All photos by KEVIN DUFFY.
Listen. We know you come to Punchline Magazine for the best, in-depth interviews with stand-up comedians. We totally understand. But every once in a while, we get the urge to invade a well-known comedian’s home, tell him to strip down to his underwear, take photos of him in uncomplimentary poses and have a superficial conversation about his dwelling. Think of it as our In Style “At Home” treatment for comedians without all that “style” clutter.
So who’s our lucky subject for our first home invasion experiment? Christian Finnegan, of Best Week Ever, Countdown with Keith Olbermann and Comedy Central fame. We visited the 36-year-old comedian at his Queens, NY home recently to chat a bit about his hour-long Comedy Central special Au Contraire – airing May 8 and out in stores on CD and DVD May 12 – as well as rummage through his office, make fun of his pets and watch him pour hot water in one of his nostrils and let it drain from the other. Fun!
But first, we needed to get a grasp of the hood his place is in. “We’ve been here too fucking long,” Finnegan says about the three and a half years he and his wife Kambri, a publicist, producer and writer, spent in this fairly average-looking apartment. “We hate this place. If we can find this apartment in a different area, we’d love it. But this neighborhood sucks taint. It’s just awful. We’re the only people in this economic climate looking to buy a place.”
Sounds swell, Christian! Tell us more!
“There’s a lot of swarthy guys in track suits in this neighborhood,” he says. “There’s a billiards place right down the street and they all just hang outside and make shitty comments about my wife when she walks by.”
We’ve heard enough for now, dude. So without further ado, here is Christian Finnegan, the man, the comedian, the renter.
Christian Finnegan jams out in his office: “This is where the magic happens,” Finnegan says. “If by ‘magic’ you mean ‘furious masturbation.’” You might not know this about Finnegan, but it turns out he owns a bass, which he could barely play. “I could probably be the bassist in a really shitty punk band,” he says. You’ll also notice a piggy bank that looks like a pig (a wedding present) a feeder to the left of his Mac for the rodent pet that died eight months ago and finally, if you look really close a disturbing pornographic image on his computer screen. Yum!
Booger brigade: Before I visited Christian at his home, I never knew what a Neti pot was. Finny was gracious enough to show us what it was all about. You see, you fill that mini-squat teapot looking thing with warm water, tilt your head, jam it in one nostril, then pour; you let the water drain the snot out of your other nostril. The water Christian used was a bit too hot. Don't make the same mistake, lest you burn out your friggin nose hairs. For a fun gag, collect the nostril water in a tumbler and serve it to your friends at a party, telling them it's water imported from France. Yay!
Christian’s therapy: When I told Christian I hadn’t played a home video game system in a decade, he was stunned. “How do you get through your life without having video games imbue all of the frustrations you can’t deal with in day to day life?” But you’re a comic, I told him. You can spout off onstage every night! “I feel like I do have more anger than I originally thought,” he explains. “I didn’t know that’s what I wanted comedy for when I started doing comedy. But it seems over the years, I’ve been thinking that all that stuff that really gets on my nerves I could actually do something constructive with. But you have to worry about going down that road too much. It still has to be funny.”
Paquita: “She was on the scene before I was,” Christian explains. “It’s Kambri’s dog. And she is a cunt (ed. note: the dog, not Kambri). If Paquita were a person, she’d be an awful, awful person. She’s like a girl who grew up pretty and so she doesn’t think she has to do anything— and that any feeling she has at any given moment is totally valid. In other words, she’s a woman.”
Sassy storage solutions: “We use our stove entirely for pot storage,” Finny says. “We never, ever use it to cook. To give you an idea of how much we cook, I guarantee you that anyone of these pots has mouse crap in it. So now, even if we wanted to cook, we couldn’t.” So that begs the question: Where do you get your nutrition, sir? “We order out a lot, go to Pizzeria Uno. There’s lots of very homey neighborhood-y type of places around here, like Applebee’s (where he refuses to eat) and Panera. Everyone knows each other. It’s a neighborhood where everyone knows your name-- if your name happens to be Demetri or Nicos.”
For the birds: What’s that horrible screeching we hear from the other room? Why, it’s Larry and Dinah! “Dinah is the white one,” Christian says. “Now we think Dinah is a dude. We’re not entirely sure, but every once in a while Dinah will try to fuck Larry. They’re awful. Parakeets are dumb birds and bring very little to the table.”
Dining with celebrities: A small table and two chairs make up Christian’s dining room. "When we want to eat together, we'll dim the lights and sit here," he says. The day we were there, however, it was time for Finny to dive into a quality journal and have a refreshment. Despite the undying inspiration machines that are Oprah and Michelle Obama, it seemed Christian just couldn't see the light that day. We’ve been there, buddy.
Hat-tastic: Seems our man Finny likes him some headwear. “These are the hats that I never leave Queens wearing,” he says. “I’ve come to love hats. But if I were to show up around my comedy friends wearing these, I would just be mocked mercilessly. Comedians are like, ‘You’re doing something overt; we must mock it.’”
Bunny Business (Get it… instead of “funny” business? Oh my.): "This is Maybelline, who is an utter and complete piece of shit,” Finnegan glows. “The only thing this rabbit would be useful for is if you wanted to keep papers from blowing away. She’s totally institutionalized. It’s a piece of garbage and I hope it dies soon. I genuinely do. There’s a chance we can get another dog when this thing kicks. I really want a French bulldog.”
Ice cream time!: Deep down Christian is just a fun-loving American who likes to end his days in glorious fashion with some delicious ice cream. And, by the looks of it, some good-old fashioned self-loathing. Us too, pal!
For more information on Christian, check out christianfinnegan.com and follow him on Twitter.