Spence Roper is the guest this week on It’s Always Funny in Salt Lake City. I was really excited for this interview. Mainly because Spence is my role model in every way possible. Plus I knew he would provide the longest interview that we have ever done. He calls me an idiot.
Spence expands deeply on #YUCryingAtChurch, his Logan comedy shows and draws a picture that will blow your mind.
Describe yourself in 10 words or less?
I’m a warrior.
I meant worrier.
Please explain the code of ethics you have to follow as a part-time bus driver?
The big one, and I can not stress how much they stress this enough, is to not work more than 28 hrs a week. That’s the number one priority. There is also some stuff about being safe and respect I think, but the 28 hrs a week thing is definitely the big part of the part time bus driver code of ethics.
If you became the Generel President of the Relief Society of the LDS church, what would be your sweeping changes you would enforce right away?
I would never be that.
Living in a house.
Why did you start doing stand up comedy?
I’ve always loved comedy, laughing, and making people laugh. The question I ask myself is why did I wait so long to start?
The answer I usually give myself is: Facebook.
I waste so much time on stupid Facebook.
Who are your biggest inspirations in comedy?
It varies. Right now I really like guys like Nate Bargatze and Ryan Hamilton. They really make me laugh a lot. Louis C.K., which I know everybody says, but wow, have you seen that guy. He’s really a hoot.
How long have you been doing comedy?
A little over 2 yrs.
Who has been the biggest help for you in your comedy career?
Keith Stubbs. If I’m any better than when I started, and I feel like I am, it’s due in large part to all the stage time I’ve been able to get, and he has provided a gigantic chunk of that. He’s good about telling me when I’m being too stupid, as well.
People who create opportunities to get on stage. We wouldn’t be doing this right now if it weren’t for a guy from Logan named Jonathan Ribera. He started an open mic up in Logan at this little theatre he had converted into an art house theatre where he performed improv on the weekends with his improv troupe Logan Out Loud. That was the open mic I first performed comedy at. My first 6 months were all right in that little theatre. It was an incredibly fun and surreal time for me. The theatre is an archery shop now, but even today, when I go over there, it’s hard to not get nostalgic while standing in the legal projectile section holding a razor tipped carbon fiber arrow like a microphone.
It’s also hard not to cut yourself if you’re being careless, so be careful.
What is the name of your shows?
I do 2 shows with my friend Mike Grover. One is a big monthly show (it’s actually 2 shows in one night) that we put on at The Dansante bldg, which is the headquarters of the Utah Festival Opera Company. That place is really a trip. You have to see it. I love doing a show there. It has a nice big stage and a very open airy theatre (which is code for “we had some issues with the sound initially”). The other is a bi-weekly show we put on on Tuesdays in the back of the comic book shop, Death Ray Comics, also in Logan. They have a small stage and a room that will hold maybe 60 people. The improv troupe Logan Out Loud performs there on weekends, but during the week it is available to us, so we’ve started doing this show that is basically a by invitation open Mic. We like for the people we ask to come up to try out their new material. The room is typically really good, but can also be really empty sometimes, but even the small shows have been really fun to do. The audience for that show has been really incredible.
In short, people should come to see it because we have funny people come and perform, and people are loose and try new things and it’s kind of exciting to see what people will do. There are some people who are so creative and constantly doing new things, and those are the people I love to watch. We’re nit paying a ton of cash to the performers on the Tuesday show, but when we invite somebody to come, we usually give them money for gas.
Attendance increases we may end up giving money for even more gas, like up to 5 our six gallons maybe, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
When is your next show being held?
We’ll have the next Death Ray Comics show this coming Tuesday, January 14th. Starts at 8 pm
What is the location and cost of the show?
DEATH RAY COMICS
72 west Center street
Show starts at 8 pm
Or we do have a special price for couples.
It’s $12 for a couple. It’s actually cheaper to not come in and ask if there is a special couples rate because you’re a couple and are so happy and in love, but if you’re adamant about pointing out that you came with somebody who is your special somebody, we do have special rate for you and it’s 12 bucks. There’s actually a special right now that we’re doing where if you take a cute couple selfie touching cheeks, you can get in for $17-That may be something done people might like to take advantage of.
Also, sometimes people say fuck at this show, so something to consider if you’re thinking about bringing kids who you don’t want to start saying fuck yet (like if you’re waiting til they’re in kindergarten or whatever). Personally, I don’t say it unless I’m mad at kids, but there are others who might say it when they’re talking about how much they love candy bars.
It’s not a fuck-fest, is what I’m trying to say.
It’s more of a fun fest,
but a fun fest where some people might say fuck.
What is the purpose of your show?
Ok, so obviously I didn’t pre-read the questions that closely before I started answering them. The purpose of the shows are what I already said and also the laughter.
Why should people come to your show?
Once again, I might have benefited from having perused the questions a tad more closely…
We’ve got a great couples rate for couples. That’s one reason for sure.
Also, the laughter, which I believe I also already mentioned
How is the Logan community reacting to your shows?
Our monthly shows have been very well received. The every other Tuesday show has been a little hit and miss attendance wise, but it’s really only been going for a couple months. I will say that each one of those shows, whether there were 4 or 40 in the audience, were extremely fun for both the audience the comics who were performing.
Oh boy. Now it’s just plain awkward. In my defense I never listened that closely when you initially approached me about doing this and so somehow I had gotten it into my head that this was going to be a podcast interview…like talking and stuff. I had no idea reading was going to be involved.
So now who’s the idiot, huh pal?
(Some kid just spilled some cheerios on the floor).
Please explain the cultural phenomenon that is YUCryinAtChurch (I spelled this wrong, enjoy me being corrected).
Do you mean #YUCryingAtChurch?
Learn to read, idiot.
I’m really glad you asked.
So here’s the thing.
I always have been. That’s all I’ve ever known. There is really no way to un- Mormon myself that I’m aware of, so I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I just am that.
That being said, there are some things that I don’t love about the Mormon church.
Things like going to it
And talking to people in it, but there are some things I find amusing as well.
Specifically FAST SUNDAY (aka open Mic Sunday, aka fast and testimony mtg).
Once a month, the first Sunday of the month, we Mormons dedicate an hour +/- to letting who ever wants to get up in front of the congregation and say a few words (or A LOT of words if it’s an old person).
The idea behind the whole thing is supposed to be professing your belief in God, Jesus, and Mormon stuff (like how God said coffee is bad and also black people, but not anymore because it turns out we were just being racist. Oops. Lol), however, the Mormon culture has opted to take it in a somewhat different direction.
As best I can tell, the goal at the fast Sunday testimony mtg. (a.k.a. open Mic Sunday) isn’t to make the audience/congregation laugh, but to make yourself cry while they quietly listen (so basically exactly like every other open Mic, as far as the end result is concerned).
I was sitting there in church one day eat fruit loops from a Ziploc bag while listening to some lady crying and thinking to myself WHY ARE YOU CRYING? WHY? I took a second to listen and realized the reason she was up in front of everybody bawling like she just found out she had cancer and it was in her penis is because she had been sad the other day, but then had watched a video she liked and then she wasn’t sad.
THIS WAS THE GREATEST THING I’D EVER HEARD.
I literally laughed out loud, which caused my wife to laugh, which resulted in one of my kids asking in the loudest voice possible why we werere laughing. Suddenly open Mic and testimony meeting were sources of happiness for me.
It was a miracle.
I immediately tweeted her riveting testimony along with some ridiculously long hashtag and tuned into the next sobbing sack of mommy blogger stereotypes that had marched up to the podium to cry in front of us.
She proceeded to sob through a tale of a Disneyland trip with some challenges like hotel rooms not being furnished as they expected and how they had soldiered through it thanks to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Needless to say, I couldn’t tweet fast enough.
Since then I’ve adopted a much shorter hashtag thanks to a guy named Rob Kent who thought #reasonspeoplearecryinginchurchtoday maybe wasn’t the most succinct hashtag option and I’ve never stopped tweeting since (except for the period between fast and testimony meeting Sundays, where I take a short month long break).
It is now, by leaps and bounds, the most popular thing I do on social media.
I should clarify.
Nothing I do is popular on social media. #YUCryingAtChurch is the least unpopular thing I do on social media.
I now get people I don’t know at all messaging me on Facebook telling me that they’re looking forward to it, which is unprecedented. Before #YUCryingAtChurch if I got a message from someone on Facebook it was to tell me to stop commenting on their posts and that they were going to block me and that they were extremely disappointed in me and that they thought they had raised me better than that.
Sufficeth to say, the more recent Facebook message trend is the one I’m most partial to.
What are some of your favorite moments of YUCryingAtChurch? (I fixed it here to not acquire further ridicule.)
Ha ha ha ha…oh man. All of them. The Mormon culture has become so insular here in Utah that I don’t believe people even hear what they’re saying anymore.
I’m a tad embarrassed for the people sometimes, but also grateful because when they’re up there crying about how they’d gotten a stain in their carpet and they couldn’t get it out, but they prayed about it and the next day they remembered you can have a person who cleans carpets come and clean them with a machine, so then they didn’t worry about the stain because Jesus wouldn’t care about the stain in the carpet…
That’s entertainment you wouldn’t just find anywhere. It’s a unique piece of entertainment. I’m tired and probably nit as coherent ad I think I am right now, so I’ll pick thus back up in the morning.Wow, did you see me go off the rails just barely? How nuts was that?
Anyways, #YUCryingAtChurch I hope will illustrate to ourselves and the world that Mormons are acting pretty ridiculous these and that it’s a real good time and the reason people are putting and laughing is because they’re up there crying about a trip they took and how sad they are because not everyone hates gay people. If that’s not funny than I don’t know what funny is.
How can people follow this once a month Sunday Extravaganza? Follow me on Twitter @spenceroper
And check out #YUCryingAtChurch
You won the One Mic Stand comedy competition at the Salt Lake Comedy Festival last year. Have you got more action from your wife as a result?
My wife is pregnant
More respect from your children?
Children laugh at farts for, like, an hour. Their respect is irrelevant to me unless I’m gassy.
Please draw a picture that will blow our minds?
What is one joke that you have done that has stood out or been a crowd favorite?
Spence Roper. Come to a show I’m on.
What do you think of the Utah comedy scene?
I love it.
If the people who aren’t funny would start being funny or move away.
What is one cool thing that is happening in the Utah Comedy scene that you are excited about?
There are these shows going on in Logan right now and I hear good things
Mike Grover is your favorite local comedian.
Who do you hate?
People who wear fake glasses
Which local comedian would you go gay for? What do you mean by “go gay”? I am assuming it’s Steve Soelberg. It’s not. It’s this guy: http://www.victoriassecret.com/sleepwear/lingerie/satin-cami-and-short-set-dream-angels?ProductID=150689&CatalogueType=OLS
What shows do you have coming up?
Tuesday January 14th I will be at Death Ray Comics at 8 pm.
Friday January 31st Todd Johnson will be at the Dansante in Logan. I post where I will be on my facebook page and twitter each week as well, so that’s always a good place to look. Wiseguys on the weekend is always a safe bet.
How can people follow you? Besides at a safe distance where you can’t sense that they are following.
I don’t understand the question exactly but am going to go ahead and take this opportunity to mention I can be found on Facebook. Just search Spence Roper. All friend requests will be accepted. I’m on Twitter @spenceroper and instagram (also @spenceroper). Check out www.cachevalleycomedy.com and it’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cachevalleycomedy
Also check out my blog www.ifbearscouldtype.blogspot.com where you can find gems like this: http://ifbearscouldtype.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-grossest-tub-water-friends.html
I’ve been told that going through my pictures on Facebook is a pretty good time so check it out. I try to have fun.