Emery Emery (born December 25, 1963) is an American comedian, film editor and producer, and outspoken atheist, known for his contribution to numerous comedy-related films and TV shows, his two podcasts, Skeptically Yours, and the award-winning Ardent Atheist. Further, he has the distinction of being a contributor to The Atheist's Guide to Christmas, and he edited the documentary The Aristocrats.
Early life and comedy career:
Emery was born in Anaheim, California, and his family moved to Kansas City when he was two. He got his start doing open-mic nights in 1981 in the Kansas City area, and got his first solo gig at the comedy club Stanford and Sons in 1984. Emery developed an act that was a blend of dark comedy and observational humor, which he said was inspired by Bill Hicks. He has also listed Sam Kinison and Lenny Bruce as key influences. Emery quickly gained local attention, and was featured in several articles in the Kansas City Star and the Olathe Daily News.
Emery moved to Costa Mesa in 1991, where he continued his comic career in various comedy clubs in Southern California. He expressed frustration with the state of comedy at the time, saying "There's no camaraderie.... There's no argument about what's right or wrong to do." Nonetheless, he continued to perform stand-up in California and around the country, and gained recognition, with news sources saying he "packs a wicked comic punch" and "pushes hard against the boundaries of good taste and manners." In 1995, he released a CD, The Purveyor of Filth, which included his stand-up routines and what he described as "prose in the form of spoken word." He noted that it had "been called everything from brilliant twisted ramblings to the sick scratchings of an obviously, sociopathic malcontent. Both are right."
In 1997, he moved back to Kansas City, and had a stint as the host of a radio show, Saturday Mornings with Emery Emery and Raine on KY 102 for nine months before moving to Los Angeles.
After moving back to California, Emery pursued a career as a film producer and editor in comedy-related films and TV shows. In 2005, he gained national attention as the editor of The Aristocrats, a documentary about the eponymous dirty joke as told by various comedians. In an interview, he said of the film "the imagery and descriptions that appear in the film are far beyond offensive by conventional standards but not for the sake of shocking the viewer, but to entertain the entertainer. That is one very important point that The Aristocrats makes." His friend Paul Provenza, who directed the movie, praised Emery's editing work, crediting it with shaping the style and shape of the film. Emery in turn said in an interview "The Aristocrats was the film that put me on the map, so it holds a very special place in my heart. I feel I owe my entire career to the generosity of Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette."
His most recent editing project has been the TV movie House of Lies Live. Other projects in which Emery has worked in his capacity as an editor and/or producer include Teller's show Play Dead, which went to the Montreal Fantasia Film Festival,The Green Room with Paul Provenza, Chris Porter: Screaming from the Cosmos, Oslo: Burning the Bridge to Nowhere, and Heckler with Jamie Kennedy.
Emery, an outspoken atheist, describes himself as "a former evangelical Christian whose religious studies, instead of bolstering his faith as he intended, led him to become a skeptic of all things woo." He started a podcast, the Ardent Atheist, in 2011, which won the 2012 Podcast Awards in the religion/inspiration category. He started a second podcast, Skeptically Yours, in 2012, and has had guests such as Ray Hyman, James Randi, and Jamy Ian Swiss as guests. In addition, he was a contributor to the book The Atheist's Guide to Christmas, and has been a regular presenter at the IIG awards, for which he came dressed as Dr. Phil for the 2013 show.
In May 2013, comedian Doug Stanhope asked Emery to help raise money for an Indiegogo fundraiser he started for Rebecca Vitsum, who lost her house in the 2013 Moore tornado. When CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer asked Vitsum if she "thanked the Lord," she replied, "I'm actually an atheist." Emery sent out e-mails to 20 key celebrities in the atheist movement, and the fundraising effort quickly got support from Penn Jillette, the James Randi Educational Foundation, The American Humanist Association, American Atheists, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, and Ricky Gervais. The fundraiser met its goal of $50,000 within 17 hours, but Stanhope decided to continue it until the July 23rd deadline. In the end, Vitsum received $125,760.
Emery has also indicated that he is interested in community-building with other atheists and non-religious, through organizations such as Sunday assembly. He said in a piece by Becky Garrison that church for him was essentially getting together with like-minded people and building a community.
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