Dare I say that Joe List is a Comic’s Comic? Sure. There, I said it. But he is much more than that and it shows in his new special “I Hate Myself” which he recorded at his home club The Comedy Cellar, and released on Comedy Central’s YouTube channel (August 6th).
The special, taped before Coronavirus canceled everything, is a welcomed respite from the anxiety-inducing world oozing outside. On stage, he is comfortable and affable, self-deprecating but confident. Joe List is a good and funny comic, and “I Hate Myself” had me laughing in bed, while spilling ice cream, and not caring, because I personally felt comforted by his jokes and his style in telling them.
Joe is one of those comics that people who know him are blown away when people don’t know him, and one of those comics that you could show your Uncle David and get a rare chuckle out of. Does that make sense? No matter if or how you know of Joe List, his ability to speak to a wide variety of people is undeniable. From irreverent comics to meditating mortals, Mr. List’s approach is disarming and assuring, even while slipping in subtle vulgarity to make sure you’re paying attention.
Joe’s talent of making many people laugh is a testament to his journey. While he appears, as Marc Maron recently said on his WTF podcast “like a lanky alt guy,” List is a seasoned vet with the chops to prove it. He has been in the comedy game for going on 19 years, starting in Boston and eventually moving to NYC, all the while climbing the ranks.
Having worked with some of the biggest names in the business, from Dane Cook to Louie C.K., Mr. List cut his teeth (inside joke from his podcast, Tuesdays with Stories, which he hosts with fellow comedian Mark Normand) from VFWs and to major milestone arenas. The guy has literally done it all. One of the finalists in one of the many seasons of Last Comic Standing, he has multiple late night credits, not to mention Comedy Central and Netflix gigs on his resumé.
Born to Run
Joe came up in a time, when the internet was young and not everyone was getting famous via viral pseudo-vocations. He came up in the lauded but ruthless blue collar clubs of Boston. While doing his time in the comedy trenches, he learned that he had to be funny, that he had to have solid jokes. Pretty much, shut up in the greenroom but make the people in the audience laugh. That’s how he started opening for Di Paolo, and Gary Gulman.
He has made it, in a very Springsteenian way. Getting out of his hometown and making a name for himself. Pulling up his antimicrobial boot-straps, and putting in the work, no matter how long it took or how hard the business can be, especially on a seemingly sensitive and endearing creature of comedy (and the world).
Almost 8 years sober, List credits his rise in comedy to his getting clean, but he is not preachy or relying on “inside baseball” as it were to placate sober folks or talk shit about drunkards. In essence, he is an irreverent, hilarious joke slinger in the honest style of a few of his heroes, which I won’t name because it won’t do justice or give credit that he stands on his own, has his own style, and deserves credit where credit is due.
Beginning to Feel the Years
Joe List, true stand-up comedian and multi-podcast host (he also hosts his own podcast, called Mindful Metal Jacket in which he talks to fellow comedians about stress, drive, anxiety, mindfulness, and many other things in a calmer tone than his other pod), will be funny forever, always there, churning out great material, from specials to whatever he decides to do, kinda like…well, kinda like Springsteen. Mark my Tweet, one day, Joe is gonna write one helluva book.