"I wasn't funny at all when I was a kid," says comedian Barry Rothbart. "I was really shy. I was a weird fat kid that didn't have too many friends. I wanted to be a horror writer, and would sit in my room and write scary stories." He started to come out of his shell as a teenager. "My dad would take me to comedy clubs in New York City," he recalls. "I must have been the youngest person there. I thought, 'This is really cool.' So in college I decided to give it a try. I always wanted to have some sort of attention, I just didn't know how to get it from my peers. I figured if I did standup, people would have to listen to me." In addition to headlining clubs across the country, Rothbart is also developing a web series for Comedy Central as well as promoting his just released documentary, Hungry, which follows competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi and his battle with Major League Eating. The subject of competitive eating has always fascinated Rothbart. "I thought it was funny," he says, adding that he and his filmmaking partner Jeff Cerulli figured it would be silly. "We thought we would go in and make fun of it like a mocumentary. Then we found that these people are very serious about competitive eating." The filmmakers also uncovered a dark side. "These people are being taken advantage of, and there's this evil Darth Vader-like figure named George Shea, and he gets them into these abusive contracts. There's been a lot of upheaval against him. So the documentary turned into that, and it's way better that way, because there's a lot of humanity in it." 18+; 21+ later shows.
Wednesdays-Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., July 18, 9:45 p.m.; Sat., July 19, 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: July 16. Continues through July 20, 2014
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