×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Anthony Jeselnik

10 Comics to Watch

The punchlines are always dark and invariably offensive to at least some consensus in the room.

Will his young nephew get to see his deceased gold fish in heaven? “I don’t pretend to know what happens to gold fish after they die, kid, but I do know one thing — there is no God.”

What about asking his “adoptive” parents why they picked him. Was he special? “Yes, Anthony, very special. Because of all the babies we had to choose from, you were the only one that was white.”

Whether the corresponding reaction tilts positive or negative, the Pittsburgh native stands tall in the pocket with an air of consciously inflected arrogance — he’ll never back down with an apology or soften the jagged edge.

“That was a great joke,” he’ll say. “Here’s another.”

Attitude is everything for the comic, who is working on his upcoming Comedy Central standup special, and is also set to host a “Talk Soup”-like series for MTV.

“I just have to keep going with it and be totally in charge,” he explains. “If I apologize, the whole thing falls apart. It gives people a reason not to like me.”

Of course, Jeselnik — whose last noncomedy gig was working as an accounting clerk on the set of HBO’s “Deadwood” — concedes a large percentage of the audience won’t end up digging him. “I’m a niche act,” he says. “I’m very specific.”

But at 29, the former Tulane lit major’s uncanny insight into comic nuance, coupled with his love for and aptitude with joke craft, has him developing a rep as a comic’s comic. Delicate comedy club dilatants may not go for his “specific” blend, but plenty of headliners do.

That polarizingly mean joke Sarah Silverman told at the Video Music Awards last year about Britney Spears accomplishing everything she ever will by 25? Well, Jeselnik was Silverman’s joke writer that night.

“I got into this wanting to be the best joke writer, period,” notes Jeselnik, who originally set out to be a novelist (he didn’t like the sitting indoors all day part). “I had no idea I’d be this good at it.”

POV

“As far as comedians go, I look better than most,” notes Jeselnik, belying a bit of sincerity to the supreme confidence he conveys in his act. The handsome, clean-cut looks combined with the chops have yielded a number of auditions. But Dane Cook this certainly is not — he

demurs on many of these gigs.

“They often need to cast a cute fun guy, but that’s not me,” Jeselnik says. “I don’t have to do a sitcom. I’m really enjoying performing and writing right now.”

More TV

  • Gillian AndersonX-Files press conference, Century City,

    Gillian Anderson to Play Margaret Thatcher in Season 4 of 'The Crown' (Report)

    “The Crown” has found its Iron Lady. Gillian Anderson is said to have signed on to play British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the fourth season of the much-praised Netflix drama series. Anderson’s casting was first reported by the Sunday Times. A Netflix rep declined to comment on the report. Anderson is the latest notable [...]

  • FICG Names Estrella Araiza As New

    Estrella Araiza To Head Up Guadalajara Intl Film Festival

    The Guadalajara Intl. Film Festival (FICG) has announced that Estrella Araiza, until now the festival’s head of industry and markets and director of the Guadalajara IntL. Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been promoted to the position of general director of the prominent Mexican festival. She replaces Ivan Trujillo, appointed director of TV UNAM. Araiza [...]

  • AGS2 Key Art, Image IDs: AGS2_081218_2727,

    Starz Releases 'American Gods' Season 2 Trailer (Watch)

    Starz has released a second season trailer for “American Gods,” which returns to the cabler Mar. 10, depicting the brewing war between Gods old and new in the series based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name. “When people first came to America they brought us with them,” the trailer begins, flashing images of [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Accusers Detail Abuse, Reveal Evidence on 'Dateline'

    The continuing controversy surrounding R. Kelly, including allegations of sexual abuse by a number of women over three decades, was the focus of Friday’s episode of “Dateline.” Speaking to accusers Sparkle, Jerhonda Pace and parents Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, among others, NBC’s Andrea Canning heard more harrowing tales of abduction and sexual misconduct on the part [...]

  • Kenan Thompson

    NBC Orders Comedy Pilots 'Saving Kenan' and 'Like Magic'

    NBC has ordered comedies “Saving Kenan” and “Like Magic” to pilot. “Saving Kenan” is a single-camera comedy starring “Saturday Night Live” veteran Kenan Thompson as a “newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives.” Jackie Clarke will serve as writer and [...]

  • The First -- "The Choice" -

    'The First' Canceled at Hulu After One Season

    Hulu has grounded the space exploration drama “The First” after one season, Variety has confirmed. The series hailed from Beau Willimon and starred Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone in Penn’s first regular television role. “The First” was set in the near future and followed the first human mission to Mars. Hulu gave the show a straight-to-series order in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content