Sam Tallent talks about his comedy mixtape Joke Life, and his Fine Gentleman's Club
So comedy is your full-time job?
Yes. Comedy has been my only job for four years. My last job was driving an ice cream truck. I drove around in swim trunks and flip-flops, and it was a great, cool, crisp ride everywhere I went.
Do you think it's that idea that other people don't want to take the leap and do comedy full-time that keeps them from succeeding?
Oh, man. There is so much fear. How many people do you know who are trapped in some shit job they hate? It's like, you ask someone what they do and they say they're a painter -- but they work at Panera Bread forty hours a week. On the weekends, they go out and get trashed because that's all they have. This, like, four hours of animal, where they just want to go out and find someone to penetrate. It's strange. It's like they're fiddling. They hate their job, and when they get home from work, they're tired, and all they do when they is watch TV and complain.
But my friend and fellow comic Nathan Lund just quit his job and decided to commit full-time to comedy. You realize it's possible. I don't need as much shit in my life. I don't own anything. You have to be responsible for your life, and that's a frightening thing. But what's more frightening to me is hating waking up at 6:30 every morning. I don't even have an alarm clock, and I love it.
It just seems so silly to me that people complain about their lives. I'm like, why don't you just commit? What are you more afraid of? Hating the present or failing? Take advantage of the chaos. Freedom has no purpose. Just do it.
Those are your tattooed toes on the cover of this record. What does "Joke Life" mean to you?
Oh, I don't know. It's a tattoo. There are either really great stories about comedians having a great time (on stage) and they crush it, they make some money and it's just the best thing ever. Or they go and they do a gig and it's the worst and it's in a Tuff Shed and there's no microphone and they get paid in gift certificates or something. So it's a great life to be able to make people laugh; it's a great thing. I love being in front of people and being a goofball, so it's kind of a joke being told on life. Sometimes it's fucking sad and really lonely and I just want to go home to someone and not be out every night at 2 a.m. shilling beer. So it's also a joke of a life. I don't know; it's a weird dichotomy that I was aware of and decided to get tattooed on my body.
I'm trying to pitch A&E on this reality show -- they're flying me out in October. They bought a seven-minute reel off of me. I don't really want a camera crew following me around, but hopefully it will become a pathway to doing more comedy for bigger crowds. Selling out is such a bizarre concept to me; I mean, every Kia Sedona commercial that I do, or whatever, just means more headlining dates in clubs because people will know my name.
Ben Kronberg is one of the funniest guys I've ever watched, and I came up watching him. He was on an episode of Wipeout, which is the dumbest thing ever. But college kids watch Wipeout, and he got a bunch of gigs from being on it, which is great. And now he gets to buy more tiny little shorts.
Tallent is on the road for most of May, but Fine Gentleman's Club still hosts its Too Much Fun show every Wednesday night at The Deer Pile, 206 East 13th Avenue. The all-ages show begins at 10:30 p.m. and is free (donations are welcome). To keep up with the Fine Gentleman's Club activities, follow the group on Twitter.