(Joe Gorman is an SF standup comic, a barista, and the founder of the Baby Faces of Comedy Tour. Recently, Gorman spoke with Zembla about putting together SF's hottest new standup comedy sensation)
Zembla: How did you first come up with the idea for Baby Faces?
Joe Gorman: It originated with me and some friends making fun of some of the theme comedy showcases that happen in SF (all-Asian showcases, all-female, all-Jewish, etc.) where it seemed the people producing the shows were more interested in reaching their ethnic quota rather than having genuinely funny comics on the shows. So we joked about what theme shows we'd be on. Naturally I said I'd be on the Baby Faces of Comedy. There was discussion on who else would be on the show when it dawned on me there were some pretty funny babyfaced comics in the SF comedy scene. Thus a legend was born.
Zembla: Is there an ethnic quota for Baby Faces?
Gorman: I wanted one black guy (Julian Vance) so I wouldn't be considered racist. Amir and Beata are pretty ethnic, too. I'm of mixed race and who knows how many types of white Jane Haze and Sean Keane are. I think this goes to show that being baby-faced is not about the color of the skin but the youthfulness in the face
Zembla: That is an inspiring sentiment. When did Baby Faces move from an idea you joked about to something that was actually going to happen?
Gorman: I think it was when I kept promising to book people on the show, saying how great it would be, and then those same people got upset that it hadn't happened for months. I was thinking about buying some stage time at the Dark Room Theater and hoping that I could at least break even. Then the guys at SFstandup.com said there was an opening at 12 Galaxies if I could deliver an audience draw; that draw being Brent Weinbach.
Zembla: Brent Weinbach is also of mixed race. It's interesting, that in putting together a showcase in part to parody these race- and gender-based showcases, you ended up with an extremely diverse bill.
Gorman: I hadn't thought of that.
Zembla: Were there other formats you considered for Baby Faces, besides the standard showcase?
Gorman: I toyed with the idea of it being sketch-based with Amir, because that's something both he and I are interested in. Then I thought of a round table discussion on the matter, but in a super-serious manner. Eventually I decided that a comedy showcase would work best because:
1) I ran out of sketch ideas after three.
2) The round table discussion just took themes from the sketches and ran with them.
Zembla: In your opinion, who is the most babyfaced comic in the SF Bay Area, besides yourself, of course?
Gorman: Dave Wiswell is so unbelievably babyfaced it almost hurts my eyes. He's a little older than me and smokes about a pack a day, but damn if he doesn't look a day over 14! He was one of the people I originally discussed Baby Faces with. It's only due to scheduling conflicts that he won't be joining us for the premiere.
A babyfaced baby Joe Gorman
Zembla: Do you think that being a Baby Face is more of a blessing, or a curse?
Gorman: It certainly has its downsides. I get carded at bars, and when I buy cigarettes, people often think I'm still in high school. They also tend to point that out in a condescending manner. Overall I wouldn't give it up for all the tea in China, because being a Baby Face gives you a special bond with other Baby Faces, plus there's the off-chance that Baby Faces will look like Johnny Depp or Diane Lane in their 40's.
Zembla: This is obviously going to be a sensation, so I eagerly await more Baby Faces shows in the future. Anything else you'd like to mention or promote?
Gorman: I've got a few things planned, but if I learned anything in promotion of Baby Faces, it's that you shouldn't promote a show until it's well underway. That said, my friend Kevin O'Shea is doing his talk show Blah Blah Blah! in the Dark Room on November 3rd, which I am a part of, and I believe Amir is in the process of doing a Subterranean Comedy showcase. There's lots of great comedy showcases in San Francisco right now. I also have to mention the Comedy Speakeasy at Annie's Social Club every Tuesday for always giving me stage time, no matter how drunk I am.
Zembla: Thank you for speaking with us, Joe Gorman. May your show be always successful, and may your face never age.
Gorman: Thank you.
(The Baby Faces of Comedy Tour takes place at 9 PM on October 30th at 12 Galaxies. Blah Blah Blah! takes place at The Dark Room, Saturday, November 3rd, at 10 PM, also featuring Brent Weinbach, along with Alex Koll, Moshe Kasher, and host Kevin O'Shea. Brent Weinbach can also be seen alongside Sean Keane at the Bear's Lair in Berkeley on November 8th, along with Cal alums Sheng Wang, Chris Garcia, and Louis Katz.)