Jon Savitt is a comedian and a writer who has been published on some websites that many journalists would love to. He also has been playing piano for most of his 27 years.
So naturally, he’s combined those two into writing an album.
“I’ve been into music before comedy and writing; it was my first creative outlet,” said Minneapolis native and now Washington, D.C. resident Savitt. “Only recently have I got into the mindset of ‘why can’t I combine the two?”
Savitt wrote, recorded (in his bedroom), and played all the instruments on “Jon Savitt Sings Bad Love Songs.”
“In terms of experience, I have way more expertise in music. I was playing live shows before doing comedy,” he said. “It’s something fun, new and fresh, and another great way to connect with people.”
Savitt started playing classical piano when he was a kid, and when he was 10, won a contest where he played in front of a rather large audience at Northrup Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus. As a camper at Herzl Camp, he said he had counselors teach him other instruments, and then often sneak off and play when he wasn’t supposed to.
“I was the worst camper,” he said. “Music was the thing that grounded me. I wouldn’t say I was good, but I found an interest.”
Savitt went on to play piano and drums in jazz bands in high school and college. Now he’s trying to find ways to combine music, comedy, and create a new experience for audiences.
“As I got older, I always was drawn to creative things and I wanted to paint outside the lines,” he said. “It represents my style in general. I like to learn song structure and know it’s there, but then get bored.”
In that way, Savitt found that comedy and music were very similar.
“You have to set up the premise, lead up to the punch line, which is the chorus,” he said. “It’s storytelling, and songs might be a different way of doing it, but stripped to its basics, it’s telling a story in an engaging way.”
Savitt has found inspiration from artists like Bo Burnham and Ben Folds – artists who can write a catchy song with fun lyrics that get in your head. Fortunately for Savitt, he gets no shortage of material from his family. He says the quote from his grandma on the album art (“Please find someone before climate change kills your generation”) is legit. And maternal advice makes its way into the songs. He said he finds his
Another unique part of this project is that it’s free. It’s available on Spotify and he’s asking people to throw him $5 on Venmo if you like it.
Savitt is having a record release party on July 15 at Songbyrd in Washing. The evening will benefit Hungry for Music, a local organization putting musical instruments in the hands of children whose families cannot afford them. Tickets are $7 and the evening will feature live music and comedy, special guests, giveaways and more. Like any other shows he’s done, it’s about getting people in the same room for a shared experience of taking in music and comedy together.
“I was always so focused on making things go viral and keeping up with everything, I wanted a more long-term project,” he said. “I recorded it in my bedroom; I set up my microphone and played. I don’t care how many likes or retweets it’s getting. I’m going to enjoy it.”
In addition to writing and comedy, Savitt mentors others on writing, comedy, or whatever else he can, and sees what the Internet can do.
“It’s so easy today to compare yourself to a million others,” he said. “If you want to create, that it’s part of you, you can’t turn it on and off. This was a really good reminder of that for me.
“Whether I bomb or do well, there’s nothing else like it,” he said. “I would love to grab the guitar and travel and play.”