Top 15 Comedians

Christian Finnegan#1. CHRISTIAN FINNEGAN


Christian Finnegan didn’t grow up wanting to be a comedian. If anything, he said over coffee at Astoria’s Coffeed recently, he was a bona-fide “comedy disliker” when he moved to New York City to attend NYU in the 90s, quickly developing more of a kinship with the broody typewriter crowd than the open mic set.

“In college I hated standup,” he said. “I was very black turtleneck. I wanted to be a writer. But I was one of those pathetic people that wanted to be a writer more than I wanted to write. I loved the idea of sitting at a café with my laptop more than actually doing the work.”

That propensity led Finnegan to pursue a literary tract after graduating, interning at the Village Voice and later working as an assistant at a literary agency. However he says it didn’t take long before he realized he wasn’t cut out for a black turtleneck life.

“When I was working at the agency I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “It occurred to me I just didn’t have the discipline to sit down and write a novel. I just didn’t.”

Attempting to quell his uncertainty, Finnegan began taking broader advantage of the city’s cultural offerings, and while attending a chance performance at the Upright Citizens Brigade, began to rethink his idea of what comedy entailed.

“Even though I’m not an improv guy, it was really refreshing to me,” he said. “I realized you can be funny and not have to be what I thought of as a standup. It just felt different to me. I felt like these were people I’d hang out with. Then I saw a Chris Rock special which made me laugh, and I started to give up a little of my pretense.”

He made his first attempt at stand-up at an open mic at the now-shuttered Lower East Side experimental performance venue Surf Reality, famous for acts ranging from comedy to burlesque to vaudeville.

“I did great the first time because it was stuff I had been thinking about for months,” he said. “I was mainly angry about the musical Rent.”

Soon, Finnegan was performing at open mics around the city, eventually landing as an original panelist on VH1’s incredibly popular pop culture show Best Week Ever. Since, Finnegan’s enjoyed tremendous success both in comedy and TV, including  a one-hour Comedy Central special Au Contraire!, playing the role of Martin on the TBS show Are We There Yet?,  appearances on Conan and The Late Late Show,  and a performance on one of the most famous Chapelle show sketches ever, the “Mad Real World” in which he plays Chad, the only white roommate.

Currently at work on a TV pilot for A&E, the Astoria resident says that although many of the comedian friends he came up with have made the move to Los Angeles, he doesn’t picture ever leaving the city where he made his career.

“I’ve been workshopping this solo show about why the f–k do I stay in New York,” he said. “I don’t love it, I need it. It’s not a healthy relationship. But I don’t feel like myself anywhere else.”

You can catch Christian’s latest comedy special The Fun Part on Netflix.


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Posted by on Dec 30 2015. Filed under It's List, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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