At first glance, Joseph Vecsey is an unassuming, somewhat quiet guy. Polite and friendly, he’s not at all what one would expect when thinking of side-splittingly funny standup comedians. But after delving into what makes him tick, the funnyman in Vecsey begins to rear his head.
“You know, it’s hard,” Vecsey begins when asked where he draws his inspiration. “If things are really good, it’s sometimes hard to write. For example, I haven’t had a toxic relationship in a while, so I don’t have anything to say about that. But hopefully that comes soon, hopefully that happens! I can’t wait for the next one,” he says with a wink.
Vecsey started doing standup while he was studying film at Brooklyn College. “I was writing scripts at film school and stuff. It was all comedies, so I was already writing scripts—that’s what I wanted to do,” he says. “I wanted to mainly work in film, and my friend wanted to try standup, and I said I’d write some jokes for him because I was curious. I wasn’t planning on going up, and he kind of forced me to go up on an open mic, and I was scared out of my mind! But it went well and we just kind of kept doing it. I never saw myself doing standup before that.”
After finishing school, Vecsey got a job as a production assistant on the set of the Adam Sandler film Grown Ups 2, where he forged a relationship with the iconic star thanks to their shared love of basketball. “The first person who made an intro for us was Colin Quinn. I knew him from the standup stage. We were all fans of street basketball. He kind of initially made the intro with us. Basketball was a big common denominator,” Vecsey says. He and Sandler are now longtime collaborators; most recently, Vecsey co-produced Sandler’s Netflix special, 100% Fresh. He has also opened for Sandler at various shows and been an on-set writer for several of Sandler’s high-profile projects.
But it hasn’t always been such smooth sailing for Vecsey. “I’m kind of a slow learner, so the first, even, four years of comedy is very like…I didn’t feel like a real comedian until maybe six or seven years in. I don’t know, you just kind of keep learning,” he says.
Vecsey then recounts the story of his most memorable (and not in a good way) gig. “The worst show I had—I’ve had a few really bad shows—but I definitely remember, four or five months into doing comedy, I did someone’s birthday in Florida. They put me in front of the buffet table standing up with a mic and everybody gathered around. Nobody was sitting, they were just standing like I was giving a toast. Man…I was supposed to do 15 minutes. I did like seven; I was bombing so bad! Everyone was looking at me, and I just remember the disgust in people’s faces, even people I knew, it was like they didn’t even know me anymore!” he says with a laugh.
“To this day I still have nightmares about that show. It was one of the worst experiences I ever had, but what was cool is I saw the [homeowner] a couple years ago, and he knew I was doing stuff with Sandler and touring, and standup and stuff. He said, ‘I knew if you could get through that, you could get through anything!’ People still talk about it to me. That was intense. That stands out as a bad experience, but it’s funny now.”
Joseph Vecsey hosts the All Star Comedy series at Bay Street Theater, 1 Bay Street, Sag Harbor. The next show is on January 18, 2019. For tickets and more info, visit baystreet.org. Purchase Vecsey’s album, Maybe It’s You, on iTunes.