FRIDAY, JAN. 4: Top comic Jerry Seinfeld was so convinced that Orny Adams was the next big thing to hit the comedy world that he took him on a special trip to New York to teach him how to deal with hysterical fans.
The pair struck up a friendship while appearing together in the 2002 documentary Comedian and the Seinfeld star has been a mentor to Adams ever since.
“We did shows after the documentary and subsequently continued to stay in touch,” Adams explained.
“I think we just have such respect and love for the craft of stand-up comedy and there is only a very small community of people who enjoys comedy on that level.
“We are similar but I am a lot edgier — I attack topics more caustically than he does but I believe we are working from the same region of the brain. I see similarities in thought and connections that are made.”
While Adams has so far had a successful career that includes being on the same Jay Leno show as then senator Barack Obama, he still hasn’t made it as big as Seinfeld had anticipated. Only someone with a great sense of humour could see the funny side of that. The subject has provided inspiration for some of Adams’ current stand-up material, which he will share on stage at the Fairmont Southampton Resort from January 10 to 12 as part of the annual Just For Laughs comedy show.
“In comedy they keep giving me just enough to stay in it,” said a frustrated Adams. “Just enough!
“But the whole theme of my act now is how life just swats down all of your dreams. My act reflects or mirrors where I am in my life which is my early 40s. It’s hard to say that I am sort of realising that certain dreams may not come true.
“My advice is have a dream with an expiration date, you know, be an Olympic athlete where you know by your early 20s that it is not going to come true.”
After appearing in Comedian, Adams made numerous appearances on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and The Late Show With David Letterman. His comedy DVD Path of Most Resistance was released in 2006 and in 2010 he brought out his critically acclaimed comedy special Orny Adams Takes The Third which premiered on
In 2011, he was cast as Coach Bobby Finstock for the MTV series Teen Wolf based on the 80’s cult classic starring Michael J Fox which he continues to do between tour dates.
Meeting senator Obama on the set of The Tonight Show With Jay Leno in 2008 was one of the highlights of his career. Adams recalled: “He (Obama) said to me ‘you are a really funny guy,’ and I thought ‘is he just pulling my leg?’
“I thought ‘did they tell him there was a comedian on the show and he was just going up to everyone saying ‘you’re a funny guy” and I’m like ‘that’s the make-up artist Mr Obama’.
“But it turns out that he and the Secret Service were watching my DVDs on the plane.
“I know you have to be approved to be on the show with someone on that level and they do a little background check. Every time you are on the Tonight Show they give the guests gifts. The gift when Barack Obama was on was an apron full of BBQing tools and I thought — ‘these are all potential weapons — there is a spatula with a knife on it and Barack Obama is ten feet away from me?!”
Other highlights include working with Steve Martin for a previous Just For Laughs event, getting a celebratory call from Jerry Seinfeld after his first Jay Leno appearance, and working on his current show Teen Wolf which he describes as “a thrill.”
Adams, who majored in Political Science, likes to take the world to task but says his subject matter is not heavy or overly political, it’s just a take on how the modern world affects him.
He describes his style as animated and passionate, so much so he has a reputation for breaking mic stands during his act.
One thing he prides himself on is the meticulous research he does to prepare his material.
“I write my comedy like I used to write dissertations, a lot of research — I love the research.”
Among his comical heroes are Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Gary Shandling and Woody Allan.
“I can hear all of their voices in different bits of mine. I can’t help but be inspired by such greatness.”
Orny Adams appears alongside Alonzo Bodden, Danny Bhoy, Mark Forward and Jonathan Young at the Just For Laughs event at the Fairmont Southampton Resort from January 10 to 12. Tickets range from $45 to $87.
Showtime is 8pm on Jan 10, 8:30pm on Jan 11, and 7pm and 10pm on Jan 12. Alonzo Bodden and Danny Bhoy have a special show on January 9 at the Earl Cameron Theatre City Hall. Showtime is 8pm. See full details of Just For Laughs in our Calendar on page 20.