Q&A: Comedians Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld discuss web series and podcast

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Comedians Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld gained Internet fame and loyal fandom with their web series “Jake and Amir” and podcast “If I Were You.” They spoke with The Daily Texan about their new podcast network, comedic timing and performing live.

The Daily Texan: How would you describe yourselves in college?

Jake Hurwitz: Good question. I was sort of a mix of hate-able punk and lazy asshole. 

Amir Blumenfeld: I was sort of a class clown who prided himself on easily getting a B+ in class. 

DT: Was coming up with new ideas for the web series “Jake and Amir” ever a struggle?

JH: If we had to come up with 800 all at once, it would have been impossible. Luckily, we spread out our shows over eight or nine years, so we came up with new stuff week to week. It wasn’t easy, and we repeated a lot of ideas with a couple sequels and recurring jokes, but I think the fans liked that. If we still did the show, we’d have a lot to talk about. We could probably milk Trump. You’d be surprised at how much Amir would be able to get out of Donald Trump. 

DT: Do you ever fall back into character accidentally? 

AB: Sometimes, for sure. It never left us. The area is gray. At least that’s what we’ll tell our lawyers when CollegeHumor sues us.

DT: You guys have featured many guests on your web series, who were some of the best people to work with?

AB: I like shooting with friends — Ben Schwartz, Thomas Middleditch or Allison Williams. Those episodes were always really fun. 

JH: Yeah, it’s an awesome experience. Mostly I’m impressed with their energy — they never seem tired when they’re shooting. We wrote a lot of things together, and Ben and Thomas were always able to come in and make something funnier. 

DT: What’s the most inappropriate context you’ve made a joke in?

AB: Probably 9/11. I would make little wise cracks at a candlelight vigil. It’s all about the timing.

JH: I remember when Michael Jackson died, I wanted to leave the building at CollegeHumor because I knew it was only going to be seconds between people finding out the bad news and making jokes about it. It’s how we process grief. 

DT: What was the inspiration behind your new podcast network, Headgum?

JH: It came from starting our podcast and learning so much about podcasting. We wanted to take that knowledge and share it with our friends and family, who had always been asking us podcasting advice and spread the wealth. We wanted to help. We knew a majority of our fellow podcasters from beforehand, but since we launched the podcast network, we found some of our new favorite podcasts like Black Girls Talking and Gilmore Guys. 

DT: How has working on the podcast compared to doing the web series?

JH: The podcast is a lot easier to prepare for. There’s no scripting or shooting schedule, and it’s really just us sitting down at the microphones and answering questions. It’s fun and cathartic.

DT: What are the crowds like at your live shows?

JH: The toughest crowds are usually when we do college nights. It’s always hard when it’s a college, and it’s just students who don’t know who the hell we are. Sometimes our show is just the only thing happening on campus on a Tuesday night. Our best crowds are when we sell out. In a place like Austin, it helps when we know everyone who bought a ticket is a fan of the podcast. A lot of the stuff we do is inside jokes.  

DT: What do you guys like about Austin or Texas in general?

AB: What don’t we like about Austin? The people are terrible. I hate the tourists that only come in for the festivals. No, but in all seriousness, we love Austin. The people are very friendly and cool, the food is delicious and affordable and all the bars are fun.

JH: I’ve been to Dallas, Houston and even Amarillo one time on a road trip — they had a nice Hooters off the highway. I also spent a night in Childress, Texas.  

DT: What’s next for you guys? 

AB: We want to keep podcasting. Later this week, we’re announcing something pretty cool. All I can say is that there is more video content to come. 

Headgum Podcasts

  • When: Thursday 8 p.m., Friday 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Where: The North Door
  • Admission: Available online