Monday, 27 August 2012 16:35

Gary Gulman: At the Top of His Game

Written by  Josh Spanninga
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Gary Gulman is really, really tall. Six feet, six inches to be exact. This may be true, but there’s another striking characteristic people instantly notice about Gulman: He is really, really funny.

Gulman used to work as an accountant, probably one of the last professions one would expect an aspiring comedian to attain, which is probably why after a few years he quit accounting and took on odd jobs such as barista, substitute teacher, bar doorman and waiter among others. The entire time, however, he was focused on becoming a comedian.

“I did all those other jobs very poorly and half-heartedly really just to pay the bills while I went after this comedy dream,” Gulman said.

Sure enough, it paid off. After a while he was invited on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” the “Late Show with David Letterman” and myriad of other late night talk shows, gigs Gulman enjoys.

“It's very similar to the reactions you get on your birthday where everybody calls you and they Facebook you and they e-mail you and you get little perks, and you pretty much can do whatever you want that day as long as you show up on time.”

Of course, he also enjoys touring clubs just as much.

“Night to night, doing the clubs is a lot of fun too because you have a lot more freedom and you don't have to worry about swearing or going off the script or going long or going short. If you bomb, only a handful of people see it. On TV, a lot of people see it.”

Gulman's success in the comedy club circuit has allowed him to focus on stand-up as his main profession. Unlike many other comedians who get into the field hoping for movie deals, Gulman prefers to stay in the clubs. Acting just isn't for him.

“I'm much more comfortable on stage as a stand-up comedian, and I've sort of made that my exclusive field. I don't really audition for acting things anymore, and I'm not really interested in that. It just kind of takes my energy away from what I really want to do, which is to write jokes and perform them onstage.”

Gary Gulman
Dr. Grins, Grand Rapids
Sept. 27-29; Showtimes 8:30, 9 and 10:30 p.m.
$5-$15, (616) 356-2627

His standup has found a wide audience through the aforementioned spots on late night talk shows, as well through his participation in NBC's “Last Comic Standing” and the Dane Cook HBO documentary series, “Tourgasm.”

Gulman's material covers a wide variety of subject matter, from his Jewish roots to punctuation to The Karate Kid. His new, meticulously planned album No Can Defend gets its title from the latter.

“It took me a long time to make it just in that I tried for years to make a CD that I thought sounded good and was representative of what I was doing onstage at that time,” Gulman said.

The result is roughly one hour of hilarious and absurd observances of day-to-day life, told in Gulman's own unique voice. It's a voice that has taken years for him to shape, but one that he is very proud of.

“I really think I'm at the top of my game right now, and I have the tools that I've learned over the years, so I feel really good about what I'm doing onstage now.”


Other Comedy Events

Dr. Grins, Grand Rapids
Sept. 13-15, show times at 8:30, 9 and 10:30 p.m.
$10-$20, (616) 356-2627

Godfrey, the surname-less comedian, has been all over television in one form or another. He has appeared on BET and Comedy Central, is a recurring guest on FX's “Louie” and has appeared in a multitude of films, like Zoolander and Soul Plane, as well as gaining fame as the spokesperson for 7-Up during the famous “Make 7-Up Yours” campaign. Godfrey will be making the jump from television to stage Sept. 13-15 when he performs his stand-up at Dr. Grins.

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