Interview with Joe Nay

Joe started performance comedy late in life and is making up for lost time by simultaneously pursuing improvisation, stand-up and sketch writing. Joe opts for primarily a clean show, both in content and delivery. The variety of places he has called home, jobs he has held and hobbies he has pursued provide a rich source of material. Joe’s ambitions are modest, simply to write and perform that which makes others laugh. The closest he will come to fame is when he is mistaken for John Goodman.

Joe Nay

1) What motivated you to start doing stand-up comedy at such an advanced age?

I got started in Improv through my son and there was a connection from the Improv to the Comedy Shack hosted by Fasil Malik. The guest comics at Comedy Shack got me interested in the Stand-Up comedy (Jon Levine was the first guest that he saw).

2) What’s your secret to writing witty material?

I get some from Improv and I keep trying stuff out. I tried a lot that bomb and tried some that I thought wouldn’t work, but it ended up getting laughs. Write what you think is funny and figure out what really is.

3) What type of comedians do you enjoy watching (locally and nationally)?

Locally: There are so many talented comics, but if I had to choose my favorites it would be Darius Culpepper, because I think he does smart jokes and he has this awesome delivery combined with perfect timing.  Jon Levine, because he’s honed his act, has a great voice to him and comes across the audience as being very personable. Nico Prada; he can do something that I can’t. Talk rapid fire for his entire set without missing anything. Nationally: Gary Gulman, he had clever material and even though he was telling one long story it was filled with twenty or thirty small jokes along the way. It was really good.

4) What type of foods do you enjoy eating when you have time to cook?

For those of you that have seen a picture of me. It’s easier for me to tell you what food I don’t eat. I don’t eat sushi.

5) What do you love most about doing stand-up comedy?

The laughs. I do it purely for the laughs. This isn’t a career choice. I am doing it fully for the enjoyment and to prove to myself that I can write something that is funny to people.

6) Who is the person that you would want to hang out with (Alive or dead) and where would you take him or her?

George Washington, I would like to get his idea of the context of the constitution given the current world. To Washington DC to show him what it turned out to be.

7) What do you hate about stand-up comedy?

Having my set time cut right before going on stage. Especially if you had been waiting all night to go on.

8) What is it about you that makes you awesome?

That I try to find the best part about every comic’s act.

9) How does doing improv help you with comedy?

Improv helps me prepare to be on stage in front of people and it also has generated a lot of my bits about 10-20% of my jokes. When you do a scene it gives you an idea for a premise on a joke and I work on it from there.

10) Why should comics want to perform at your Spotlight Key Party room at Just the Funny Theater?

It’s an intimate and friendly atmosphere where you can perform in front of a friendly crowd and because it is a short 45 minute show with only 4 comics per show so you don’t have to wait around all night.