WHO: Kris Shaw
WHEN: Monday, March 10, 9 p.m.
WHERE: The Melody Inn
TICKETS: Melody Inn (limited seating for 100 people)
For anyone who commutes to their job on a daily basis, consider comedian Kris Shaw’s recent drive to work: Over the course of a three-week period last month, Shaw logged more than 7,500 miles on his car, driving from his Indianapolis home to gigs in Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and back.
But the miles that Shaw has recently traveled to hone his comedy skills is nothing compared to an upcoming road trip where he will again be heading overseas, entertaining U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait and Africa.
“I have a real good time over there,” Shaw says. “Last year when I was there, it was ONLY 90 degrees. They told me, ‘You’re lucky you came during our winter. During the summer, it gets up to around 140 degrees!’”
For the first time in three years, Shaw will be doing a show in his hometown. And it’s a welcome break from Shaw’s hectic schedule.
“When I do get to work at home, it’s a beautiful thing,” Shaw says. “I get paid the same amount of money, but I don’t have to worry about any of the overhead I deal with when I’m on the road. I get to stay in my own house, and hang out with my family and friends.”
The reason Shaw spends so much time touring is because “I [want to] make sure I am right with myself before I go to L.A. I’ve heard that out of all the thousands of people who go to L.A. every year, only five to 10 people make it. And by ‘making it’ I mean getting to do a lot of work; not necessarily becoming a big name, but just getting work out there.”
And how does Shaw plan on “making it” in L.A.?
“I have to make them realize who I am. I don’t want to be just another face out there.”
Shaw admits that one of the things that made his recent three-week tour more enjoyable was the comics that he shared the stages with during that time.
“I worked with three different comics on this tour. And luckily they were cool people to work with. You don’t always know what kind of person you’re going to end up working with.
“I’ll go online and try to check out the people I’m going to be working with, to get an idea about their personality and their type of show. If they’re good comics, you hope to catch the same good vibe from the audience and step it up a notch.”
The time he has spent overseas has had a profound effect on Shaw, from the weather to the animals to the clothes he wore during the trip.
“Going to places like Africa, or Iraq, can be a life-changing experience. I think everyone needs to take a trip to places like that. It was weird seeing camels just walking around all the time!
“When we were in Africa, I stayed within the guidelines given to our group [regarding a ‘dress code’], you know, no American-related logos or stuff like that. Wouldn’t you know I was the only person wearing jeans, while everybody else wore shorts. I got chafed so bad!”
Before he crosses the ocean to entertain our troops, Shaw will head north of the border to do some stand-up. And he admits that he enjoys the Canadians’ attitude toward comics and comedy.
“They haven’t had the stand-up comedy scene as long as we have here in the States,” Shaw says. “Here, comedians are put into groups — black comedians, female comedians, Hispanic comedians — in Canada, comedy is comedy. If you’re funny, they’ll like you. If you’re not funny, they’ll sit there and just smile. There are no hecklers in Canada.”
Such experiences have found their way into Shaw’s comedy routine, although he admits that he is talking more about his own life, including his family.
“My kids are growing up, and are starting to speak their minds. Sometimes that in itself can be some pretty funny stuff!
“And I’ve discovered that the more you talk about yourself in your act, no one can steal that material.”
Even though it’s been awhile since he’s performed in Indy, the time Kris Shaw has spent on the road is something he will always treasure.
“You can’t always get hometown bookings unless you play the game. But that’s OK. I look at the stuff I’ve done since the last time I played in Indy, and I know that no one can take any of that away from me.”