Anthony Jeselnik, to put it lightly, has a dark sense of humor.
Jeselnik’s participated in various Comedy Central Roasts, written for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and also finds time to perform standup comedy. Now, he’ll be bringing his bit to television screens Tuesday nights on Comedy Central with his new show “The Jeselnik Offensive.”
His program is a talk show featuring various comedian guests, but Jeselnik assured it’s distinguishable from shows like “Chelsea Lately” or “The Burn with Jeff Ross.”
“A lot of it will be less snark. Chelsea comes out, and she wants to make fun of celebrities and how pop culture’s stupid and things like that. That doesn’t really interest me,” Jeselnik said in a college media conference call. “I’m more interested in the darker side of the news.”
He also explained that to separate himself, he makes sure a joke he crafts isn’t too similar in style to other comedy professionals like Daniel Tosh or Jimmy Fallon. If he thinks it sounds like a Tosh joke, it gets thrown out.
Similar to Tosh, Jeselnik has received backlash from audiences and those who seek a more politically correct society, but he said he thinks the issue is deeper and more self-entitled.
“Political correctness is just a word people use. I think a lot of people feel like they’re owed something,” Jeselnik observed. “People will come out to a show, and they’ll get offended by a joke, but that doesn’t really mean anything. It’s not your right to never be offended.”
Jeselnik discussed how his brand of humor may be misunderstood by some, but he would never change his style because the material is where his passion resides.
“I don’t talk about offensive things because I want to offend people; people just get offended in the process,” he said. “I talk about these things because it’s interesting to me to make jokes about those things that make us uncomfortable and can be painful.”
The comedian has always had a penchant for dark humor, even from an early age.
“You know, I think I always had a dark sense of humor because I noticed as a kid that was what got the biggest laughs,” he recalled. “If someone makes a joke under their breath at a funeral, where everyone’s there mourning, that’s like the hardest you could ever laugh because you know you shouldn’t be, and that laugh fascinates me.”
Jeselnik said the idea of comedy was something fun as a child, but it was also dangerous. His parents were never avid fans of comedy, so he would stay up late and surreptitiously watch “Saturday Night Live.”
His love of comedy continued to grow from there, and he said he truly began to craft his taste in comics during his college years.
Jeselnik said he was inspired by “obscure” shows and comedians like “The Ben Stiller Show,” Comedy Central’s Roasts and Mitch Hedberg.
From there, he graduated from Tulane University with an English degree and, at the bequest of his parents, a business minor. He protested the unwanted minor at the time, but acknowledged it helped him land jobs post-college.
He advised college students not to rely on a major to determine their future because many graduates wind up working a job not necessarily in their degree’s field.
“In college, you just have to study what you want. And your degree, it’s nice. But in a lot of deals, it doesn’t matter. No one’s ever asked me what my GPA was for any job I’ve ever tried to get,” he said.
He said back in those days he never imagined he would host his own TV show, but after years of trial and error, he’s doing exactly what he wants.
“The Jeselnik Offensive” premieres at 9:30 p.m. tonight on Comedy Central.