The storytelling medium has only become more popular in recent years—-and with the popularity of podcasts like “WTF with Marc Maron” and “RISK! with Kevin Allison,” stand-ups have been brought into the fold. Maybe that’s why Gabe Liedman—-a standup, storyteller, performer, producer, and writer—-no longer has to explain himself. After appearing on This American Life and “WTF,” the comedian, who performs Sunday at Busboys & Poets, has crossed over from a performer in the back of the room to an entertainer who can hold an audience in a variety of ways.
“I was a shy kid, not a class clown in any way, silent, brooding, sad type. My high school had an improv team and for some reason I got into that,” he says. It opened up the world of performance to me. I did improv throughout high school and college and knew I wanted to be a comedian but couldn’t be part of a troupe or team because I wanted to make a career out of it. I also really hated team names.”
For the last three years Liedman, along with Jenny Slate and Max Silvestri, has produced Big Terrific, a very awesome weekly Wednesday night comedy show in New York City. Praised by Time Out and New York magazine, the night has turned into a destination for comedy nerds. “I have a nice, full supportive room, but it took years performing in hellish situations. It’s all part of the arc. It didn’t start out with 100 people standing there, laughing and happy. It started out with friends and family members standing in the back of horrible bars that are now closed. Even when I started and wasn’t any good, they were there. I’ve had a very supportive parents and that’s not the norm.”
Liedman’s D.C. show will also take place in a supportive room. He’s headlining the Story League Stands Up show on Sunday at Busboys and Poets. For Liedman’s style of humor, it’s a much better fit than the typical comedy club. “There are some stand ups that are amazing and can tell 20 jokes in 10 minutes and blow through a ton of material in a short amount of time. There are some that tell jokes every few minutes and there’s a theme and that’s the type of stand up that I do. It’s funny throughout a story. It’s a great way to exorcise your demons and get it all out there.”