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Speaking with Brandon Wetherbee on the phone is like talking to a good friend—-and not only because the 29-year-old is relaxed and witty in an occasionally self-effacing way, but also because his voice is really familiar, if you’ve listened to his talk show, You, Me, Them, Everybody.
The live show, originally only available through the web before shifting to a live setting at the Hungry Brain in Chicago, is celebrating its third anniversary at D.C.’s Wonderland Ballroom tonight—-a day before Wetherbee’s own 30th birthday. (Disclosure: Wetherbee used to write about comedy for the City Paper, but I’d never interacted with him before this week.)
Wetherbee began the show in 2008, modeling it after Terry Gross’ Fresh Air before moving towards a more “late-night style.” He says he was heavily influenced by talk show hosts like Craig Ferguson and Studs Terkel, who combined comedy with oral storytelling.
After moving to D.C., where he now works as an associate editor at Huffington Post D.C., Wetherbee teamed up with comedians Adam Friedland and Jenn Tisdale. The trio works together to create the unique experience that is You, Me, Them, Everybody: They deliver monologues, impersonate different characters, and interview various guests—-most of whom Wetherbee selects based on how interesting he thinks they are.
His favorite past guests include Dave Zirin, a sportswriter for The Nation, and Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton of NPR’s All Songs Considered. “You know they’re going to be good, so that’s not a revelation or anything,” Wetherbee says. “But they were willing to go along, to go with the flow.”
Relaxed guests go a long way toward setting the proper mood for the show. Wetherbee says he works hard to bring guests out of their shells and get them comfortable, and he credits co-host Tisdale for her assistance with that. “Doing it without a co-host is a little more like pulling teeth, but I’ve done it before and I’ll inevitably do it again,” he says. “You just don’t give up, and you never throw [the guest] under the bus. If it’s a failure, it’s on you.”
Wetherbee seems content with the way the show has turned out, especially its transition from podcast to live performance as well as its geographic expansion (shows are regularly hosted in D.C., Chicago, and Philadelphia). But the host says he still has ambitions for himself, including radio and television appearances, if possible. He holds himself to a high standard—-the same standard to which he holds other comics.
“I think the funniest guy in this city is on my show,” he says, referring to Friedland, who is 24 and starting a Wednesday evening series at the Wonderland Ballroom, of which Wetherbee will be a part. “That’s why he’s on my show, and I’ve had everyone decent on my show.”
On the state of comedy in D.C., Wetherbee says there’s no paucity of great stand-up talents in town, but they don’t tend to last. “There are a lot of great people that come through here, but no one stays here,” he says.
With You, Me, Them, Everybody he hopes to change that. Its three-year anniversary show tonight will be bare bones, featuring no special guests—-just Wetherbee, Tisdale, Friedland, and their comedic timing. “There are no bells and whistles on this one,” Wetherbee says. “We’re just doing what we do best.”
The show begins tonight at 9 p.m. at The Wonderland Ballroom. $5 suggested donation. 21-plus.