The Creators of NYC: Comedians The Dependable Felons
Josh Wool spent a decade as an executive chef, opening restaurants across the south. But all that changed in 2010, when the carpal tunnel in his hands meant he could no longer work. To keep from going stir crazy, he picked up a camera and found his next calling. Two years, thousands of portraits, and a move to New York later, Wool is documenting the people who inspire him on a daily basis. Welcome to Creators of NYC.
Comedians James Chupka and Murf Meyers met sometime around 2009, in a rat-infested row home in Northern Philly (their words). Now part of comedy troupe The Dependable Felons, the duo are making their way into the New York comedy scene with a particular brand of psychedelic absurdity — and a new tour that takes them into people’s living rooms. We caught up with them in their Park Slope stomping grounds.
Your newest gig is a called the Whiskey Tango Living Room Tour, which actually takes you into the homes of New Yorkers. Why host a comedy show in people’s living rooms?
The Felons were inspired by our lower-middle-class upbringing, where friends and family would gather in each others homes every weekend to share spirits, jokes, and stories. Cheaper than any movie or concert that would pass through Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. With the Whiskey Tour, we want to make our shows more accessible.
Is it ever awkward being in the private homes of strangers?
Sometimes it takes a moment for both the performers and the audience to get used to the intimacy. But once everybody settles in, it becomes a funky experience. The weirdest thing we’ve dealt with was putting a host to bed. He clearly had too much to drink, so we escorted him to his bed and tucked him in. All in a night’s work.
How do you describe your particular style of comedy?
Our comedy slides back and forth between stylized, psychedelic absurdity and fiercely committed realism. As far as subject matter, we deal primarily in raunch and lunacy … The goal is to combine saucy live material with stylized video to take audiences on a bizarre journey deep into the minds of two veritable madmen.
New York has long been known as a center for comedy. How has living here affected your perspective on what you do?
New York has definitely kept us on the hustle. There’s no shortage of talented comedians and filmmakers making plays in this city. If you want to produce comedy professionally, it’s either here or LA, and once you actually move here and get busy you realize that you must be hustling at all times. If you stop to relax, the city will crush you.
How do you guys come up w sketch ideas?
We’re constantly pitching each other. When we land on something we both laugh at, we get to work. Murf writes the scripts, then Chupka starts drafting the storyboards. It’s a very collaborative process that has worked well for us. As far as topics go, we like to pull elements and themes from the day to day that we find amusing or interesting and use that as inspiration. Then we attack it from our own point of view. Our backgrounds are drug and booze-filled, our life experiences bizarre, and our behavior has at times been criminal. We pull from this well to create comedy we find funny, and hope others do to.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?
Between you, us, and the bedpost, there’s an abandoned building in West Crown Heights that offers the finest debauchery in all of New York. Sex acts, animal tricks, illicit substances, and all the sick jollies a grown person could beg for. Mention The Dependable Felons and get half off all your indulgences.
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