I knew this interview wasn’t going to be standard about 10 minutes in when Brandon Wetherbee tore a page off of my notebook and started writing notes about himself for me. Was I that inept of any interviewer? “No,” said Wetherbee. “I’m just terrible…” Unconventional, definitely, but terrible? No way. Wetherbee simply recognizes he thinks frenetically, making it a bit tough to take tidy notes, so after my third question to clarify the metamorphosis of his talk show You Me Them Everybody from a recorded NPRish venture in Chicago to a live late night experience in not only Chicago, but now New York and DC, he decided to draw me an outline.
As you can see, YMTE is an ever-changing venture. That's because Wetherbee, 28, is always perfecting his craft. “There’s no talk show school," he said. "This is all just practice." His goal is to transition onto radio in two years and television in four. “Craig Ferguson is the guy I want to follow. That’s the ultimate goal right now,” he said. And with Wetherbee’s self-deprecating sense of humor, natural radio voice and intense passion for his craft, it seems he’s on his way.
SCOUT: What made you want to do this?
BRANDON: Orson Welles. He’s done everything. He’s made the best films of all time, the best radio of all time, some of the best theater of all time. And so I was the guy who was trying to do everything at once. I was making short films, I was in a band, I had a zine… The talk show seemed to make the most sense because it combined everything I was doing and put it on the same stage, so instead of having to focus on touring in a band or editing a film for two months, I get to do a little bit of everything every week. And I get to talk to my favorite people on a stage and make other people watch us silently, which is totally insane. It’s probably a cry for help. At least we can make a dick joke or something.
SCOUT: Well, you can’t go wrong with a dick joke. Has this sort of comedy/late night talk show bug always been your thing? Like, were you obsessed with David Letterman as a kid or anything?
BRANDON: It was all white trash. Like, the fact that my family would wake up if someone turned the TV off -- that kind of white trash. So yeah, I remember watching Leno with my grandmother, watching him do his monologue. Neither one of us would laugh, but she was watching because it was The Tonight Show. I sat there wondering why she didn’t change the channel…But I always loved Conan and stuff like that. I just never thought of it as a possible career because you just don’t do that. It’s insane.
SCOUT: So what made you change your mind and decide it was a possible career?
BRANDON: I don’t know if I have. I’m trying. I mean, it seems both incredibly easy and possible and also both incredibly difficult and impossible.
BRANDON: Basically, there’ll never be another Carson. The level will always be different. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Now there can be 10 different shows, eight of which are on cable.
SCOUT: What about the YouTube? Could you put your show on there?
BRANDON: It’s not ready. We’re just not equipped. The venues are too dark and you just need more people, but I’d like to be filming soon. It’s a steps thing.
SCOUT: So, tell me what’s happening now with the live show?
BRANDON: We’re currently in three cities—Chicago, where I’m from, New York, because of the exposure and DC because I live here.
SCOUT: Why did you move here?
BRANDON: My finace got a job. It’s a boring story.
SCOUT: Well, then let’s skip it. What’s up with the live show in DC? What can people expect?
BRANDON: It’s twice a month, the first and second Friday at Wonderland. It’s the late-night format. I do a monologue… I do interviews with cultural figures. Like, we’ve had Cale from from Brightest Young Things and Andrew Beaujon from TBD recently. The second guest is a stand-up comedian. He performs 8-12 minutes… then there’s a desk piece or skit… then the band plays three songs to close it out…
SCOUT: Out of all those things, which is your favorite…or least favorite?
BRANDON: Notoriously, bands are the worst people to interview. They’re just not used to talking. I’d much rather interview a comic. That’s fun. Ninety percent of the time that’ll be my favorite part of the evening. I also love having someone on the show who’s just interesting, who has an interesting life or job.
SCOUT: When you do your DC shows, do you keep everything local?
BRANDON: Oh yeah.
SCOUT: So who’s coming up?
BRANDON: September 2 is cool. We have Mab from Mab Just Mab. You know her?
SCOUT: Um, YES.
BRANDON: Yup. She’s gonna be there. We have an awesome comic named Sampson McCormick, then Dan Scheuerman from Deleted Scenes. And then Amy Saldman from Speakeasy DC...
SCOUT: Wait, that’s still the Sept. 2?
BRANDON: No… that’s September 9. Why don’t you just email me. It’ll be easier.
OK, so here's the scoop: You, Me, Them Everybody will be live for not two, but three weekend nights in September! We found out the roster for Sept. 2, so let's skip to Sept. 9, also to take place at 8 p.m. for free at the Wonderland Ballroom: Amy Saldman, stand-up comedian Tim Messinger, a special set from American Hearts and music from Ian Walters and Nathan Jurgenson. Finally, on Sept. 20, you can YMTE is going to Hosteling International on 11th Street with guests Evan Keeling from D.C. Conspiracy, stand-up comedian Haywood Turnipseed Jr. and a special set from Ugly Purple Sweater. And of course, you can always catch up with Wetherbee and YMTE on his website.