BEHIND THE MIC
Eddie Deirmenjian took my stand up class back in 2014 and has been doing stand up ever since. I discuss with Eddie his development as a comedian and his sketch background, including one sketch that wound up on Tosh.0.
TOM CLARK: You took my stand up class with Joel Schoenbach (who I interviewed last month) and I believe you were both involved in film and video production at UNLV. Did you guys do a lot of collaborating on projects prior to my class? Was the Tosh.o video something that you and Joel shot or was that just Joel?
EDDIE DEIRMENJIAN: We collaborated on a ton of movies and videos since we met at UNLV. We were filming non-stop. In 2006, we had a 90-minute showcase of just our movies at the CineVegas Film Festival, and that wasn’t nearly enough time for all of them. After college, I got a job at an Internet TV company as their comedy producer and I immediately got Joel involved. Joel wrote the sketch “Eerie Edgar and Josh” and I directed it. About five years later, someone from “Tosh.0” saw it and featured it on the show. It really reinforced the saying that there are no overnight successes, only overnight discoveries. I learned that no matter how hard things get, I have to hang in there and focus on making great things. (Here's a link to the Tosh.0 video. Definitely NSFW) Tosh.0 Sketch
TC: You used your Armenian background to come up with a very funny, over the top character for your Level 2 Stand Up Show. Is that something you're still doing? How did you come up with it and how has it evolved as time has gone on? Any chance we'll see some videos with that character?
ED: Thank you. I’m originally from the east coast, I never met another Armenian until the first time I went to Glendale, and it was a huge culture shock. The character really evolved visually from the original inception. In the beginning, I would open a button on my shirt to show more chest hair and launch into the bit. A couple of months later, as you saw, I had a tear away suit which revealed the ugliest, gaudiest, club wear underneath. Every time I did that, the audience would go nuts. Recently, I retired him. I don’t like to do the same stuff for too long; I love challenging myself by constantly writing new things and working them out on stage. As far as that character transitioning from the stage to videos, that’s a definite possibility.
TC: Stage time in LA is always hard to come by, but you seem to be getting up a fair amount around town and on some good shows. What has been the key to getting on shows and finding venues?
ED: Joel and I did the audition at Flappers right after the level one class, and we got booked on the same show shortly after. I also got accepted into their 2015 Burbank Comedy Festival and was chosen to perform in the 2nd Best of Fest showcase. I did some bringer shows at The Comedy Store which led to me headlining a bunch of shows in the Belly Room. Joel, Scott Fernandez, and I are always on the lookout for new shows and we share them with each other. Opportunities have also come up by recommendations from other comics. When I do have a show, I’m always on time, I don’t run the light, I’m polite, and very thankful to the bookers.
TC: With your background in video production, I imagine you always did your own writing of sketches and stuff. Do you feel like having that writing background helped with developing your stand up? And vice versa, has your stand up helped you become a better writer? If so, how?
ED: I really can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing a script or running around with a camera. Even as a kid. I always wanted to do stand up, but I never knew how. Anytime I would come up with a joke, I would turn it into a movie. In fact, my calling card short film, “That’s How Sinatra Rolls, Kid!” (https://youtu.be/Jqc3dA8zwuQ) started as a joke I would tell. My foundation in screenwriting has definitely helped my stand up as far as structure, timing, runners, callbacks, etc. And, stand up has helped my writing by always forcing me to think “how can I make this joke more terrible and upset more people?” Doing stand up has also helped me tremendously as an actor. I used to get really bad anxiety during auditions, but now I am relaxed and much more confident in my work.
TC: I believe next April will be your second year anniversary doing stand up, is there something you hope to accomplish by the 2nd year anniversary. Also, do you have a 5 year goal? A ten year goal?
ED: My stand up career is intertwined with my acting career. My daily goal is to always be writing and developing my voice. By year two, my focus is on meeting more people and spend more time at the clubs. By year five, I want to release an album and perform on television. By year ten, the goal is to have a television show and make movies.
Eddie Deirmenjian is an actor, comedian, and filmmaker. He thinks autoerotic asphyxiation is hilarious.