This week on It’s Always Funny in Salt Lake City we talk with the veteran stand up comedian and owner of Wiseguys Comedy Clubs, Keith Stubbs. From running the 3 Wiseguys clubs, doing his own stand up gigs and entertaining the corporate world, Keith is hard working and all about comedy.
We talk about being the “Poundcake”, Wiseguys and the process of booking comedians both locally and nationally.
You can check him out this upcoming week in Ogden, Logan and Orem.
Describe yourself in 10 words or less?
I am dad, family man, comic, workaholic and lover of sports and comedy.
What does Ambien mean to you?
I started taking Ambien when I got my radio gig 8 years ago. Without it, I lay awake and stare at the ceiling.
You are Poundcake. Where did that come from?
Poundcake came about while I was at the Ontario Mills Mall in California with my daughter. We were sitting at a table in the food court, a few gang looking dudes were milling about and I told her that if I were a gangster, my gang name would be ‘Poundcake’–she laughed, I tried it on stage, and it still works. I think.
What got you started in stand up comedy?
I dabbled in comedy as a high schooler but started doing open mic in LA in the early 90’s. My friend and fellow comic Jerry Mabbott was a regular at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood and he encouraged me to get on stage and do it.
Who are your biggest inspirations in comedy? You mean my favorites?
Don Rickles, Colin Quinn, Jimmy Pardo, Greg Hahn, Chris Rock.
How long have you been doing comedy?
Who has been the biggest help for you in your comedy career?
My wife Noelle and my daughter Megan.
You are big into Twitter and a lot of comedians use it as a testing ground for jokes. How often do you use your joke tweets onstage?
I try it from time to time. Usually(not always) my tweets on stage work but they have very little shelf life.
I opened Wiseguys in WVC in 2002. There wasn’t a lot going on for me so I opened a comedy club in Utah with a series of credit cards immediately throwing myself in to debt. Not smart..
What can we expect from the 3 Wiseguys clubs going forward?
Survival, I hope. It is not an easy business to run.
Which Wiseguys location is your favorite? Why?
They are like my children, I love them all. But, I do have a soft spot for WVC (the original) and Ogden which is where I live.
What is the one event that was the turning point in your career?
No turning point. It is an ongoing process for me.
Where is your favorite place to perform besides Wiseguys?
I enjoy Laughs in Seattle and Kingsbury Hall.
What was one joke that you have told that has stood out the most?
It varies. It depends on where I am in my life. Sorry, not much of an answer.
What do you look for when booking a LOCAL host/guest/headliner?
Are they funny, have potential, are they serious about it, do people want to see them perform.
Who is the dream headliner that you would like to come to Wiseguys?
Who are your Top 5 favorite stand up comedians to come through Wiseguys?
Bill Burr, Kevin Nealon, Kevin Hart, Louis CK, Jimmy Pardo.
Who are 5 that have evaded you and would like to get to perform at Wiseguys?
Colin Quinn has been difficult to lock down.
What is the biggest challenge about booking comedians?
There are only so many weeks in a year. Also, lining up my Wiseguys schedule with the schedule of the comedian as I negotiate with the managers and agents.
What do you think of the up and coming group of comedians in SLC right now?
There are some good ones.
What are some of the biggest mistakes new comedians make?
Be yourself. Write for you. Don’t go with the comedy ‘trends’ that are out there.
What’s the most effective way to develop stand-up comedy material?
Write for yourself. Don’t try too hard to make comics laugh. Remember, as a comic, the idea is to make the audience laugh and have them leave feeling like they saw a show. It is entertainment.
What advice would you give new comedians just starting out?
Work hard. Write for yourself.
What do you think of the local comedy scene? Good and bad?
It is good and bad. That’s how it is in every scene across the country.
What would make it better?
Who are some of your favorite local comics? New comics?
There are some good ones. I don’t want to list them cause I know I’ll forget someone and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
What shows do you have coming up?
Headlining Wiseguys Ogden this weekend. Nov 1st headline in Logan. Nov 2nd headline Scera Theater in Orem. And more stuff…
How can people connect with you?
www.keithstubbs.com or facebook or twitter at @thekeithstubbs and Instagram