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Comic to Comic

Comic to Comic with AK Bjorn

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Written by DAVID HT ROSEN

Right before the turn of the New Year, I had the pleasure of sitting down with one of Atlanta’s own, AK Bjorn. We sat at the grand piano at Café Nineteen  (though AK refused to call it a baby grand, preferring to refer to it as “The Fetus Piano”!). We spent time talking about comedy, both from his own personal perspective as well as thoughts about the comedy scene in general. AK is a rising star on the national comedy circuit and one of the hardest working men in comedy, who had set a goal for himself in 2012 to perform 200 sets around the county.  He set this goal for himself in order to both get himself into a more serious mindset about his comedy, and to set an example for the upcoming struggling comics in the Atlanta scene, to show them that hard work really can pay off . He feels that every comic should “do something big as a comic” and that “we should push the envelope, have direction and a plan, and not be complacent.”  More importantly he offers the advice to younger comics to “set a big goal, and finish what you start.”

Although there was a lot of ground I wanted to cover with him, I started our conversation with a simple question: “Knowing that you had planned to do 200 comedy sets in 2012…where was the 200th set performed at?”  AK told me that it was at Tim Gonzalez’s room in fabulous Portersdale, Georgia, and that it went very well. I went on to inquire about AK’s favorite set of the 200 in 2012 and he replied that “hands down”, it was at one of the comedy nights at Tavern 99, hosted by Lue Lue Sutton. He went on to discuss the most shocking and awkward gig of 2012, which was at The Candy Shoppe in Hapeville, GA, a strip club, where the strippers–or exotic dancers as they like to be referred to–were actually judging the comedy competition. AK claimed the set that where he was best received was at Julie Osbourne’s rooms in East Atlanta. I asked what makes Julie Osbourne’s rooms so cool?  His simple and quick answer: “Julie Osbourne make’s Julie Osbourne’s room so cool.” AK has written his own account of his crazy journey and I have included it here for your enjoyment.

Mid-December
2011, I was casually hanging out after a show, I overheard a fellow comic, Odinaka comment on how many sets he had cleared that year. By then it had been a little over 200, which amazed me. I had no clue how many I had cleared that year and getting even close to that number seemed like such a daunting task. Weeks later I ran into Jake Head, another comic who had recently moved to Atlanta from Florida. I knew Jake did a lot of traveling and that he performed regularly. When asked, “How many sets do you do a year,” his response damn near stopped me in my tracks. 250 was the answer he gave. That was a turning point for me and laid the groundwork for what my focus would be in 2012.

I guess if you are really dedicated to being a standup comic–at least when you are still in your first five years–you are never really happy with your set, or at least you shouldn’t be. I was unhappy. I wanted to “get good,” as Josh Homer of Connected Comedy podcast would say. I had been in a few showcases, a slew of open mics, and an assortment of other local shows, but still felt like I was coming up short. Being part of a stand up group still didn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t as good as I could be. I grew up diagnosed with ADD (not ADHD) and the idea of becoming more methodical in my approach to stand up appealed to me. My mom bought me the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell a few years ago and one of the chapters that stuck with me was the 10,000 hour rule. Basically, clear 10k hours and you are likely to be considered a success or expert at something, piano, painting, standup comic, whatever. 10k hours converts to about 10 years of working at something. Put up the numbers and be focused when you do, that was my take away. What if I did 100 sets in 2012? Too easy. That’s about twice a week and in Atlanta that’s no stretch. 150? How about 200? That many sets means that I have to average 3-4 sets every week. That was more of a challenge. That was going to take some actual work on my part. So, I went to work, getting to every open mic, taking hosting gigs and entering competitions. Welp, I learned a few things in my pursuit of 200 sets in 2012 like:

Working clean doesn’t make you the sellout that it’s perpetuated to be.

“Fuck clean” tends to be the mantra for more than a handful of comics. I suppose they feel like it’s some sort of attack on free speech, like there is some sort of 1st Amendment ninja lurking around comedy clubs. Seriously, it’s not that big of a deal and while now I sit somewhere leaning more towards being clean and not, I had to get there the hard way. In April, I lost out on two local competitions plus a stand up audition because I wasn’t clean enough. Ouch. That is the gleaming example of being your own worst enemy. I couldn’t blame anyone but myself. I made a decision to perform the entire month of May squeaky clean. That meant throwing out a lot of material and starting from scratch. I had to change the way I thought about my material and the way I wrote. Since this was all new, I enlisted the help of Rubyn Warren II, being that he performs exclusively clean. I would heck in with a “Is this clean?” to which several times I got a “Oh hell no!” or in best case scenarios “It’s dark…but technically clean.” Those were the ones I considered winners. Let me say this about clean vs. not: dirty is WAY more fun, but clean will get you WAY more work.

Several times I was asked to do shows because the promoter knew I could do clean or I was at least perceived to be “clean enough.”

You can be strictly a stand up comic, but it helps if you can display an additional talent. Some people refer to them as side projects, but really in 2012 everything you do goes on your public resume whether you like it or not. Every Facebook post, every tweet, all of it. Why not give those creative juices some direction? Some comics–A LOT OF COMICS–do podcasts.

Sweet baby Jesus! You would think that we had some sort of meeting and decided that’s where we all should go to get noticed. Grab your recording devices and let’s get famous!

We’re comics, so everything that falls out of our mouths is a gem at least most of the time, so why not capture it all right? Even I attempted to podcast, for two weeks, and I sucked at it, and I wasn’t interested in getting better. But like Jarrod Harris had Action Figure Therapy, maybe I could do something outside of the box too. Do you know what the best thing about the internet is? Everything is free, and everyone is giving something away, especially knowledge. Good thing, because I had never filmed a documentary before. That was the thing I wanted to do but it really could have been anything. If all goes well, I’ll be talking about how I went about filming and finishing a feature length documentary this time next year. The point is just pick something and don’t be afraid of the unknown.

One night after a show, I had the idea to create a separate Google calendar that just had the open mics so that I wouldn’t get it mixed up with my personal calendar when I looked at my phone. Halfway through adding locations and contacts and dates I realized I could make it public, as in searchable on the internet. Why not? Everybody was having the same issue, it required no more work for me to do it, so I did it. I made it live, shared the link in the Atlanta comics Facebook page and asked for help in keeping it current. Thus, Atlanta Comedy Open Mic Calendar was born. What did I get back? A free beer and grate full comics. Good enough for me.

After two years, it doesn’t make a difference how long you’ve been doing standup comedy.

I’m sure tons of people will disagree but it seems very obvious and true. I USED to think that just given a certain amount of time, opportunities would just open up. I was frustrated when I saw people who had started long after I did get better than me and get better stage time.

It drove me nuts. Well it took two close friends and listening to a podcast for me to get over it. I just wasn’t as good because I hadn’t put the work in. I wasn’t writing as much and I wasn’t performing as much as they were. I started looking around me and realized time in, made no difference. It was all work ethic and networking. This was easy to see. I know two local comics that had started doing standup the exact same year and had about five years in when it came up in conversation. One travels the country, wins competitions, and is respected mainly because he’s funny and a nice guy. Another comic struggles every time.

The bitterness is almost palpable. Sure five years isn’t that big of a deal when you look at comics with a twenty years career, but my guess is that’s the case at every stage. Somebody is out there who has been at it for 15 years and can’t get beyond the local club and can’t figure out why.

It gets harder, it gets easier.

Deny it or abide by it, but it’s not easy being a standup comic and having a relationship. I’m not saying it’s impossible but damned if isn’t trickier than for other people. You keep odd hours, you keep odd friends, you travel to odd places. It’s hard for someone outside of the community (civilians) to understand and I don’t know if we always put the effort in to help them understand when we date them. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

From what I’ve seen and heard, it tends to lean towards not working out. Sometimes comics date other comics, either openly or in secret. That presents its own issues too, as the break ups tend to be messy and public whether it’s supposed to be or not. I’ve been broken up with twice in the past year. Each time I always felt like it was a career or them choice and well clearly I had made my choice. While dating gets harder, getting stage time three to four times a week gets easier. Being organized helped but being consistent, and challenging myself to write more was the real work that needed to be done. The temptation is to try and do all of this on your own. Having a writing partner helps but what made the difference for me was enlisting the help of an “outsider”. I reached out to Christina Deans, who is a PR person and image consultant. Many days were spent practicing refining my on and off stage presences. She was able to spot the times when material wasn’t working any more, well before I figured it out, and other problems that I was having in my sets. One of the best things that happened to me was right around July I lost all of my material. After the panic, I just wrote down what I could remember figuring that if I could remember it on my own, it was probably worth keeping. Then, I spent a few weeks trying to write enough material to fill in what was missing. Thank God it was an election year. Right around this time, I noticed something. I didn’t have to chase down as much stage time. People started coming to me and asking if I wanted spots. Not just for the open mic or a showcase, but for hosting, featuring and headlining. Seven or eight months before, I struggled to get on stage just three times a week and now five or six times seemed to be the norm.

You will get screwed. It at least feels like it when it comes to stage time and opportunity and sometimes it’s just because people don’t like you, your material, because you’re tall, wear glasses, went to college, didn’t go to college, because you are a girl, because gas went up ten cents…

Sometimes you get screwed over and it’s just in your mind. You can have great set after great set and still not be the name on the tip of people’s tongues when they are promoting a show or putting a group together or need a MC or a feature. I have literally been in situations where it was known that I wanted a spot and standing next to someone who didn’t care about getting a spot and got passed over. The temptation is to get all angry and bitter and bent out of shape.

You may even want to vent and go on some long tirade about how it’s not fair. Don’t. I’ve been there and felt those things and it does no good except prolong your bad mood. A close friend got fed up with hearing me gripe and moan and put me on a 24 hour cut off. That’s it. 24 hours to feel bad about a situation or a set or a missed anything, then back to work.

Now that my 200 sets are completed, so what? What difference does it make? Am I a better comic because I went up three or four times a week and sometimes more? Maybe. In the end, I didn’t clear 200 sets just to say I did it, I went up 200 times to be the kind of person you become when you spend that much time pursuing what you love.

A.K. Bjorn

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AK felt his comedy career changed in July of 2012, when he became more comfortable with performing a wider range of material. People started to respond more positively to the act, with clubs starting to request him, instead of having to struggle to find rooms, sets and stage time.  He has clearly separated himself from all the Atlanta comedy cliques, claiming “cliques are a way of finding like minded comics and hoping one or all take off and carry the rest with them.”  He tends to stay away from any negative or counterproductive vibes. AK keeps a realistic attitude about his upcoming comedy calendar and knows although he will be chosen for many positive and career advancing opportunities; that there are so many good comics out there that he also knows he’s not going be chosen for every job, but keeps a positive vibe going and continues to hustle and work the business end of things as hard as he can. When AK and A Jew and a Black Guy started in the Atlanta comedy scene, over two years ago now, we knew we had the talent and the skills to move upwards in the big sea of comedy acts.  Acceptance in comedy is earned, and AK went from doing a select number of local rooms to broadening his scope and playing bigger venues during his pursuit of his “200 sets in 2012” goal.

AK’s star is certainly rising and it was an honor to be able to sit down and talk with him about his career and insights into the comedy world.

Comic to Comic

Comic to Comic with Rob Shapiro

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I sat down with Rob Shapiro after a week on the road with the king of underground New York comedy. We were at Siberia in the heart of historic New Orleans.  The tour started at Jerry Farber’s in Atlanta. Jerry Farber had mistaken Rob for his brother Rick. The sibling comic rivalry has gone on since both brothers started in comedy in New York City so many years ago. Rick Shapiro has taken the fame role in this comedy family and Rob Shapiro has become the legend of underground.

With 25 plus years of a hard road-dog type career, Rob Shapiro mixes bitter times, a hardcore past and a sheer determination to be funny ‘till he dies. Rob reminds me of all my relatives with his gritty demeanor and a life-doesn’t-owe-me-shit outlook.

The interview starts with Rob’s description of the hotel our promoter booked him in.  “Crackheads man, like everywhere, in the lobby and then again by the rooms. Genuine crackheads, so genuine that they have reached authentic status.”  A fan and friend of 25 years walks up behind Rob and surprises him. He says that this kind of dedication to his comedy after all these years is what keeps him moving and shaking. I ask him the stock Comic to Comic question: “Rob, do you think one appearance on television can make or break a comedy career? Like back when you could go on Carson and the phone would start ringing?”  He shrugs and gives the quirky grandpa-like smirk I have now seen over and over. Rob gets teary eyed and states that this question will take an hour to answer!

He rants about how the heart of comedy is gone and everyone thinks it is a get rich quick game.  Rob started after his brother and saw a group of comics who treated each other like family.  They would go out all night together. Rob was in his early thirties and saw the scene as a great mountain to conquer. Shapiro went the Ivy league Wall Street route prior to comedy and states that he was so jealous of Rick and the comedy scene that he had to do what he loved. There were no cliques in comedy. Everyone tried to help each other with the hopes that one would break and the rest would follow!  Real comedy appears to be dead and there doesn’t appear to be heart anymore. Then Rob sees guys 35 and up doing it and it rekindles that drive and he sees heart in the older determined comics. He goes on to say everyone wants to be a writer and an actor first and a comic second. The guys who want to be comics and only comics get a better result.

There is a hunger that comes from doing just stand-up, and it drives Rob. When you just want to make people laugh, you will find it while you’re on stage–you learn to steer that car and hit it.  You’re dancing with it, you’re living it, so genuine that it becomes authentic. In the old days, if a fellow comic saw you, they would say do that father joke, it kills. Nowadays a comic will say don’t do that joke again, ‘cause they are afraid you will upstage them. We are all in the same boat.

Marketing has become the new art.  Function now follows form!  Audiences have become so ready for a flashing light. You as a comic have to create a branding. Rob hates the term branding! He laughs at me saying that I was walking around the ghetto in New Orleans dressed in a black suit and Payas. Whatever it takes to make the audience take notice and give us as comics the platform to bring the funny. The audiences have become so Jimmy Falloned out of nothingness. We need our shtick since the backstabbing and nonsense between comics has become crazy!  Most comics got into this business because we were antisocial and because we were hurt in life.  Clubs like the Comedy Cellar in NYC or The Punchline in Atlanta have to compete now because every corner now has a club. Comedy clubs used to mean a vibrant force where they ran ads and filled the seats. They booked based on funny and to please a crowd that the reputation of the club backed.

Rob goes on and on to say most clubs will not bring in anyone, as if it was just a four wall place with a microphone. Every club owner used to be a producer and promoter, and now they forget that they sell drinks and we make ‘em laugh (simple logic from Rob Shapiro). My time with Rob has been crazy and a great opportunity to learn from a legend. He has taken A Jew and a Black Guy under his wing and schooled us. My tough New York street smart mentality is influenced by the originals of the field we struggle at every day. Rob Shapiro is a true original and we will see him back in the south this summer. He is just getting started all over again!

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Comic to Comic

Comic to Comic: Greg Proops!

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I was able to sit down in a groovy little cove in the lobby of the W in Midtown. I had just gotten an area in mind to do the interview when Mr. Proops walks over and plants a genuine kiss on my crippled forehead. His hair was perfectly coiffed and he looked and smelled divine! Not the usual bar room comedian I am so used too. Of course, forever the comedienne, I had to ask if he had any “work done.” Greg chuckled devilishly and said he had recently lost 40lbs as he got tired of being asked if he was his wife’s dad. I couldn’t help but laugh. as I know all too well how that feels.

Greg had a tight schedule, and I felt very fortunate that he could sit down with The Backstage Beat. He was on his way to the venue for 3 nights of standup and a Sunday night live podcast. I listened to a few of his “Smartest Man in the World” Proopcasts before meeting with him. His podcasts are hilarious!

Greg sits onstage at a modest table with a mic, a “couple” glasses of vodka, and a non gender orange cardboard kitten whose name is Kitten McTavish. He tells me McTavish’s story. The kitten is a reminder to replace some of his swearing, was named by his wife, and was picked up in London at a Christmas market. Kitten McTavish has become quite the charmer, and between McTavish and Greg, they receive a lot of questions. He loves reading and answering all of his emails and has a special account for that reason. You can write him or hell even McTavish at fanmailforgreg@gmail.com.

Greg told me he was on his way to London next and that he really enjoys a small venue. This seems to be very popular with a lot of the comedians we interview. I asked him what is his deciding factor in choosing a venue to perform while in Atlanta. Greg explained to me that he had known the club owner where his weekend performances were for the greater part of 10 years. He was told he was going to put all the “groovy comedians” in this comedy club. We both laughed hysterically because it was at that point I realized that I was not “groovy.” I am indeed just an old lady living her dream.

I had to talk to him about his comedic flow. While he delivers setups, punch lines, and callbacks, it is so natural; you feel like you are engaged in a conversation with him. Yet he is the only person talking! I consider him not only the smartest man, but also the funniest man in the world. He is just naturally hilarious. Genetically engineered that way. I asked him how he prepares for a show. He says he takes a lot of notes. However, doesn’t have much time to prepare. From flying, to interviews, to check in…the time is just not there.

I asked him why he chose podcast over straight stand up. Greg was very passionate with his answer and he’s full of feminist history. He wants to be fair to everyone. He said with great conviction, “I get real bored with straight male comedians and my girlfriends so fat… and these bitches do that… not just white male comedians ALL male comedians. And I just get real bored with it and I don’t find it amusing anymore…even moreover….and I’m not trying to take high moral grounds here…the lack of awareness in that area is what really drives me up the God damn wall! Like you’re not even aware that your being an asshole. Just like all men, you walk through the world because the world belongs to you and they don’t even see that. They don’t even see their in a privileged position by being a man.”

Since the “Proopcast” aired he has a lot of women that listen and write him. Women that write him that say “Thank you for mentioning this or talking about that. Like today is International Women History Day and I guarantee you NO ONE will mention it.”

Greg continues with, “TV executives will tell you young people want to watch young people. And listen…they are UNBELIEVABLY WRONG about that! They don’t care who it is IF they are interesting to them. I was watching Lily Tomlin at 7, and Carol Burnett. They think the young want to watch the young and they don’t care at all. Network execs are obsessed with it.”

We talk about that being the kind of resistance I’m running into as a comedienne starting so late in age. Greg says, “People resist.” I feel relieved; at least he notices. He continues, “To make you feel bad about yourself. You’re too heavy. You’re too this. You’re too that. I’m too effeminate. I’m too smart. I play over the crowds head. Whatever the reasons are…  have glasses. We already have someone with glasses. I’ve been on auditions where they say will you please take off your glasses? We already have someone with glasses. Well…I WEAR GLASSES! Do you want me to walk into the rest of the cast? I’ll take them off.” We both discover we are not only blind but also deaf without our glasses and gnarly funny Helen Keller impressions ensue.

We get serious again and discuss how comics are treated because of our age. Especially me as a woman. He gets passionate again and states regarding Comedy Central “They would sooner kill themselves than not put on a 29-31 year old guy. DIE…DIE…DIE. They have a bunch of new shit that is better than their old shit, like Key and Peele, thank god. In general they want it to be frat boy.”

Again we talk about resistance. I tell him I get discouraged. Greg adamantly says, “You’re either good or you’re not good. Judge me on my merit.” That is all we ask for we both agree. He goes on to say, “Oh you’re that…don’t put a label on me before I’ve said anything.”

He continues with an answer to the question on every comedian’s mind. Greg believes you got to get out of town to “make it” in some cases. “The geography of the place dictates how ignorant and stupid and vile people can be to you. ‘Well I’m from here and were shit kickers so fuuuuuck you.’ Really…really that’s how the world works you can’t open your mind in any way because where you live people throw sticks of dynamite in a pond? So when I get on the podcast these are the things on my mind. And I try to discuss them in an intelligent way. Also political things…Generalization.” Greg will go through an article that he says, “It isn’t even truth…oh the Pope left. THE POPE DID NOT LEAVE! HE’S NOT ALLOWED TO LEAVE! Oh it’s over now? No. it’s just beginning.”

We get back to the comic to comic basics. Greg says he is “Making a willful effort to dig up some old stuff, beat it up, and try to re fix it.” He says of the audience “They were half buying it last night,” and he wants to do more freestyle.

I felt inclined to ask him if he actually drinks vodka onstage or is it water in his glass. He was more than enthusiastic when answering “VODKA.” I went into my whiskey relapse story. We were both in agreement that we like to get shit faced. He enjoys doing his “Proopcast” or “vodcast” as he can just drink and talk. Greg makes me feel better about myself by saying, “All musicians and comics are drunks and drug addicts.” If you can feel better about something like that.

We talked “comedian hours.” Mr. Proops describes something I’m getting all too familiar with. He says, “You finish the late show at 1am after whipping a crowd into a frenzy. You spend 23 hours of the day focusing on THIS part of the day. And people don’t, and they don’t need to, understand the mechanics of comedy. We’re speaking as comics. It doesn’t matter to them. It should seem like magic. It should seem like you just thought of it. And they can be fooled. And that’s okay.”

“The thing is for us the doing of ‘it’ is 1/24th of the day. IF that much.” Interviews, flying, maybe writing something. “Then when you’re done, it’s like let’s go eat breakfast or let’s go eat pizza because I can’t fucking sleep.”

The conversation turns to Bob Hope. Greg gives me the scoop! “He would get up between 10-11am and would make his entire family have dinner at midnight. Everybody dressed. I’m not kidding. He kept comedian hours as if he was gigging his whole life and then he got up and golfed.”

I turned the conversation back to Greg’s pre-show prep. He told me sometimes that he stands in the back and listens. He says, “People go, ‘Do you care what topics I talk about?’ I go, no. Because I learned a long time ago from a friend of mine named Will Durst… I said to him, I got this Reagan joke and I want to do it. But I know you got a bunch of stuff on it. And he goes, ‘Your opening the floor and you’re not doing my joke…your doing your joke.’ And now the topic’s been raised so when I come out I can address it as well…. And I was like OH!”

Greg continues, “You know, ‘cuz sometimes people you know how they come up and go ‘Don’t say nothing about cats. I got cats. I do cats.’ And you’re like fuck you! You do cats. I do cats. Everybody does it you know.” Comics take note. I say to him, “You would not believe how bad that is here in Atlanta”.  He belts out, “OH YEAH you’re not gonna talk about trucks are you? ‘Cuz I got a truck joke and I’m closing with it.” I tell him I’m not even allowed to do fat people jokes AND I’m fat! He tells me, “You have a lifetime experience of it and the pettiness will go away.” So that means I have hope? YES!

I end the interview with a question that we always do in Comic to Comic. Do you think one TV appearance like Carson back in the day can break a career? Mr. Proops answers, “It is the diametrical opposite of that. No! Drew Carey was the last person to get that big hit in ‘90 or ‘91. That was it. It doesn’t work that way anymore. It’s social media and internet. You have to hope for anything to happen.”

Greg decides to break my heart. “We are not going to be on Saturday Night Live. We’re too old. As soon as people hit 40 they are rejected. And that’s the way the world works.” So, I’m really over here crying… as I just spent my 40th birthday last Friday in rehab with a broken hip.

It seems like you don’t even have to be a comedian anymore to be entertaining. Greg chimes in with “Or an actor. They’re just looking for the next NeNe.” I try to find solace in this. As I am reminded once again, I may have started my comedic journey too late in life. Forever the optimist…I’m going with it’s still too early to call.

You can connect to Greg’s Proopcast “The Smartest Man in the World” and find out everything you need to know at www.gregproops.com.

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Comic to Comic

Steven Wright – Comic to Comic

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I road solo to see and talk with Veteran comic Steven  Wright.   The show at The Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points sold out days before and I couldn’t get my hands on any extra seats for anyone to join me. My seat selection did not matter since the sound at the Theater is excellent. The crowd was a mix of 40ish Blues type folks, mixed with a splash of Lyle Lovetts   fan-base. Steven Wright strolled on stage at 8:15 and sat down with an opening guitar song. The lyrics were I Love My Phone More Than You. Fancy antics to get a huge crowd to put away their I-phones and prepare for 90 minutes of genius and thought. He gave over 300 one liners and short bits with no intermission. I tried to write down a handful of these zingers and soon got lost in my notes. I was amazed at his demeanor and wondered if he would be like this offstage? His one man show was a perfect set of insight, quirkiness, thought and opinion! Do yourself a favor and catch this icons act.

                                   My nervous anticipation gelled as I waited at the backstage door with Stevens manager and a writer from the AJC . It cooled as I put my Jew game face on.  Steven Wright greeted us with a fist pump and a confused smile. It was perfect and he was just like his stage persona. He asked myself and the other press what we had talked about on the phone until he was comfortable in his own head as to who we were. Steven told his manager he wanted to leave ample time to sit down as Comic to Comic with HTRosen and The Backstage beat. I waited patiently through the fans and Pomp and Circumstance. He took pictures with fans, not knowing his fly was down in every snapshot! He asked me “HT why didn’t you tell me my fly was down?”  I was quick with my retort,  Sorry man I thought it might have been your schtick! I didn’t want to intrude if it was your thing.

                                   I was sitting face to face with Steven Wright and so this Episode of Comic to Comic began. Steven answered my recurring question by saying that one appearance on a Carson or Leno type program will not make or break anyone. There are too many outlets and ways to launch a career. The options and endless multiple layers of media have changed the game for good.  If you had your life to live over. Would you live it over a delicatessen? (my 2nd Question), shocked Steven with delight and changed the mood of our chat. He laughed and began to take interest. He explained how his career has been made up of his own decisions!  Management always had there opinions,  But Steven chose his own path. There has always been protocol to obtain appearances on shows like David Letterman. Every comic  has to go through the same motions to obtain these spots. Steven Wrights comedic material choices have been his own. He was adamant on the fact that comedy has no rules and we need to figure out what works  and specifically what works for us. Steven answered my(What Atlanta must haves and must do-s make up your list?) with a quip about doing and seeing nothing while he was here! His typical schedule is arriving, prepping for a show, doing the show and then moving to the next one. I joked about all the cities being the same. Steven corrected me with “No HT, They are many different cities that I have not seen.”  He feels the southern crowds perceive his comedy no differently   and television and the internet  have created a Universal view in every town in the US. Steven Wright always set out to be a stand up comic. It was his fantasy and although he loves television and movies ,  His heart has been in stand up. He has been lucky because creating is like thinking and can not be stopped. Creativity is the fabric of his brain and his future looks promising. Stevens  creative process started as planned and mapped out. After six months into his career his comedic radar took shape and all his ideas have just popped into his head ever since. He used to keep his sets loose and move material around. Nowadays his sets are scripted. His jokes are a play made up of one liners drawn like a painting.(you can find his original paintings on Stevenwright.com).

                                       Steven wants our readers to experience some of his comics to watch. Check out, Bill Burr, Joe Derosso, Jim Jeffries, Ron Lynch and Dana Gould. You can find all about Steven Wright at Stevenwright.com  on Facebook  and on twitter. I truly enjoyed sitting Comic to Comic with him! He took great interest in my comedy views and Ajewandablackguy.com and what the Stereohypes.com are doing in the comedy world. I asked Steven if he wanted anything specific included in the article? He scratched his head, shook some dandruff into his palm and gave it to me!

                                     

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