Brooke Van Poppelen on Debut Comedy Album ‘Hard Feelings’
Recorded live in Austin, Texas during SXSW 2016, Brooke Van Poppelen’s debut comedy album Hard Feelings will release on October 13th. Her new album with Sure Thing Records features thirteen tracks of some of her best and most hilarious stand-up comedy moments. Following the release of Hard Feelings, a show will be held on Saturday, October 15th-10pm at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3.
Brooke Van Poppelen spoke with us about how this album is an introduction to her personality, and contains some of her favorite material. Inspired by her daily life in NYC, Hard Feelings is sure to make you a fan of Brooke Van Poppelen’s quick-wit and relatable humor.
How long have you been doing standup comedy for?
I started my pursuit of any and all comedy related things in 2002 when I moved to Chicago and signed up for level one at IO. It was terrifying and fun, and really brought me out of my shell. I got onto an improv team a few months later and then also got into the Second City Conservatory; which was so exciting. Throwing myself headfirst into so much collaborative comedy helped me feel brave enough to attempt stand-up for the first time in 2003. I’m so thankful I learned to work with teams before developing stand-up habits.
Where did you get your material for ‘Hard Feelings’?
Basically this album is like an introduction to me and my personality — a Brooke Van Poppelen tasting menu! A flight of BVP! It’s some of my favorite material that I’ve performed in NYC over the past 4-5 years which is inspired by daily life in NYC, my struggles with anxiety and panic disorder, my inability to order salads, my Midwestern family and much more!
Did you have a set time limit for the tracks on your album and was there any material you had to cut out?
I recorded 70 minutes of jokes the night of the taping and also performed two original songs with my good friend and amazing piano singer-songwriter, Julian Velard. We had plenty to work with and felt like a 45-minute album was the sweet spot! The songs didn’t make it in because the venue wasn’t really set up to capture music, so we are going to record them professionally and release them as bonus material possibly!
What made you decide to live record this album with Sure Thing in Austin, Texas?
Most comedy albums are recorded live and you want to pick a venue and a city where the crowds are fun-loving and awesome. Sure Thing approached me about being on their label and since they are fellow comics (Duncan Carson & Brendan K. O’Grady) who I very much enjoy and respect, AND their live show in Austin is consistently amazing it seemed like a no brainer. I’ve also been building friendships and a fan base in the Austin comedy scene for over six years and it just felt right to do it there during SXSW where the crowds were extra enthusiastic.
What was the experience like doing standup while live recording?
Typically, comedians will do 2-4 live shows and record them all and mix the different nights all together to make sure they got everything the way they wanted it, which is smart. For whatever reason, I decided to take a gamble and do it in one take. SO, the pressure was on in a great way and because I had to make it count I was really dialed in.
What is something you said that got you the most laughs from a crowd?
My favorite jokes in general are the ones that make men and women both laugh really hard but are definitely about distinctly female experiences.
Since you’re also the host of Hack My Life on truTV and have written/produced Girl Code and other shows on MTV, do you prefer doing standup comedy over writing for TV?
They’re completely different jobs, but they’re really complimentary to one another. They feed into one another for sure and had I not gotten out there and taken chances as a stand-up, I’m not sure how some of these television writing opportunities would have transpired.
What’s the biggest difference between writing for standup comedy and writing for TV?
There are plenty of differences but I’d say when you write for television; whether it’s a narrative show with characters or monologue jokes for late night talk show formats, you have to learn to inhabit other people’s voices. It’s flexing muscles that aren’t all about you and your personal opinions and experiences — they certainly help, but to an extent it’s being able to step aside from a stand-up comedy ego and come up with material that best suits the show you’re working on.
Who are some of your influences in the comedy world?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Amy Sedaris & David Sedaris, The Kids in the Hall were so influential to me growing up — currently I cannot get over what a perfect, hilarious show Last Man on Earth is. It’s so ridiculously funny, the cast is killer and the concept is too good. As far as stand-up comedy goes, I am inspired by Jen Kirkman, Giulia Rozzi, Phoebe Robinson, Jamie Lee and Sara Schaefer — and I’m lucky to call them friends!! You can learn so much from your peers.
Brooke Van Poppelen’s Hard Feelings will be available on ITunes starting 10/13.