The Nintendojo Interview: Brian Gaar

The stand-up comedian reveals why Street Fighter IV isn’t realistic and what video games inspire him.

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 07/16/2013 10:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

ND: What I found really interesting about the Street Fighter bit is the audience reaction. There’s definitely some initial apprehension. But, as you push on, you kind of ease the audience into the joke by making it more relatable, and the audience really loosens up before the punchline hits. You sell it well.

Have you had a few bits (on Twitter or on-stage) that you really expected to take off that didn’t?

BG: Yes, pretty much everything. Honestly I never know what people are going to like. That’s why, for standup, it’s important to keep doing open mics & practicing new material on people. Then you hone it down to a 30 or 40 minute set.

Twitter isn’t really about distilling your jokes like that, I just use it to throw out ideas. Some tweets can definitely become jokes, though. But it’s a different audience and a different delivery (spoken instead of read on the internet).

ND: I think one of my favorite bits you had on Twitter was the one where you said the best Opera ever was the one in Final Fantasy III, and then the next tweet was something along the lines of “yes, I know it was Final Fantasy VI in Japan, you nerds.” Was that one planned, or did you actually have people tripping over themselves to correct you on that one?

BG: Ha, thanks! It’s maybe the only opera I’ve ever listened to. I actually feel like opera exists in different forms today– like professional wrestling is essentially opera.

People were absolutely tripping over themselves to correct me. It didn’t bother me, I just like tweaking the hardcore fans. I definitely notice that the more followers you get, the more people will interact with you like that. But that’s OK, I love hardcore fans– I’ve always loved people who care inordinately about any dumb hobby like gaming. To me, that’s what a nerd is, someone who is just passionate about what they like.

ND: Your comedic style is really pop-culture influenced, even when you aren’t talking about gaming. While comedians have always drawn from pop-culture, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said we’re seeing a new style of humor evolving through Twitter. That being said, as someone on the forefront of something this new, who do you draw your inspiration from?

BG: I love pop culture– my generation was pre-internet so as a kid I mostly had cable TV and video games to keep me occupied. I also read a lot, basically anything besides physical activity. I actually watch a lot less TV now than I used to, we got rid of cable last year and I don’t miss it at all. Of course, now you’ve got things like Netflix and other video services that allow you to watch what you want, instead of just mindlessly surfing.

I think that’s why we’re seeing the decline of traditional media like TV– there’s just better stuff out there to consume. (Of course, there are some awesome shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men too, but those have much smaller audiences than hit shows used to.) It’s all choose-your-own adventure now. Want to listen to flute music from the Andean Mountains? There’s a station on Pandora. Same with any other interest you have.

Inspiration-wise, there are so many great people on twitter: @dril, @boring_as_heck and @jonnysun are all amazing. Also @shittingtonUK. But there are tons of others, too.

As for standup: Patton Oswalt and Louis CK are my favorite comics working today. And after I had a kid, some of CK’s family stuff is even funnier now. Same with Jim Gaffigan. Also I loved Patrice O’Neal, his last album “Mr. P” was just an incredible mix of everything a comedian should be– great material, delivery and crowd work.

Growing up, I was influenced by NBC-era Letterman, late 80s SNL, Bill Hicks, Jon Stewart and Chris Elliott– but more than anything: The Simpsons. That show really laid the foundation for almost everything you see nowadays.

ND: Okay, I’m gonna fire some quick Nintendo questions at you. Mario Kart: you hate Toad, who do you race as?

BG: Mario. Good all-around skills, I’ve used him since the beginning.

Fan art by Tom Yoder (@tomyoder)

ND: Which is the best Zelda game and why?

BG: I know everyone says this but Ocarina of Time was a masterpiece. It’s probably the best game ever made. And the first Zelda will always have a special place in my heart, that’s the first time I can remember being able to save my game.

ND: What’s currently in your 3DS?

BG: Animal Crossing. I don’t really know why it’s so addictive, but it is. That reminds me: I’ve gotta dig up today’s fossils and bring them to that damn owl.

ND: Which is the best starter Pokémon (any version) and why?

BG: I always liked Squirtle. No real reason, he was just my first one. Also water types seem like they’re just genuinely fun-loving.

ND: Brian, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today!

If you enjoyed today’s interview, be sure to follow Brian at @briangaar on Twitter, and at his website As always, let us know what you think in the comments below!

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