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Interview with Comedian Rob Lathan

With many characters such as Dr. Lanny Latham, Speed Eater, and Jerry Foxworthy (Jeff’s brother) under his comedic belt, New York-based comedian Rob Lathan adds a new character to his repertoire: Permanent Nutface Gary.  A benefit will be held for Gary tonight , August 19th at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in Chelsea at 6pm, as part of the “SPANK” comedy block.   What follows is a conversation I had with Mr. Lathan about his new character Gary, his experiences with Improv Everywhere and his recent book Get Psyched!

So your up-coming show at the UCB Theatre is called “Benefit for Permanent Nutface Gary.”  Who is Permanent Nutface Gary and why is a benefit being held?

He’s a character that I created a few years ago. The premise is that his face froze in the middle of an orgasm and he has to speak through a voice box, so it constantly looks like he’s having an orgasm.

I had two videos of Gary online (filmed by Pete Schultz and Brandon Basshan) that got good responses, so we decided to do a whole show with him.  The show is a benefit held in his honor, to help Gary out and to help raise Permanent Nutface awareness and put an end to it.

After the show on Thursday, what’s next for Gary?

He is going to be in an indie movie called Poolboy: Drowning Out the Fury.  He’s going to star as the villain.

What can we expect to see at your UCB show tonight?

The Gary character will be the same and there will be some characters that will perform and honor him.  We’ll have a few celebrities: Eddie Vedder, Nick Nolte, and Michael Phelps.

Who are you hoping this show will appeal to?  Who are you hoping to offend?

(Laughs) I don’t want to offend.  I don’t try to piss people off. At the same time, I don’t try to water it down and please everyone. I’m just performing something I think is funny and hope they think is funny. I’m hoping to appeal to the people who liked the online videos.  I’ll shoot for a wide range, but it’ll probably be a younger audience though.

How would you describe your brand of comedy?

It’s original. It’s a little out there, a little strange, funny, hopefully, on-the-edge.

You play a lot of different characters like Speed Eater, Dr. Lanny Latham and now Permanent Nutface Gary.  Who’s your favorite character to play?

It’s hard to nail down just one.  I do have a soft place for Permanent Nutface Gary because he might be the most original.  There’s no way anyone else has done this type of character before.  Dr. Lanny has to be the most fun to play though.

You seem to be pretty involved with Improv Everywhere. How did you get involved and what are some of your personal highlights?

I originally got involved through UCB Theatre.  [I.E. creator] Charlie Todd sent out an email asking people to participate.  The first one I did was “No Pants Subway Ride.”  From there, I contributed whatever I could.  Closing Grand Central, Lost in Yankee Stadium, Lost at Madison Square Garden. The Grand Central one has gotten the biggest reaction world-wide.  But I was only one of a hundred people in that one.  It was a cool thing to pull off though. “Where’s Rob?” (Lost a Yankee Stadium) was a lot of fun.  We didn’t get a lot of video footage the first time, so we did another one at Madison Square Garden, which was more nerve-wracking.  But it definitely exceeded my expectations.

Didn’t the Yankee Stadium mission start in real-life with you and few of your friends?

Yeah, it started when we were at Fenway Park.  For a brief second I couldn’t find my friends.  It got a good laugh from friends and a few people in the stadium.  So we did it again at Yankee Stadium and had a few people there to record the mission and take pictures, no video camera though.  We posted it on the website, and it got a good reaction there.  And then we did it again six months ago at MSG and got a lot of video footage.

You recently wrote a book with Will Himes called Get Psyched! The 7 Steps to a More Psyched Life, which is based on a motivational speaker named Dr. Lanny Latham. Who is Lanny Latham and how did you create him?

I created the character and people seemed to like it, so I thought I should do more with him. I wanted to define and expand the character more—this character whose only message is to “get psyched.”  Then I came up with the seven steps and created his whole world and history of being a meth addict.  Will Himes (fellow comedy writer) just started writing the book.  We started a year ago and finished in January and had some promo events in New York and L.A. It was a lot of fun!

You can catch Rob Latham tonight , August 19th at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in Chelsea at 6pm, as part of the “SPANK” comedy block. For more info and to purchase tickets go to http://newyork.ucbtheatre.com/shows/178

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About Julie Kocsis

Julie Kocsis is Associate Editor and a contributing writer of ShortAndSweetNYC.com. Living in Brooklyn, she works for Penguin Random House during the day and writes about rock bands at night. In addition to her many band interviews as well as album and concert reviews that have been published on ShortAndSweetNYC.com, she has also been published on The Huffington Post, Brooklyn Exposed and the Brooklyn Rail.
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