I know it's midweek, and you need a pick-me-up to keep you "grinning and bearing it" until Friday. I have just the thing: Tonight, Orange County's own Grant Cotter is bringing his hilarity to the Irvine Improv for R for Radical. With an amazing lineup including Ben Gleib, Bret Ernst, Kenny Klein and Andrew Santino, these guys will leave you laughing all the way through to the weekend. You better hurry and grab those tickets, too, because the R for Radical show has sold out the past five months! There is something funny going on, and all signs point to Grant Cotter.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): What was the last job you worked at and quit to pursue your career as a comedian?
Grant Cotter: I worked at Whole Foods. I was a cashier, and I always got in trouble for joking around too much. I got written up once because this guy came into the store on Christmas Eve with all dollar bills. He told me that he was going to the strip club for Christmas, and I said something like, "You gonna make it rain with Baby Jesus?"
The guy came in with all dollar bills? He kind of asked for it, huh?
He did! My manager told me that I couldn't talk to people like that--I thought, "Why not?"
Is that when you figured, "I'm so funny that I could do this full-time?"
I think even before that moment I believed that. In middle school and high school, I was voted "Best Sense of Humor" because I always liked to make people laugh. I didn't even think you could make a career out of it until I met a comedian and thought, "I can make money making people laugh?"
It has to be the best job ever.
It really is the best job--but it's a lot of work, too!
Where do you find most of the inspiration to write your jokes?
My friends, things that they do and things that I see. Long nights drinking, girls . . . I'm pretty observational.
Who was the first comedian you saw do standup live?
It's actually a cool story. I went to see comedy in Hollywood on my friend's birthday. The comedians on the bill that night were Jeff Richards, Flip Shultz and Greg Fitzsimmons. So Greg was onstage, and some guy was totally heckling him. Greg said, "Oh, you think you can do better? You get up here and you do this!" Before I knew it, my friends were telling me, "Go! You gotta get onstage!" At this point, I never thought about doing comedy. The idea that all my friends thought I was funny enough to do it gave me the drive to do it.
So did you get onstage?
No! I wish I could say I got onstage and killed it! I didn't, though--I chickened out. But it planted the seed in my head.
Wait . . . were you the heckler?
No way! I wasn't--I wouldn't do that.
Have you dealt with any hecklers?
Yeah. You do get them now and then, but I don't think my comedy merits any hecklers. People only heckle when you're not doing very well or they're really drunk.
What do you do in that instance?
Oh, you just embarrass them. You turn the crowd against them. You make the crowd hate them. If you get a room of 300 people not liking you, you'll shut up. Comedy clubs just kick them out.
So do you get any comedy groupies?
Umm . . . I mean there are some girls that really like to laugh. I think it's like that with anything, though. When they see you onstage, they think you are that funny all of the time. But really, you just get onstage and kill it for a certain period of time. Once you get offstage, you're just a regular guy. I am pretty shy offstage.
I understand. You were on an episode of 1,000 Ways to Die on Spike TV. How did you die?
I was a paint huffer, so I died huffing paint.
What do you think has been one of the craziest ways to die on that show?
I didn't see it, but I read it online. A guy was lighting cow farts on fire, and he snuck up behind a cow and lit a match. The flame came out, but some of the fart went back into the cow and the animal blew up. Its femur blew out, hit the guy in the head and killed him.
Wow. I wonder if that is really possible?
Do you want to find out? I have a lighter, and I know where there's a field of cows. . . .
Ehhhh . . . I think I'll pass. How do you think your comedy has changed over the years?
I think I'm funny. Well, I don't want to toot my own horn, but people tell me I'm funny. I also take it seriously now. When I first started, I wasn't old enough to be in the clubs. I used to drink all of the time before I went onstage, so that kind of helped. Now I am a year into not drinking, and my game has stepped up a notch.
No drinking at all? I can't imagine that day. Describe yourself in three words without using the word sober.
Vivacious, funny and GrantCotter--GrantCotter as one word.
Describe R for Radical in more than three words.
R for Radical is explosive. It's my idea of a comedy show. I mean, I made the show that I always wanted to see. I have the comics that I think are the funniest and will have you laughing so hard that you can't catch your breath. It's six headliners and 90 minutes of fun.
Catch Grant Cotter and the incredible lineup in R for Radical at the Irvine Improv, 71 Fortune Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-5455; www.improv.com. Feb. 16, 8 p.m.. You can also see more of Grant on his website. Strapped for cash? You can get free tickets to tonight's show by e-mailing CotterComedy@gmail.com.