Brooks Wheelan Talks Stand Up, Strange Life Choices

Brooks Wheelan has already had a storied career. The comedian was on various television projects including Adam Devine’s House Party, Conan, and The Chris Gethard Show. Google his name and you’ll most likely see that he was on a little known sketch series called Saturday Night Live. He was the first to go of the new class and that was the main story for the show for that year.

But he’s already talked about that. I made it an effort to not mention the show (save for a reference to the bands he loves). We’ve heard that story before. Now, it’s time for him to tell the world a new tale. Wheelan has recently gotten back into stand up. After a short tour and shopping around jokes, he is releasing an album called This is Cool, Right? In it, he talks about his childhood up through him leaving SNL.

I recently was able to talk with Wheelan about his place in comedy:

Let’s get this out of the way: you were on a popular show with very popular people on a very popular network. So, answer me this: how was being on Girls?

Oh that was great. We just shot it really quick. Lena Dunham’s like the nicest person ever. So it was fun.

Do you think you’re ever going to go back?

No. I doubt it. I mean, not that I wouldn’t but I mean I don’t think that my character has a lot going on for him. I think it was just kind of a one off, fun thing. I’ll go back to the set and hang out. But that might be about it.

I think that’ll be good enough for Lena.

Yeah. It’s fun.

So what about being in other TV shows? I know you were just cast in a movie called The Out of Town Wedding with Kurt Braunohler.

Yeah. That’s really cool. It’s really funny. I read a lot of scripts. A lot of times I’m like “this is okay” but like that one I was like “I’d really like to do this.” Now, it’s happening so I think it’ll turn out really funny.

Are you guys shooting it now?

No we’re going to shoot it in a month or two. It all takes place in a resort. So it shouldn’t take too long to shoot. I think we’re going to go up to Oregon and shoot it. It’ll be fun.

I read an interview with you on Esquire and you talked about how you loved meeting the bands on SNL. What kind of music are you into?

Definitely my favorite part. By far the coolest part of SNL was the bands. We had some awesome bands when I was there. I mean like The Nationals, Arcade Fire, and Kings of Leon and the Black Keys and St. Vincent. It was awesome. I’d write sketches and put them in it just so I could go talk to them.

Do you keep up with any of the bands?

A little bit. I became kind of friends with them. So if I’m in a city they’re playing, I’ll text them. You know. But that’s about it. I mostly just hang out with comedians.

Oh really? What kind of comedians do you like? Who do you like?

I like most comedians. I try to look at everybody for why they’re great as opposed to just kind of shitting on it. A lot of comedians’ points of views are “this stinks because of this.” So I’m like “I can see the merit because of this.” But my favorite guys are Kyle Kinane, Rory Scovel, and TJ Miller. Just those guys who…the class above me that makes me laugh so hard.

I saw you on Conan a few months ago. Are you focusing on stand up right now?

Yeah. After I left SNL, 100% of my focus shifted back to that because that was my focus. My entire life up until SNL was always stand up. I always kind of considered myself a stand up comedian only. And then this other stuff is just cool.

So when you did the Falls Back On The Stand Up Comedy (sorta) Tour, is that you trying to step your toes back into the waters of stand up?

Yeah. I was always still doing stand up but that was just me announcing “hey, come watch me do stand up!” That’s all it was; just getting the name out. “Come watch what I’m really good at.” It’s just fun to make fun of the idea of falling back on stand up which, you know, a lot of people do. But it’s all I know how to do. It’s not like I was falling back. I was always going to go on that tour. I just named it that because it was funny.

So how did you start writing “This Is Cool, Right?” your new album?

That’s just a culmination of - I’ve been doing stand up for eight years? So it’s really just my best hour of material which turned out to be really autobiographical. The whole album, when you listen to it from start to finish, starts when I’m really young and ends with me on SNL. It’s just kind of talks about growing up and moving to Los Angeles, and doing comedy while being an engineer and doing SNL. It’s just a long story that hopefully people think is funny.

Yeah I definitely saw that. When you started talking about the possum and then you went on to the Furby in high school then you started talking about drinking in college I really saw how you used parts of your life to really develop your comedy.

Yeah absolutely. That’s my favorite part of comedy: when people talk about themselves.

So are you really personable on the stage?

Yeah. Everything I talk about is what I’m going through at the time. Sometimes to a fault where I’ll be a little grouchy on stage. And then I’m like “well you can’t do that.” I like people who are exactly who they are off the stage and on it. That’s the type of comedy I really like.

So do you like to attribute a lot of your life or just parts of your life?

Oh everything, man. No matter what. It all goes in.

So what’s your process for writing then?

Just whatever happens; whatever I’m thinking about. Think of something funny about that. Just something weird that I grew up with or that happened to me recently then go on stage. Usually, I’m the idiot in the joke. I’m not up there making fun of people. I’m usually making fun of myself for what I thought was a good idea at the time.

So did your brothers ever get mad at you or did your father ever get mad at you? Like when you stuck your dick inside of the mouthwash?

They didn’t know about that, man. They still don’t know about that. When the album comes out, that’s when they’ll find out about that.

Wow. That’s really funny. I cannot wait for them to hear about that.

Yeah I haven’t told them. But it was a long time ago. I think the statute of limitations is they won’t be upset.

Do you think they’ll ever prank you back?

No. They were really mean to me. They deserved it. They’re cool now. We get along great. But when we were little, they totally deserved me, you know, attempt to get them back.