In our triumphant return from a short hiatus, we come back with a bang with one of the “Fathers of Utah Improv”, Bob Bedore.
Bob’s comedy has spanned over 30 years and covered both improv and stand up comedy. If it involves comedy in Utah, Bob has been there, done that. Setting up improv troupes, opening for comedic superstars or oil wrestling with a wild grizzly bear. (Alright, I don’t know if that really happened, but I have heard rumors.)
Bob is like Kim Kardasian in a Star Magazine, he can be see weekly. Except he is at Midvale Main Street Theatre, not showing off his voluptuous curves in a high end couture gown from Vera Wang.
Describe yourself in 10 words or less?
Older Than Most, but young at heart. Thoughtful Entertainer/Emcee
Giraffe? Beaver? Humpback Whale? Which would be the tastiest meat? Please explain.
I’m going to go with Humpback. Giraffe is all Neck and nobody likes the neck. Beaver sounds good (and dirty), but too much fiber in their diet. So with that I’ll go with the Whale and fry up some blubber
I don’t quite understand the appeal of the sauerkraut. Can you educate me on why people like this?
It’s liked by the Germans, who hate everything. That makes it perfect for Hipsters or wanna-be foodies.
In a battle to the death between Pee Wee Herman and Steve Urkel, who would will? What would be the victor’s kill move?
I’m going to go with Urkel. Not because of anything Urkel can do, but because Pee Wee would end up beating himself (Hey-O!)
I started doing Improv in High School (about 1980). No one really did it for anything other than to waste a little time in class. Then when I started doing stand up in the mid-80’s there was a promoter who loved improv and would have the comedians do it to fill some time. I was the only one that really liked doing it then. The others were afraid of it. Then, when I was opening up Off Broadway Theatre I needed something that set us apart from Desert Star Playhouse (where most of the actors came from) and I turned to Improv. It wasn’t on TV at the time so it was a tough sell for the actors, but we pulled it off. Now it’s many years later and I still love it and play every weekend.
Quick Wits started in 1994 at the Off Broadway Theatre and has performed every weekend in Utah since that time. That’s an amazing run for one troupe. When I named the troupe Quick Wits I always meant to come up with a better name, but it turns out the name was really good, and now basically means Improv in Utah. We’ve moved around a lot over the years, but have been able to stay relevant. The amazing part is the group of actors that come and go. It seems like every so often Quick Wits has to get a whole new set of actors, but we find them. I would say that the current group is the best I’ve had around me in the 20 years of improv.
Where can people check out QuickWits shows?
We currently perform at the Midvale Main Street Theatre every Friday and Saturday at 10:00.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a publisher reach out to me to write a book on improv. Somehow this company in California heard about me and that I would be a good person to write a book for them. That first book has done very well, selling over 30,000 copies. I just put out a second book a few moths ago and we’ll see how that one does. The books are designed to teach people how to get into improv. The first one is especially good for teaching children about improv.
You can purchase Bob’s books on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Bob-Bedore/e/B001KMDW66
What are some of the highlights of your stand up comedy career?
I’ve had many things that I’m very lucky to have done. In the 80’s Ellen DeGeneres had won Showtime’s Funniest Person in America and came through SLC. I was asked to open/emcee because I was a radio DJ and the promoter liked me enough to then go do five more shows with her. Of course, that was long ago and I doubt she’d remember, but it still sticks with me. I’ve been lucky enough to open for Brian Regan, Demetri Martin and John Hefron in Las Vegas. I should point out that this is mostly because I was the guy who hired them to perform for our company, but I got to go out and do 15 minutes before them to warm up the crowd. Still counts in my book. I’ve been able to do stand up in Australia.
Who have been some of you favorite comedians to perform with?
I’ve had several people I love performing with. Locally, I will always jump at a chance to perform with Troy and Andrew from ToySoup. I also love performing with Shawn Zumbrunnen. On stage I’ve love acting with Eric Jensen. As for other people… Ellen DeGeneres was great back in the day, and I’m sure she still is. John Hefron was wonderful. Demetri Martin was cool, but very nervous (we were his first big corporate gig). Brian Regan was actually a jerk to me, but I love his stuff. I opened for Dustin Diamond one time and he was a total tool (no surprise).
What was one joke that you have told that has stood out the most?
These change from time to time. I’m not a real “joke” teller. Most of my stuff is a story, or something that needs a set up to get to the pay off. But here is one I really like that is short and seems to get a good laugh every time… “I went to a strip club the other day for my first time. I really didn’t know what to do. I had heard that people like to ‘make it rain’ with dollars, but I only had a roll of quarters. I made it Hail. I was asked to leave.”
What do you think of the Utah Improv Comedy Scene?
Utah has a great improv scene! I travel A LOT and I always try to see other improv. What happens here in Utah is better than 98% of the country. There is incredible talent up and down the state. It is really cool to see.
What do you think of the Utah Stand Up Comedy Scene?
This is growing as well. More and more open Mic places are opening up every week. I will say that in some ways this is great, but I think it’s also hurting the scene a little. I’m seeing too many people doing the same type of sets as everyone else. Utah is becoming a place where to be a comedian you have to show that you’re crass and not a “Mormon Comic”. I see a lot of comedians think that they have to conform to this if they want stage time. But they should notice that the comedians that make it out of Utah are more diverse. If we have all of this Open Mic Opportunity, make the most of it. Do something different. Do material that makes you stand out. There is no need to just go up there in your 3 minutes and do what the last guy did (and the guy after you).
I would like to see more “sharing” with the group. The improv community shares all the time. I think that the Stand Up folks can do a little more of that. Maybe there is more sharing, but I don’t see it because I’m a bit on the fringe of the stand up group. I would love to see the Utah Stand Up Comedians do more charity work. We could form our own “Stand Up For Something” type of show and have it raise some money for a cause. This also raises awareness of the comics…. Win-Win.
What standup and improv shows do you have coming up?
I will be performing in my 3000th show in April. That’s actually pretty strange to think about. That’s a lot of shows, and the best part is that I still love dong it. I can see myself hitting 5000 without a problem. I’m looking to do more stand up. I’ll be performing with some of the Open Mics and will be doing another round of the Doug and Teresa Wyckoff’s “The He & She Show” tour this summer. I’m hoping to join them in Reno and Vegas for part of the tour. I’m pretty excited about that.
How can people connect with you?