Each week in Give A Little Bit, we talk to funny people — comics, writers, cartoonists, senators — about the first time they got a laugh.
This week, Ryan McKee discusses his first obesity joke, borrowing jokes and taken them over state borders and moving back to the other coast.
Your first bit…
This was the first bit I remember, because it was the first to get laughs. Probably because it was the first thing I wrote with actual punchlines:
“I spend a lot of my time helping to fight child obesity. Recently, I raised enough money to buy an ice cream truck. What I do is drive that ice cream truck 60 miles an hour through neighborhoods. I let those fat little bastards chase me for about a mile, then I stop and reward them with celery and methamphetamines.”
Your writing process is…
I wish I had strong process. I’m constantly working on too many different things at once, so I just make time to write whenever I can. Sometimes I write out everything before I go on-stage, or something I’ll take a half-baked idea to an open mic and see if anything jells. I’m constantly rewriting bits, for better or worse.
Your comedy influences are…
When I started, I badly wanted to be Dave Attell, Mitch Hedberg, or Zach Galifianakis. As I started to find my voice on stage, I realized I’m not a “set-up, punch” guy, so my influences leaned toward guys like Marc Maron, Louis C.K., & Dave Chappelle. Right now, I especially love seeing Chris Garcia and Beth Stelling.
Will our president be bad or good for comedy?
I think anything can either be good or bad for comedy. It’s all about how the comedian tackles the subject. Comics like Anthony Jeselnik and Louis C.K. talk about horrific shit and it’s hilarious. Lesser comics can talk about the same stuff and it becomes unfunny and offensive. As for Trump, they’ll be great comedy that comes from his presidency (there already is), but there will be WAY MORE awful, hacky comedy from it.
How you keep it all together…(notepads, recording, etc)
Through my life, I’ve been a horribly unorganized person. I have so many notebooks and Word Docs with half-finished ideas. Over the last year though, I’ve been using Google Drive and Google Docs for all my new comedy writing. That way, I can pull it up on my phone, computer, or any computer. Still going through the long process of organizing older writing to also upload to Drive.
Thing you wish you wrote…
The first year I started, I outright stole a Eugene Mirman joke. He was in New York, I was in Arizona, and I figured no one would know. I only did it once or twice before feeling too guilty though. I still wish I would’ve written this: “If you’re walking down the street, it is never funny to pick up a child and run…even for five feet.” I also wish I would’ve written The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook, and You’re The Worst.
A new bit…
Wrote this since I moved back to LA: “My friends in New York keep asking me if they should move out to LA too. I tell them, ‘Well, can you drive … while crying?’ Because that’s a thing that happens to everyone. I think that’s why there are so many bad drivers in LA: it’s tough to drive, while crying, while texting your parents for more money.”