Brennan, who co-created "Chappelle's Show" (and co-wrote the stoner-canon comedy "Half Baked") with Dave Chappelle, and logged hours working for Chris Rock and Seth Meyers, wanted to be the guy who picked the jokes. He's stepping in front of the camera for his first major hosting gig on "The Approval Matrix," a pop-culture-themed panel show, premiering on the Sundance Channel tonight at 11.
So, how does he view his hosting style? "I have this idea that I'll be smarter than Chelsea Handler, but dumber than Bill Maher," Brennan said.
Brennan has learned quite a bit from the men for whom he has put words in their mouths. "[Chappelle] is really good at sticking to his guns," Brennan said. "He would chain himself to the tree of quality. [Rock] is good with flattery. He told me one time that one of his things is making everyone believe his show is their show. He wanted me to help him with the BET Awards and he kept saying, 'I know you're so busy but . . .' "
Having famous friends certainly helps when he has to fill a panel of familiar faces. Then again, so does blackmail. "I have some pretty juicy footage of Jon Stewart," he said with a laugh.
No matter how long he's been out of the city, Brennan still has his Philly roots. When I asked him at the end of the interview whether he had anything to add, he responded: "What else can I tell the people who already know everything? Philadelphia, the most opinionated people in the world."
Props to Michael Solomonov, Philly chef behind Zahav, Federal Donuts, Percy Street Barbecue, the newly opened casual hummus spot Dizengoff (1625 Sansom St.) and the upcoming Abe Fisher (opening Sept. 7), for opening up to New York Times columnist Frank Bruni about his past struggles with drugs after the death of his brother. Solomonov touched on the subject during a John Marchese-penned profile in Philadelphia magazine last year, but went into greater detail with the NYT columnist, including his use of crack and heroin.
OUT AND ABOUT
* Fox 29's Joyce Evans celebrated her birthday at Warmdaddy's (1400 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.) with a meal of catfish yams and cheddar-cheese grits and a dessert of sweet-potato cheesecake. Evans, who was joined by Patty Jackson of WDAS, was serenaded by the sounds of Carol Riddick.
* NBA-playing twins Marcus and Markieff Morris, Philly guys who now play for the Phoenix Suns, were spotted pumping iron at the Bala Cynwyd L.A. Fitness (25 E. City Ave.).
Want to do some good and watch a movie while you're at it? Secret Cinema will once again team up with the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania for a special screening of "Funny Face," starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire, on Friday at the William Way LGBT Community Center (1315 Spruce St.). Festivities start at 6 p.m., movie at 7:30 p.m. For more info, check out aidslawpa.org.
On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN