Q & A with singing comedian Brian O’Sullivan
Tyson Juarez, Features Editor
September 15, 2013
Brian O’Sullivan, like many other comedians, likes to combine comedy with music. With a guitar in hand and witty lyrics flowing from his mouth, O’Sullivan is able to make his audience hum along and chuckle.
O’Sullivans show on September 10th was held in the lower level of the SUB; a setting that was very intimate between the audience and the performer. The two played off one another as at one point O’Sullivan would break off and have conversations with random audience members and he even asked them to help him write a song.
Most of O’Sullivan’s work consists of parodies and original work. He ranges anywhere from poking fun at Carley Rae Jepson’s “Call Me” with a song called “I’m From the 90’s” and his version of Brittany Spear’s “Womanizer” with a song properly titled “Breathalyzer.”
After the show, O’ Sullivan sat down with the Sentinel to answer a few questions about his career and how he got his start as a comedian.
The Sentinel: When you were growing up what musicians/comedians inspired you to do what you do today?
O’Sullivan: As a kid I liked Weird Al and in college Steven Lynch. Steven Lynch is the reason I learned to play guitar. When I was a kid I used to write parodies and sing them over the original song on my computer. I had no interest in learning an instrument before that.
Sentinel: Being a comedian must be a weird job, but what was your first job?
O’Sullivan: My very first job was mowing lawns in High School in order to pay for gas, but my first on the record job was working as a comedian at an improv club. I was an improviser for a short form comedy club in North Carolina. I was the youngest member in the troupe and it was awesome. They taught me what’s not funny and helped me sort of develop my character. If it wasn’t for those guys I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now. Even if I had somehow managed to get where I am now I wouldn’t be at the level I am at. When I first started writing songs they my first test audience; they were brutal and awesome.
Sentinel: What is the writing process like with your songs?
O’Sullivan: It varies. Sometimes I’ll have an idea song and I’ll put it on the backburner and let it marinate in my head. I won’t write anything down except the title of the song. I’ll have sticky notes all over my room with song ideas. In other cases when I’m writing parodies, I’m usually listening to the radio and when I realize when I’ve heard a song too many times on the radio I just have to write a parody of it. If I’m hearing a song too much, then everyone is hearing it too much and they know. It’s an easy way to get on the same page with an audience.
Sentinel: What is it about the college atmosphere that keeps you coming back to colleges?
O’Sullivan: For awhile there it was because I was the same age as college kids. I’m 28 now and it still feels like I’m the same age. I’ve been doing this for four years now so it feels like I’m a senior in college for being a comedian. My original thinking was that if I can get into the college circuit and get college kids to like me they will stay fans for life. If they were to see me at a comedy club they would say “hey that guy with the guitar is really funny. Whats his name? I don’t know but this is a good comedy club so let’s come here next week.” They’ll keep coming back to the comedy club but I may not be there the next week. So the comedy clubs name gets the recognition whereas when I do college shows I get the recognition.
O’Sullivan’s videos and other content can be found on Youtube.com. Visit Facebook for more information on O’Sullivan’s career and up and coming tour dates.