Thursday, 19 June 2014 16:15

Josh Sneed Finds Fame in Ohio

Written by  Josh Spanninga
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Josh Sneed Josh Sneed COURTESY PHOTO

Josh Sneed
Dr. Grins, Grand Rapids
July 31-Aug. 2, show times at 5:30, 8 and 10:30 p.m.
$10-$20, (616) 356-2000

Josh Sneed is living proof that you can make it big in comedy without having to leave your home and family behind. He grew up in Ohio, and currently lives in the greater Cincinnati area, near the border of Kentucky and Ohio. While life in the Midwest may sound less flashy than New York or L.A. to some, Sneed wouldn't have it any other way.

“When I first started out I was always drilled with 'You have to be in New York or L.A.' because that's where they make the TV shows, that's where they make the movies, that's where all the important decision-makers are,” Sneed said. “But as I got closer and closer to being at a level where I'd have to make that decision, technology advanced to where that didn't seem to be the case anymore.”

After landing a job as a systems analyst for Procter and Gamble fresh out of college, Sneed began attending open mic nights in Ohio as a way to decompress after work. After garnering quite a bit of attention for his sets, it quickly became apparent that comedy was becoming less of a pastime and more of a career.

“It literally had just gotten to a point where if I wanted to advance any further in either one of those, I knew I was going to have to commit to one,” Sneed said. “And at 24, comedy was a lot more enticing than IT work.”

Sneed soon found himself performing comedy full time, making appearances at various comedy festivals and competitions and opening for acts such as Lewis Black, Bill Burr and Louis C.K. He even landed his own half-hour special on Comedy Central, and has made several appearances on the nationally syndicated “Bob and Tom Show.” While this level of exposure might sound nerve-wracking to some, Sneed now feels at home in such environments.

“After over 16 years of doing comedy, and almost 13 years full time, it seems like almost every possible environment to do a show I've done at some point,” Sneed said. “The nervousness doesn't show up until you're in an environment that's not really familiar to you.”

Experience and success isn't the only thing Sneed has gained from his career in comedy. While recording his comedy album, Unacceptable, he met the woman who would later become his wife. They have since purchased a home and have recently become parents, all of which Sneed credits as giving him endless inspiration for his new material, delivered in his signature laid-back, guy-next-door method of storytelling.

“A lot of times, people who leave the comedy club will say 'It felt like you were just a guy sitting on my couch talking,' and that's exactly what I want,” Sneed said. “I don't want you to notice transitions between topics or between jokes. I want you to feel like I was up there telling one big, long story, and hopefully it was a funny one to listen to.”

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