Call Answered: Brandon T. Snider: "Inside Amy Schumer", "Dark Knight Manual," "The Pyramid"
Amy Schumer, The Dark Knight, The Avengers, and a new 10-minute play all make for a really fun, diverse, and great interview.
I had a blast speaking with Brandon T. Snider, writer & actor, whose play The Pyramid is part of the BOUND series in The Collective NY’s 6th annual C:10 Festival.
Brandon’s newest novel, Avengers: Infinity War: The Cosmic Quest Volume 2: Aftermath was released on November 27th.
The Pyramid runs through December 16 at The Royal Family Performing Arts Space (145 West 46th Street). Click here for tickets!
1. This December you are part of The Collective NY's 6th annual C:10, a compilation of 14 ten-minute plays. Your piece The Pyramid is part of the BOUND series. What excites you about having your piece in this show? For the past two C:10 Festivals, I’ve acted in the pieces I’ve written and they’ve both covered some very personal territory. The Pyramid is a little absurdist departure from that. The past few months have been very busy for me so my only involvement in this year’s festival has been as a writer. It feels weird not to be as involved as I usually am but I’m excited to see the piece come to life on stage.
2. What can you tell us about The Pyramid? What is Fabulosity and how is it changing women's lives across the country? Shannon has no idea…but she’s about to find out.
3. Each show in C:10 is 10 minutes in length. How long did it take you to write The Pyramid? With ten-minute plays I tend to vomit them up in one sitting then tinker with them over a period of time. I wrote The Pyramid a few years ago and have made only a few adjustments in the interim. When the play was selected, I was asked to consider making a female character male. The piece is female-centered so that presented a challenge but, in the end, I think I found a way to make a male character work organically, adding a new, humorous, little element along the way.
4. What do audiences need to know prior to attending? Nothing! Except maybe the time, date and location.
5. What was the most challenging part about writing The Pyramid? What was the easiest part? I like to write for actors. I like to give them room for interpretation. It’s challenging to do that sometimes when the humor is very specific. If an actor thinks of something as “funny,, it has the capacity to affect how they consume the text. Some of the more truthful elements can become performative if they’re not careful.
The easiest part of my process was tapping into the character voices and telling their stories. Those moments always tend to pour out of me.
6. What did you learn from this experience that you feel has helped your writing? I try to be agreeable to change. As a rule. That comes from having written so many pop culture properties. When I’m getting paid, I have to find ways to tell the story I want to tell while making accommodations for others. I have no choice in the matter. In order for The Pyramid to work for this festival, it had to become something slightly different than what it was meant to be. Finding a way to make that happen wasn’t easy at first but I think I did it. I’ve grown to accept and appreciate those kind of learning curves, whether I like them or not.
7. You also wrote for and appeared on Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer. How did you come to write and be on the show? Amy is one of the founding members of The Collective and, in the company’s early days, we used to do comedy shows that began with my one act plays. We did New Friends about a couple desperately searching for a surrogate, two trailer trash swingers and a case of mistaken identity. Craig Meets Dracula was about a tipsy loser who follows his ex-girlfriend to the mall to confront her and her new boyfriend, Dracula. Those were two of my all-time favorite theatrical experiences which is funny considering how quickly they came together. When Amy began developing her show, she hired me to write on the pilot and I ended up being in a bunch of sketches over the four seasons.
8. What is one story from Inside Amy Schumer you can share with us that you haven't told before? I’m lucky in that I never had to formally audition for the show. We’d workshop the sketches in the Collective’s Monday night meetings, I’d read a role and get cast. When I read Dog Stripper it didn’t occur to me, at first, that I’d end up working with real dogs. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue because I love dogs. However! Somehow, I’ve developed an allergy to some types of dogs. I never know which breeds will make my sinuses swell and cause me to break out into gigantic hives. The night before the shoot, I had a panic moment where I suddenly realized “Oh shit! There are going to be a ton of dogs on set tomorrow! My body might explode!” Thankfully, none of them triggered my allergies. They ended up being an absolute delight to work with.
9. You wrote the award-winning Dark Knight Manual. When did your fascination with Batman go from "you like this" to I want to write a comprehensive manual about him? I never imagined in a million years that I’d ever have a chance to work on anything Batman-related in my lifetime. As a boy I was a huge superhero fan but writing, for me, was personal and private. I created my own little comic books and stories, but I didn’t share them with anyone.
Moving to NYC post-college, I chose to develop my writing skills through sketch comedy. My work eventually grew to include one act plays which then led me to published work for both Marvel and DC Comics. For the Dark Knight Manual, it was the first time anyone had entrusted me with something so top-secret. I went to Warner Brothers and read a top-secret script, saw top-secret things and totally geeked out over. It was A LOT of work to complete in an insanely short amount of time but I’m grateful to have been a part of such a phenomenal franchise in some small way.
10. If you were to play the Dark Knight in a film, who would you want your villains to be? HA! No one would ever cast me as the Dark Knight. But if they did…I’d want my villains to be some of the many underutilized characters that have never appeared in a live-action film before. Clayface, Man-Bat, The Reaper, to name a few. Give the Joker a rest for a little bit. Let the other members of Batman’s rogue’s gallery shine for change.
More on Brandon:
Brandon T. Snider has authored the award-winning Dark Knight Manual, as seen in Entertainment Weekly, Time, Forbes, and Wired as well as the Avengers: Infinity War: The Cosmic Quest series. Additionally, he's written books featuring Cartoon Network favorites like Adventure Time and Regular Show, Marvel's Spider-Man and Black Panther, plus pop culture icons such as Justice League, Transformers, and The Muppets.
Brandon has also written for and appeared on Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer. As an actor he's appeared on Bull, Rachel Dratch’s Late Night Snack, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Law & Order: SVU, as well as various commercials, plays and short films. Brandon lives in New York City, where he's a member of the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA.