Josh Fadem: Absurdist sketch artist has eccentric style

10 Comics to Watch

By blending the physical humor of pratfalls and slapstick with witty one-liners, bizarre characters and the occasional pun, Josh Fadem’s act is as much Charlie Chaplin and the Three Stooges as it is Andy Kaufman and Steven Wright. After fumbling with his microphone — sometimes for minutes on end — the deliberately awkward comic will regain a level of composure and deliver an obscure joke about the 1991 film “Regarding Henry.”

While Fadem’s act is as hilarious as it is unconventional, it wasn’t a desire to make people laugh that brought him to Los Angeles. Instead, he ventured west from Tulsa, Okla., to watch foreign films.

“I’m a lover of movies,” he explains. “I found out the Egyptian was hosting a series of Leos Carax’s films. I was thinking about moving already, but that was the final boost.”

Fadem assumed he’d enroll in film school once he got settled, but when his standup went over well at both the Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade, he decided a career change was in order. He co-founded the Los Feliz Ramada Inn’s basement show “The Pretty Okay Ho-hum Spectacular on Ice!” and continues to perform standup regularly throughout L.A., sometimes tackling sets at numerous different venues in one evening.

Ironically, Fadem’s commitment to comedy has brought him back to the world of film. Behind the camera, he is co-writing a fantasy-comedy screenplay with friend Dallas Hallam for multi­hyphenate Michael Hitchcock. In front of the lens, he serves as the face of Adult Swim, shot several pilots this season and seriously one-upped his film buff buds by booking a small role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s next feature.

P.O.V.: On why he’s funny: “I don’t know if I could give a one- or two-line answer without going into a therapy session with you.”
Influences:Buster Keaton, Chris Elliott, Laurel and Hardy
Reps: Paradigm/Brillstein Enter-tainment Partners

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