One of Max Silvestri‘s ’05 funniest stand-up bits involves him watching a very old man moving through a crowded bar to ask the bartender for five nickels in exchange for a quarter. Silvestri is a seasoned stand-up comedian, opening for SNL writer John Mulaney and hosting “Big Terrific,” a weekly comedy show in Brooklyn. Silvestri was recently published in GQ’s January issue, and he will be co-hosting a show on A&E’s new channel, FYI, called The Feed, which is described in a press release as “part road show, part buddy comedy, part talk show.” Silvestri sat down with BlogDH to talk about his time at Brown, his stand-up, and being part of the comedy community.
BlogDH: What year did you graduate, and what did you concentrate in?
Max Silvestri: I graduated in 2005. I majored in Art: Semiotics, which I think somebody told me isn’t technically a major anymore. It was interdisciplinary between modern culture and media and visual arts. I just took it so I could take lots of video production classes. I wasn’t a big theory head or a big visual arts guy. I just liked shooting videos.
BlogDH: Were you involved in the comedy scene while you were here? Did you do Brown Stand Up?
MS: I wasn’t really involved with Brown Stand Up. As soon as I got to school, I knew I wanted to do a lot of comedy, so I got into IMPROVidence immediately. I got into a sketch group, which at the time was called “Beasts of Funny.” It doesn’t exist anymore. I also got involved with the Brown JUG.
At the time, IMPROVidence was a really big deal on campus, and it was for four years. We had shows every week and always at capacity. I met some of the best friends of my life through IMPROVidence who were very important to me in starting comedy.
I ended up starting to do stand-up, but I did it in Boston like at clubs. I never did it really with a group on campus. I did a couple of shows on campus in the Underground with a bunch of comics that I knew from Boston and a Brown alum, like Jordan Carlos.