Welcome to Gawker’s How to Be Funny week, a celebration of people and things who are making us laugh and teaching us how to laugh more.
Broti Gupta is currently the first writer for The Simpsons to be younger than the show itself. Dylan Gelula is an actress whose credits include Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Shithouse, Support the Girls and most recently Apple’s Loot.
The two are best friends and hosts of Lecture Hall, which they have both repeatedly called “the worst podcast in the world.” Despite having been a guest on the show, I have no idea what it is supposed to be about.
The duo sat down with Gawker to discuss what makes them laugh. It turns out it’s mostly Rodney Dangerfield.
How did you decide together that you were funny as a unit?
Broti: I think we realized that whenever we were hanging out with a third person we were always trying to put on a show for them.
Dylan: That’s a genuine answer. I actually do think that it is what it is.
Broti: We also don’t talk to each other, we talk at each other.
Dylan: We sit facing the same direction away from each other and talk about two different things. I guess I'm describing like a ventriloquist and a puppet. But we're both the puppet and there’s no ventriloquist.
Broti: We’re both decoys for the same spy mission, and we are always doing a bad job.
What is the least funny thing to you guys?
Dylan: So many things. We don’t like bathroom humor. What else…
Broti: We don’t like the kind of humor where in a tweet people talk about how hot they are. We don’t like that.
Dylan: That’s something that women do that we don’t like. The thing that men do that we don't like is irony humor where there's no joke at all. I think it's the easiest thing in the world. Like tweeting, “My life’s crazy for real.” And then like 6,000 weird men will like that tweet. You can do that all day so easily.
Broti: Here’s a sincere answer for why that kind of thing bothers me. It relies on your self perception of your own fame. It’s so overblown in your own head that you think you don’t have to put in any effort to write something funny.
Dylan: If you’re just passively doing that you’re not writing a joke that can fail, and you’re not taking any kind of risk, and it makes me angry.
Broti: Dylan and I are risk-takers first and artists second.
Dylan: Every time you press tweet you’re jumping out of a plane.
What type of joke format or humor works all the time?
Broti: Rodney Dangerfield.
Dylan: Jokes about how your wife wants you to die in a ditch. Those are always really funny.
Broti: It’s true and it hits it out of the park for me every time.
Dylan: And also, an animal wearing clothes or doing anything a person does.
Broti: Something way funnier than virtually any Netflix special is if you Google Image search for “dogs on vacation” and just scroll through that.
Imagine a universe where you have to teach someone to be funny. Can you guys teach someone how to be funny?
Broti: Who’s the president of that universe?
It’s the Obama years.
Dylan: That’s not that different.
Broti: Yeah, it’s not super different, it’s just the last guy.
Dylan: I would honestly say that you don’t ever want to feel like someone’s trying to be funny. We’ve all had someone try and be funny at us.
Broti: I would say I respect that more than the, “I’m so famous I can get away with writing whatever I want.” I respect the attempt more.
Dylan: If you try and write a setup and a punchline I can’t get mad at you.
Do you think it’s easier for a lot of people to get away with thinking they’re funnier than they are because of the internet?
Broti: Hard yes.
Do you think that actually carries people into success? Or is it just easy online?
Dylan: I think it does help your career.
Broti: Yeah, but you still have to have traditional writing to back it up. It can help your career in terms of visibility but people will want to see — and I’m basing this off of TV writing — but people will want to see a script.
Is there ever a fear for you both that what is funny will change and you’ll have to keep up, or because you are both inherently funny it will always be okay?
Dylan: I don’t think what’s funny changes at all.
Broti: But we do just as a backup TikTok account for Dylan. But once again, what’s funny all the time is Rodney Dangerfield.
Broti: Because he’s just got it so good. He’s like, “Everyone hates me.” That’s the punchline.
Dylan: He’s right. I really think that it’s funny how much your wife hates you.
Do you think his wife really hated him?
Broti: It’s sort of the Dangerfield paradox, right? Because he’s talking about how much his wife hates him. But if you’re married to Rodney Dangerfield, how could you not love him? You’d be laughing all the time.
Would you marry Rodney Dangerfield?
Broti: In a heartbeat.
Dylan: Yeah, you have to marry for more than looks.
Broti: He’s the full package.
Dylan: He’s got the deep pockets Broti’s after.
Are you scared there’s something you find funny that will stop being funny?
Broti: If there’s ever a world in which Rodney Dangerfield is not considered funny, I will kill myself.
Dylan: If people stopped wanting to hear about monkeys, we’re gonna have to have a discussion.
Could there ever be another Rodney?
Dylan: It would be an ape doing sign language.
Broti: It would be an ape pointing at a little picture that they learn is some kind of word, but it’s a phrase and the phrase is, “I don’t get no respect.”
What’s the funniest thing an ape could do?
Broti and Dylan: Getting no respect from his wife.
Dylan: We’re all laughing imagining it.
Do you ever think about funny monkeys getting abused behind the scenes?
Broti: Yeah, by his wife! She doesn’t give him any respect.
Dylan: They’re absolutely being abused. Someone’s buying them cigarettes to smoke.
What is the least funny animal?
Dylan: Can I say something controversial? Cats. Also, Broti’s going to disagree with me but I don’t think babies are funny.
Broti: Babies are funny because they’re the closest thing we can get to having a human monkey.
And Dylan, you disagree?
Dylan: When people tell me a story about their baby it’s like a story about their dreams. It has nothing to do with me, and I don’t care.
Broti: Can I say something controversial? Dylan is a performer first and she is threatened by babies.
Dylan: Yeah, that’s fair. They’re young and their skin is incredible.