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Shout Outs to Chris Gehrt

May 25, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I decided to re-tool Premise PUNCH Tag to address some issues.  One change was that I wanted to stop profiling super famous comics and focus on less established comics that are worth your attention.

Chris Gehrt is a comic from LA, and this is what he looks like:

This is what he sounds like:

And this is how he feels about stand-up comedy:

12 Questions with Chris Gehrt

What made you decide to start performing stand-up comedy?

I think it was one of those things that was always in the back of my mind and it just somehow made its way to the front. My brain  said “Chris, you enjoy being a jack ass, and you will always be one, so it’s time to make this your life”.  I just couldn’t ignore it anymore,  I didn’t try stand-up until I was 28. I lived in Chicago from ages 23 to 26 and I remember laying in bed and daydreaming about doing stand up with a ski mask on so nobody would know who I was. When I moved to L.A. to pursue acting after a while I was like, “I gotta look into this open mic thing.”   I found an open mic at the “Ha Ha Cafe” in Studio City and started doing stand up.

Can you name a couple of comics you look up to and why you admire them?

I really like Nick Swardson, besides the fact that he is super funny, I’ve always felt that I have a somewhat “immature” point of view and he is just one of those guys that is very respected in the comedy community and has a similar sense of humor. Nick is super hard working, and doesn’t try to be anything but himself. Definitely someone I look up to.

Bill Burr, Greg Giraldo and Louis C.K. for their fantastic writing ability. Chris Rock for his stage presence. Dave Chapelle for his likability.  Daniel Tosh for his fearlessness.

One word answer: What do you consider the hardest part of performing stand-up comedy?

Bombing. Especially when its due to your own lack of preparation.

One word answer: What do you consider the best part of performing stand-up comedy?

Killing, especially when you worked hard, prepared and delivered. I love that feeling after a great show.

What is the worst/funniest experience you have had while performing at a comedy show?

I was doing one of those shows where it was “half music” “half comedy” at a place called “Rusty’s Surf Shack” on the Santa Monica Pier.   A band had just gotten off stage and it was my turn to do some comedy. As I started into my set, the previous band was getting back in their seats.  All of a sudden a woman in the crowd accidentally stepped on and broke one of the bands guitars.

The band was pissed. They were one of those “Sublime” type bands with an angry edge. All of the rooms attention shifted towards the “broken guitar situation” and I was left on stage to deal with it. After a few minutes of this, I was feeling the heat.  I was inexperienced so  I fumbled around and mumbled to myself, “Well, I’m not sure what I should do up here”.  The lead singer of the band then looked at me angrily and said, “Get the fuck off the stage”.  I was embarrassed so I politely said to the audience, “Well I’ll just see you next week, folks” and slinked off the stage.

I then walked back through the crowd towards the lead singers table.  Without making a scene, I leaned over him and said “Hey man, I know your mad right now about your friends guitar, but we are both performers and if you ever say something like that to me again I’ll fucking kill you.”

Being the punk that he was, he stood up and attempted to get into a “verbal throw down” with me.  I’m not really good at “shit talking” before a fight, so before he could get a word out I just started punching him.  His girlfriend started freaking out and the rest of his band tried to help their shitty lead singer from getting his jaw broken.  Security eventually pulled me off him and escorted me from the premises. The whole restaurant  (a lot of families, tourists, etc.)  were looking at me like I was Mike Tyson with an ear in my mouth. But I bet that guy will think twice about doing something like that again!

*I attempted to perform at the show the next week and was informed that I am no longer welcome at “Rusty’s Surf Shack”

That story is epic.  If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Be yourself on stage. Work hard at being the same person on stage as you are off stage.

Name three movies, TV shows, or books that you go to when you want to have a good hard laugh.

“Windy City Heat” ( a hilarious movie that everyone should see)

“Macgruber”

“Dumb and Dumber”

“King of Queens” and “The Office” are my favorite tv shows.

As for books, I read a lot of biographies of comedians and pro-wrestlers

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

Being a guy that “pumps up the crowd” at a Pasadena cheerleading competition.  I was wearing a rainbow wig, green overalls, and wacky sunglasses. I was 30 years old thinking, “This seems about right.”

What kind of humour bores you?

I’ve never been too interested in Political Humor. Not sure why.  I actually used to be obsessed with “The Daily Show” in the late 90’s before they became so politically focused. Political and sometimes Topical humor are hard for me to get into.  I like Observational and Personal humor.

What 5 comics, dead or alive, would you book for your vision of a perfect stand-up show?

Nick Swardson, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Louis C.K, Bill Burr

What is your favourite comedy album?

(I think you spelled “favorite” wrong)  [Editor’s note: Did not!  Putting extra U’s in words makes them better!  Queen Elizabeth said so!] I wish I had more comedy albums, I wish I was one of those stand ups that can say that I used to reenact Bill Cosby’s “Himself” for my family or knew every line of a George Carlin act. But honestly my favorite comedy treasures are my collection of comedian biographies and the comedy central & HBO specials saved on my Tivo. I listen to a lot of “RawDog” on XM radio too. If I had to pick a CD, it would be the Adam Sandler one with the talking goat.

Oh, the goat is a classic.  I believe that album also has an epic fart scene with Kevin Nealon.  Do you have any topics that you consider off-limits in your act?

I think the cliched comic answer is to say that nothing is off limits as long as its funny. But I don’t think I would be too comfortable doing jokes about a retard or anyone with a disability that they cant help.  But if your fat, lazy or just plain stupid, it’s game on!

_____________________________________________

Many thanks to Chris for taking part in the Wednesday Shout Out, a quick reminder that if you’re a comic and you’d like to take part, just drop me a line in the comments or via email.

I’ll leave you with one more video of Chris doing his thing:

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