“My mom says that when I was young, I used to walk around the house saying I was going to be a communist.” Greg Stone says. “Then she saw me watching Gallagher and realized I meant comedian, which I think hurt more.”
Greg Stone has a way of making his impressive career sound mediocre. Aside from his laundry list of appearances on Comedy Central and the like, he has written for The Break With Michelle Wolf and the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner. You’d think that would merit some self-credit, but Stone won’t even answer a question about where he’s from without taking a carefully timed shot at himself. “I’m kind of from New York City–my dad lived in the Bronx and my mom lived in Bloomfield [New Jersey]. I officially moved to New York City when comedian Mike Vecchione told me I had to if I wanted to be good. So I did. I’m still not good, so Mike is a liar.”
Despite that witty view of his own downfalls, Stone found a spot crafting comedy for others. He says it’s not difficult to transition from his own material to someone else’s. “When I was writing for Michelle Wolf, I would just write what I wanted to say, but then throw in a ‘I’m Michelle Wolf and this is what I think!’ or a ‘My voice is so high, I sound like a bird! Look at my hair, it’s big!’ And people have no idea. Pretty simple, if you think about it.”
Now, Stone is returning to his roots and cultivating his own, lovingly mocking material. The result of his labor is his forthcoming album, The Amazing Greg Stone, which drops on Feb. 15. “I worked on my act for a while, then tried to put it all together as though I was telling a long story at a party where no one got to talk but me,” Stone says. “Then we recorded it.” The place he chose to record his conversation with himself? The Cave and the Creek, naturally. “I was a bartender there when I had no money and I had a show there when I wasn’t very funny. It became my home, and I thought that was a great place to do it. I’ve bombed so hard there before, bombing again wouldn’t feel so bad.”
The 17-track record features bits with titles like “I’m the Worst at Jiu Jitsu” and “I Grew Up in Newark and Got Robbed in Paris.” Inspiration, he says, comes from real life. “Usually something embarrassing happens, and when my mind says, ‘Don’t tell anyone about that,’ it clicks and I say, ‘I need to tell everyone about that.’” Though the titles and the routines suggest Stone wants you to dislike him as much as he seemingly dislikes himself, you can’t help but like Greg Stone. And, behold, the beauty of self-deprecating humor. Something about him is warm and somehow honest, a trait oft-admired in many of comedy’s greats.
“I love comedy. I love the art of stand-up. Bill Burr, Brian Regan, Bernie Mac–mostly comics with B names. But above all else, I love this comic Dan Shaki. I admire him the most for one reason–he’s not funny. He has never been funny and yet he keeps going. That’s inspiring–to truly be as unfunny as him, and yet he gets up every morning and finds a way to do it,” Stone says. “You might be saying ‘does he get by on his looks?’ No. The guy has a head like a rotting tomato, yet somehow he’s managed to sell a pilot, work all the clubs even get on HBO’s Crashing. I mean, it’s easy to do comedy when you are funny, but when God hits you in the face of with the fastball of no talent and you still manage to get a career–my Lord, that is something to admire.” Dan Shaki, as it turns out, is a friend of Greg Stone’s, a fellow Gotham Comedy Live album, and a man he certainly doesn’t hate.
The Amazing Greg Stone, complete with Spiderman-inspired artwork designed by his brother, can be heard on iTunes and any streaming platform. To hear more of Greg Stone, check him out as the co-host of The Rad Dudecast with Anthony Devito and Brendan Eyre.