TSJ: You riff a lot with the crowd. That must make each show stand out.
MN: That’s the beauty of stand up. I realize, as I get better, that every show will naturally be different. I used to go up with this particular order of each joke. Now I just go onstage and see what happens. I’ll start with something and then just go. If it doesn’t work, I’ll pick up another. Seinfeld has a great analogy, you’ve got some jokes that are your heavy hitters, you’ve got your bunter, you’ve got your first baseman and so on.
TSJ: Then in the early days was it boring doing the jokes by a specific order?
MN: It wasn’t because it was hard. If it’s hard it can’t really be boring, you know? But it was definitely more structured. Now I’m like let’s have fun. And that’s great because you feel like you’re being funny instead of just saying funny things. I want to get good quick, and the only way to do that is to work it, work it, work it.
via the smoking jacket
“The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself.”
“If I’ve learned anything, anything, getting older, it’s the value of moment-to-moment enjoyment. When I was young, all my career was “If I do well tonight, that means that Wednesday will be better. That means I can give this tape to my agent and … ” It was this ongoing chess game. And that is a really disappointing game, because when you get to checkmate, it never feels like it should. And there’s another board that they never told you about. So if I come here and talk to you, if I have an enjoyable three hours, goddamn it, that counts.”