We have returned. I have neglected my dear baby, It’s Always Funny in SLC, long enough. In my hiatus I put all my comedic efforts into the Salt Lake Comedy Carnivale and the AlwaysSLC Showcase. I have ignored this blog like that little red-headed boy was with the meth-head parents on Breaking Bad. I have left this poor blog snot nosed and sleeping on a urine stained mattress and watching knife infomercials all day long. (I am currently binge watching Breaking Bad if you can’t tell). But I have crushed the head of laziness and you can expect intriguing interviews in the coming weeks and months.
It’s Always Funny in SLC returns with the one and only, Steffan Reed. He has been jetting up the ranks in the scene and being booked at shows at all kinds of venues. He is also being the go-to as the local roastmaster. Which is kinda like becoming an uncle to a kitten. Good job Stefan. We talk about marrying inanimate objects, inspirational human beings and what the heck Dragon Cubs of Zion means.
Describe yourself in 10 words or less?
Degenerate joke slinger laying on the floor at a LaQuinta-Inn
If you could marry an inanimate object, say a Marie Osmond porcelain doll, what would it be? How would you propose? Where would you go on your honeymoon?
If it was Marie Osmand I would smash the doll and tell her/it, that they are awful. I have read that sex robots are going to become a reality in Japan’s near-future. If they are anything like Toyota or Honda, they will be expensive but reliable and become the norm here in the states….. So yeah, I have that going for me in the future as that is who I will marry. I wouldn’t have to propose as she is a Japanese sex robot, the fact I had to pay $1,000 for shipping to get her over here will suffice as an engagement ring. The honeymoon would in Branson, MO, she would technically be a Japanese national and they like going to see the dumb touristy stuff here in America, so that would be the honeymoon. I would even wear a Hawaiian shirt, ball cap and have a Nikon camera around my neck to make her feel more comfortable as if I was Japanese myself.
That whole response makes me sound like sellout and this whole interview is just to endorse products which I am not getting paid to endorse.
If you were present at the Sermon On the Mount, would you have heckled Jesus and if so, what would you have said?
I would steal Arnold Schwarzenegger’s line from Predator when he throws a gigantic knife into one of the rebel soldier’s chest and pins him to the wooden pole right behind him. His line is “Stick Around”, after he throws the knife in him, while he has a big shit-eating grin on his face. The person Arnold kills is South American and most likely Catholic or grew up Catholic, so it’s keeping with the theme of Christianity, I think.
What got you started in stand up comedy?
A) To be completely honest with you and who the hell ever will read this interview, my answer is narcissism. I am just a grown up child seeking validation from an audience through laughs. What really made me choose this form or narcissistic behavior than being a motivational speaker like Tony Robbins, was watching the roasts on Comedy Central. I thought it was so fun watching a group of professional comedians who are friends, just taking a gigantic shit on each other out of love. I really wanted to be funny enough to be on a roast. I don\’t know if I will ever make it to Comedy Central, but I did four roasts this year one of which I got paid to do and that was a great feeling.
Who are your biggest inspirations in comedy?
I don’t have a simple answer for that, because now that I have been performing comedy for two years I get inspired by so many comedians in certain ways.
Nicholas Smith: He inspires me in becoming a better writer and now I try to spare no detail in my horrific descriptions of what happens to people.
Aaron Orlovitz and Jackson Banks: They inspire me in the same way. They both think outside the norm when it comes to jokes. I think they both have some of the most creative premises for jokes I have ever heard before.
Natashia Mower: Her way of storytelling about her life and punching it up with jokes is inspiring to me to watch.
Dustin Hagen: There is something to be said in keeping a joke simple and he remains really funny.
Christopher Stevenson and Jason Harvey: They have an amazing drive and persistence to expand the local comedy scene. Honestly the Salt Lake comedy scene would have no scene outside of Wiseguys if it was not for them. There are probably a few others that deserve this recognition as well, but those two stand out in my mind. They make me want to work harder and do more for the scene here. They invested a lot of confidence and love towards me, which inspired me to do a good job for them on stage.
Doug Stanhope: I thought I was starting to figure out this whole “stand-up” comedy thing, until I went and saw Stanhope with my girlfriend back in September in Las Vegas. I was jaw-dropped when I saw him and I realized, I have a long way to go and I need to work harder if I ever want to be even as close to where is at.
Jim Norton: He is proof that you can make it big in comedy without having being clean and watering down your comedy bits. Besides him being vulgar, he is just a damn funny comedian and his vulnerability and honesty in his jokes is inspiring.
Dave Attell: This guy is an absolute master in joke writing. He can tweak a setup or punchline to a joke, tell many variations of his jokes and still be funny every time. Also I think he is really good at layering jokes. Basically he writes a joke, within a joke, within a joke.
Junior Stopka: This is guy based out of Chicago, he opened for Doug Stanhope for a little while. I think people should really check him out, the way he delivers jokes is genius and I have never seen it done the way he does it. He does not write a typical punchline you would see with most stand-up’s. He’s not an influence of mine, but he’s someone I discovered recently and I love him.
Greg Giraldo: People call Jeff Ross the roast master general, but Greg always set the bar when it came to roast jokes on the Comedy Central roasts.
How long have you been doing comedy? What do you think sets you apart?
Two years in January 2015. What sets me apart? I don’t really know, I would say that I am not afraid of offending anyone. Maybe what separates me from a lot of comedians is I don’t pick mundane subjects about normal day-to-day life, or corny observational humor. When I go on vacation, I like to see the grime of a city. I don’t like tourist traps so much as I like to see what is morally vile about a city that I go to. I was in Portland in June of this year and I really wanted to see The Shanghai Tunnels unfortunately I didn’t have time and my girlfriend is claustrophobic. The Shanghai Tunnels was a series of underground tunnels where they would transport kidnapped young men and force them into slavery on a ship by threat of death if they refused to work. What I am trying to convey is I like looking at the underbelly and corruption of humanity and that’s where I get my inspirations from.
Who has been the biggest help for you in your comedy career to this point?
So many people have been a help and all for different reasons. I will just name a few: Number one has been my fans and friends who come to my shows. Outside of them would have to be: My girlfriend, Nicholas Smith, Jose Bacio, Dustin Hagen, Alex Simashov, Jason Harvey, Christopher Stevenson, Melissa Merlot, Steve McInelly, Paul Black(Black Marble Photography) all the owners of venues, if it wasn’t for them we would have NO WHERE to perform.
When will we see another appearance of Bruce Shawking?
Hopefully never again. That was really a one-time thing.
It depends on if it’s for a roast or for my regular act. For my normal act, I always keep a voice recorder app on my phone ready to access quickly. I have such an untrained memory, so I have to immediately record my thoughts that I think are good for a joke via voice recording or I will forget them. I will then revisit that recording a month later and ask myself if it’s really worth trying to form in to a joke or not. If it makes the first cut and I want to make a bit out of it, I will then write it down. I start writing down the joke and its structure in a stream of consciousness format. I then revisit it a week later with a fresh new perspective and if I still like it, I keep it and start making it better, simpler and sometimes I add much more detail.
What is the Dragon Cubs of Zion? Who is part of it? What make it special?
The Dragon Cubs of Zion is a monthly podcast which was conceived in the birthing canal which is Alex Simashov’s(The main host of the show) thoughts. He started this about four years ago and I would occasionally do it, once I started doing standup I convinced him to make it a real podcast and not just record people talking. I thought about actual having a real radio format, having guests who are funny while talking about the crazy shit goes on around the world which is its current format.
Who is part of it? Alex Simashov, myself, Dustin Hagen and usually a guest who is typically a local stand up.
What makes it special? It’s very comedian oriented, we don’t talk about the normal stuff most podcasts do. I don’t know if that makes it special, but I feel we are somewhat unique. We talk about science, perceived problems in society and we have Dustin Hagen mumble the news and I always pick very obscure news stories. At the end of the show I have the guest, myself and Dustin do one of our comedy routines.
Who is coming up on the podcast?
We have Levi Rounds in November, Christopher James in December, Melissa Merlot in January and I think Steve Uribe in February. We eventually want to do this more and possibly even have secondary podcasts, like I would really like to give David Mast his own podcast under our network and call it the MastCast or the Mast Effect or something like that.
The Dragon Cubs have a show coming up… can you tell us more about that?
Originally I wanted just to produce a show that celebrates the podcast and all of our past guests that we had. Right around the time I booked the show, Mindy Kaye committed suicide and then immediately I wanted to dedicate this how to her memory and help out her family. The show will have: David Mast, Aaron Orlovitz, Natashia Mower, Jackson Banks, Jonny Brandin, Nicholas Smith with myself, Alex Simashov and Dustin Hagen hosting. Additionally we will be live streaming the show on UStream and will put it up later for anyone to listen.
Do you have plans to do more Dragon Cubs of Zion shows in the future?
Maybe if I am not dead by then. If I die don’t rely on Dustin he will be too busy taking a nap and Alex will forget.
What has been your “Rock-Star” moment as a stand-up comedian to this point?
Aaron Orolovitz has a friend who hosted a comedy show at his house which he and I both performed on. I got to do such vile and horrific material and the audience not only loved my punchlines they were laughing at my setup to the joke itself. I have never used heroin, but I would surmise the level of euphoria I felt is akin to doing heroin. The other rock star moment I had is the roast I hosted and produced for Dustin Hagen on his birthday. So many people loved it and complimented me on the job I did, that felt really felt great.
What venue in Utah or else where has been your favorite? Where is your dream place to perform and who would you want to perform with?
The best venue or show I did was probably at Club DJ’s for one of Melissa Merlot’s shows. It’s a good venue with a fairly easy crowd to please, plus you can be filty. I don’t really have a “dream” venue, or a “dream” show. I have been told I would immensely enjoy one of the Shocker Shows that Joker’s Gone Wild produces.
I like to peform with people my comedy closely matches, or has a similar tone to mine. The closest comedian to my tone would probably have to be Nicholas Smith.
What was one joke that you have told that has stood out the most?
I have a joke about being born here in America, so I didn’t bother reading the constitution. That particular joke seems to be a favorite amongst crowds. Another joke people like, is about how fucked up and extreme porn has become.
What do you think of the Utah Comedy Scene?
I think it’s a very cool and tightknit community and I am happy to be a part of it. I however would like comedy patrons to know there is local comedy outside Wiseguys.
Where do you see the Scene in 5 years?
I would like to more “dirty” shows here in Salt Lake. I don’t like performing clean and would like to see a show that people go to see an absolutely filthy and offensive show on a monthly basis. Who knows? Maybe I will start one, if I can just collect unemployment for a living.
We recently lost a local comedian to a horrible tragedy… what can we do as a scene to help other comedians that might be having trouble with depression?
I am soooooooo not qualified to answer this question, but I will try. I think depression is kind of like addiction, you can show someone they need help, but ultimately it’s that individual that has to want to get help. With that said you should never give up on your friends and loved ones.
What is the one thing happening in the comedy scene that you are really excited about?
It keeps getting bigger and bigger! This will mean more opportunities to make people laugh.
What is something that makes the Utah Comedy Scene unique?
This scene is not like anyone would expect. I would surmise people think Salt Lake comedy would be super clean and boring because Utah is a predominantly Mormon state. In reality it’s not we have such a wide range of talent here and a surprisingly large number of abrasive comedians.
What shows do you have coming up?
The Mindy Kaye Memorial Show which I am hoting with the member of the Dragon Cubs of Zion on Saturday November 22ndat 9 PM at Sandy Station. After that I am taking a three to four month hiatus, I am working on some other comedy projects outside of standup. Jonny Brandin and I are trying to turn the movie Clerks into a musical that and I want to start a YouTube series panel show similar to Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn. After my hiatus Nicholas Smith and I are going to try and do a tour next spring if we can get our sponsorship money to go through. If funding is successful and enough money comes through we will be going to: Orlando, Denver, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle and Boise.
How can people connect with you? Both on social media and personal level.