Gay comedian Jordan Pease talks on the road stand-up

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Los Angeles-based comedian Jordan Pease has been travelling all over the US for the last three years, doing stand-up comedy in some big places, some middle-of-nowhere places, some weird places and some downright dirty places.

Living what “Rolling Stone” would probably describe as an on the road, rock and roll lifestyle, Pease has found his way to every small town you’ve never heard of as well as most of the major cities you know to bring laughter to the stage. From Nashville to the busy clubs of LA, Pease has quickly joked his way to the top of the comedy food chain.

Just recently he got back from a six-week comedy tour, called “The Young, Hot and Gay Tour,” where three gay comics performed in thirteen cities over thirty days.

“It ended up turning into twenty-five shows. They booked us for a fundraiser that was raising money for LGBT Centers and stuff like that,” he tells 429Magazine. “So it ended up turning into a two-month encore. It’s a blast getting to travel, see the world and stay at shitty motels making people laugh. You can’t complain.”

When he’s in LA, however, Pease works a regular comedy circuit: The Laugh Factory in Hollywood, the Comedy Store, and Flappers Comedy Club. “But I love doing stuff on the road,” he says. “Most of my shows are for a huge heterosexual audience and I’m gay.

“A lot of gay comedians will do all-gay comedy shows, but I’m kind of the opposite because I like being the variable. I’ve been blessed with the opportunities I’ve been given so far in the last three years.”

Being on the road gives Pease the chance to diversify his comedy in a whole new way as he navigates different mindsets, cultural views and environments. “I’ve performed in a ton of different small towns. Anywhere from Winnemucca, Nevada to Nashville or Saint Luis. San Jose is always fun too because there’s not all that much to do there so the show is always packed. And San Miguel, which is this little tiny farming church town. There’s a Mission and one bar that does comedy events,” he laughs. “So it’s amazing to have such different audiences but at the same time it makes the job so much harder.

“It’s definitely different. So for example, when I perform in San Francisco I can do a mix of my best material,” he continues, describing the cultural gaps. “I can push the envelope politically. Like, you don’t have to ask who smokes weed in San Francisco; you just assume and go right to the joke. But that’s less so in other places.”

Fortunately, Pease has never had a real issue with homophobic or aggressive behavior throughout his experiences in stand-up. “I’ve never had an issue because I make fun of myself a lot for being gay so when we go on the road and are performing in places like Arizona I’m not even worried about them.

“I think it’s really important when you get on stage to make yourself vulnerable. I see everyone in the audience as my friend and I just want to make my friends laugh. I think that comes off as me being super comfortable and wanting the audience to be my friends.”

Despite Pease venturing to places that have made him feel like he’s entered “something out of ‘The Hills Have Eyes,’” he says he’s seen “more cattiness [in]big cities, actually, than when you go to small towns.”

He goes on to say, “I’ve never felt like I’m going to be murdered out there and turned into a hamburger because there’s nothing out there but cow farms…I’m totally fine with talking to an urban audience.”

His worst experience with a dissatisfied audience member was when an older gay man in Vegas approached him after his show. “I really briefly touched on gay marriage, I mean, how could I not as a gay man. People are waiting for you to do jokes on it. But this guy came up and he said, ‘you shouldn’t make jokes about gay marriage because it’s been such a struggle for us and it’s been so hard for us along the way.’ And I’m like ‘no shit. I am you!’”

Pease adds, “He talked to me as if I’m some 65-year-old white man with 15 kids and I’m having sex with every girl that I see. It’s like, I’m a gay man, who’s single, and I live on the road doing comedy shows. But as long as you’re making them laugh, you’re not going to have an issue.”

Talking about why he chose to be a comedian, Pease explains, “I can never take anything seriously so there’s no other job I can possibly do. It’s something that I kind of fell into naturally. As a kid I was always the prankster and the class clown and always getting in trouble for never shutting up so I was like ‘what else am I going to do?’”

He adds, “You know that application in high school where it tells you what you might be good at doing? I filled it out and it came back as ‘socialite.’ My teacher was like ‘I didn’t even know that was a possibility.’ But I got it, so, if I just go around drinking champagne like Paris Hilton, I’m in!”

Now he does indeed go around drinking champagne like Paris Hilton—but he also performs stand-up comedy across America. And on top of that, Pease has written articles for the Huffington Post and even penned his own novel.

Inspired by the work of his long-term idol David Sedaris, Pease wrote an autobiography that was published at the beginning of 2013, titled “Accidentally Okay, A Memoir.” The trailer can be viewed here.

“It’s kind of like my own version of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ but instead it’s ‘Eat, Drink, Take Shrooms and Find Yourself,’” he laughs. “It’s basically a coming of age comedic travel memoir.”

Pease’s memoir stemmed from a post high school adventure, which took him across the pond to Europe between January and April 2012.

“Basically, after high school people say that you need to get your whole life figured out, but I didn’t have my whole life figured out,” he explains. “I knew what I wanted to do but I was only twenty. I couldn’t financially support myself so I was like, ‘I’m going to sell my car and move to Europe and just see how it goes.’

“I knew I wanted to write a fiction book and while I was there I was just writing notes in my journal about what I was learning being abroad. Being in a country where you don’t speak the language but it’s your ethnicity and it’s your culture and you’re making new friends. So it just turned into these hysterical David Sedaris-like anecdotes that turned into one short story/memoir thing.”

Sedaris has been Pease’s writing and all-round-everything guru since he was asked to read an excerpt from the novel “Me Talk Pretty One Day” when he was fifteen. “I was hooked. I was like, this is me. This is my man, my man for life,” Pease gushes, adding that he also loves Sedaris’ sister, actor/writer Amy Sedaris.

“I love her too. She’s so fucking funny. The entire family is just great. In a family so talented and good at comedy writing they must brainstorm together. The techniques they would use, bouncing off each other. I’d love to go there on a Sunday night where they’re all drinking wine and sitting on a couch and going over some ideas. I would pay good money to be a fly on that wall.”

Discussing what it would be like to meet Sedaris’ parents just to see how the children were raised, Pease laughs, saying, “My god yes! To think about what they must think about all the stories.”

As for his romantic life, Pease eliminates any confusion by sometimes advising people at the start of his shows, “don’t try and set me up with someone after the show. I’m the worst gay person in the world: I can’t cook, I can’t dance, so I think it really sets the bar low. I don’t want to take the high road, I want to take the low and soft road!”

Pease also has some advice for any aspiring comedians: “Words of wisdom—don’t try and be funny. Stick to what you think is funny. You’re funniest when you are yourself on stage and the most honest. Tell every joke with conviction, it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, or a cannibal—just make them laugh and labels seem to fade away!”

429Magazine

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