Jonathan Venegoni is a triple threat in the St. Louis arts scene. He’s a talented stand up comedian. He’s a talented musician. And, he has the most recognizable head of hair in the city. Until recently he was the host of Fitz’s Comedy Night, the longest running independent open mic in the St. Louis area.
How long have you been performing stand up?
I have been performing stand up for almost 6 years (5 seriously as much as you can consider what we do serious).
Who are your comedy influences?
I read all of George Carlin’s books by the time I was 16. I absolutely love Bill Burr, Dave Chappelle, Marc Maron and my current true comedy love is John Mulaney. I don’t know, I don’t watch too many specials anymore for the fear of absorbing a true great’s jokes by osmosis.
Describe your worst experience on stage.
I was at an open mic at Lemmon’s (RIP) one night, working on this weak concept about goth/Emo people to a hostile crowd. I had enough of this one particular heckler and asked him if he was going to go to a graveyard to write poetry about my ridicule. I also asked him why he has no friends. Then, he started running toward me. So, from the stage, I kicked him right in the chest and made him puke as he hit the ground. I kicked myself out of the bar and didn’t go back for two years.
Describe your best experience on stage.
The best experience I ever had was recently at The Heavy Anchor for “The Catalogue- Live.” At that show, I was scheduled to do 25 minutes, and I was really excited to do it. In fact, I looked forward to it all week. I was the last act and I had waited to go on for more than three hours. Two minutes into my set, the power went off (no lights, no AC, no mic). The crowd immediately started murmuring and they were worried. In the moment, I felt like this set couldn’t end, so I immediately pulled out my phone, turned on the flashlight, and pointed it toward myself. Because, I NEEDED to do this set.
Without asking, most of the members of the crowd followed suit, turned on their flashlights, and pointed them at me, recreating the show atmosphere. More people from out back on the patio and from the bar came in to watch the show, because all the music was off and there was nothing else to do I suppose. These newcomers and non-show watchers also joined in helping to illuminate the room while remaining silent and respectful of me yelling my jokes to a venue full of people I didn’t know with no mic.
The sense of purpose I felt on stage, and the feeling of community, was unlike anything I’ve ever had the privilege of feeling. I felt like one of the orchestra members playing music to the people on the Titanic as it sunk. It was absolutely magical and I will never forget it.
Plus, I knew that I had killed it for sure because I didn’t walk a single crowd member.
What do you like best about the St. Louis Comedy scene?
My favorite thing about the STL comedy scene is being around some of the most loving, supportive, and genuine people I have ever met. We also like drinking, and that’s always a good time.
We’re typing these questions up in a coffee house. Is there anything you’d like us to tell the other people here?
Get a job! Why are you here during the day?! You BETTER not be checking your piece of shit Facebook page.
Rank the following in order of coolness. Pirate, Ninja, Zombie, Robot.
Robot, pirate, Jonathan, and Jonathan.
Cake or Pie
Pie- it’s not as easy as it looks. Have you ever tried to follow directions on a recipe? I can’t do it either.
Plug something. It’s why we do this.
I don’t even run the show anymore, but check out Fitz’s Comedy Night, every Thursday. Ryan Dalton is a wonderful man and has the ability to make that show the best (indy) open mic our town has ever seen. Show him some support so he can grow it past what I could do for it.