This year, we at ASF wanted to shake things up. We still wanted to bring you some of the best sketch comedy in the country, but we also wanted to expand and diversify our programming. And within the deepest venn diagrammed sweet spot of our hearts we found An Historic Evening. Well, we didn’t so much find it, as its creator and host Brendan K. O’Grady applied like every other show. An Historic Evening is a chat show with some of the most notable people in history. Catch it 7pm this Sunday at the SpiderHouse Ballroom along with stand-up from the super funny Bob Khosravi. Brendan gave us a study guide for the show.
Was there a moment of inspiration for this show? How did it come together?
Brendan K. O’Grady: I’ve always liked chat shows, and especially the style of guys like Charlie Rose and Dick Cavett, who were known for in-depth interviews. And I think that the explosion of podcasts in the last few years has demonstrated that there are a lot of people out there who enjoy listening to conversations that last longer than the four or five minutes of your average late-night talk show. So one night I was watching some long interview with Conan O’Brien on YouTube, and that age-old, cliched dinner party question popped into my head: “If you could have a conversation with anybody who ever lived, who would it be?” I put two and two together, called up some comedy friends, and the next thing you know I’m talking to “John Wilkes Booth” in front of a live audience…
Another origin story is that I’m a big fan of Paul F. Tompkins, and I might have ripped off his idea from The Dead Authors Podcast. But that’s probably just a coincidence, right? (RIGHT?)
Were you a history major?
Brendan: Nope. In fact, you’d be amazed by how little I seem to know about history for a guy who hosts a history show! Actually, I have always had a great interest in history and historical figures, but the nature of studying history is such that you can never REALLY feel like you “know” much of it at all. There are so many eras, so many differing accounts and points of view, and new things are learned so frequently that history is constantly being written and re-written. But that’s part of the fun of history as a subject! Geez, I sound like a nerd now, don’t I?
Can you reveal any of your famous guests for your ASF show?
Brendan: Aw, come on, what would be the fun in that? I’ll tell you what, here’s a hint: I hope that audiences is as fascinated by the turn of the 20th Century as I am. And also by David Bowie. He’s a clue too. But, Lance Gilstrap and Joe Hafkey are confirmed as cast members.
What are you looking forward to at Austin Sketch Fest?
Brendan: Oh, man… Superego with PFT, of course, and Ennis & Kaye with Your Terrific Neighbors (and Ramin Nazer opening) is a killer lineup. Locals-wise, I’m a huge Stag fan, and the Master Pancake guys are always genius. And “Laugh Dammit!” is closing out our night at the Ballroom. They’re coming off of what I heard was a great show at Moontower, so I look forward to that. And, speaking as a stand-up, it’s really cool to see so many great comics become a part of the fest, too!
An Historic Evening with Brendan K. O’Grady starts at 7pm on Sunday, May 26th along with a set from stand-up comedian Bob Khosravi. Get tickets here.