Q & A with Eastside Scene Magazine
I’m headlining Laughs Comedy Spot in Kirkland July 2nd and 3rd.
I just did an interview with Eastside Scene Magazine. It comes out June 26th. Check for it then.
(In the meantime, here’s an old interview with a funny friend of mine Kortney Shane Williams.) We’ll be performing together July 5th at Naked City Brewery in Greenwood.
Here’s a sneak peak at some of the questions I was asked in my interview:
What’s the strangest gig you’ve ever had?
There are lots of strange gigs, when you have to make your living telling jokes, you’ll take anything.
I tell a joke right now about a high school graduation party in a living room. I’ve performed at backyard bbq parties for the adults while the kids play in a bouncy castle off in the distance. I’m doing a show at the end of June for a Service Dog’s retirement party. This amazing guy in a wheelchair saw me at a show years ago in Kirkland and he’s throwing this party for his dog to raise money for the company that trains the dogs. So that will be interesting. The dog knows 60 commands. It literally is a more productive member of society than me.
By far the luckiest I got was I almost had to do a show at the prison in Walla Walla. I was still pretty young as a comedian, and luckily the show got cancelled. I just don’t know what kind of jokes I would tell to relate to them. “I travel all over the country in my car. Sometimes I sleep in the backseat. Feels like solitary confinement. You guys know what I’m talking about.” I just imagined getting heckled with shanks and shivs. I think the moral of the story is for a few hundred dollars, I’m willing to do just about anything.
• Being a comedian and a professional talker of another sort, did your dad have any advice for you when you started comedy?
My dad kinda came up with the idea of going to a comedy night. I gave a speech at my brothers wedding and everyone thought it was hilarious. So when I got laid off, I was sitting around all day complaining. He was like “JUST GO DO ANYTHING.” But he was familiar with comedy and art in general, so when I told him I was going to my first open mic and asked if he wanted to come his first words were literally “You have plenty of time to suck.” And he was right. He eventually came to a show after a few months. I still sucked.
•(RE: your recent “book camp” article) Best/worst advice in the book?
This is kind of a cop out answer but there is no bad advice because even if I don’t like it. It probably means something to someone. I think the ones that I regret are people who maybe didn’t understand the concept. Rich Vos wrote “Don’t go to jail. You’ll get raped.” Maybe he meant “Don’t perform at a prison.”
The best one can vary depending on my mood. Obviously Mike Birbiglia is a hero to me. So just seeing the words “Don’t stop. You’re very funny.” Written from him can carry me through a few bad days. But I think as far as practical comedy advice. Gabriel Rutledge (who is a great Seattle Comedian) wrote “Be flexible in your definition of success.” Which is complicated but important. Some days you’re really down on yourself for not being “Famous.” Whatever that means. I had a callback audition for Last Comic Standing this year, and they flew me to LA and put me up in a hotel, but I was passed over for the show. I was cast in a tiny reality show for VH1 and then by the time we got close to the day I was going to shoot, they decided to not cast me anymore. Those things can leave you feeling crappy. But I was watching the movie Nebraska written by Bob Nelson (another Seattlite – from Almost Live!) and the movie takes place in all these dive bars in Nebraska (which is probably all they have there.) but there’s like random karaoke scenes and it brought back all these memories of perfomances I had in Whitefish, Montana or Plaza, North Dakota which is a population of like 100 people. So when there’s only 10 people at your show, you try to look on the bright side, “Well, that’s a pretty good ratio.” And I remembered feeling frustrated like “If I could just be in a place where people know there’s a comedy show. I’ll be so happy.” So that’s why, Yes, you should strive for these tv shows but you shouldn’t let it define you. Give yourself permission to be happy once in a while.