Recently I was asked to photograph the very talented Joe Rogan, who did a special engagement at one of my favorite comedy clubs in the city, Gotham Comedy Club. This was the first time photographing Joe and I really enjoyed it. Joe moves at a very quick pace and it was quite a challenge keeping up with him both on and off stage!
Working in a comedy club can be difficult. You have to duck a lot, crawl on the floor, be as quiet as possible, and above all, not disturb the patrons or the servers. There is very little room to move around and you don’t want to be in anyone’s way because afterall, people are there to eat, drink, and laugh; not be distracted by you! Plus, there really isn’t much depth to the room – you can’t get behind the performer for cool angles, and since the stage is relatively small, it’s difficult to really “create” like you would in a larger performance space. But on the flip side, you can get really close to the performer and even get some offbeat angles that can only be accomplished by positioning yourself in between tables (as opposed to shooting in a theater when you only have the aisle and the sides). It’s pretty challenging but afterall, it’s a ton of fun because you are at a comedy show…
On this night I stayed for both shows so that I could have a moment to make a quick portrait of Joe outside the club. Hoping for 10 mins, I got 2!!! It was cold out and Joe was tired, understandably so! But you take what you can get and you make the most of it. I was happy to get those two minutes and did the best I could with a simple setup and some cool street environments.
Many thanks to my friend and colleague Michael O’Brien (Joe’s publicist) who arranged the shoot, and to Chandra Keyes from Jeff Sussman Management for seeing to it that we got it done!