[Photo by Seth Olenick]
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Web Show: Gabe & Max’s 100 Seconds (YouTube.com/Details)
For Fans Of: Arrested Development, Patton Oswalt, Louis C.K.
Part of comic Max Silvestri’s job is to put up with people making fun of him online. “It would be one thing if I was getting emails from people I didn’t know that were this take-apart commentary,” he says. “But when it’s like, ‘You look like a big, fat, gay, Mexican Perez Hilton,’ I don’t even know what that means, but OK, that’s hilarious.”
Silvestri—like gossip-monger Hilton—owes much of his success to the Internet, but that’s where the similarities end. The Brown University graduate hosts a free, live comedy show called Big Terrific in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, every week, and plays scattered dates outside New York from time to time. But the vast majority of his comedic output is found online. From his writings for outlets like The Onion’s A.V. Club (about television, food and Internet commenters, amongst other subjects) to his comedy videos (most recently, Gabe & Max’s 100 Seconds, which Silvestri produces with writing partner and Videogum senior editor Gabe Delahaye, whom he met on MySpace), the web is Silvestri’s second home. Via his Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube pages and website, Silvestri tests new material and interacts with fans, without ever having to set foot in a dingy comedy club with a two-drink minimum and aggressive (or worse, uninterested) audiences.
Not that he’s hoping those old-school clubs disappear anytime soon. “I can’t imagine they’re on the way out,” Silvestri says of the establishments that fostered so many of his comic influences. “I hope they’re not, if only because a guy like Louis C.K. was not forged in the fires of a lifetime of really attentive audiences. I don’t think you’d have someone as good as he is now if it was all playing to your Twitter followers in small clubs. But certainly, hopefully, the times of consistently playing that kind of show are gone.”