Surreal genius - Page 2

Kaspar Hauser's mighty wind
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The first words of our pitch were "fuck you." But one of the things that we deal with now is wanting to make sure people read the book — we don't want people to think that it's just funny photos but to find the little gems in the writing.

SFBG Anything that didn't make it into the book?

JAMES REICHMUTH Our publishers suggested very few changes contentwise. There were two products that they said no to: al-Qaeda action figures, which I'm sure someone has done, and the "One True Cock Ring." But that was more of a Lord of the Rings copyright thing.

SFBG You've obviously found ways to channel your creativity into a variety of avenues, not just live performance. How has living in San Francisco influenced you?

JAMES REICHMUTH As a comedian, staying in San Francisco is to really choose to have a different kind of career. The biggest choice you make as a comedian is to not move to LA or New York.

JOHN REICHMUTH It takes you off this track where you're waiting for someone else to validate you or make you into a star or something. You just make your own business. You create something different.

SFBG You've performed in SF Sketchfest every year since its inception. What's your take on the festival?

JAMES REICHMUTH If you look at the lineup now, it's one of the best comedy festivals in America, without question. Their ambition every single year is astounding, and it's all Dave Owen, Janet Varney, and Cole Stratton who just make this happen. The thing that's so great about it is that it's not just sketch comedy — it's basically everything but straight stand-up. And straight stand-up is the one kind of comedy that everybody in America has seen way too much of. So anything they see at the festival is bound to be surprising to them as well as being at least as funny as anything they've seen before.

SFBG When you're writing, do you have a pretty good sense of what's going to be funny to an audience?

KLEIN There have been a couple of things that have made all four of us laugh over and over and just — if the audience doesn't laugh at some point, you just gotta give up and move on.

JAMES REICHMUTH It's pointless to say something like "Well, that audience didn't get it." It's either a success or a failure. Finding your audience is one thing, but it's, like, they laughed or they didn't. We try to avoid being hack or cheap —

JOHN REICHMUTH Or topical.

JAMES REICHMUTH In the end, it's just all about laughs.

KLEIN If you can get the whole audience, then you get them crying and laughing so hard they're spitting on the people in front of them.

JOHN REICHMUTH As a comedian, I think getting people to spit stuff out is number one. *

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