100 Dallas Creatives: No. 73 Comic Artist Aaron Aryanpur
Another secret to comedy? A good backdrop.
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order. Know an artistic mind who deserves a little bit of blog love? Email email@example.com with the whos and whys.
Aaron Aryanpur is more than just one of DFW's most admired comedians. He's an admirer of comedy. The graphic artist turned award winning stand-up has an interesting hobby for a comedy fan. He draws black and white caricatures of his favorite comedians, then seeks out their autograph for his collection that features faces and scribbled names like Penn and Teller, Dave Attell, all five Kids in the Hall and the late Mitch Hedburg.
What's the secret to winning Funniest Comic in Texas and landing a spot on the new Fox show, Laughs? For Aryanpur, it helps to bounce ideas off other comics and meet his personal deadlines.
How does your creative process work?
It's a little bit of a combination. What happens more naturally is that something will come up from a real experience and I'll take a mental note of it. I'll try to write it down real quick or type it into my phone and I'll try it on stage. I find that there's something funny about it in the moment and trying it on stage a few different ways helps me edit it.
Then there are other times when I feel really hard-pressed to come up with something new and I will sit down and try to go over old notes but I've found what works the best is if I've already tried something on stage a few times and it hasn't been working, those are the times when I feel like I have some sort of orders. So when I sit down with some friends - and this doesn't happen a lot - but we'll sit together and pitch each other stuff. Usually it's things where I'm hitting a wall and it helps to get another person's perspective because they're hearing it for the first time.
How do you get inspired to write or create something?
I'm so super appreciative when something happens in real life that triggers something. The first thing is to be as aware as possible just from day to day. Inspiration is all over the place. So those times when I have to sit down and complain about something like having new material or something to bitch about, I'll already have a backlog of mental notes and things that I've scribbled down.
Is there anything specific you do to push yourself?
I think having deadlines really does help. I also like having exercises where it's going to be I'm going to be talking about something I don't normally talk about. In the last six months, I actually was writing for somebody else, another comic from New York, and that's a real interesting case of jokes that may or may not be in my personal voice and a deadline where I'm going to be on TV in two days. Here are the topics that they've given us to discuss. I need a few jokes for these. That became a whole exercise in just trying to write as many jokes as possible and edit as you go. It would be really interesting too that where I thought the joke would be over like say it's a really short joke that I would joke about Twitter, that wouldn't work on television or wouldn't necessarily work on stage. More often than not, it was topical stuff so it's jokes that wouldn't be able to necessarily do in a week or two. So that was kind of cool.
How would you define comedy?
I've heard that the difference between a comedian and a humorist is that a comedian does the same joke over and over again and a humorist comes up with new material every time they sit down to write. I wonder now if most comics are somewhere between the two.
I'm starting to get booked at a lot of places that have worked with me before and I'm in a weird place now where audience members are coming back. People are coming back to shows. For the first few years, you're just trying to convert a room full of strangers one show at a time but if you're getting people to come back to see you, they're only going to do that so many times if you're doing the exact same stuff. You have to keep it fresh for everybody. You have to keep it fresh for yourself. You have to keep it fresh for an audience so they don't get bored and writing new things so the clubs and everybody who want to book you want to keep bringing you back because they know you're not just doing the same stuff over and over again.
100. Theater Mastermind Matt Posey
99. Comedy Queen Amanda Austin
98. Deep Ellum Enterpriser Brandon Castillo
97. Humanitarian Artist Willie Baronet
96. Funny Man Paul Varghese
95. Painting Provocateur Art Peña
94. Magic Man Trigg Watson
93. Enigmatic Musician George Quartz
92. Artistic Luminary Joshua King
91. Inventive Director Rene Moreno
90. Color Mavens Marianne Newsom and Sunny Sliger
89. Literary Lion Thea Temple
88. Movie Maestro Eric Steele
87. Storytelling Dynamo Nicole Stewart
86. Collaborative Artist Ryder Richards
85. Party Planning Print maker Raymond Butler
84. Avant-gardist Publisher Javier Valadez
83. Movie Nerd James Wallace
82. Artistic Tastemakers Elissa & Erin Stafford
81. Pioneering Arts Advocates Mark Lowry & Michael Warner
80. Imaginative Director Jeremy Bartel
79. Behind-the-Scenes Teacher Rachel Hull
78. Kaleidoscopic Artist Taylor "Effin" Cleveland
77. Filmmaker & Environmentalist Michael Cain
76. Music Activist Salim Nourallah
75. Underground Entrepreneur Daniel Yanez
74. Original Talent Celia Eberle