I had the pleasure of catching up with local funny guy, Trace Martin. He’s hosting the upcoming open mic night at Wiley’s, as well as other events all over town. I wanted to see what makes this new comedian tick, and where I can catch his next sets!
Q. What made you take the leap of faith to actually do your first stand-up gig?
A. I have been telling jokes since I was 11 years old, but writing and performing your own material, that was a different beast altogether. I have always loved stand-up and thought it would be fun to try to get laughs off of something I had written, not just being a goofball, although that still gets a laugh. Performing actual stand-up comedy is much harder than it looks. I wrote jokes for about 8 years, and made it my goal to perform before I turned 50 years old. I saw a guy do his set at the old Jokers Comedy Café and I wasn’t impressed, but he still got some laughs. I thought “Well hell, I can do better than that.” So I started writing my set and practicing in the bathroom mirror.
Q. Is doing stand-up intimidating or the ultimate rush?
A. Hosting a comedy show is actually a lot of work. Not only do you open the show – so you have to be funny right out of the gate – but you have to know how to warm up the audience, gauge the room and get them fired up to receive the upcoming comedians. Then you have to get each comedian’s name, a bit about them, and be witty on your feet, so you can introduce them in an interesting and funny way that helps them launch into their particular bits. There’s a lot of thought and planning that has to happen quickly, not to mention keeping the energy of the room going between acts.
Q. What is the inspiration of your material typically?
A. I have so much life experience to draw from… and I use it all. I served in the military as a Combat Engineer in the Army and I’ve worked for a police department in Colorado. Work-related stuff is fun because everyone has a work history, good or bad. I drink and have have done “experimental research” with various forms of mind-altering substances in the past, as a lot of people have. Those experiences are always great material. I have been married for 26 wonderful years and I get a lot material from that, because many can relate to that. My wife, Samantha, is also my writing partner, and a great sounding board for new material. She has been to enough comedy shows to know what works and what needs more work. We still make each other laugh every day.
Q. Who are your favorite comedians?
A. First and foremost, George Carlin. His observational humor captured my heart as a kid from the first time I saw him. Steve Martin gave me a love of slapstick and physical, goofy humor, from his early days on Saturday Night Live. Robin Williams gave me a love of improvisation – he could do it like no one else. Finally, Tim Allen, during his early stand-up comedy days, had such a great way of communicating “funny”, often without words. All of these guys still make me laugh to this day!
Q. What is the Dayton comedy scene like, especially for those who are new to going to comedy here?
A. The Comedy scene in Dayton is Fan-FREAKIN’-tastic!! Whether you’re a new comic or a seasoned veteran who wants to work on new material, you can get stage time 5 to 6 times a week at various clubs and venues around town. Sometimes you can hit 2 shows a night. If you like to enjoy laughing as a great evening out with friends, there are many Open Mic nights and comedy showcases happening all over Dayton, almost any day of the week! Check on Facebook for Dayton Comics for show listings, or any of the many other resources dedicated to local comedy.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish through your comedy?
A. I like to give people the opportunity to relax and laugh. So much of life is so serious these days. I like to make people laugh, in a way that stays with them, far after the show. I love to hear that people are still thinking of one of my bits days–even weeks–later, and still laughing about it. That gives me great satisfaction. Making a room full of strangers laugh is the the best thing ever!
Where to see Trace Martin perform this weekend:
Friday August 21st at Chimney’s of Oak Creek in Kettering. Show starts at 9pm. It’s BYOB with $5 admission. Residents get in free. If you haven’t been to a Chimney’s show… you just gotta! These shows are off the hook and usually sell out.
Saturday Aug 22nd, performing at 2pm at Samson’s Summerfest in Jamestown. $5 cover for entire day of music and comedy.
Sunday August 23rd at Wiley’s Comedy Joint in the Oregon District, Dayton. Show starts at 8pm and I get to Feature!! Mention Trace’s name when making reservations (@224-JOKE) and get in FREE! This will be a great evening of hilarity.