This week, Paul Wood chats with Andrew Voris, 33, of Urbana, who is performing Thursday though Saturday at The Jukebox Comedy Club in Peoria. He regularly performs at The Iron Post in Urbana.
Tell me about past comics that you liked.
When I was a kid I'd ride around with my dad while he worked in the oil field and we'd listen to Jerry Clower's "Greatest Hits" on cassette. Clower was a Southern comic who did corny storytelling about raccoon hunting and crap like that —and I'm thinking probably offered winks and nudges to ways of thinking I'd find unappealing today. There was a lot of John Philip Sousa, as well. Dad would do air-trombone — you know, because he could just drive with his knees. It was always a very safe, funny, patriotic truck ride.
How long have you been doing comedy?
I've been performing stand-up regularly for around five years.
What's your favorite joke that you wrote yourself?
I used to do this thing about the German adventures of David Bowie and Iggy Pop. It's some slap happy, vulgar nonsense, far from my best. Actually, far from my favorite, too. Next question.
What do you think of the local comedy scene?
It's cool. I mean, there's no club or anything like that. It's all regularly produced DIY showcases and open mics. I've enjoyed a lot of nice opportunities being based out of C-U. And people in this community like to be entertained. My friends and I get solid turnouts to the different shows we put on, and the audiences are fun.
Could you see yourself being a full-time professional at this?
I'm actually pursuing a career in motivational speaking and sales.
What are you excited about right now?
I'm excited that our U.S. National Security Agency is collecting and storing the email exchange we're having. But I can hardly contain myself over the notion that they could access my webcam and see that I'm wearing a Wilco shirt, mud mask and nothing else while I type this.
How often do you perform?
It varies, like my consumption of vegetables: a few times a week, but I could always use more. In town I'm at Memphis On Main every Wednesday at 8 p.m. unless traveling to do stand-up elsewhere. I'm also performing improv comedy at Mike N Molly's every Monday at 8:30 p.m. with The Abe Froman Project, which has a Facebook page.
Do you write your own material? Tell us about that experience.
I consider a situation, and then write down the first thing that I think is wacky and/or clever. Confident that I am special and no one else has ever had the same thought, I hit the stage ready to blow everyone's mind with my mind. All the while, I reinforce to the audience that I am a hip, street-smart loose cannon. Then I just perpetuate some stereotypes, pepper the set with a few cliches, and call it a night. Easy.
Do you feel a special connection with the audience?
When everything is going like it's supposed to, yes, for sure.