(CBS Local)– Joe List has been doing stand-up comedy since he graduated from high school in June 2000 and his new hour long special for Comedy Central called “Joe List: I Hate Myself” provides a snapshot into his life and career as a comedian. List filmed the special at the world famous Comedy Cellar in New York just weeks before COVID-19 shutdown New York City.
List has performed comedy all over the country and typically travels over 45 weeks per year to do gigs. The stand-up comedian got his start in Boston, took things to the next level when he got to New York in 2007 and ended up performing on “The Late Show With David Letterman” in 2014. List believes his Comedy Central is the best work he’s done in his career.
“It was a lot of fun and it was strange because we filmed this on March 2 and people were aware of COVID-19 at the time, but I did not anticipate the whole world shutting down 10 days after I shot it,” said List in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “It’s sort of a strange time capsule in a way, I’m talking about flying and interacting with people. It’s a little weird, but I think it might be one of the specials that came out because I was one of the last ones to shoot it.”
While List hasn’t been able to travel and do stand-up shows, he has been trying to stay sharp with some outdoor shows that have popped up in New York over the past few months. The comedian shot his special in front of about 250 people at the Comedy Cellar in New York. List is glad he shot the special at his home club because it provided comfort and familiarity when he got on stage.
“I’m on the road all the time and I’m a road dog,” said List. “I do 45 weeks on the road and usually do one show Thursday, two Friday, two Saturday and sometimes a Sunday show. It’s a lot of shows and it’s a lot of fun, I enjoy it. I just wanted to capture that feeling. The main goal was to get the feeling of one stand-up show. I wanted to do it at a club and not a big theater and I wasn’t trying to change anybody’s life. I wanted to do a fun hour of comedy. I wanted it to be like a documentary of our show. Chris Rock said you shoot a special in the venue you most often perform. That was my home club. Sometimes you see these comedy specials and there’s a big swinging crane camera, smoke and crazy lights. I didn’t want any of that, I wanted Joe at the Comedy Cellar.”
While List has had many incredible experiences in his comedy career, the most magical to him was performing “The Late Show With David Letterman.”
“The show was amazing. It was nerve-wracking, but it was just an amazing experience,” said List. “I remember taking the elevator down and getting ready to go on the stage and talking to the sound guy. When you do a late night show, you’re the only one in the building that’s nervous. Everybody else is just at work. I remember it being really fun and Paul Shaffer is standing two feet from you, laughing and shuffling papers. I remember being nervous and also feeling great. The crowd is so hot and such a great crowd. It was pretty magical and then Dave came over, it was unbelievable. It was a dream come true for sure.”
Watch all of DJ Sixsmith’s interviews from “The Sit-Down” series here.