Christian Finnegan can cut you down. He has an otherworldly talent for spotlighting your weaknesses, be they large or small. From just a glance he can determine what job you work, what kind of car you drive, what kind of music you listen to. From some tiny bit of information, he can give you a whole personality" then make fun of it. The stereotype he creates for you is the kind that makes your friends say, "Oh yeah" that's so true. You do do that." Christian Finnegan has the ability to ridicule you "'til you hide your face in shame" but he's also a really nice guy.
You would probably recognize Finnegan if you have ever watched VH1's "Best Week Ever." As a panelist for the show, Finnegan weighs in on everything from politics to passing trends to Paris Hilton. If you missed him there, you may have seen him on "Chappelle's Show" playing Chad in the Mad Real World sketch. And, if you managed to miss all of that, you can catch him on Comedy Central when his standup special premieres on March 11th. Any way you slice it, Christian Finnegan is one of the country's best young comedians. But it wasn't always so.
"When I went to college I was definitely one of the kids that people were like, "'Oh just fucking get over yourself.' I would see the guys running around drunk in the dorms and I would be like, "'Oh, you lemmings.' I listened to The Cure a lot." Doesn't sound like the makings of a comedian who gets most of his laughs by taking shots at himself. "I was a black turtleneck guy" I was deep; I thought important thoughts and read important books. But now, of course, I act like I'm fifteen."
Back when Finnegan really was fifteen growing up in suburban Massachusetts, things were not always easy for him. "I know it's now cool to say how un-cool you were when you were growing up and I know I'm that guy. But the problem with me was that I was a big kid so everybody thought that I should be tough. But I've always been an incredibly huge pussy. I would get little tough kids always pushing me around like "'Look, I'm taking on the big tough kid,' and I cried a lot. I'm very sensitive" .please make sure you include that in the interview; I'm very sensitive and caring, kind of an old soul, I'd say."
This ability to make fun of himself is one of his greatest assets as a comic and he taps this for a lot of his jokes. "You know your friend that goes to a club and always comes back with some crazy story about how he banged some random chick in the bathroom? I'm that chick's boyfriend. I'm that one standing by the bar going, "'Where the hell is Stacey?'"
In reality though, Finnegan's cracks about himself aren't very accurate. He isn't the hapless loser that his stage persona professes to be. For the past year he has been touring colleges and clubs and is regularly seen on television, something hapless losers don't tend to accomplish. On "Best Week Ever" Finnegan has gained a solid reputation for reliable laughs, but not all his material makes the cut. "In every taping, you're in there at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half, but only forty-five seconds actually makes it to air. Sometimes I make a comment that's so sick and wrong if just to wake up the cameraman. Ya know, those guys need entertainment too. So if I say something about Paris Hilton getting run over by a drunk driver; that tends to wake them up."
However, Finnegan admits that there is a limit to what should be said about the people being lampooned on the show. "There is a danger of losing touch with personal courtesy and you start thinking of things within the bubble of "'this would be good for the show.' But you have to ask, "'Would I make this joke in real life?' because sometimes the answer is no." The challenge, it seems, is separating making fun of people for bad things that happen to them from wishing bad things would happen so you can joke about it.
One of "Best Week Ever's" most popular segments is Finnegan's "What Your Purchases Say about You." I was curious to find out what I was saying about myself and informed Finnegan that I sort of enjoy Ashlee Simpson. "Basically what you're saying about yourself is, "'Someone punch me in the face, please.'" The Darkness? "I'm rocking so hard I can barely keep my tongue in my cheek." John Legend? "I'm the kind of girl who would fall prey to the sensitive Resident Assistant." The band Cake? "Everyone in this room is an asshole except me." AC/DC? "If I don't have your pizza to you within thirty minutes, it's free." Finnegan, without a doubt, is a funny guy.
Because of that, Finnegan is on the right track to become a huge star. And when he does, he plans on creating a good celebrity urban legend for himself. "I want mine to be that I got my penis stuck in a melon once." I wondered if he would provide a back story. "Nope, leave them guessing. Was the hole already there? Was he so diamond-cutter hard that he was able to puncture the melon?" I'd say it's on par with Richard Gere and the gerbil.
My time with Finnegan was drawing to a close but there was one more important subject I needed to ask him about: the friend zone the vile state funny men often find themselves in with women they find attractive. It's been my curse for years and I was curious to see if Finnegan suffered likewise. "Absolutely. I've never had one ounce of bad boy in me. I tried for a couple of years and I could fake it for an hour but eventually someone would bring up D&D and I would reveal myself for the dork that I am. I would get the friend thing because I have this bad habit of my voice getting really high when I get excited. That's not sexy at all. Girls would call me to talk about other boys. I went through that phase where I thought girls talking about wanting to have sex with other guys was only a few steps away from them wanting to have sex with me. I was like "'Hey, if she talks about how much she wants to blow Jimmy, she must want to blow me!' I was wrong."
With that, I came to a deep understanding with Christian Finnegan. He may be a famous comedian who tours the country and shows up on television every night, but he is also a down to earth guy who has suffered the same embarrassments as everyone else. The only difference between him and the rest of us is he has the balls to get onstage and make fun of himself about it.
Christian Finnegan's Comedy Central special premieres on March 11th. Visit his website at ChristianFinnegan.com for more info.