Tim Mathis: Houston’s Loose Canon Tightens Up

by Al Bahmani

tim-mathis

“Tim is a silly, funny and intelligent everyman who has this ability to be to liked by both black and white audiences.”

Theodore ME Taylor

 Houston Funniest Person 2011

So what’s new?

This Sunday I’m going to be in Kevin Hart Presents “Hart of the City” with a few other Houston comics and a Dallas comic. The other Houston comics in it are Crystal Powell and Ken Boyd. Alfred Kainga is the Dallas guy. The episode was filmed at Cafe 4212 which is a little jazz club in downtown Houston.

Where are you from and how’d you get into comedy?

I was raised in Clute, Texas. It’s a smaller town right off of Hwy 288 right by Lake Jackson, Texas about an hour south of Houston. The population was about 8,000 people when I grew up there. It’s very different now. I was homeschooled and then went to Christian school and then I went to the Navy in Pascagoula, Mississippi, which was horrible. I did anti ship missile defense. I didn’t do much there except paint. When I got out of the Navy, I went to Alvin Community College because I wanted to get into radio.

A College radio station in Alvin, Tx?

89.7 FM KACC is a classic rock station. Back then I had my own weekly show that was a mix of politics and pop culture. Radio is where I learned how to write jokes. (On the radio) I was always trying to be funny. Some of the jokes were a little too edgy, so I had to get approval to get them on the air. From there I got a job as a radio producer for KSEV 700 AM, a radio station owned by now Lt. Governor (of Texas) Dan Patrick from 2007-2011.  I had an early morning Saturday show. I was libertarian before everyone else was.

What did radio production involve?

With radio production you do the behind the scenes stuff, like run the show clock, answer calls, run the sound board and if they are a bunch of guests in there, you check the levels. Basically you keep the show on the rails. It’s not totally different from running a comedy comedy show. You still got to deal with different personalities. Comedy is different because it’s a live performance. With radio I can cut mics and go to commercial. You can’t go to commercial in comedy.

The transition from radio to comedy was much easier because I had my own radio show since I was in college in 2007.  I already knew how to write jokes and talk without verbal ticks like “uh, um and like” and all that. It was a really smooth transition into stand up.

What led to that transition from radio to stand up?

I got laid off from my radio gig in January 2011. Lt. Governor. Dan Patrick is actually the guy that laid me off. After two or three month of being depressed, I needed a creative outlet. I always wanted to do stand up so I went to the Sherlocks open mic and did my first set in April 2011.

I don’t know who the host was but Kid (Chris Reid) from Kid N Play did thirty minutes. He was supposed to seven and did about thirty. I was like, “I’ll be here a while”. I went up at one seventeen in the morning. So I was one of the last guys there and it went well for the four people that were there. I kept going on at Sherlocks and there Rich Williams told me about Uptown Hookah. I started going there and from Uptown, Netra Babin introduced me to Ali Siddiq and I became a regular at The Horn which is a room he used to run.

How did you end up booking your own comedy shows?

 I started booking my own shows around 2014. There was a room in Pearland, Texas called Skeets. It was a one-nighter and the guy booking the show didn’t want to book it anymore. He told me the budget and I took it. At one point I was running 5 rooms, which is about 4 too many. If you put together good shows then people are going to ask you to do more shows. If you put together crap shows and then you have to find venues.

What’s the best thing about starting in a place like Houston, Texas?

It’s a city of 4 million people and we have a lot of really good comics. There’s only two clubs and in order to get those spots you gotta be one of the funniest guys there is. It’s that competition that makes you very funny.

The “competitors” kept you funny are?

As far as comics go Jermaine Warren, Bryson Brown, Rich Williams, and then were those that were my mentors like Ali Siddiq, Caroline Picard, Billy D. Washington and All D. Freeman. I’d also like to publicly apologize to Sam Demaris. I drug you into a beef with another comic and I shouldn’t of done what I did. You helped me out early on and I apologize for that. 

And what are the pitfalls of doing comedy in a place like Houston, Texas?

There were times I’d be drunk by noon. In comedy alcoholism is easy because for number one, you’re always in a bar or a club that serves alcohol. A lot of times, you get free drinks and people will buy you drinks. Still to this day, I joke about not drinking any more and after the show people will come up to me and try to buy me more drinks. You don’t want to be a jerk, but you don’t want to break your sobriety. Andy Huggins helped me out a lot when I reached out to him. I’m still an alcoholic but I don’t drink.

Any advice anyone just starting comedy?

Stay in your lane, keep to yourself and don’t worry about other people. And don’t start any unnecessary drama.

So what’s next for you?

Right now I’m prepared for what every comes out. I got my website updated and I got a passport. I’ve been saving money in case I need to move anywhere. Everything is up in the air. I’ve never been on national TV before. I don’t know what’s next.

The Houston episode of “Kevin Hart Presents Hart of the City” airs this Sunday 10:30 PM CST on Comedy Central. A viewing will be taking place at Cafe 4212 for more details click here.

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What Kind of Stand Up Are You?

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What Kind of Stand Up Are You?

By Jay Whitecotton 
With so many different POV’s entering the world of stand up comedy, it’s getting harder and harder to describe what kind of performer you are. Not sure yourself? No problem!

Here’s a quick list of the many budding new genre’s in Stand Up Comedy you can typecast yourself as!

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Comedian: A person of any race and gender who cares about the art. Wants to build an act that will carry them forward based on originality, but still relatable. Prone to taking themselves too serious on occasion, but only in the hopes of getting better.

“I need to start opening with my closer so it doesn’t become a crutch.”

Comic: Usually a failed musician or former “funny” guy at work. Can’t wait to hit the road. Constantly dismisses themselves, but secretly desires to be seen as a true ‘comedian’.

“Where you from? What do you do? Who’s dating?”

Open Micer: Novice. Trying to figure it all out. In the middle of losing all their past friendships, while forming new one’s in the open mic community. Has immediately posted photos of themselves holding a microphone as their social media profile pictures.

“Anyways… um. Do we get paid?”

Comedy Show

Hack: Unoriginal, but safe. Gets work quickly, but doesn’t move past host or ‘that guy who can drive us to the gig’. Commonly introduced to the stage as “heard on XM/Sirius satellite radio.” (Not true.) Teaches a ‘Comedy Workshop’.

“It’s a Honda Civic… (waves middle finger to the crowd)”

Road Hack: A Hack with their own car payments and the ability to talk for 45 minutes. Notebook filled with jokes that could sell T-Shirts.” Commonly introduced to the stage as “Seen on Last Comic Standing.” (Waiting In Line) Occasionally teaches a ‘Comedy Workshop’.

“Is that a Tribble run? I can totally work an alternative audience!”

Boat Hack: The crowning achievement for the Hack. All the atmosphere of a good Road Gig, but with none of the wear and tear on the car. Commonly introduced to the stage as “Seen on Last Comic Standing.” (Was on the show, but you didn’t see it) Considers themselves too good to teach a ‘Comedy Workshop’.

“The only thing that sucks is they won’t let me sell my “Fuck It Bucket” shirts because their too ‘edgy’.”

Hobbyist: An Open Micer who occasionally hits the stage to do a contest or an open call network audition. Self-described as ‘aged out of the business’ when they reach 30. Repeats what Road Hacks say as if it were the industry standard.

“I submitted for that, but they probably want a young woman or a minority.”

Fraud: A Hack who works every angle of professional comedy accept the actual working on their act portion. They instantly have TV credits out of nowhere, thousands of “fans” on Facebook, and an endless array of egg shaped people following their twitter accounts. They take pictures with random people and post them as “hanging out with some fans after the show” – even when not performing. They always “just killed to a packed room” on every status they’ve ever posted. Complete with a picture of said crowd, but at angle that does not show the 300 empty chairs. They had merch before they wrote their first joke and a store on their web site if you want to ‘support their comedy’. A Fraud has never failed on stage or any audition ever. The crowd was always “crappy, but I turned them around despite” and the network show “wasn’t a good fit for me at this time and even though they LOVED me, I decided I’d rather not be seen by millions on some TV Show that doesn’t give me creative control. I’d much rather keep it real and do my OWN thing right here in (Who Carestown, USA)!”

“Tickets are going fast! Near capacity already, but I have a block of 100 tickets for sale only $20! HURRY!”

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Goon: Formerly known as an edgy comic. Act filled with references to Rape, Racism, and Sex. Gets unreasonably upset when a sexy female musician gets too much “undeserved” exposure on the radio. Also gets upset when sexy women get too much “undeserved” exposure on TV. Has strong feelings about comic book movies casting black actors. Can’t handle it when people don’t get the ‘joke’.

“Can you believe that Cunt? What a Faggot!”

CHUD: A Goon WITHOUT the imagination and DOUBLE the addiction to meth. Often homeless. Would be banned from performing if everyone wasn’t scared of being murdered.

“You have a smoke? Can I get a ride?”

Prog: A progressive comedian who takes stands against white males. (99% of the time is usually a white male) Seems to develop strong beliefs on Facebook immediately after reading a Salon article.

“When are we going to have an African-Latino Gay Transgendered President already?!”

Proggo: Same as a Prog, but way more focused on women’s rights issues. Immediately was offended because I used the word ‘Guy’ in the above description for Comic – instead of something gender neutral.

“Check your privilege! This blog/post/comment is part of the problem!”

Drunk Slut: Self-described “Hot Mess”. Topics usually cover: Self-Esteem, Semen, Vodka Soda, and Parents not liking her Facebook posts.

“People want to fuck me, isn’t that weird?”

The Status Girl: Started comedy 6 months ago. Already has 450 mutual friends on Facebook and liked all their statuses. Saved a collection of dirty desperate messages sent from half the Comedians, Comics, Hacks, Road Hacks, etc that talk bad about her publicly.

“Comedian Jane Doe Comedy likes your Post.”

The Not Anonymous Enough Alcoholic: Former Drunk Slut, Goon or Prog, but finds that by insufferably talking about their ‘struggle with addiction’ they can create a false sense of empathy with the audience and still get to do their ‘party bits’.

“I had a beer when I was 17 and broke curfew, but now (fights a tear) now I’m 7 years sober (breathes deeply waiting for applause break).”

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Nerd Comic: Standard variety comic book and movie references. Not making it in the clubs because the ‘audiences aren’t cool’. Does a great Werner Herzog impression, but its “cool even though it’s an impression”. Wears hoodie to look slim and youthful, but everyone can tell they’re chubby.

“You know what’s weird about Batman?*

(*Werner Herzog voice)

Hipster: Nerd Bully. Aggressive entitlement. Constantly pointing out how it’s everyone else who’s the Hipster.

“Val Kilmer was the superior Batman, if you weren’t a Hipster you’d KNOW that.”

Bloggo: A Hobbyist, but with a blog. Has strong “heroic” opinions about Dave Chappelle not being sensitive enough towards gender issues, but completely ignores Jeff Dunham’s blatant awfulness.

“I’m offended.” (Presses Send)

The Actor: Uses comedy as a way to either develop their one man show, as a window to get into Hollywood, or a last chance to regain notoriety after the sitcom is cancelled.

“I’m also taking an Improv class!“

The Cleaner: A hack who insists on their importance by their ability to be completely ball-less and uninspired. Half start out as Goons, but transition over in a desperate plea to get opening work. The other half start out ball-less and go to great lengths to let everyone know they can “work clean”. They are also the absolute creepiest people off stage and their web browser history is filled with German Sexual Nightmares.

“You don’t need to say ‘fuck’ to be funny.” (inserts ball gag)

The Chosen: A Clean Hack who calls himself a ‘Christian Comic’. Replaces ‘Fuck you’ with the far more pretentious “Blessed”. They’re constantly doing it for the Lord, but by doing it – they mean trying to market themselves to Church’s so they can get that easy non-taxable money. Also – its easier to have a shitty act if you only perform to audiences brainwashed into thinking of judgment as a sin.

“I’m like… God Bless it, man. We’re all trying, but sometimes…. IT’S HARD, RIGHT?!” (points upward)

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Sit-Down Comics: Whole act centers around their handicap. Lots of puns. Has an original point of view about the current state of… no… wait…yeah no, it’s right back down to their handicap.

“Look Ma, No Hands!” (Waves Nub)

Pimp Walk: Same as a Sit Down Comic, but with some sort of Palsy.

Sweat Stains: Same as a Sit Down Comic, but Fat and “has to move the mic stand away so you can see them better.”

Uptown: Black Comic who doesn’t need the “white clubs” because “they aint ready”. Expert use of graphic arts to create flashy flyers. Often accompanied by slam poets, a DJ, another DJ, a photographer, 32 Sponsors and 27 more Uptown comedians on the same bill.

“Nah man…It’s pronounced D-Ray. You thinking of Dray. He’s on another show.”

Black Comedian: Just wants to be known as a comedian, but does only jokes about what its like being Black so white audiences will laugh.

Black Nerd: Same as a Black Comedian, but Nerd.

Latino Comic: Same as a Black Comedian, but Latino.

Asian Comic: Same as a White Comedian, but Asian. (sometimes Black)

Filipino Comic: Same as a Black Comedian, but Filipino. (sometimes Asian)

African Comic: Same as a Black Comedian, but not that kind of Black.

Woman Comic: Same as a Black Comedian, but won’t shut up about it.

Gay Comic: Same as a Black Comedian, but sometimes a Woman.

Terrorist Comic: Same as a Black Comedian, but Middle Eastern and insists they’re not actually a Terrorist.

The POD: A Hobbyist with a Podcast. Finds validation easier by staying at home and making the “audience” come to them.

“It doesn’t pay, but you’ll get exposure!”

The Stay at Home Dad: Used to write and perform jokes, but now owns a club/room or runs a festival to be closer to their roots and family.

“We don’t need New York or LA, we can do it right here in (Who Carestown, USA)!”
Also
“It doesn’t pay, but you’ll get exposure!”

Jay Whitecotton

The Coward: Anybody who writes a list of labels, but at the end turns it around on themselves as if to say ‘Hey, I’m not immune – see I can turn the joke on myself! This way you’ll think I’m self aware and don’t mean any actual malice towards anyone what-so-ever!’

“I’m Drunk. I’m Lonely. Fuck You.”

* CHUD coined by Andrew Rosas. Drunk Slut category pushed hard by Mike MacRae. Fraud demanded by Andrew Polk.

Jay Whitecotton is a Stand Up Comedian from San Antonio, TX now living in Austin. He’s written columns for magazines without any journalistic credibility – toured professionally as a guitarist, despite no lessons – and sold a script that was never made into a movie… – He likes dragons

Originally posted with permission of Jay.

The Etiquette of Bombing: A 5 step guide to recovery.

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By Billy D. Washington

Edited By Al Bahmani

It’s late Friday night and a comic hears a knock at his hotel room door. A half dressed cutie stands there and says, “I saw your show tonight and got so turned on that I want you to make love to me tonight!“. The comic asks, “Was it the early or the late show?“.

There is nothing a comic takes more personally than bombing. Most would rather be accused of a crime than to be exposed to the uncomfortable stares of entertainment inadequacy. You never see it coming. The Bomb assumes its position when you least expect it. There is no clue as to its arrival, no prep for its ire and certainly no remedy for its results. Pre-bomb symptoms often take on flu like qualities. They include a sudden hot flash, a tightening in your vocal area, watery eyes, confusion and that one bead of sweat that develops somewhere in the middle of your back and rolls precisely through ass crack center. No matter how physically comedic or rhetorically gifted you are nobody is outside of its realm of influence. Many years ago I performed at the HBO comedy festival in Aspen and watched George Carlin stop in the middle of a taping and opt to close a showcase show later that night because the audience just wasn’t there for him.
Somewhere over the Rainbow…. If George Carlin can bomb, why oh why can’t I.

There are many ways to handle the Bomb, but as a comic who has experienced it few times and witnessed it many, I wanted to offer a few options as to how to address the humiliation with your head held high.

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Houston Improv Open Mic Night: Be There

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By Steven Padilla

Open Mic Night is Back

It has been well over a year since The Houston Improv hosted an open mic. When there was one, it was held consistently every month or so.

On September 5, 2012, it was resurrected. This time on a more consistent basis. The plan is to have the open mic every other week. The dates are posted on the Improv website.

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