Comedy Central’s new show, “The Comedy Jam," is the network’s first venture into attracting the kind of audience that still misses what MTV used to be. The show has comedians and performers come out on stage in front of a large audience, tell a story about their life of why they emotionally connect with a certain song and then sing that same song. So far, the show has succeeded at producing musical performances from the likes of Chris Hardwick, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Mark Duplass. The creator and host of “The Comedy Jam," Josh Adam Meyers, took the time to talk to The Daily Gamecock and described a wavering journey of creating the show and how he got to where where he is now.
“There’s an old saying in comedy that every comic wants to be a rock star,” Meyers said. “And the second half of that is that every rock star wants to be a comic.”
The origins of “The Comedy Jam” started when Meyers was a stand up comedian performing at one club in Los Angeles and what they usually did to end a Sunday night show.
“The owner of the theater that we have the show at would just pull out these instruments at the end and I would just lead the way with these bigger comics,” added Meyers, who's performed music with different comics like Bill Burr and Chris Porter. “This community started there. This very organic, beautiful thing, and then that theater shut down.”
After the club closed its doors, Meyers was dealt with a far greater loss, with the death of his best friend. Even with dealing with the tragedy, his career was going very well. At that moment, he decided what he needed to do.
“I’m not going to do something for money. I’m not gonna do something for recognition or fame. I’m gonna do something that I think will be fun,” Meyers said.
Inspired by the performances he used to do on Sunday nights and the on-stage antics of music legends like Billy Joel, Meyers’ first told his ideas about what would become “The Comedy Jam” to Bill Burr. Not long after, the two held the first “Comedy Jam” concert in July 2014.
“It was the most magical night of my life” Meyers said of the first show. “When the show was over, 250 people in the theater ran to the green room just to party and congratulate everybody.”
The show continued to sell out rapidly, so much so that Meyers needed to switch the venue space to The Roxy, an iconic club in downtown Los Angeles. After the live show started to become more of a staple in the LA and New York areas, “The Comedy Jam” started to gain traction into becoming a television show. When Meyers started taping for the show, he still wanted to keep the spirit of the live show going while recording.
“We shot it like it was one of my live shows. I’m hosting," Meyers said. "I’m getting the crowd amped, so most of the people that have been on the T.V have done the live show already and they know it’s literally one of the funnest things you can be a part of. It’s kinda like a glossy documentary-ish if anything.”
Bridging the gap between comedy and music successfully has been a viable source of material for musicians like Weird Al Yankovic and Tenacious D, but “The Comedy Jam” seems fit on making its own path toward leaving a mark on people.
“You’re getting this very soul bearing performance,” Meyers said of the musical numbers. “There’s a lot of heart to this show, more than I expected when I started it.”
So far, Meyers has been able to see what all of the performers in his show have in common, and it has nothing to do whether or not they are funny or can hit a high note.
“When you’re putting yourself out there as a performer, whether it’s a comedian or a musician, you’re being judged, so there’s this empowering rock star behavior that you kinda have to have,” he said.
It’s by going out and performing week after week on “The Comedy Jam” that has made the show a stand out.
“We’re asking comedians and performers to go out of their comfort zone and tell this story about their past and to not only do that, open themselves up, but then they have to sing this song with a live band,” Meyers added.
The emotions that come from music is why we are drawn to it so much. Meyers created “The Comedy Jam” by dropping everything and capturing a feeling that you didn’t know was there. “I think there’s this weird connection through story and song. It just brings up a lot of raw emotion,” he said.
Meyers continues to do the shows because comedy and music are his true passions.
“That’s all the shows have ever been, just one of the best nights of my life,” he said.
The next episode of “The Comedy Jam” airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday.