Ian Edwards figures it all out with debut comedy special

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The California-based comic took his time, and has mined a true gem in ‘IanTalk: Ideas Not Worth Spreading

Ian Edwards has been in this game long enough to know that, in order to stand out from the hordes of stand-up specials hitting the masses today, he had to make sure there was an element that made his debut hour on camera really pop — and with the inspiration of a TedTalk, he found that element.

IanTalk: Ideas Not Worth Spreading, which premieres tonight (July 12) on Comedy Central, shows Edwards delivering his latest hour of material in a unique format derived from the iconic seminar series. Leading up to its premiere, and based on the feedback he’s gotten thus far from those that have seen the trailer or were at the taping, the Los Angeles-based comedy vet feels like he got it right after really trying to figure out just how to make himself stand out from the rest.

“Whether it’s from people who have seen the trailer, or were at the taping, and even Bill Burr himself, who loved the idea of it, I like the reception I’ve gotten on it so far,” Edwards tells Vanyaland. “First, you want to get a special, then you get that special, and you want to do a good special, and I achieved that because I sat through all the edits, and I like what I see. Now I just want people to watch it. I’ve done the things that I can do, and that’s all I can do, really.”

There’s no doubt that Edwards’ approach is unique in its execution, but the idea for its topic-by-topic delivery was actually hatched in the very early stages of Edwards putting ideas together, well before Bill Burr and his team at All Things Comedy signed on to produce it. With the help of Director Aristole Athiras, Edwards wanted to catch the attention for potential buyers, and wound up sticking with the idea completely.

“I just thought about how there’s a lot of specials out there. The guy who directed this was going to direct it when I was still just going to shoot it myself,” says Edwards. “When I was going to shoot it myself, we were going to do a TedTalk in order to catch the eye of the people we were going to try and sell it to, so I knew I had to think of something different, even before I went with Bill Burr and All Things Comedy. For some reason, the way my comedy brain works, it just made sense to the special in the format of a TedTalk. It just made sense. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but it was worth a try.”

Ideas Not Worth Spreading, which Edwards dedicates to the late great Brody Stevens, is not only big league comedy in its purest form, but it also showcases Edwards’ masterful comedy chops, and he admits that the format didn’t allow him to simply mail it in or rehearse it to death.

“What it did was make me present when I was taping, because I wasn’t just running with the set that I knew I was comfortable with,” he says. “I only had minimal chances to run this material with a monitor, and the topics were always changing, so it just took away the chance to mail it in. I was on my toes the entire time.”

Edwards has been on the comedy grind for at least 25 years, and while it’s taken him quite some time to deliver his very first visual hour, he’s totally fine with it, because he had fun while taking his time and trying to figure it all out.

“You have to do something that stands out without being overboard, or over-played,” says Edwards. “You have to work to figure it out, and I don’t mind figuring it out. That’s honestly fun for me. If this thing gets watched, and it turns out to be a hit, then I’ll just be happy that I was able to figure it out.”