1. How did you come up with the idea for the Hall Series?
Last August at The Comedy Store in Hollywood, I took a picture with a fisheye lens of the all the headshots on the wall, and something about it looked very different... it felt like I was surrounded by these pictures on the wall. A couple weeks later, Brian Moses was walking through the hallway and I took his picture, and it looked really cool. Then I wanted to see what it looked like as a portrait. Joey Diaz was the first person I asked to stand in the hallway and pose. I loved how he looked. To me, it felt like the pictures of the comics surrounding him were giving him the nod, pushing him forward. I'm very honored that The Comedy Store liked these shots enough to make them a part of the club. Starting on May 10th, they will be on permanent display in the entrance to the Main Room.
2. What sets the photos in this series apart from other portraits?
The thing that gives these pictures a different feel is the imagery surrounding each comic in the shot. There are vintage headshots on the walls of legendary comics--some of those photos go back as far as 30 or 40 years. There is a feeling of reverence being in that hallway, and these portraits seem to capture that feeling of reverence as if the viewer is there.
3. How many photos have you taken for the Hall Series so far, and what are the plans for expanding on the series over time?
I’ve taken over 80 photos of Paid Regular performers at the Comedy Store, and the collection is growing all the time.
4. What other projects have you done involving filming and/or photographing comics and comedy?
I started as a filmmaker, and directed a film called Runyon: Just Above Sunset starring Eddie Pepitone which won awards at the two festivals it was submitted to. I created and co-produce the improvised stand-up show, Set List: Stand-Up Without A Net. With the show, Paul Provenza and I have traveled the world, and I've photographed the show as well as other shows in seven countries. I've also done a lot of photos of comics in New York and Los Angeles. When I saw Roast Battle at the Comedy Store, I was hooked from the beginning. I knew someone needed to be capturing stills for that show, which is unparalleled worldwide for its high level action. I'm there for that show every Tuesday night.
5. What makes The Comedy Store a vital and interesting venue after 40+ years?
The Comedy Store is vital because of its integrity. There are three rooms that are bustling every night. It's run incredibly well right now. It's a place that is welcoming to comics, and very hard to get into as a Paid Regular performer. But everyone wants to be there. There is so much personality there that makes it interesting. Roast Battle is so unique. Ari Shaffir's "This is Not Happening" is still running there. Joe Rogan is there all the time. Chris Rock came in to practice for the Oscars. Dave Chappelle pops in, and Louis CK drops in. Last night John Bishop just came in from the UK and did his first show in the US in the Main Room. I love watching Joey Diaz. He's one of the real humans of comedy. He's so unfiltered and raw, and is pure joy to watch. He's raised the bar for so many comics there.
The Paid Regular Hall Series Exhibit debuts at The Comedy Store on Tuesday, May 10th 2016 from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. and will be on permanent display thereafter. More info at www.thecomedystore.com