The 38th Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition is coming to a stage near you (check here for the show schedule), and we had a chance to meet some of the contestants!
Tell us about you! Where are you from, what was life like growing up?
I am from Seattle. Life was good growing up. It was a lot more relaxed world than it is now. I was outside all the time hanging out with neighbors and friends. It was carefree and fun. I think it was the last part of the non-parenting era…or maybe that just comes with the territory of being the 4th kid. Either way, it was far cry from what it is today and I am really glad I got to experience my childhood in the pre-ultra tech world. Though it would be nice to be a little more tech savvy.
How does the Pacific Northwest lifestyle inspire you and your comedy routines?
It never really inspired much of my comedy until I lived in LA and would come back to visit. It’s an incredibly conscientious town especially environmentally and the lengths people go for a cause I find to be hilarious. Noble, but funny.
What made you decide to break into the world of comedy? Is it as hard as people say it is?
When I first moved to LA after college I did improv and found it terrifying. I remember driving home from classes writing jokes in my head based on a scene from class. This became more fun for me as did getting on stage and trying new material, so that’s what I did. As an actor, you have to be chosen for a part and that can be discouraging. I liked that with comedy I got to choose when I worked which was often because I wanted to get better and this was gratifying.
As for being hard, like anything, it’s just doing it. If you’re drawn to being a comedian and go beyond “dabbling” in it, I think for whatever reason it’s sort of in your blood. I’ve had years at a time when I wasn’t performing but it always pulls me back in. So yes, it’s hard…but it’s harder to shake.
Walk us through the process of how a joke comes to mind, refining it and then trying it out in front of an audience. How does that all work?
In the last couple years a lot of material would fill my head at night when going to bed. Sometimes to the point where I would be so immersed in this new set in my head I would start saying it out loud. I’m guessing because this was pretty much the only quiet part of my days. The best jokes, however, come when writing consistently. The writing inevitably gets stronger as does the confidence. I feel like at this point I know when a joke should land and if it doesn’t, I like the joke enough it doesn’t bother me much if it bombs. Trying out new material that you really like is one of the best parts of comedy for me.
What makes you unique from other comedians out there?
I might be the only comedian who drives a minivan.
What advice do you have to give to the younger generations who may be thinking about getting into comedy?
I would say write, get stage time and find your crew. Coming up through open mics into booked shows in LA with the friends around me doing the same thing was such a great experience. Some of those people are my best friends to this day and we will still do shows up here or when I go down to visit. Open mics with two people in the “audience” playing uno or texting can be demoralizing but if you have your comedian friends in the back of the room laughing at your jokes or at the fact you’re completely tanking makes it ok.
Since this is What’s Up NW, what are your favorite Northwest places to hang out?
My favorite place is Third Place Books (actually the pub) in Ravenna.
Are there any charities that are near and dear to your heart that you work with?
Compass Housing Alliance, Catholic Community Services and Mary’s Place. To say I work with them would be misleading. To say I appreciate and donate to them is more accurate!
What are you looking forward to in 2018?
I am looking forward to some club bookings in the coming year and returning more focus to comedy. The second of my two short films is in post production and will be premiered in 2018. This is also exciting. I love what I do, I work hard at it and feel very fortunate to be doing it.