Joe Mande’s Netflix special “Joe Mande’s Award-Winning Comedy Special,” probably won't win any awards, but it is certainly a unique take on the stand-up comedy genre. Playing with a variety of comedic forms, the special has elements of stand-up and sketch comedy, sprinkled with observational and cringeworthy humor. “I don’t want anything I do to ever feel stale,” says the 34-year-old, best known, perhaps, for buying one million followers from an Eastern European bot lord.
Some of the jokes in the special are admittedly on the lazy side — surely comedians have exhausted every take on morning wood by now — but one thing is for sure. The comedian is pretty entertaining to chat with. We talked to Mande about getting blocked by Russell Crowe, joking about ISIS and how Trump's America is basically like living in Mordor from “Lord of the Rings.”
You do stand-up, you write for “The Good Place” and you’re an actor. You’re doing a lot.
You can put actor in quotation marks.
You’re described on Wikipedia as a comedian, a writer and an internet troll. What’s it like to be a professional internet troll?
I’m not! That keeps getting erased, so there’s just this one person that keeps defacing my Wikipedia page, and now this person — I’m assuming it’s a he — found some sort of citation. Whatever. My whole attitude about that sort of thing when I get upset is Antarctica's melting so who cares what my Wikipedia says? (Laughs.) We’re all going to be under water, we’re all going to die.
Is the “professional troll” bit just because you bought a million followers from a European bot lord? Or because you’ve been blocked and unfollowed by the likes of Russell Crowe and Jessica Alba?
I sort of gravitate to getting into fights with people online. But I was a little bit more unhinged a few years ago. I used to get a thrill out of getting blocked by people and stuff, so I get it. But it’s annoying that that’s my biography.
You talk about your love for ISIS videos and their high quality production in your special. How are you not scared the government is going to come knocking on your door?
Nothing’s happened yet. I’ve sort of had the same whatever attitude, I’ve just been assuming the government has been monitoring me. I used to just on the regs send pictures of d— to Newt Gingrich or Mitch McConnell [on Twitter]. So I assume I’m just on a bunch of lists. Besides, you don't have to dig very deep to find ISIS videos. They know what they’re doing.
That joke ended up working [for the special] but the first twenty times I did it, I’ve never had a joke bomb harder. People were so uncomfortable and I was essentially defending ISIS. So it took me a while to figure out what the actual joke was.
Your Twitter is very political. What makes you the most furious about Trump’s presidency?
There’s a sense that we’re living in Mordor or some s—, it’s so evil. It’s like, 'We can get away with this for a short amount of time, so let’s just do as many awful things as possible.' And as a comedian I find it frustrating because it’s beyond parody.
In an interview you did last year you said you were trying to become a cult leader, a regular Ron L. Hubbard. How’s that going for you?
It’s not going great. I’m working on it. I was actually talking to the guy who runs my website, I told him we need to ramp it up for the special because I’ve devoted my whole website to this cult leader thing. I’ll be working on “The Good Place” for another month, and then I’ll have time to really focus on becoming a cult leader. I’m just really busy right now and I don’t want my cult be half-baked.
"Joe Mande's Award-Winning Netflix Special" premieres on Netflix on July 25.
Follow Rachael Vaughan Clemmons on Twitter — @rachaelclemz