2019 St. Louis Independent Comedy Profile: Scott James

We’re spending the next month or so profiling the comics in the St. Louis scene. We’ll be covering a range of comics from seasoned pros, to open mic comics booking their first shows. Our goal is to give you a glimpse at who you can expect to see, no matter where you experience live comedy.

Scott James is a regular feature at The Funny Bone and can be found performing on independent shows around St. Louis. Most Tuesday nights, he runs the pre-show comics meeting before The Funny Bone open mic, where he always has helpful advice for new comics.

NAME

Scott James

SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION

http://www.twitter.com/scottyjames81
http://www.instagram.com/ScottyJames81

Bit of a dry spell, in terms of Tweets and Instagram stories, but I am, indeed, on there.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PERFORMING STAND UP?

8 years, 2 months, 3 days

DESCRIBE YOUR MATERIAL/STYLE OF PERFORMING TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T SEEN YOU

I try to take real events and people from my life and tell jokes about them. The formula is pretty simple. If I thought about someone, or something, more than once through the course of the average day, and I tell the story in the course of general conversation, it’s material. It’s a very one-sided conversation. My wife, child, neighbors, job, home ownership. These topics seem to get the most traction for me. At least one of these topics will be relatable to the typical crowd and failing that, I go right into animal cruelty and people who died in funny ways.

Something for everyone. No politics.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING THING, PERSONALLY, THIS YEAR, ABOUT STAND UP?

My last week at the Funny Bone here in St. Louis, I had a couple really fun moments playing with some new stuff. A few new lines, a couple whole new bits. Nothing is more exciting, year in and year out, than having new material work. It was a great week all around but the Sunday show wound up being the best show of the week.

Sometimes those crowds are smaller and can be a little tight but these people were all the way on board. It was a perfect recipe for a fun, loose show. Michael Malone was the headliner and he is one of the nicest comics I’ve worked with. We had good shows all week and got along really well so I was comfortable going out on a limb a little more.

Steve Beatty was hosting his first week at the club, so I was excited for him. He did great and everyone at the club was in a great mood. An all around good vibe.

Also, Duke Taylor, Sean O’Brien and Charlie Winfrey have started headlining there and that’s pretty exciting. Andrew Frank doing the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Vincent Bryant on Comedy Central, Reggie Edwards, the self appointed GOAT doing great and Larry Greene winning both the Helium and Funnybone contests this year. Libby Higgins, Renaldo Mercado, Steve Beatty, Adam Parker, Aaron Porter and Angela Smith all got their first hosting weeks at the Funny Bone in the last year or so. Rafe Williams recorded his first album at the Improv Shop. Libby Higgins and Tina Dybal’s podcast started in the past year. This all makes me excited to perform.

I know you asked for a singular moment but I can’t see a tip of the cap to some of my STL Comedy Heroes getting edited out given the nature of this website.

CURRENTLY, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE WORKING TO OVERCOME, IN STAND UP COMEDY?

It’s always, “What should I be working on next?” Should I get a website? Record an album? Try for more road work? A podcast!? I never think of doing comedy in terms of what it would take to make it a career. I just think about the fun, satisfying parts and as a result, I always have fun doing it.

BUT. At some point I should probably start making some kind of move. I take performing and writing pretty serious but don’t do shit on the other fronts. It would take prison time and a computer with no internet access to make me buckle down and do things I know I should be doing but don’t. Filling this thing out took more effort than it should, so I can’t imagine the teeth grinding, scalp burning slog that building even the most rudimentary website, or editing and uploading video from that Sunday show at the Funny Bone I’m so proud of to YouTube, or making a post for upcoming shows would be.

I logged into our family computer for the first time in months to do this and once I remembered my password, I found several barely started projects. A character outline for a Star Wars… uh…screen play, I suppose I started in a fit of rage after The Last Jedi came out, and a short story about a post apocalyptic United States restructuring into an agrarian society are the two I’m willing to admit to. I type at a rate that would make you think I was missing all my fingers save for my left pinky and right thumb.

I’m considering mowing my lawn in the rain in possibly the most ridiculous procrastination plot known to man. I hate mowing but I love having a mowed lawn… It’s an analogy, I suppose. My wife bought me Red Dead Redemption 2 for Fathers Day, so some of this is on her.

*short version* My own lazy ass.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST COMEDY GOAL FOR THE NEXT YEAR?

I need to remodel my bathroom, rebuild my deck and the concrete stairs that lead up to my house as they are slowly and steadily creeping down my lawn, pitching and heaving in a way that makes them treacherous to everyone but the James Family and mountain goats. They look as though they were crafted as a set piece for a Tim Burton movie and much like Tim Burton movies, I’m sick of them.

The uninitiated look drunk coming up them and worse going down, which is funny but will end in me being sued by a pizza delivery driver or my mail man or both.

The bathroom remodel is gonna be a motherfucker too. I’m not talking about a coat of paint and new tile. It needs gutted. Back to zero. Plumbing. Drywall. Sub floor. Every soggy, sagging, leaking, out dated, piece in this bathroom needs put out to pasture. I only have one bathroom and there is not enough privacy in the back yard to expect anyone to pee back there, so this’ll be a tricky one.

I need to be a little more ricky-ticky about mowing my lawn too. Every time I do it, it should’ve been done three days ago and I can’t imagine that my neighbors are thrilled at the state of my house. The old shit-ass over grown landscaping plants and wild bullshit that was growing all over my property when I bought this piece of shit grow back bigger and stronger every year no matter how many times I cut them down. Some of this shit will not die and I’m done fighting it.

Last year I rented a 30 yard dumpster to clean out my basement and demo my deck. The deck, if you’re curious, was in worse condition that the front stairs. It was $450 and a weeks worth of work for Mrs. James and I to not be embarrassed by our basement and it already needs done again. Unreal, man.

I suppose my goal for next year is to stay on top of the little problems so they don’t become these insurmountable, week long endeavors that are hard to start and never all the way done.

I know you meant, “What is my biggest goal in comedy for the next year?”, but that is not how the question was worded.

Headline more shows, I guess. Especially at the Funny Bone. It’s where I started. It’s a tough nut to crack sometimes but I’m at ease and comfortable on that stage and around those people.

The goal is to be able and welcome to keep doing comedy, even in the limited capacity I’m already doing it. It is important to me to keep being a good husband and father and I actually like my job.

Those spinning plates all feed the comedy so I kind of feel like I’m on a path that’s not leading me towards LA or New York or even Chicago or wherever comics move to makes the next step in their careers. I applaud those that do and have the tenacity and work ethic to make any kind of living out of comedy or any other art. Maybe when I start collecting my pension, I’ll make “making it” my full time gig.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED PERFORMING?

I wish I had read Rob Durhams book, “Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage” earlier.

This is a 100% serious answer. It’s not like me to give Rob any respect but there is very good, practical advice on starting to do stand-up and navigating the waters a little less clumsily in this book. My wife bought me the book for Christmas a year or two after I had started so I had already made a lot of the mistakes he references in the book. Rob autographed the cover for me. Hilarious.

If you’re new to stand-up, give it a shot. If you’ve been doing it awhile and no one can tell you shit, by all means, keep setting the world on fire you diamond in the rough. Either way, I’ve never seen Rob Durham in a shirt I didn’t hate.

IF YOU WERE A BEVERAGE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

I would not be a beverage. I would be a steak dinner. A ribeye steak, pan seared with butter, rosemary, thyme, course sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, whole garlic clove and minced shallot. Cooked medium rare to medium and finished with a pan gravy made by deglazing the pan with lager and reducing. On the side, I would have blanched asparagus and whipped Yukon gold potatoes with boursin cheese and leeks.

PICK ANY HORROR MOVIE. HOW WOULD YOU SURVIVE?

This thing doesn’t give you the option to skip questions. I would’ve skipped this one. I don’t see myself making it. I have a curious nature and as I understand it, that doesn’t increase your survivability in these movies.

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO PROMOTE?


Friday, September 20. 7:00pm. Jokes and Spokes at Bike Stop Cafe in Chesterfield. This is gonna sound crazy. But I have a lot of experience performing in bicycle themed cafes so this will not be one to miss.

Podcasts: Slop City, Chuck and Sean, Rock Paper Podcast, We Are Live, Impolite Company, Casually Moll. Local comedy centric… I just listen to see if they mention me. They don’t. Good way to not talk to your coworkers.

Man. Adding all those links is a big ask. How much of the leg work should I be expected to do here. If youre on the reading end of this and youve made it this far, Ill assume you have the gumption to open your podcasting app and search for these yourself.

Im done with apostrophes too. And commas.

Books: A Brief History of the Dead and Rant. Interesting premisses. Real thinkers, these books.

Make sure to catch Scott around the St. Louis comedy scene, and check back tomorrow as we continue to highlight the area’s working comics.

2019 St. Louis Independent Comedy Profile: Jason Vorhees

We’re spending the next month or so profiling the comics in the St. Louis scene. We’ll be covering a range of comics from seasoned pros, to open mic comics booking their first shows. Our goal is to give you a glimpse at who you can expect to see, no matter where you experience live comedy.

Jason Vorhees usually kills with younger audiences in the more rural areas around the metro east.

NAME

Jason Vorhees

SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION

Ch ch ch ah ah ah.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PERFORMING STAND UP?

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DESCRIBE YOUR MATERIAL/STYLE OF PERFORMING TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T SEEN YOU

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WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING THING, PERSONALLY, THIS YEAR, ABOUT STAND UP?

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CURRENTLY, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE WORKING TO OVERCOME, IN STAND UP COMEDY?

Dealing with the loss of my mom.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST COMEDY GOAL FOR THE NEXT YEAR?

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WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED PERFORMING?

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IF YOU WERE A BEVERAGE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

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PICK ANY HORROR MOVIE. HOW WOULD YOU SURVIVE?

I don’t watch horror movies.

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO PROMOTE?

Ch ch ch ah ah sh

Jason will catch you somewhere in St. Louis. Check back tomorrow as we continue to highlight the area’s working comics.

2019 St. Louis Independent Comedy Profile: Rich Braun

We’re spending the next month or so profiling the comics in the St. Louis scene. We’ll be covering a range of comics from seasoned pros, to open mic comics booking their first shows. Our goal is to give you a glimpse at who you can expect to see, no matter where you experience live comedy.

Rich Braun is a regular host at The Funny Bone, where he was a finalist in their 2018 Annual Comedy Contest.

NAME

Rich Braun

SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/richbraunstl

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PERFORMING STAND UP?

Almost 2.5 years. I started at the end of 2015, but there was an 18 month gap not long after.

DESCRIBE YOUR MATERIAL/STYLE OF PERFORMING TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T SEEN YOU

I talk about myself and the people who know me, in exaggerated fashion. I do jokes, setup and punchline and tag, but I try to cluster them around the same premise so people don’t realize I’m really doing one-liners.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING THING, PERSONALLY, THIS YEAR, ABOUT STAND UP?

Getting notes from Joe Marlotti when I opened for him at the Funnybone. This was possibly the single biggest boost to my performance skills. I’m a lot more expressive and emotional (frustration, anger, humor, misery, etc) in my bits now. I didn’t realize it, but I used to just stand there and do my jokes. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn’t. Now I’m learning to perform, and not only is it funnier, it’s more fun.

CURRENTLY, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE WORKING TO OVERCOME, IN STAND UP COMEDY?

My new jokes are all terrible. It’s a painful process for me to write new jokes. Necessary, but painful.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST COMEDY GOAL FOR THE NEXT YEAR?

I’d like to do at least one paid club weekend per quarter.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED PERFORMING?

Bombing doesn’t kill you.

IF YOU WERE A BEVERAGE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

I’d be a chocolate milkshake, because I’m probably bad for you but dammit, I’m sweet and creamy.

PICK ANY HORROR MOVIE. HOW WOULD YOU SURVIVE?

Jaws. I wouldn’t have gotten in the water.

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO PROMOTE?

In September I’ll be doing a bunch of stuff out of town with my hot girlfriend who goes to school in Niagara Falls.

Sept 14 – Laugh Your Ass Off Comedy Show – Hoot ‘N Holler Saloon – Benton, IL
Sept 21 – Yuk Off V – Donnie B’s Comedy Club – Springfield, IL
Sept 27 – Shane & Co: Comedy & Music Show – Malden Country Club – Malden, MO

Make sure to catch Rich around the St. Louis comedy scene, and check back tomorrow as we continue to highlight the area’s working comics.

2019 St. Louis Independent Comedy Profile: Bobby Jaycox

We’re spending the next month or so profiling the comics in the St. Louis scene. We’ll be covering a range of comics from seasoned pros, to open mic comics booking their first shows. Our goal is to give you a glimpse at who you can expect to see, no matter where you experience live comedy.

Bobby Jaycox is regular feature at clubs across the country. In addition to stand up, he’s a mainstay in the local improv scene and can often be found doing something cool at The Improv Shop. He co-runs The Improv Shop open mic with Rafe Williams each Monday.

NAME

Bobby Jaycox

SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION

Website: http://bobbyjaycox.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bobbyjaycox
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/bobbyjaycox

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PERFORMING STAND UP?

Almost 10 years

DESCRIBE YOUR MATERIAL/STYLE OF PERFORMING TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T SEEN YOU

I think my style right now is more storytelling. I like reflecting my material off of what is actually going on in my life. Most of my old material is about being single and now I am in a relationship and finding new things funny I had not noticed as a single comic.

A club owner once compared me to Nate Bargatze and Rory Schovel. I look up to both of them and I have had the pleasure of working with both of them.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING THING, PERSONALLY, THIS YEAR, ABOUT STAND UP?

I have been the most excited about finding material in the moment on stage. I get really nervous, and crazy excited, when I don’t know where I want to go next and in that moment I do what I was taught in improv which is “follow the fun.” It is really rewarding and special to find the next part of your act in the actual space of the room. More times than not my brain takes over in ways I personally can’t reach with writing.

CURRENTLY, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE WORKING TO OVERCOME, IN STAND UP COMEDY?

Right now the biggest challenge is becoming better than I was last year. It’s all a challenge. I love facing the fear, and making it look easy.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST COMEDY GOAL FOR THE NEXT YEAR?

Become the head coach of the Battlehawks. Kaa kaww!!

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED PERFORMING?

Write a joke, and perform a joke on stage, in as many different ways you can, always moving forward with it.

Also, no one knows anything. Follow your heart and listen to the audience. They want to like you, so show them why.

IF YOU WERE A BEVERAGE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

I would be PurpleMonster. Because, no one drinks that stuff and I would live on, and be energized forevererrererrrrr!

PICK ANY HORROR MOVIE. HOW WOULD YOU SURVIVE?

The Shining.

I would have just kept writing. Jack Nicolson’s character should have just kept writing his story, ya know? I mean how much easier could a job be? And who wouldn’t love to live in a hotel with your wife and kid with a split personality pointer finger.

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO PROMOTE?

I am hosting for Natasha Leggero Sept. 12-14 at Helium Comedy Club

Go see Bobby this weekend, and check back tomorrow as our profile of the St. Louis comedy scene continues.

2019 St. Louis Independent Comedy Profile: Angela Smith

We’re spending the next month or so profiling the comics in the St. Louis scene. We’ll be covering a range of comics from seasoned pros, to open mic comics booking their first shows. Our goal is to give you a glimpse at who you can expect to see, no matter where you experience live comedy.

Angela Smith has opened for comics ranging from Michael Ian Black to Aparna Nancherla, and is a regular at clubs and concert venues. When she’s not telling jokes, she’s probably hugging a dog. She was a finalist in the 2018 Funny Bone Comedy Contest and has been selected twice to perform at Flyover Comedy Festival in St. Louis.

NAME

Angela Smith

SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION

Website: http://www.angeladoescomedy.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/angelamarie85

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PERFORMING STAND UP?

3 Years

DESCRIBE YOUR MATERIAL/STYLE OF PERFORMING TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T SEEN YOU

I really couldn’t tell you. I’m honest up there, but it’s exaggerated. I love to make fun of my situation in life. One time after a show a woman said she felt “so much better” about her own life after watching me. So there’s that.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING THING, PERSONALLY, THIS YEAR, ABOUT STAND UP?

Opening for Tig Notaro was the highlight from the last year. It’s a different experience when 800 people are on board with your set. This show means the most to me because it was the last time my dad saw me do stand up before he passed a week later.

He was my biggest fan and I’m very relieved I didn’t bomb.

CURRENTLY, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE WORKING TO OVERCOME, IN STAND UP COMEDY?

Finding humor during difficult times.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST COMEDY GOAL FOR THE NEXT YEAR?

Do a set in my inflatable T-Rex suit aka have more fun and take more risks.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED PERFORMING?

How many people would tell me I’m “funny for a girl”. Knock that shit off.

IF YOU WERE A BEVERAGE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

Capri-Sun. The only way to get to what’s inside is by stabbing me.

PICK ANY HORROR MOVIE. HOW WOULD YOU SURVIVE?

Psycho. I would have survived by Stockholm Syndrome. That Anthony Perkins was a real dreamboat and I think he would have appreciated my maternal nature.

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO PROMOTE?

I’m doing my first feature weekend at Laughing Gas Comedy Club in Cape Girardeau, September 12-14

If you’re in Cape Girardeau, go see Angela opening for Larry Reeb this weekend, and check back tomorrow as our profile of the St. Louis comedy scene continues.