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!

Robert Pidde

(Photo Credit: Robert Pidde)

Tell us about you! Where are you from, what was life like growing up?
I grew up in Burien a small town 20 minutes outside Seattle. It really was a pretty simple upbringing. I have 2 parents and a little sister that were supportive of me to a fault (still are). I was honestly a very basic kid, loved sports, video games and making jokes in the back of the classroom that were just quick and smart enough that teachers couldn’t get mad at me. I wasn’t a class clown, still wouldn’t say I am. I was a kid that kept to himself and didn’t really get to be myself until theater in high school came along and all of a sudden my weird thoughts weren’t weird they were funny. I was encouraged to do different voices and noises I’d only ever made to my small group if friends. It was where I first got my first really big laugh and I still cherish the time I had there.

How does the Pacific Northwest lifestyle inspire you and your comedy routines?
I wouldn’t say anything particular to the northwest inspires me. People in general, how they act and react consistently is fascinating to me especially if there is some undercurrent that makes it incongruent. Anyway I can bring about how that is in a quick and concise manner is always very funny to me. Otherwise my act relies more on stories about what’s happening and what it’s like to be an introvert that is constantly in contact with everyone is like.

What made you decide to break into the world of comedy? Is it as hard as people say it is?
It’s been difficult but it’s also what I’ve wanted since I got on stage in my high school prom tux and got a big laugh at 21 years old. Immediately I had a challenge to get that feeling over and over again I was adequate to start and I knew it but I have done over 1700 (900 in the last 2 years) mics and shows since then and there was no way not to improve and become stronger.

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?
If there was an exact answer I’d love to tell you. Jokes can come from a thing i wish I’d said, a fact that fascinates me, or an observation about how the world is. The best I can do to find jokes is go out every day and have as many new experiences as possible. The more I have to work with the better my odds of finding something everyone will find funny.

What makes you unique from other comedians out there?
I have a pterodactyl scream that is pretty strong. But otherwise I am always trying to find a new angle. If someone has done it before a certain way I’m not into it. I have been told I’m generally thinking a little bit off of what everyone else does (that comes from my closest friends). I think in a way that others can see the line of reasoning but just off enough to be a surprise.

What advice do you have to give to the younger generations who may be thinking about getting into comedy?
It’s the most fun, painful, rewarding thing I’ve ever done and I hope you find what you’re looking for by getting into it. For me it’s everyday getting better in so many avenues.

Since this is What’s Up NW, what are your favorite Northwest places to hang out?
I’m down at the comedy underground quite a bit. I do manage there though. So otherwise it would be Jai Thai (where there’s also comedy), the 907 in Renton is a great place to hang out (and there’s also comedy) and The Point in Burien (where they have amazing food).

Are there any charities that are near and dear to your heart that you work with?
I do a charity show for Burien Cares to benefit the animal shelter every year. It goes on at the Burien Elks Club and I’ve been doing it since I began in Seattle 5 years ago.

What are you looking forward to in 2018?
I have best friends that are having a baby in early January so between helping them out, comedy and just having life continue to go by and keep getting better I don’t know of what else there really is to look forward to.

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