450: How to Be a Stand-Up Comedian with Brent Pella

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Brent Pella

Are you a fan of stand-up comedy? What I love about today’s guest is that he uses his comedy to bring people together, rather than divide them.

You’ll also hear the inspiring story of how he persisted to make his dream of being a stand-up comedian come true, which shows us all how we can do the same to achieve our dreams.

Brent Pella is a successful stand-up comedian and a cast member on Nick Cannon’s VH1 show Wild N’ Out. Brent’s comedy sketches, parody videos, and celebrity impressions have more than 200 million views online.

In this episode, we discuss how he made a name for himself by never giving up on his dreams, the mindset that will make you better at any craft, and the relationship between comedy and spirituality.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The advice that Andy Samberg gave Brent that made him a better comedian.
  • How being persistent in his goals got Brent from working in Cheesecake Factory to being a part of Hollywood music video sets and VH1 shows.
  • The creative process that allows Brent to consistently produce content loved by millions worldwide.
  • How an Eminem parody video led to a call from Nick Cannon and a role on his Wild N’ Out show.
  • Why anyone (not just comedians) should be OK with sucking at their craft in the beginning.

 

AYG TWEETABLES

“We’re all going to die. Are you choosing to travel that road to death with negativity? Or are you going to travel that road to death with laughter?”

“I made the conscious decision a few years ago to do whatever I thought was fun. And if that means slow growth, cool, as long I'm going to be happy to grow slowly.”

 

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Hal Elrod: Hello, my friends. Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. And one thing you may not know about me is I am a huge fan of comedy, particularly standup comedy. In fact, for a couple of years, I used to watch standup comedy videos during my lunch break every single day, and not just for the enjoyment of that, but I was actually doing it to develop my comedic timing as a keynote speaker. So, I’m a speaker. I tell jokes, and I feel like when people are laughing, they’re learning, they’re listening, they’re enjoying themselves. So, I used to watch standup comedy every single day, yeah, just to kind of be in the mindset of how jokes were delivered by people that deliver them for a living. One of my favorite comedians is Brent Pella, and if you don’t know who Brent is, he’s a 32-year-old comedian and current cast member on VH1’s Wild N’ Out, best known for his hilarious parody videos of American politics and pop culture, which have combined for more than 200 million views across YouTube and his social media channels.

 

In fact, I am such a fan of Brent’s comedy that my wife and I have actually seen him perform stand-up live here in Austin, Texas twice in just the last few months. And what I love about Brent is that he pokes fun at both sides of any issue, including the controversial ones. So, for example, the first video I ever saw of his that a friend sent me was titled “People Who Wear Masks versus People Without Masks.” At that time, it was a very controversial topic and he played both characters in the video. He played the person with the mask and then the person without the mask. And he kind of just poked fun at both sides and kind of pointed out some of the absurdities from either perspective. And then this was the cool part. He played a third character that came in at the end. He came in and unified both sides by reminding people what matters most in terms of being empathetic and seeing other people’s viewpoint. It was really cool. It was like this comedy video with like a really meaningful message at the end.

 

And then another example of him kind of poking fun at both sides of an issue during the 2020 presidential race, which obviously very heated and controversial, he did multiple parody videos, as Donald Trump and as Joe Biden and as other folks in the political arena and just teased it all, which I think that’s what comedy is about. It’s finding the funny in things that are otherwise maybe stressful. And you’ll hear Brent at the end of our conversation today, which I had so much fun talking to Brent. I love this guy. He’s not just a funny person but he’s such a good human being. And at the end, I asked him about, because he’s very spiritual, I asked him how he sees the relationship between spirituality and comedy. And I think you’ll love his answer and the mission that he is on as a result of his answer to that question. Today, we also talked about his creative process. I recently was asked to do stand-up comedy, and so I actually picked Brent’s brain. I’m like, “How do you write jokes? How do you intentionally create funny material?”

 

We talked about how he got his start in comedy, which is such a great lesson for all of the listeners of this podcast as the Achieve Your Goals podcast, hearing how persistent he was to achieve his goal of becoming a comedian. You’re going to hear a really cool story about how he landed a role in the hit TV show, Wild N’ Out, which he is now on. It’s in its eighth season. It’s a hit show on VH1 but Brent’s been a cast member for this is his fourth season that he just wrapped up and just a whole lot more. Really, really great stuff from Brent Pella today. Again, I really enjoyed this conversation.

 

All right. Before we dive in, let me take just a minute or two to thank our sponsors. Of course, our long-time sponsor, Organifi, makes the highest quality whole food plant-based nutritional supplements on the market, some of which are in capsule form, but most of which are in powder form. So, you scoop into your smoothie or a glass of water or juice or nut milk or whatever, and you get all of your nutrition from their protein powders to their product, Pure, that helps with cognitive function to their product, Glow, that my wife’s been raving about that helps your nails be stronger and your hair be thicker. It’s got collagen in it and a whole lot more. Head over to Organifi.com/Hal and then use the code “HAL” at checkout, my name, Hal, at checkout. And as a listener to the podcast, you get 20% off your entire order.

 

And then last but not least, our newest sponsor, CURED Nutrition, who also makes some of the best, highest quality whole food plant-based supplements. What makes CURED Nutrition different is they incorporate CBN oil for all of its healing properties and as a binder for the other ingredients. So, for the two products that I love, I take Rise in the Morning, which is a nootropic to help with your focus and clarity and I take Nightcaps in the evening, which helps me to sleep at night. It’s got CBD and CBN oil. One’s a relaxant, one’s a sedative. And I sleep like a baby and I wake up feeling refreshed. And they have a whole lot more products but those are my two favorites. Head over to CUREDNutrition.com/Hal and use that same code “HAL” at checkout for 20% off your entire order as a listener of the Achieve Your Goals podcast.

 

Alright, friends, I’m excited for this conversation. It’s a whole lot of fun and it’s thoughtful. It’s insightful. My new friend, Brent Pella.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

Hal Elrod: Brent Pella, dude, this is an honor, man. I’m a huge fan.

 

Brent Pella: Thank you, bro. I’m a fan of you. I’m a fan of you for real. I was before we met and I’m just happy to make friends with people that I’m already fans of so I don’t feel weird around them.

 

Hal Elrod: I didn’t know that. That’s cool. Yeah, man, I just thought. So, it was a pleasant surprise. So, I went and saw you do standup, my wife and I, here in Austin, Texas, a couple of months ago. And then JP Sears had a show and JP’s a personal friend of both of ours and it was cool. He said, “Hey, text me when you get here and I’ll bring you back to the green room.” And I had my funny thing to say to JP lined up. I was going back, “Hey, are there any funny comedians here that are in the green room that I can hang out with?” And he opens up the secret door to the green room, and I walked back and you’re back there. That was a total pleasant surprise. I had no idea that you were opening up for him, man.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. So, the answer was yes. There was one.

 

Hal Elrod: There was one significantly funnier comedian. Yeah. It’s funny that that’s actually I discovered you. I found one of your videos. I think it was the mask video.

 

Brent Pella: Oh, yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: I think that was the first video of yours I saw and I showed it to my wife. I said, “Hey,” I was like, “He’s kind of like JP Sears but funnier.” And then I texted JP and I said, “Hey, you should do a video with this guy.” And he said, “Dude, we recorded it like three days ago and it goes on YouTube tomorrow.” I was like, “Oh, that’s awesome.”

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. That’s great, man. I love JP. We met a couple of years ago pre-COVID, pre-pande days. So, we kind of went through that whole transitionary phase with our comedy together. But, yeah, it’s been a blast and it was super cool to see out in Austin too.

 

Hal Elrod: Well, that’s what I love about your comedy is, you know, just to brush up, I was on your YouTube looking at your videos and I was like, your range is really dynamic, you know? JP, for example, used to be all about spiritual comedy, and then he went really hard into political comedy. And you hit on political comedy, right? But then you have like with Nikki Howard, your partner in crime, the couples comedy. And you do a lot of impressions. Yeah. So, it’s like if somebody were to look at your YouTube channel, they’re like, “I’m not sure what his exact beliefs are or where he leans,” which is great. It appeals to everybody, right? Your Biden impression is great. You know what I mean?

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. You know, I thank you for that. It’s a cool thing to kind of hear somebody’s perspective when they’re trying to figure out, “Oh, what’s this guy all about?” And I think that’s been both a blessing and a curse in a way in the whole Hollywood game and just entertainment in general and trying to make a career. Because you really do, I’ve seen a lot of people really create this foundation of following and fans and support because they plant their flag in a certain hill, right? And they stick to a certain belief or a certain style of comedy, even if it’s outside of the political realm like it’s just this thing, it’s just impressions of this guy, or it’s just topical comedy. But I just enjoy so many different things that I kind of made the conscious decision a few years ago to do whatever I thought was fun. And if that means slow growth, cool, as long I’m going to be happy to grow slow. So, it’s interesting to hear you say that because that’s been a choice along the way.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah, that is cool. And for me, similarly, I’m not a comedian but with podcasting and writing and being an online influencer, whatever you want to call it, I obviously have some opinions around things. And where I’ve landed is, what’s my objective? I’ll see a topic and I’ll feel like passionate like, “Man, I want to share this,” and my wife will keep me grounded and remind me, “Sweetie, your mission is to inspire people. If you go hard on any one opinion, you could turn off half of the audience and now you can’t help them anymore.” And so, same with you. If you do plant that flag like JP has done, right, which more power to him because he’s grown a lot since then, his audience has but, yeah, by planting that flag you turn off half of the audience, and now you’re not going to make those people laugh. And your comedy makes everybody laugh, which is cool.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly it. And you know, the objective, the mission, what is it? And for me, it’s typically the thought process is like what is the value that I want to put into the world? Like, is tweeting something political or sharing an article or making a video like this, does that align with the values that I personally want to put into world? Plenty of people whose value they want to put into the world is specifically progressive, liberal ideas or conservative values. And that’s totally fine because that should happen. We should have people…

 

Hal Elrod: We need that, too. Yeah.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, absolutely. My value has always been like, how can I comment on the absurdity of what’s happening? And just kind of share an opinion that might bring people from different sides of the spectrum into this opinion, you know? So, that’s what’s prevented me from going like fully one way or the other on certain things, although I do lean from time to time and that’s just fun. But, yeah, it definitely is like that.

 

Hal Elrod: You just said something that I feel like unity is what we need now more than ever, right? So, if you can be unifying where you’re not picking a side on any topic, you’re saying, “Hey, like what’s bigger than that?” To me, what’s bigger than that is our humanity. Like, I always say that what we have in common trumps what… Our differences are superficial. You believe this, you believe that, you think this, you think that versus, oh, you’re a human being and so am I. And we’re on this journey called life. And that, to me, trumps everything. And therefore, values like kindness and love and unity, that trumps, you know, you can’t say Trump now without there being this association, right?

 

Brent Pella: Yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: So, this morning when I went to YouTube to start just refreshing my Brent Pella material, I ended up a Norm MacDonald video popped up. And I ended up instead of spending an hour watching your videos, I just watched a Norm MacDonald video this morning.

 

Brent Pella: An hour much better spent.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah, man. And it’s so true. He’s one of those artists that I didn’t appreciate until he was gone. And then I started to hear other comedians talk about him. Did you see the last stand-up he did on the Letterman Show? Did you see that?

 

Brent Pella: I don’t think I did, no. Was it recent? In recent years?

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. That was before he passed, I mean, in the last year or so. I’ll send it to you. It was powerful because it was an incredible set. Hilarious. And then toward the end and no one knew he was dying of cancer except for him. And toward the end, he starts saying, “I think this is the last time that I’ll be on this show,” and he just broke down and started crying and was like, “Dave, I love you. You’ve done so much.” Anyway, so, yeah, man, I’m a fan. Who are some of your favorite comedians? It’s a good segue.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, of all time, Jim Carrey is up there. My mom, I grew up with a single mom and we would watch Saturday Night Live all the time. This is right after the Chris Farley era going into Will Ferrell era, and then the Lonely Island era after that with Andy Samberg. So, Will Ferrell is like in my top three. He’s on Mount Rushmore. Jim Carrey, for sure, especially what he was doing on In Living Color, the whole Fire Marshall Bill.

 

Hal Elrod: Fire Marshall Bill, I watched it. Yeah.

 

Brent Pella: “Let me tell ya something.” Right. And I love Eddie. I love what Eddie used to do. And Robin Williams, man, just his controlled insanity is something I absolutely love. And also, those guys that I just mentioned all dipped into drama really well, too. Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, they all did a really good job anytime they were a part of a drama project. And I like that a lot because a lot of comedians like broke it. You hear those cliches that comedians are like broken inside or like something terrible had to have happened. For some, maybe, but for others, I think comedians have a certain perspective toward the world that allows them to see the light and the dark. And that’s what helps them facilitate their commentary on what’s happening in society. And so, I always liked comedians who could do really well both in comedy and in darker drama projects because it really showed another side of humanity that I think a lot of other actors who maybe only do drama want to reach.

 

Hal Elrod: Well, yeah, I honestly think that like Adam Sandler is a good example of someone who I think is a way better dramatic actor.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: Right? Way better dramatic actor than comedic actor. His comedy it’s all right.

 

Brent Pella: I like his style. Yeah. But for him in the drama world, incredible.

 

Hal Elrod: Did you see Hustle, his newer one?

 

Brent Pella: Yep. Loved it.

 

Hal Elrod: Such a good movie, man. Such a good movie.

 

Brent Pella: Uncut Gems’ phenomenal.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. Now, are you a fan of…? So, my favorite comedian right now next to Brent Pella, right, so second favorite comedian is Nate Bargatze. You follow him at all?

 

Brent Pella: Oh, yeah. Dude, absolutely. Yeah. He’s one of the best storytellers I’ve ever heard.

 

Hal Elrod: Dude, he’s so subtle. He’s so funny. He’s so clever. Yeah, I’m a Nate Bargatze fan. All right. So, let’s talk about your start. So, actually, I have to mention this selfishly, so this doesn’t apply to my audience but, everybody, listen. A buddy of mine, Garrett Gunderson, has been doing a comedy tour for the last couple of years. He’s been touring the country and his background is like a financial expert. And he just decided like, “I’m going to get out of my comfort zone and make this bucket list thing happen,” and now he’s doing shows all over the country. And so, he recently reached out and said that I could open for him at his next show. Now, I’m a keynote speaker. I tell jokes in my speech but I’m not a standup comedian. So, I’m terrified and I want to do it, right? So, I’m like, “I got to get out of my comfort zone and do this thing.” So, I want to hear from somebody that’s a professional comedian that’s absolutely hilarious. Let’s start with how did you get your start and then I might pick your brain for like, how do I write jokes? But let’s start with like I want to hear your background.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. So, when I was in high school going into college and then all through college, my favorite, the biggest thing in comedy was Andy Samberg and The Lonely Island guys on Saturday Night Live.

 

Hal Elrod: How old are you, by the way, to give context?

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, I’m 32. This was 2008 through 2012, 2013-ish. So, this was my entire college.

 

Hal Elrod: Dude, I thought you were way older than that. Continue.

 

Brent Pella: That’s what everybody said. You just see the top of my head, you would have thought I was 40.

 

Hal Elrod: No. I thought 40 was just your face but continue.

 

Brent Pella: I’m 27 in the body. This is back when SNL was like crushing on digital shorts and they were just super, super funny. And so, they were such a big inspiration for me and all my friends. We started shooting little comedy sketches with like a Handy Cam, right? This is pre-iPhone. This is Handy Cam day. And then in college, we did it a little bit more and I got into film and media in college and made a couple of comedy music videos just for fun. I was also making like music videos for local hip-hop artists in Santa Barbara, as like a part of my filmmaking kind of self-experience. I was in the film program in college too. And I realized that I’m making such good videos for these guys. I want to make a comedy video for myself. And so, I did. And it went viral in the UC Santa Barbara scene, and we would play it at like frat parties and we would play it at house parties. It was great. It was super fun.

 

Hal Elrod: What was the topic of that? What was that video?

 

Brent Pella: The first one was called Bike Path Love. UC Santa Barbara has miles of bike paths and people are half naked just all the time in bathing suits and whatever. And there are gorgeous girls biking around the bike path all the time. And I felt like I was falling in love every time I went to the bike path. It’s still out right now. And it got like really big in the UC Santa Barbara scene. And that was my first kind of like taste of any type of success with entertainment or comedy. And I wasn’t taking it seriously at all. It was just for fun. And I moved to L.A. after and I’m making more music videos and short films with a buddy of mine but I really wanted to get into comedy, so I dove into standup and improv. Actually, here’s a cool story. Here’s a cool story of how – a little more detail. So, when I was in L.A., I first moved to Los Angeles, I was working at the Cheesecake Factory, which I truly believe that everybody in America should be forced to work at a restaurant for two years. The same way people in Europe are forced to work in the Army, people in America should be forced to work at a restaurant.

 

Hal Elrod: My wife feels the same way. Yeah, she feels the same way.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. So, I was at Cheesecake Factory for my first full year in L.A., and a friend of mine was at LMU and was on campus and sent me a picture of this flier that was posted up on a building. And it said, “Casting extras for a Lonely Island music video. Call this number.” And I saw that. I looked at the picture and in the bottom right corner, there was a logo. It was like a CC logo and it said, “Caviar.” And I thought to myself I could go be an extra but wouldn’t it be cooler to try to like weasel my way into some type of assistant position so I could be like really behind the scenes and learn about these dudes and what their process is? So, I googled Caviar. Turns out it’s Caviar Content, a production company out in L.A. I start calling. I just cold call. And I’m trying to get in touch with the producer. And obviously, you don’t do that. You don’t just call a production company and ask to get in touch with like a high-level person. So, immediately they say no. The next couple of days they say no.

 

So, then I call back and I pretend like I’m a producer from a different production company. And this time they transfer me to a producer. And as soon as I get in touch with that producer, I pretend like I’m somebody else. I say, “Hey, I’m working with this great kid. He’s a PA, a production assistant. I’d love to like…”

 

Hal Elrod: So, like you are your own agent, essentially.

 

Brent Pella: Exactly. But for like an assistant. Assistants don’t have agents so I had no idea what I was doing. But I must have said the right thing because this person then gave me the number for the production manager, which is who you really want. That’s the person that fills out all those roles. So, now I have this person’s number and I call her and she doesn’t pick up. So, I leave a message to say, “Hey, my name is Brent. I just graduated college, da, da, da, da, da. I would love to be an assistant and I’m not looking for a paycheck. I just want the experience,” whatever. She doesn’t pick up for like five days. I’m texting. I’m calling at least once a day. No more than twice a day because I don’t want to be insane, but seven days straight I call for sure. And then we get to the night before the shoot. And now I’m nervous because this is the only time I’ve ever heard of like a P.A. type of opportunity. I don’t know anybody in the industry. I’m fresh out of the Cheesecake Factory. I got soup all over me, and I just want the chance to work on set. And so, I call her like 5 p.m. The shoot is the next day and she picks up for the first time and she’s like, “Yes?”

 

And I say, “Hey, is this Sarah?” or whatever and she goes, “Yeah. Is this Brent, my favorite stalker?” I was like, “Oh, hey, I’m sorry.” I started apologizing and I said, “I really want the opportunity to do this and I’m not looking for a paycheck. I’m in the film program at school. I just graduated and I’m a comedian.” And she goes, “Okay. You know what? Here’s what’s going to happen and I want you to know that this is not the way that things happen in Hollywood. Okay? So, don’t expect this to happen. Okay. But I’m going to bring you on as an unpaid intern. Okay. So, your call time is 5 a.m. I need you to pick up three gallons of Starbucks on the way.” I was so excited, dude. They brought me on. So, there was a P.A. on a Lonely Island video. And here’s the kicker. I meet the producers on set. They keep bringing me back to more jobs in the months after that. I quit Cheesecake Factory. So, now my day job becomes a P.A. and I start living on set and learning and working on set at age 22.

 

And on that particular shoot, on that Lonely Island shoot, it was a two-day shoot that on the last day after wrap, Andy Samberg is drinking a beer in The Crafty Lion and having some food. And I go up to him and I’m like, “Hey, man.” I was super nervous. I was like, “Hey, I just finished school. I do a couple of like comedy videos online per month. You know, I’m curious, what did you guys do when you first moved out to L.A.? Were you just doing videos? Did you pitch shows?” And he goes, “Oh, well, when I first moved to L.A., I did standup and I was doing standup in New York, too. And I was never very good but I did standup for seven years and it really helped me write and get used to being in front of people.” And that’s when it kind of like clicked for me. And so, after that, I started doing open mics and that was the kick in the ass that I guess I needed to hear to start doing open mics.

 

Hal Elrod: So, that gave you direction. It gave you clarity, “Oh, this is what I’m going to do. Andy Samberg said do standup. I’m doing standup.”

 

Brent Pella: One of my heroes said he did this and he got better from it, of course, I got to do that. So, that whole experience of chasing that opportunity down is what kind of set a foundation for the future. Yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: Well, such a cool story, and the lesson from that to me for anybody listening is persist until you succeed. You know, how many of us would have called every single day and risked, I mean, I think most, “I don’t want to annoy them or I don’t want to turn them off or I don’t want…” You’re like, “Dude, I got to get their attention.” I love that. I love that.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. That whole closed mouths don’t get fed trope, it’s very real and if you can figure out a way to consistently stalk and annoy somebody without them fearing for their safety, I think that’s the key.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. I don’t know why that story reminded me or the stalking portion of the weird Airbnb guest video that you did.

 

Brent Pella: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: I’ve showed that one to my kids.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, that’s a fun one.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah, it’s great. So, let’s talk about the comedy landscape right now. You know, one of the things that I thought about is I thought, man, like, so my audience is really diverse, right? But if I had to pick the majority, probably 60% is women like 40 to 50 years old. And then 40% is I mean, men that range and then a few younger folks but that’s the majority. And so, I thought, “Man, a lot of Brent’s videos would probably be offensive to some of my audience.” And personally, I’m not a big fan of being offended. Like, I just feel like being offended is a personal choice. It’s become so prevalent now that like being offended is like a badge of honor. So, I’m curious as to your view of the comedy landscape over the past few years.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. It’s almost like being offended is an accomplishment sometimes. Yeah. The past few years it’s been wild. I didn’t do political comedy until COVID in like April-May of 2020. It didn’t interest me. I didn’t think politics were interesting to talk about. I thought it was boring and cliche and had been done. And so, I was in more of the topical comedy observational world. And 2020 hit and I just personally saw a lot of stupidity happening. Subjective stupidity. I thought that some of the things were stupid. I thought people who wore masks outside with no one around were being stupid. And I also thought that people who would like openly argue at stores for stuff were stupid. Like, there were just a lot of dumb in the world. And I think a lot more people started recognizing those dumb things around the same time and just kind of waking up to seeing how the world actually operates in 2020 because now we’re under more control than ever with lockdowns and mandates and masks and vaccines and all of these things that prior to then we never…

 

Hal Elrod: Never thought about, yeah.

 

Brent Pella: Or think about, yeah. And with that shift, I think a lot of people traveled to one end of the belief spectrum or the other. And that made a lot of people team up. And tribalism is natural in any group of social animals. But we created this crazy like toxic tribalism in 2020 that allowed people the opportunity to kind of vocalize how offensive they got and then be supported by other people who could encourage them to share how offended they were. And it was almost like a virtue-signaling type of thing. It’s almost like getting a – it’s like an echo chamber effect, right, where you call out how offended you are because this comedy video did this or you shouldn’t be talking about masks or why would you ever talk down to Republicans? They’re trying to free America or like whatever the case is. And then that person on Twitter or Facebook or in their own little vlog, they would then have hundreds or thousands of comments of people saying like, “Yeah, yeah, it’s crazy. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.”

 

Hal Elrod: “I hate that person too.”

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. And it releases more of those happy chemicals in your brain because you’re getting the support and the notifications and the comments and the likes and the views. And it’s this rush of a high stemming from choosing to be offended or stemming from choosing to have a fight online. And for comedy, specifically, that was good and bad but good is that now, comedy lives in extremes. It lives in heightening things into absolute madness. So, as society itself is heightening into absolute madness, now, comedy’s boundary is way further than it was because the level of insanity is so high that now we as comedians can mock that in an even higher way, right? And that’s really fun. I think that’s super fun. And the negative is that if you’re going to make a comedy video and be political about it, now, the landscape is so polarized that a lot of my friends feel like they have to choose one side or the other. I’ve even felt like that before, but I naturally gravitate toward one side of the other when I’m poking fun at a topic. So, it’s just crazy that the landscape has changed to the point where people vocalize being offended so much more often and vocalize like as if they want to rile up people in their same belief circle to be against to that guy.

 

And we never had that before. We don’t need you to surround yourself with a tribe of people who hate somebody for their comedy video. Just don’t watch it, dude. And years ago, that’s what it was. Years ago, it was, “Ah, that’s not really for me. Let me move on.” But now it’s like, “Ooh, I don’t like that. And I need everybody to know that I don’t like that.”

 

Hal Elrod: And to me, it says so much more about the person that’s hating, right? It’s like you’re hating on this parody or this comedy, right? You know, I don’t think that really says the comedian’s doing something wrong so much as and that’s the thing about comedy that’s always been like the debate is, are there any topics that are off limits? And I don’t. I mean, I don’t want to say that there aren’t. Yeah, I mean, if something is deeply offensive to somebody and you know that, and then you’re intentionally trying to hurt them when you know, eh, right? But again, for the most part, you can make fun of almost anything. I could make fun of…

 

Brent Pella: You could make fun of anything. There are certain things on the extreme that people just simply don’t really make fun of because it’s really hard to make something funny about a certain topic. Right? But if you can do it…

 

Hal Elrod: Creatively and actually it’s funny. Yeah.

 

Brent Pella: Then do it, right? Whether it’s 9/11 or the Holocaust or some terrible, terrible thing, it’s not off-limits. It’s just way more challenging to actually create a joke that won’t come off as having bad intentions or won’t just simply have bad intentions. Like, is the intention of the joke to make people laugh and lighten the mood around the specific topics that we can break that barrier of taboo and actually approach this issue or this topic with a smile for once instead of letting it just breed negativity? But that’s the thing now is it used to be just those couple of examples that I just mentioned. Now, what’s off-limits? “Ooh, don’t make fun of climate change. Dude, don’t make fun of California’s governor. Don’t make fun of Biden. Don’t make fun of Kamala. She’s a woman of color.” She’s in a position of power, you know what I mean. Anybody in a position of power deserves to be mocked. It doesn’t matter who they are. And so, now we have all these crazy new rules from people online in the comedy landscape, trying to set limits on what we can and cannot make fun of. And I think that’s awful. I don’t like that at all. So, that’s what me and people like JP and others, we don’t see those limits. We just barrel right through and try to mock whatever we think deserves a little mocking.

 

Hal Elrod: And to be fair, like I mentioned earlier, where you kind of appeal to everybody like your political videos early on, you did the Joe Rogan hosting the debate with Joe Biden and Donald Trump, right? So, you made fun of everyone. Like, you weren’t picking a side and poking fun. You were making fun of everybody. I think even good SNL skits, they do the same thing. They’re making fun of all, like you said, people in power. By the way, who was the guy? So, you did the Biden impression. You were phenomenal, right? Who was the guy that did the Trump impression? Because he was great, too.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, that’s Austin Nasso. Super funny. One of the best Trump impersonators I’ve ever seen. That Biden impression I did was actually really I didn’t like it at all. Now, I don’t like it. Back then, that was the first time I had ever done it and it started to become Southern for some reason, a bit like the KFC guy, the colonel for some reason, I mean, like the KFC guy, the Colonel. So, looking back, I’m like, oh, that didn’t deliver. The look was good, I think the physicality was good, but it’s gotten a lot better since then. But that was a good one, yeah. And then I did another one that was Joe Rogan talks to politicians, and that included like Ted Cruz, it included Mitch McConnell’s turtled self. It included a couple of others too.

 

And on that video, what’s funny is somebody commented like, why would you make fun of Ted Cruz? And I was like, are you kidding? Why would I not? What? So, the questions and the offendedness or the do this but not that kind of mentality.

 

Hal Elrod: You can make fun of someone I don’t like, but you can’t make fun of someone I do like, right?

 

Brent Pella: Exactly, and then…

 

Hal Elrod: Which is so silly.

 

Brent Pella: It’s crazy. It’s everywhere. And you know…

 

Hal Elrod: And that’s someone that’s not a fan of comedy, essentially. I would imagine, they’re not into comedy, and so, I mean, yeah, there’s…

 

Brent Pella: They’re not into comedy. They’re into hating on the libs or whatever, you know what I mean? Into owning the libs, and so, why would I ever mock somebody that’s conservative? They couldn’t understand it. But that’s the thing, that’s where we once were. We were once in a spot where you could do anything to anybody through the lens of comedy. And now it is this, like, do this but not that mentality. Not everywhere, I will say this, the audience that I’ve started to recognize, yeah, and attract in my corner of the game has been very similar to me and they really react well when a side isn’t chosen, or when I flip back and forth between videos and topics, mocking the side, that side, this thing, that thing.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah.

 

Brent Pella: I’ve seen a lot of love for that, and that’s what really gives me faith that a lot of people out there, even if they lean one way or the other, they can recognize comedy for comedy and they don’t have an expectation of you automatically taking their side first. So, I do love that because that’s where I currently stand.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah, and that’s the thing. You always are going to get hate, right? No matter what, you just have to realize that that’s about them and their perspective. And I’m going to do what I do and come– and that’s the thing. You mentioned intentions. I think that’s it. You’re like, if I’m coming from a good place, sure, either I’ll make mistakes from time to time or I will absolutely offend someone from time to time. But as long as I know that I’m living in alignment with my values, I can sleep at night. I can feel good, right? And I don’t have to take anybody else’s stuff personally. You think that’s okay, you’re entitled to your opinion. I’m not going to take that on. You mentioned that you didn’t like your Biden impression. It is funny how impressions too can slide. All of a sudden, you wake up one day and you’re like, my impression has this Southern Colonel Sanders.

 

Brent Pella: Why am I like Colonel Sanders? Yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. I can’t do accents. I don’t do a lot of impersonations, but I’ll try to do an accent, and my daughter will call me. My daughter loves doing English accent. She’s 13, and I’ll try to talk back to an English accent. She’s like, dad, you sound Japanese or Chinese or Mexican, like you don’t sound– she’s like stop, stop, you’re ruining an English accent.

 

Brent Pella: Ten countries away.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah, exactly. So, I’m curious, you mentioned the Biden impression you don’t like. What would have been (a) your favorite impression to do? Which one do you enjoy doing the most? I mean, you’ve done Eminem, The Rock, Gary Vaynerchuk on and on. So, what’s been your favorite? And what’s the one that either you think you nail the most or people have told you it’s the most accurate?

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, that’s a great question. And thank you for allowing me to now feed my ego even more.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah, please.

 

Brent Pella: This is my breakfast today. So, my favorite one, I think I got to say Eminem because that was the first one that ever popped and I didn’t even expect it to really pop. And I’m such an Eminem fan. I think he’s the greatest rapper of all time. It forced me to start writing my parodies like him because if you’re going to do a parody of Eminem and have it be good, you have to write in his writing style. You have to nail these double entendres, triple entendres, his delivery patterns these rhyme schemes throughout the verse and throughout the bars. And so, that was really fun creatively. That was an awesome creative challenge. And he’s just so angry.

 

Hal Elrod: He’s just so intense.

 

Brent Pella: I mean, so angry. And he’s so intense. And I love that being like a high-energy guy. I love that. I love dipping into that kind of frame of mind. So, I really like that. People have told me that of all my impressions, the Joe Rogan sounds the most like Joe Rogan.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah.

 

Brent Pella: It’s funny because I never really tried super hard to sound like him, so I think maybe we just have a similar, natural cadence.

 

Hal Elrod: Similar vocal quality, yeah.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, yeah. So, that was fun, too. And then, of course, the Gavin Newsom one has just done so well with California because nobody was really doing a Gavin.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah.

 

Brent Pella: It’s been fun where I did a Gavin.

 

Hal Elrod: It’s Gavin Newsom, baby.

 

Brent Pella: And he sounds like he’s gargling marbles. I lose my voice every time I do Gavin.

 

Hal Elrod: You do it nice.

 

Brent Pella: Every time.

 

Hal Elrod: The way you’re all throaty.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, yeah. And it’s just the whole time, but it’s all been super fun. I never thought I would be an impressionist of any kind, but I started doing it. But I’m such a nerd for just human behavior and psychology that when I approached doing some of these impressions, I’d love picking apart the behaviors and the physicality and the decision making behind saying certain things for certain people. So, it’s been fun. Yeah, it’s a blast.

 

Hal Elrod: That’s cool. So, probably my one of my favorite recurring themes in your videos are how bros talk about _____, how bros talk about politics, how bros talk about nuclear war, how bros talk about the crisis in Ukraine, right?

 

Brent Pella: Yep.

 

Hal Elrod: I mean, those characters are just so funny. Like the guy rubbing the soap on it, with the OCD washing his hands the whole time. And so, here’s my question. I’ve thought about this. I’m like, how does he film this? Like, I’m just not being behind the scenes and never done a video where you’re playing. And for anybody listening who hasn’t seen this, he’s playing four different characters, typically, three different, and then you have your buddy with the curly hair?

 

Brent Pella: Oh, Blake, yeah. Blake Webber?

 

Hal Elrod: Is he like a good friend of yours?

 

Brent Pella: Yes. Yeah, he’s one of my good friends and he’s been in some of those videos, but the series, I think, you’re talking about, it’s usually just me breaking down some like really deep topic within society. I’m writing one right now. That’s bros talk about quantum physics because my uncle is a rocket scientist, a virtual reality developer, smartest person I know. And he’s helping me write this quantum physics version.

 

Hal Elrod: Nice.

 

Brent Pella: And the inspiration behind doing those is like, I’m a bro, I grew up a bro. I partied, I drank. I’m a total bro. But I also have seen my own evolution into the conscious space and the wellness space and just being more aware of life, in general. And now, I feel like I am a bro that also loves to pick apart these topics and learn about things. And so, when I do these characters, it’s funny because each one has their own very specific framework for how they think about things. And it’s been such a fun way for me, personally, to learn about a topic because now I got to dive into the war in Ukraine or how they say they killed the guy out in Iran a year or so ago, or whatever it is. And I have to like actually learn about it, and then almost translate it into bro.

 

Hal Elrod: Into bro talk.

 

Brent Pella: I got to figure out, okay, what’s the metaphor for weed that can fit in here or whatever? So, it’s funny. I shoot each character one by one as if I’m talking to the other characters in the room, and then I cut it all together to make it look like a full conversation. So, basically, what it really is, is a translation of the insanity of my brain onto my living room couch. It’s bringing all the people that live inside of my head and put them on the couch in real time.

 

Hal Elrod: The different nuances of your broness.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, exactly. All sides of the bro Brent.

 

Hal Elrod: So, the one that I love is you have the one– and is that, if I remember correctly, the one bro which maybe is the closest to who you really are, that always drop the knowledge? Isn’t that a theme?

 

Brent Pella: Yep.

 

Hal Elrod: He actually gives the highly intelligent. The other guys are like, whoa, dude. What?

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. And he’s drinking a Four Loko the entire time.

 

Hal Elrod: So funny. So, that’s the way you film it. So, you write the whole thing out, the whole script, and then you sit there and you dress in the one character and then you read one line and then pause and then read that next line, right? And then you cut it all together?

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. So, I’ll deliver all of his lines and all of his reactions and all of his improv lines. I have a script, but there’s always some element of improv to everything I do. So, I’ll do that. I’ll run through all of the lines a couple of different ways, maybe two or three takes of each line, reactions to everything that everybody else is saying. Then I’ll change and go to the next spot and I’ll run through all that person’s lines and reactions to his left, to his right, whatever it is. And then, yeah, chop it all together, and it looks like one fluid conversation. And a lot of people have been like, wait, I watched the whole thing three times before realizing they were all Brent.

 

Hal Elrod: Oh, shut up. How funny. I mean, dude, it is so well done. Not just the acting, but the production on that, it’s so well done, man. Bravo. Seriously.

 

Brent Pella: Thank you, brother. Thank you, bro.

 

Hal Elrod: You mentioned Blake, the guy with the curly hair, that’s how I’m identifying him. So, he’s funny, and you guys play off each other really, really well. Were you guys friends before? Or did you get together for comedy and then become friends? Are you guys already buddies, and like…

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. So, we started rocking together. We knew each other for a while just from like the open mic scene in LA. We crossed paths with everybody. We were never friends during those days, but we were cool. We would just say, hey, what’s up, man? Good to see you. Hey, good set. That was funny, whatever. That’s kind of how that world operates, just so many people.

 

And then, in 2020, we followed each other on Instagram a lot and liked each other’s videos and commented and DMed and all that. And then in 2020, I had a couple of ideas for videos that I thought he would be funny in, and so I invited him over. And the first video we made was how bros talk about conspiracy theories. Just the two of us in this. And this is back when everything was a conspiracy theory. Now, some of the conspiracies we talked about, they were proven to be true.

 

Hal Elrod: Conspiracy or reality seems like it’s the more accurate term to use.

 

Brent Pella: Exactly. And so, we did those videos together, and he showed up and I hadn’t spoken to him in a year or two. And for anybody who’s watched his videos, he has a very Cartman-style voice. He has a very unique voice. He’s like, what’s up, dude? What’s good, bro? How are you, dude? And that’s what he’s like online. So, I hadn’t spoken to him in a couple of years. He shows up at my door and he goes, hey, Brad, let’s go, dude. And I started laughing because of his funny little voice, but that’s just how he talks. And he’s just the nicest guy, super, super funny. And a lot of people ask me why I haven’t moved out to Austin yet.

 

Hal Elrod: That was my– oh, I thought of leading with that, yeah.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, dude, I mean, I get asked that question every time I talk to somebody that doesn’t live in California. Why don’t live in Texas or somewhere else? It’s because I got people like Blake and my friend Nikki out here already, like, it’s kind of my…

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. Nikki is great, man. In fact, I’ve only seen her in your videos. And then today, I was like, oh, I bet she’s her own person. So, I followed her on Instagram, went to her YouTube channel. I was like, wow, she’s got a legit following on her own.

 

Brent Pella: Oh, yeah, she’s similar. Yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: How did you guys meet?

 

Brent Pella: We met through a mutual friend, Stevie Emerson, who also does videos online. She had been in a bunch of stuff with him. I was trying to work with more people because I was just starting to get into the YouTube game. This is like 2018, maybe ‘20. So, I DMed her. We exchanged numbers and we started shooting together just right away. We had maybe one writing session on FaceTime, and then we shot a couple of videos. Got along great. You can tell in the creative space almost right away, I think, whether or not your vibe is going to align with somebody else’s, whether or not your approach to creativity and your way of translating an idea from your head to the paper to the screen is going to be similar to somebody else’s or a collaborative enough of somebody else’s. And me and hers just clicked immediately, and the videos clicked and popped. And from then on, I consider her now my closest collaborator for sure. And we’re putting together some bigger stuff now.

 

Hal Elrod: You guys have an incredible synergy. I thought, when I saw you, I was like, what’s her name? Is she your girlfriend? I totally thought Nikki’s your girlfriend, I mean, you guys, really?

 

Brent Pella: Funny, it does.

 

Hal Elrod: Oh, sure, sure.

 

Brent Pella: Literally, everybody does. We don’t even correct people anymore.

 

Hal Elrod: I mean, you’ll probably end up breaking up with your current and end up marrying each other. That’s my theory. You heard it here. It’s on this podcast.

 

Brent Pella: I got to be careful who I share this podcast with now.

 

Hal Elrod: Don’t share it with Nikki’s boyfriend or your girlfriend?

 

Brent Pella: Yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: All right, I take it back. I take it back. So, I mentioned that my buddy Garrett Gunderson invited me to do some stand-up with him, so I’d love to talk to you. I’m curious about your creative process, and I think I’m going to call this episode How to Be a Stand-Up Comedian with Brent Pella. So, I think we’ve delivered on that a bit and I want to keep that theme. How and when do you write your comedy? I would imagine a lot of it comes, right, momentary shower thoughts. You hear something. Like, as an author, half of my material’s written on my phone on a note when I just am driving in the car and a thought pops in my head. But I’m curious, comedy-wise, like, do you sit down every day for an hour? Like, yeah, break down your process.

 

Brent Pella: I will break down the process. I will say, though, first, if anybody actually like yourself is actually going to do comedy of some sort, what’s even more important than writing jokes for the first time is coming to an understanding with yourself that you might suck. Like everybody, I was awful, dude. Everybody’s bad when they first start. That doesn’t mean you’re going to. So, you’re probably going to be fantastic because you already do this and you have jokes, you know how to deliver a line and talk to people. But that was one of the biggest challenges for me is realizing, oh, I’m bad at this and I need to get better when I first started. And that is what kind of kicked me in the as* to figure out a writing style, which is I’ll answer that now, it’s typically ideas will come to me at odd times. I could sit down for three hours, and then as soon as I stand up and go for a drive or a run, I’ll have an idea then. I don’t have a notebook with me here and then. So, kind of training your brain to be open at all times to receive whatever that idea is or whatever that spark of that catalyst of creativity is, that’s big.

 

Brent Pella: And then for me, I write it down in my notes, on my phone, or I’ll dictate it into a note, and it’s typically just a line or a phrase. Like my girlfriend told me that I closed my mouth when I was sleeping once and I stopped breathing, and she told me, like super casually, she was just like, hey, the other night, you stopped breathing for a little bit. It was crazy. Anyway, you want to get the salad for an appetizer. I was like, what? Excuse me. And so, when she told me that, I just thought it was so funny. And so, I wrote it down on my phone as a note. And so, now, I’m trying to figure out how to make that into a joke.

 

Hal Elrod: How to work that in, yeah.

 

Brent Pella: That’s hilarious. Yeah, so I’ll do that. I’ll write down a note or I’ll dictate a note and then I’ll bring that to the computer and I’ll try to freewrite a little bit, but also, I do hour-long shows now. I do my headline act for around an hour, so I’ll write on stage. I love improvising. I’m from an improv background. I love the free flow of just talking and trying to figure it out as I go. So, I consider that writing too, so I’ll do that on stage.

 

But for somebody that’s preparing, it’s nice sometimes to do the Jerry Seinfeld method, which is to set a timer for a certain amount of time, 30 minutes, and not take your fingers off the keys, and you end up with 99% crap, but 1% when you read it back through, you take that 1%, you start a new document, you put that 1% here, you set your timer again, you can try to go off of that. And maybe the next time, you have 5%. And I think that’s a really cool way of just annihilating writer’s block and just forcing yourself through it. And topics, that’s the easy part, making what to talk about. But yeah, that’s been what’s worked for me from a writing point of view, at least.

 

Hal Elrod: That’s great. And that’s great, that Jerry Seinfeld strategy for anybody listening, whether you’re writing comedy or you want to be a writer or you’re trying to solve a problem, set the timer, just freewrite. And I usually start with I’m not sure what I’m going to write right now, but hopefully, it’s going to be good. I need to think of something funny. Like I just start writing and then, yeah, like you said, you’re like, ooh, ooh, ooh, and then a couple of ideas come up, and it’s gold. So, my understanding of you is you’re pretty spiritual person, I would say. Would you consider yourself pretty spiritual?

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: Evolving from bro to spiritual.

 

Brent Pella: I am a conscious bro.

 

Hal Elrod: Conscious bro. So, you mentioned receiving, that word popped out to me, in terms of tying spirituality into comedy in whatever context that might resonate with you, like I would love to hear you speak on that, and it could be in terms of just like, yeah, spiritually, just being open to allowing the wisdom of whatever, God, the universe, the funniness, whatever to come to show up and keep open to receiving it versus like trying to force it. Or if you look at spirituality in terms of the impact you’re making by making people laugh and that that’s a spiritual pursuit. So, I’m curious just how you would talk about comedy and spirituality together.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, definitely. So, my mom raised me a hippie. She grew up in Davis and she would bring me to Grateful Dead shows when I was a toddler. I had tie-dyed shirts and a reusable diaper. And I think a lot of that just inspired my approach throughout life. But as far as comedy and spirituality go, I said before that a lot of comedians have the ability to flip over into drama because they need to have a way to view the world and create a perspective that allows them to understand humanity better so that they can then comment on humanity through the lens of comedy.

 

And once I started to kind of understand that and learn more about that, it opened up my perspective toward the human experience to a whole new level because I really want to understand what the human experience is like so that I can comment on it. And I want to understand what that human experience is like in politics and in the obsessions with pop culture and the effect social media has and how the news affects us. And all these little subtopics, all are underneath the umbrella of human experience. And so, I’ve tried to open my mind up more and more to learn about that, to study it, to communicate with people about it, and also, yeah, to open my mind to receive inspiration.

 

And I do meditate. I’ve dabbled in psychedelics. I’m a big proponent of psychedelic medicine and plant medicine. And those avenues of learning for me have created a connection between my comedy and the human experience that allows me to just comment on more things and in more ways than I would have without taking those approaches. And from a spiritual point of view, too, I think, we’re all trying to live with a purpose. We’re all trying to figure out what our purpose is. And mine used to just be comedy, make people laugh. And as I developed spiritually and kind of mentally and emotionally throughout my own personal journey through life, that mission and purpose became more detailed and specific.

 

And so, what was once, I’m here to make people laugh and spread joy, is now, like I’m here to shine a light on absurdity and help people choose to laugh at things rather than choose to be upset or offended or ignore or fight against, like I really want to inspire the first reaction to something, to be laughing because that was the whole purpose of the court jester. He wanted to mock the king so that the king would laugh at himself. And I love doing that.

 

And so, from a spiritual point of view, the choose to laugh objective now is aligned because I feel like it’s raising people’s awareness to what can happen when you choose to laugh rather than choose to fight or choose to be negative. And what can happen is you’re just a happier person. You live a happier life because we’re all going to die. We’re all going to die. And oh, are you choosing to travel that road to death with negativity? Or are you going to travel that road to death with laughter? And hopefully, that answers the question a little bit.

 

Hal Elrod: It really does in a way, yeah, I like that. I think about laughter is the best medicine, and you’re Dr. Pella, delivering not only the laughter but the message of like, let’s laugh. And I personally am the person that my wife will call me out. I find the humor in everything, in anything. I mean, you do too, even comedy does, but to the point where you feel like that’s inappropriate, I’m like, who said it’s inappropriate? Like, according to who? Because you don’t think it’s appropriate, right? Like, I thought it was funny or whatever.

 

And I think about what you just said that really, God, it really is a beautiful purpose with such a spiritual undertone. I think about like with kids, I have a 10-year-old son, and the other day, he was so upset at me and just the world, whatever. He was upset with me and my wife, and then we got him laughing. And he was upset because he was in pain because he had this bug bite and his hand was swollen, he was having an allergic reaction, and then that led to other stuff. And then we got him laughing. And what it did is the physical pain subsided, the mental and emotional pain subsided. And so, you think about that, if you can go through life with love and laughter, like if those are the two primary lenses that you view every experience, dude, I think that’s going to be a winning life.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And it’s a choice. It’s truly a choice. And I think we’re living in a time where a lot of people don’t know they have that choice or they don’t think that it’s a choice. They think that’s a waste of time. And we need to be more serious about everything and make sure that we’re fighting the good fight for this and this and this. And it’s like we can relax a little bit. The world isn’t on fire completely. We can get through these challenges together. Everybody’s going to have different beliefs about different things, and laugh your way through it instead of raging and tweeting your way through it.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. I’m in man. I want to be laughing on my deathbed, right? Like, laughing is good.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: Why not? It’s a better way to go out. Still, I’m tempted to end it there because that was such a powerful message, but there was one other thing I want to ask you about. And it’s your show on MTV. Talk about it, are you still on that show?

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. That’s Wild ‘N Out, Nick Cannon’s show. And I actually just got back from Atlanta yesterday. We were shooting all week out there for the new season. That has been just the most fun experience ever. I got that show because I had been doing videos online and I didn’t have an agent, I didn’t have a manager. I was just making videos and putting them out and doing stand-up. And I was a PA driving big, huge production trucks with thousands of dollars of equipment and light stands and all these things. And I would go to set and I’d be editing a video at lunch in the truck and running coffee and everything. And then I got home from one of those jobs one day and I had a DM on Instagram, and it was from Nick Cannon.

 

Hal Elrod: No way.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. So, get this, I had made a video called How the Grinch Took Mushrooms and I was in full Grinch makeup. It’s like three hours to put them on.

 

Hal Elrod: I remember that, yeah.

 

Brent Pella: And then that same night, we shot that video. When we were done with the video, we stripped off the makeup, which took about an hour, cleaned it all up, and we went and shot an Eminem parody. That was Eminem dissing Nick Cannon because Nick had put out a diss track toward Eminem. I knew Eminem wasn’t going to respond. So, I dressed up as Eminem and I did a diss track toward Nick.

 

So, I did it the same night as the Grinch video, which was right before Christmas. We barely had time. Everybody had flights the next day to go home. I knew this was the only opportunity I could shoot this video. So, we shot that night. I stayed up the entire night editing to put it out the next morning. And apparently, Nick saw it. So, the next day, I had the PA job. The video came out, it went viral online. Somebody sent it to Nick. He DMs me, I get the DM. It says like, hey, bro, you ready to wild out?

 

Hal Elrod: No way.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah. We had a quick conversation on Instagram. He invited me out to his office a couple of days later. And he casts me on the show right there in his office. Now, after that, what was crazy is COVID hit. So, COVID threw off everything for the whole year. Well, an entire year passed. I didn’t know if I was ever going to be on the show. I didn’t know if the show was going to come back. Nobody knew anything.

 

Hal Elrod: So, you hadn’t been on the show at all when COVID hit?

 

Brent Pella: Nope.

 

Hal Elrod: Oh, so you got the gig, and then COVID hit. Oh, man.

 

Brent Pella: I got the gig, and COVID took it away.

 

Hal Elrod: How depressing. If I were you, COVID would have been extra depressing without knowing.

 

Brent Pella: That’s part of why I went crazy for the video. So, then the show gets taken away. We’re told they don’t know if it’s ever going to come back. This is now spring 2020. I tripled down on video, so I went from one to three a week. And I don’t hear from Nick for eight or nine months, and then he FaceTimes me in February 2021.

 

Hal Elrod: So, literally, you’re just looking at your phone, and all of a sudden, it’s a FaceTime from Nick Cannon?

 

Brent Pella: It’s an LA number.

 

Hal Elrod: Okay.

 

Brent Pella: And it’s Face time. So, I was like, okay, it’s got to be a person and not a scam if it’s FaceTime. And he says, it’s Nick, and he says, hey, bro, we’re coming back for the next season, Season 16. We’re shooting in the summer. He was walking toward a private jet at the time, and I was like, where are you going? Where are you right now? He was like, oh, I’m traveling up to see one of my baby mamas. I was like, yeah, that makes sense.

 

And he and one of the producers were like, we love all the stuff you’ve been putting out. You’ve stayed on it. You’re growing. We love to see that. We’re bringing you back. We want to keep our word to you. And he brought me back on. And so, I literally have nothing but good things to say about Nick Cannon as a human being and as a person. He is humble, gracious, giving. It’s been an incredible opportunity. The people on the show are super fun to work with on the cast, just incredible performers and creatives and just fun, friendly people. And I might not have gotten that opportunity if I hadn’t doubled down that night and shot that Eminem diss video.

 

Hal Elrod: An extra video, right?

 

Brent Pella: You never know. It’s these little things, dude.

 

Hal Elrod: Totally.

 

Brent Pella: Like, if that video didn’t get released at the exact moment it did, I don’t know whoever showed him would have ended up seeing it and I don’t know if it would have gotten to him and I would be doing what I’m doing with them now. So, I take that to heart. And when you talk about spirituality, that’s like the universe aligning, yes, for sure. But there’s also, you have to align yourself, you know what I mean? You got to really be the catalyst for your own goals to come true, for your own opportunities to happen. So, that’s the lesson I took from that. But the show in general is super fun. It’s on VH1.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah, for those that aren’t familiar, what’s Wild ‘N Out?

 

Brent Pella: It’s Whose Line Is It Anyway, but it’s basically like the black version of that. So, it’s a very urban show. There are a lot of hip-hop elements to it. It’s rooted in modern-day urban black culture.

 

Hal Elrod: And you’re White, so are you like the white guy on the show?

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, pretty much. That would be super fun. And the great thing about that show is, in this era of fragile offensiveness, that show really doesn’t give a sh*t, that show, it’s a roast show so there are roast jokes all the time. What some people would call body shaming, we would call a hilarious joke on the show, right? And it’s because their style of roasting and joking on that show is meant to break through stereotypes that we can all laugh at each other. No matter who you are, what size, shape, or color you are, we can all laugh about it and break through those stereotypes because at the end of the day, we’re all best friends on the show. So, yeah, that’s on VH1. And Season 18 just finished, and then the next season’s air, I think, next year.

 

Hal Elrod: And how many seasons? Have you done one season now or more than one?

 

Brent Pella: I’ve done four, so far.

 

Hal Elrod: Oh, four.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: And so, people can watch that on VH1 or YouTube? And I think, go to YouTube, watch other videos?

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, YouTube.

 

Hal Elrod: That’s where I’ve seen clips, I think.

 

Brent Pella: YouTube and Instagram have the most clips, and then VH1 and Paramount Plus air the live episodes, I think, something like that. Yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: Awesome. Well, man, I was a fan coming into today, and I’m a bigger fan wrapping up the episode. I really like you, Brent. Dude, you’re a good person. JP’s told me, Brent is like one of the best human beings you will ever meet. So, that’s a good…

 

Brent Pella: I’d paid for the trip, so he showed up too.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah, totally. That’s a good foundation, though. So, where’s the best place for people to find you, support you, so on and so forth?

 

Brent Pella: So, I’m on tour a lot. I just finished up a big summer tour, but I do have some dates coming up. I don’t know when this comes out, but September 23rd, I’m in Sedona, Arizona, and then in November, I’m doing Oklahoma City in Dallas. BrentPella.com/shows for tour dates and tickets. Instagram is @brentpella, same on YouTube if you want to watch videos. And then I did also just release Rosé wine, which I’m super excited about.

 

Hal Elrod: Dude, mention that. I was on the site. I was like, whoa, Brent is super entrepreneurial now.

 

Brent Pella: Yeah, so I got a couple of bottles. It’s Vyb Rosé. So, we’re here raising…

 

Hal Elrod: With a Y, Vyb, V-Y-B.

 

Brent Pella: V-Y-B R-O-S-E dot-com, you can check that out and see what we got going on. We’re shipping to Texas, but I’ll send you some bottles too, yeah, for sure.

 

Hal Elrod: Awesome, man. Well, I’m not a wine drinker, but I love when my wife drinks it. So, yeah, send me some bottles.

 

Brent Pella: It’s perfect. I appreciate it, bro.

 

Hal Elrod: Man, well, much love to you. And goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community, I love you. I hope you enjoy this conversation, even half as much as I did with Brent, and love to have him on again. Love you, and I will talk to you next week.

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