That’s why I like stand-up, because the fucking audience can hate your guts sometimes and you can bomb, or they can like you. It’s always different. But on the TV, they’re participants. All of a sudden, they know when you stop talking, they’re supposed to laugh. It’s all different shit. That’s what I loved about Saturday Night Live, man. They didn’t warm up the audience. They didn’t fucking tell the audience to laugh, to Lorne’s credit, so sketches could completely bomb. In any other show, they would lather up the audience and force them to laugh at all the shit. The only two TV shows I saw do that, where they don’t warm them up and you can really bomb, was Saturday Night Live—and that’s why it gets a lot of heat, too. Obviously it gets criticism fairly, too. But a lot of it is because Lorne lets the audience decide and doesn’t force them to laugh.
And the only other one I ever saw was the old Letterman show. I loved doing that fucking show, because you could go do stand-up and see them fucking bomb on that show, and it was so funny. It was so real and true and shit. One time, I wrote a sitcom when I first started, and I was like, “Fuck, this whole fucking show is going to bomb. These jokes are all shit. We’re in trouble, boys.” And everybody’s like, “It’ll be all right.” I was even betting people, saying, “This fucking joke, they’ll boo.” And everything kills. They’re feeding pizza to the audience, and if a joke doesn’t work, they fucking do it over and they’re like, “Laugh when this guy stops talking.” And it’s all just fucking fake. I had a show that people thought used a laugh track. It wasn’t; it was the real audience going crazy after everything that resembled a joke, that they could technically call a joke.
Then I found out when I got to the States that they’ll take stand-ups and put them in these fucking TV shows and movies, and they suck. They’re no fucking good, because stand-up doesn’t train you to be an actor. It’s the opposite. The audience is antagonistic toward you. You’re not talking to anyone. In the old days, they put serious actors, real actors, in comedies, so it’d be Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart or some fucking thing. It wouldn’t be George Jessel, or fucking Milton Berle wouldn’t be starring in a fucking comedy.