Comedy veteran Wayne Federman has performed for over 30 years, but his first comedy album, “The Chronicles of Federman,” coming out Oct. 16, covers most of his career. The funny man spoke to Variety about the retrospective experience of compiling his three-volume set, which he describes as “observational, biographical and musical.” The compilation CD also features an introduction from his old comedy club pal Judd Apatow.
Did you always think that you would catalog your comedy material?
Maybe two or three years ago I had the epiphany. I had all of these old recordings of me. Very luckily, the Comic Strip in New York City put in a video recording studio for the comedians in 1984, I think.
So I was doing a show in Largo and my manager was like, “You know, Wayne, your standup is better than it’s ever been.” So I was like, “What do you think about putting up a compilation album starting from the beginning.”
How did you choose what would be included the album?
I just put all of my best stuff on there. It was like a famous routine I did on MTV and I had the video tape to that. So I was able to use that. There are a few bits that I’ve done through the years that I’ve done, but aren’t on there because I just don’t have a good recording of. I would say that this is a good 90%-95% representation of what I did starting in the clubs, moving to L.A., doing these TV shows, then the alternative comedy world and then touring and playing theaters.
How was it having the kind words from your longtime friend Judd Apatow?
He called me whimsical. Is that a compliment? I don’t know, but it was beautiful what he wrote.
When you were going through your 30-year career, how was it seeing yourself grow as a comic?
That’s probably the most humbling part: zero growth (laughs). I feel like I adapted as audiences changed and became more sophisticated through the years. I feel like I was able to adapt instead of think that I was going to do just my old stuff the way that I always did. When I started out, I would always play the ukulele and then gave that up and didn’t play any musical instrument and then added the piano.
I love that you included the dodge ball joke.
That’s classic Federman! That was one of the old routines that people liked. I go from talking about encyclopedias to the iPhone. I do the whole flip.