Ryan Verneuille walks a fine line in his self-proclaimed “comedy radio circus” program, “The Ryan Show,” by delving into hot topics—everything from the removal of President Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill to the perverted side of online dating—cracking lewd jokes throughout the program.
“I think it’s important to take things far,” he said. “I look at it as an art. I think it’s good to be offended. I think people are too comfortable now. So we put people in positions where they are uncomfortable and it brings out a different side of them, which is either entertaining or it puts a different light on things.”
The 27-year-old Sag Harbor resident broadcasts his oddball R-rated comedy podcast each week and has amassed 23,782 listens on the streaming service Spreaker.
“I always listened to a lot of radio growing up and I never wanted to do stand-up,” he said, explaining why he decided to create and host a podcast. “I don’t like the idea of forcing funny so that’s why I like the idea of it being completely [improvised] … It’s what I enjoy.”
He said after more than a year of putting “The Ryan Show” together, it is often a challenge to balance his weekly show with his work life. During the day Mr. Verneuille is the manager of the Golden Pear cafés in Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton and at night he is a sushi chef at Yama Q restaurant in Bridgehampton.
Mr. Verneuille’s show, which is live streamed every Monday at 9 p.m. from Yama Q, recently featured contestants of a purposefully offensive comedy segment—“Black Jeopardy.”
The host of the show, Alex Treblack, played by 21-year-old Southampton Village resident Donye Scott, donned spray-painted gray hair and a fake gray mustache that kept falling off his cleanly shaved face. He asked questions on topics ranging from basketball and cinema to hip-hop and the civil rights movement, and offered a general “all things black” category. Mr. Scott, an African-American who has guest-starred on “The Ryan Show” before, said Mr. Verneuille brings humor to real issues as a way to address them.
“He’s really funny,” Mr. Scott said, laughing. “I’m just helping him out—he brings the funny out of me. It’s comfortable. We just laugh about serious things.”
During Mr. Verneuille’s last show in February, as a nod to Black History Month he brought on three local men—Larry Grampus, 36, of Southampton Village; Troy Pender, 27, of Sag Harbor; and Antonio Waldo, 30, of Sag Harbor—all of whom are African-American, to play the politically incorrect game show.
The stakes were high for the three contestants: a large fresh fruit salad and 12 bottles of Mi-Sook’s Ginger Tea, provided by Mr. Verneuille’s sponsor. The competition was fierce.
Each contestant attentively stood in front of a microphone with a small bell to give answers in the form of a question, much like the real “Jeopardy!” show. The game quickly spiraled into playful chaos as the contestants yelled over each other, arguing that they rang their bell first and that certain answers should not be accepted.
Mr. Scott poised a question in the form of an answer amid the chaos: “I assassinated Martin Luther King Jr.” Mr. Pender, the ultimate winner of the game at the end of the night, answered: “Who is John Wilkes Booth?” Laughter ensued.
“You can tell a white person wrote these questions,” Mr. Verneuille said, laughing. “It looks crazy now but when you hear it, it’s all in control,” he added during a music break.
Indeed it seemed that way, but throughout the night Mr. Verneuille was surrounded by a supportive team who helped him set up equipment, props, and a loose script. His girlfriend, Samantha Tarantola, 24, of Sag Harbor helps with props, controlling guests and in last week's case, Mr. Treblack’s mustache; Brendan Clavin, 28, of East Quogue, helps with show topics and general production, and Irish-born poet and genealogist Frank Cunningham “keeps everything under control,” according to Mr. Verneuille.
When he first started his show, Mr. Verneuille said he had no radio experience and learned how to operate the $10,000 sound equipment he purchased by watching YouTube videos.
“I taught myself everything from the ground up,” he said. “The first few months of the show were learning how to use the equipment. As time went on, the show took on a life of its own.”
His next major show, which will air in late March, will be held at Blow Beauty Bar in Bridgehampton, where Ms. Tarantola works. There, Mr. Verneuille said he plans to mix comedy with an act of kindness—busing in the homeless from Sag Harbor for needed haircuts and shaves in a segment he has dubbed “Make the Homeless Great Again.”
Stream past episodes of “The Ryan Show,” or listen live Mondays at 9 p.m., at spreaker.com/show/the-ryan-show.