Stand-up comedian Jon Reep may have become most known after winning 2007's Last Comic Standing competition, but that show was just another stop for a comic who began touring as a working stand-up back in 1998.
And now, with that title on his resumé -- along with countless TV specials, festival appearances, and a few acting roles -- comes a major CD/DVD release fresh of the heels of his Comedy Central special (which aired last Saturday, October 17th). Metro Jethro hit stores this week, and he took the time out of his busy touring and promotion schedule to answer our questions about his career, his inspiration, and what you can expect from the new release.
(Also, be sure to enter to win a copy of Metro Jethro from ShowbizMonkeys.com!)
Paul Little: Just to get the obvious question out of the way... how did winning Last Comic Standing change the trajectory of your career? You already had a Comedy Central Presents by that point, right?
Jon Reep: Yes, I did. After winning LCS I grew 3 inches, I have 2 new teeth in the back of my mouth, and I can levitate. Just kiddin', I can't levitate. Actually it's been great. I've been touring like a mad man.
PL: What got you interested in doing comedy in the first place? From the sounds of your set, living with your dad might have had something to do with it!
JR: Yes, my dad has a lot to do with it. He's hilarious, but not on purpose, which is even funnier to me. I know I get it from him because we were both class clowns in high school, as was my little brother after me. I never thought I would be a comedian, but when I moved to Raleigh, NC, I stumbled into a comedy club one night and that was it. I knew I had to give it a shot.
PL: Who are some of your comedy influences, either growing up or today?
JR: Growing up as a kid I was watching Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movies instead of cartoons. Some of my all time favorites are Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, Jim Carrey, and Dana Carvey. But the only comedian that I went to see live that made me laugh for an entire hour was Brian Regan. I also like people who you may not have of heard of yet, like Jonathan Gotsick. He's hilarious, look him up.
PL: Have you noticed a new direction in your material since getting married? Or just more stuff to draw from?
JR: Yes to both. The good part is... there is a TON of new things to draw from. The bad part is... I'm not allowed to talk about ALL of it. Just some of it, as I now have a new editor.
PL: You recently performed at the Vancouver Comedy Festival, and you've performed twice at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal. Have you noticed any differences between Canadian audiences and American ones?
JR: Not really. None that I could tell anyway.
PL: You've only appeared in a few small acting roles so far, but is that something you want to do more of? Is that kind of your end goal, or is it just accompaniment to your stand-up?
JR: Stand-up comedy will always be my first love, but I most definitely want to do more acting. I think most comedians would like to have their own show of some kind at some point.
PL: What has been your strangest fan encounter so far? I'm sure there have been some crazy ones!
JR: Sure. Hard to pick the strangest. I've accidentally hit a girl in the head with a Zippo lighter, an 8 month pregnant lady asked me to sign her belly, and a guy tried to get me to ride in the trunk of his car to an after party at an undisclosed location. Totally worth it too -- the party was great.
PL: And finally, what can fans -- or potentially new fans -- expect from the new Comedy Central special and CD/DVD release?
JR: A good mid-section work-out. Expect bent over, belly aching, gut busting laugher. Expect to laugh your belly off. Watching me is better than doing sit-ups or crunches. It's good for you. You'll burn like 2000 calories. Also, tons of bonus features, including extra stand-up bits, sketches, and an interview with my dad about the time he nearly drowned trying to fix a hole in the pool while wearing a backpack of rocks.
Paul Little is the founder and Managing Editor of ShowbizMonkeys.com. When not interviewing his favourite musicians and comedians, he can also be found at The Purple Room in Winnipeg, where he is Artistic Director. (@comedygeek)