Comedy Dynamics is North America’s top independent producer of stand-up comedy and the comedy arm of production company, New Wave Entertainment. This past July, Comedy Dynamics officially launched online, allowing its extensive archives of stand-up comedy available for streaming on a variety of services such as Hulu and Roku. With plans to roll out on many other streaming platforms in the very near future, Comedy Dynamics is making waves in the comedy business by focusing on talent and comedians themselves. You could call them artist obsessed. We spoke with President of Production, Brian Volk-Weiss about how Comedy Dynamics came to be, and plans current and future. It turns out that George Lucas had a bit to do with it.
When doing research on you, I was amazed by all the great specials and people you’ve worked with or produced. Are there any that are closer to your heart than others or stand out as your favorites?
I always struggle with that question. If you and I weren’t in the middle of an interview and just talking on a train to Cincinnati I could answer that question in 5 seconds. So I always struggle. But are there any I’m proud of? Yes, I’m very proud of working with Bill Burr which just premiered on Netflix last Friday. I’m very proud of Mike Birbiglia’s last special. The first time I saw the act way before we shot it, I literally was crying, not just from laughing but how emotionally powerful it is. I’m always very partial to Birbiglia’s special. And then of course [Jim] Gaffigan, we’ve done two of Gaffigan’s specials and everything that guy does is just pure genius.
Dane Cook’s Tourgasm was something that you produced and it seems like that kind of changed the game, there weren’t things out there at the time. Now Comedy Dynamics is doing something similar. You keep coming up with these great ideas, what’s the secret?
Actually, Tourgasm was very different. That was Dane Cook’s idea and I just implemented his idea. I used to be a manager, I was a manager for about for about 12 years. When I was managing Dane, like I said, that was 100% his idea. He told me what he wanted to do and we just did it. So I can’t take credit for coming up with that.
For Comedy Dynamics, and maybe I’m just not good at self promotion, but the technology was evolving and we were able to work with and do things that were not doable as recently as 3 or 4 years ago, so we just did it. So if anything I’d say there was an opportunity and I pushed forward very aggressively to take advantage of that opportunity. But I don’t think anything we did her was splitting the atom or whatnot. [laughs] I should probably be saying the opposite to you. But the opportunity arose and we took advantage of it.
I listened to a podcast you were on recently and you mentioned that you never had any interest in performing stand-up.
Well there’s a question in there, as someone that’s worked with so many stand-up comedians. Why have you never wanted to venture into stand-up comedy.
You know? That’s a great question. I wasn’t into comedy until I got out of college. I was always a Star Wars, Star Trek, Indiana Jones guy and that’s what had me come out to Hollywood. I really wasn’t that big into comedy, probably for the first 23 years of my life I had never been into a comedy club but maybe once. When I got to LA, I started going to comedy clubs and that was where I fell in love with comedy and I became as obsessed with comedy as I was with Star Wars.
I’m not going to say I’m not funny but I definitely do not posess the talent to get on stage and make people laugh consistently and secondly I don’t have that feeling. I don’t fear public speaking, I speak in public frequently and have no problem with that. But, I would not want to make my living telling jokes. To be completely blunt, it’s too tough, a heckler would hurt my feelings, I probably wouldn’t go up again.
Your story is one that I love to hear. Started at the bottom as a PA, then slowly working your way up. You deserve your success.
You’re very kind.