick a comedian or comedian, we develop together with my friend Seth who produces the show and Mike who arranges all the music and plays the piano. We come up with the right sort of idea for them, which is really different for each guest. It changes, it really changes every time for each show . There's no category or format we try to squeeze all the guests into, it just really changes each time.
AS: From LA bouche to Katy Perry you and the band have performed a wide variety of music, what goes into the selection process for a song?
EG: I've been keeping an iTunes playlist which has now turned into a Google Doc of songs I want to do something with. I try to pick songs that you might not see the opportunity for on surface or you might not see the comedy in, but I can. Try to hit the nostalgic funny bone, songs that people may have forgotten. Without the context it might not be funny, but then people remember these songs, or remember where they were at that point in their life when they were released. My generation made music such a strong part of their identity, more so than kids now. As a teenager it was a way to identify yourself as a teenager, so when you hear a song you haven't heard in a while it makes you think of a time forgotten. It scratches a certain itch for you, it brings out a feeling or memory that might may you feel embarrassed or it might make you laugh. That's my favorite part of these songs.
AS: Any plans to continue Web series?
EG: Not planning to do any more web videos. We have a piece meal version of that we're taking to a production company later this year. Not changing formats too much as its already a variety show.
AS: For anyone looking to do their own show or anything similar in the vein of Haunting Renditions, what's some advice that helped you that you would like to pass on?
EG: Find a venue where music and comedy work in tandem. For us, for me, that has been more of a challenge on the West Coast versus the East Coast. In New York you can go back and forth between comedy and music in one venue and it's not much of a challenge. In LA, it's a little more of a challenge to find places that accommodate both genres. So if you're trying to do a show like Haunting Renditions
, find a venue that caters to both genres. Because having an audience for just music or just comedy can be really detrimental if you're trying to do something to reach both types of crowds.
AS: And for anyone looking to catch the show in the future, what's the upcoming year for Haunting Renditions looking like?
EG: More music, more guests, we're trying to expand with more musicians and comedians and really trying to bring them into the show more rather than relinquish the stage to them. We moved more to sharing the stage with guests and delving into their musical background or tastes rather than a straight stand-up set.