Joe Mande was never much good at anything but comedy. Right out of college, he got a suit-and-tie job at a high-end optical store his cousin owned in New York. Though Mande trained as a salesperson, over the course of two years, he slowly got demoted until he was the company’s delivery boy.
“I was doing standup every night, staying up late and going to work with four hours of sleep,” admits Mande, whose dedication to comedy eventually paid off: He could quit his day job.
That’s because Mande is a material-generating machine. He’s constantly writing jokes, which has paid off onstage (keeping his act fresh while touring with Aziz Ansari and giving him more than enough material to fill an episode of Comedy Central’s “The Half Hour”) and has been especially useful behind-the-scenes, where he has been working as a writer on “Parks and Recreation,” “Delocated” and “The Nick Kroll Show.”
Also active on Twitter, Mande is known for antagonizing celebrities, sarcastically retweeting inane comments or inserting pictures of penises into politician’s tweets and asking, “Wrong link?”
His ability to mine shallowness for comedic nuance is incredible. Some of his targets, like Russell Crowe, have apparently wised up and blocked him entirely.
“I have like a nervous tick: Every couple hours, I manically go through Twitter,” he says.
The new job requires scaling back some of that activity, along with the sheer amount of standup he finds time to practice — not easy for someone who’s been performing onstage since his mid-teens.
“I’m an adult now,” he says. “I can’t stay out late every night.”
P.O.V.: “If I can get one thing from this Variety list, it’s to get Russell Crowe to unblock me on Twitter.”
Influences: “The movie ‘Hitch.'”