ASF Hot Seat: Brandon Gulya

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Brandon Gulya is going to be a busy man during Austin Sketch Fest. A performer at New York’s legendary Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Brandon is not only bringing his amazing one-man show, ‘Who Are You People and Why Are You Watching Me?’ to ASF, but he’ll also be performing with UCB group Stone Cold Fox, and participating in Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction. That might be a record for most shows by an non-Austin performer. Brandon graciously answered some questions.

You perform solo sketch and also with a group, Stone Cold Fox. How do you decide what sketches to do as a group or just by yourself?

Writing for a sketch group is a lot about writing for the specific actors we work with and well as creating premises that could hold up even with different performance styles. I love doing that, it pushes you more as a writer. The more people who have to realize the premise to eventually deliver it to an audience, the more rewarding the laughs are in that specific, walk-off, homerun kind of way.

The ideas for my solo comedy shows I usually know right away that they would be for that. I have a specific style that I like to do and I can tell whether I’d have the most fun performing that particular bit myself. And also just, logistically, they’re all sketches that work best having just one person on stage. So if it’s a sketch that works better with multiple people, it immediately goes to a group I’m working with.

Both are fun in different ways. I love being off stage getting laughs the audience doesn’t know are mine (It makes me feel evil). But performing for a half-hour by myself has it’s own kind of selfish joy.

‘Who Are You People and Why Are You Watching Me?’ pokes fun of corny one-person shows. Have you seen any bad one-person shows?

I guess it does? That’s honestly not too much of an intention. I don’t really enjoy doing comedy that makes fun of other people trying to do comedy. We’re all trying to do the same thing (make the audience laugh) and calling each other hacks is a little like kicking the ball into your own goal.

I know what you mean though. The bit that starts off the show was just meant to be a jumping off point; What if the performer doing a one-person show really didn’t know why the audience was there or why they are watching him. That felt interesting and funny to me, plus a fresh way to get to the characters and a cool thing to call back throughout the show. That’s really all there was to it.

And yes, of course I’ve seen bad one person shows. Also bad ensemble shows, stand-up shows, movies, and TV shows. But also great one person shows, ensemble show, stand-up shows, movies, and TV shows.

Is this your first time taking it on the road?
I did the show in DC a couple months ago. And I’m taking it on tour through UCB starting this Saturday, hitting Dartmoth and hopefully a bunch of other colleges.

What are you looking forward to at Austin Sketch Fest?

There’s lots of great UCB acts going down for it, so everyone should check those out. I’m also looking forward to seeing local groups and comedians and chilling with people from different areas.

Also check out my show the Friday of the festival! It will DEFINITELY have the most prop comedy and the most Tom Cruise jokes of any show playing. I promise. Can you back me up on that?

I can back you up on that. It’s a great show!

‘Who Are You People and Why Are You Watching Me?’ with Brandon Gulya is Friday, May 23rd, 8:30pm, Spider House Ballroom along with festival headliners My Mans (tickets. Brandon will also be performing in Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction on Friday and with Stone Cold Fox on Saturday.