How did you get your start in comedy?
I think it's similar to a lot of people's comic beginnings. I was the class clown in high school. ... I used to work at The B.O.B. on the same floor as the comedy club, and I would get onstage with my chef's jacket, right out of work. ... There were a few times where I got onstage when I was still on the clock.
So The B.O.B. helped to get you established?
They needed people for the open mic, so I started there.
When did you get serious about pursuing comedy as a career?
Probably around 2008. I always knew I wanted to get paid for it, but I never knew how. I took a comedy workshop, which was a waste of money. You can't make somebody funnier. You're either funny or you're not. I at least learned some of the business side from that workshop.
So even though the workshop didn't give you what you needed, did it at least open some doors in the business for you?
Yeah, it at least introduced me to the business side of comedy, which is important because a lot of guys don't understand that being a paid comic is in reality 75 percent business, 25 percent being funny. ... There's a huge side to comedy that's not fun or glamorous. Everybody wants things like velvet ropes, but it's not that anymore. It was like that in the '80s, maybe for a while, but not anymore.
It's a lot of driving, isn't it?
Yeah. A lot of comics say you're getting paid to drive. ... A lot of time staying in hotels and a lot of time alone. You have a lot of time with your own thoughts.
When was your first paid gig?
In 2008. It's blurry. ... I had my first paid gig at Dr. Grins and then started to do things around the Midwest.
Obviously, you have to be available to take multiple gigs to get your start. How do you do that as well as supplement your income?
It definitely helps to not have a family. There are a lot of older gentlemen in the business who are envious of the younger guys. Not just because they're younger, but because they have a wife and kids at home. You have other people to worry about. Once you're established and have a house, you can't pick up and move. And if you start in the Midwest, you have to move to a bigger market.
Is there any topic that's off limits?
I've always felt like there are no topics that are off limits if you can make it funny.
How have you seen the local scene grow?
It has grown a lot. ... [Dr. Grins] had to literally beg people to do the open mic, and now the open mic is booked two or three months in advance. And now we have new open mic nights popping up all over.
In an average week, how often do you perform?
Probably six times. An average working week is about six shows, and in the Midwest, that's great, but there are guys that get onstage six times a night in New York. It's not as much as I would like to, but it's definitely enough to be a working comic in the Midwest.
Do you have any career goals for the next year?
My immediate goals for the next year are headline clubs and to move to either New York or Los Angeles. ... I don't think there's a right time, I just think you have to do it.
Interview conducted, edited and condensed by Lindsay Patton-Carson. Photo: Seth Thompson