An Interview With Comedian Steven Wright, Performing at Charleston Music Hall on Thursday 9/13 *DUE TO HURRICANE FLORENCE, THIS SHOW IS RESCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 11.*
Steven Wright's monosyllabic style is to comedy what Haiku is to poetry, abbreviated and to the point. His refreshing performances have stood the test of time, decades to be exact. His one-liners and hilarious deadpan comedic delivery are a refreshing detachment from current events, breaking news, tweets, and memes. Come out with me on Thursday 9/13 at 7pm, Charleston Music Hall to catch Steven's show. Laughter is so good for the soul!
I want to tell you a little about Steven Wright the comedian, off-stage. I have never had a more comfortable conversation with a complete stranger in my life. However, the morning got off to a shaky start. Even though I had a week to get things together, I found myself tearing the house apart an hour before the interview. I needed 2 triple A batteries for the recorder. I guess I could take notes, but my shorthand isn't what it used to be, okay I know I lost a lot of Gen Xer's on that one. Shorthand was a primitive written communication, like after dinosaurs and before Emoji's.
Hubby found two batteries in a remote for me in the nick of time, later I will match all of the ripped off backs to their respective battery operated devices. The worst part of this fiasco is that, apparently, the batteries we found died shortly after saying hello to Steven, which I didn't find out until after the interview.
Luckily the highlights are memorable ones and not easily forgotten, also I am a doodler and scribbled things down as well.
Steven answers the phone, "Hello," he said, reasonably fast, which took me by surprise. I was expecting the slow monotone voice I'd heard while watching him perform over the decades.
Renae Brabham: Steven are you looking forward to doing the show in Charleston?
Steven: Yes, I enjoy all of the shows I do, regardless of where they are. I have a nephew who goes to college here and I look forward to seeing him while I am there.
RB: Tell me something about you that may surprise your audience.
Steven: I exercise every day and ride my bike when I am home in Massachusetts. I think it surprises people to see me move around kind of fast because they see me as the slow mover and talker in my shows. When I go to the Boston Red Sox games and they make a good play, I jump up and down like everyone else. When I lived in Colorado, I used to ski and it shocked people that I could move like that. Oh and one more thing that people might not know, I laugh a lot, not something you see on stage.
RB: How do you keep fresh in this age of technology?
Steven: I don't really focus on technology. I may joke about it in my shows, but I am not interested in putting jokes online, twitter or any other way. I would rather share my jokes with a live audience. I do have a website though, StevenWright.com, I post things there that keep people in touch with what I am doing, I have my art and music there too.
RB: So, you are playing your next show in Charleston and then you will be going to California. Will your set up change for that audience?
Steven: No, not at all. I try out all of my jokes on the audience and if they work I keep them. I keep the show to general topics that everyone can relate to anywhere across the country. I can still use jokes that I performed 30 years ago. Like jokes about the speed of light are not going to wear off, but one about let's say, president Regan, well that wouldn't fly today. I made a promise when I first started out that I would keep my comedy free of news stories, politics, etc.
RB: I watched the YouTube video when you were on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. It was so cool to watch you two interact. You were just making it up as you went. I laughed so hard at the part about you killing butterflies because they were arrogant. But — you didn't really kill a butterfly did you?
Steven: No way, but that was funny. I live in Massachusetts and really do connect with nature. I have lived all over the place, California, Colorado, New York, but this is home. It is beautiful here, I love the winter, the snow, the tree's, all of it.
I said something, not sure what. But Steven said "I like your accent. I never get to hear a southern accent."
Here is where the challenges of the morning continued. My phone dropped the connection. We live in the woods, smack dab in the middle of a pine forest in the country and this happens a lot. I hurriedly called Steven back. After a try or two, I got him.
He answered and said. "I was thinking, kind of sort of in my head, but not really, that I offended you by saying something about your accent and you hung up." I assured him it was nothing more than a cow stepping on our line that dropped the call. He then had me explain what that meant, I kicked myself for saying it, but told him it was a country living metaphor. He laughed heartily.
We were back to technology again. I told him we seldom had good cell phone service where we live.
"I have a lot of dropped calls in my house in Massachusetts, too." he tells me. "I often think a cell phone is like a spaceship that they haven't perfected yet. Like what would life be like if our stuff broke down as often as our phones went down. If our cars shut down 7 to 10 times a day? If this is a Smartphone what does an average phone do? Can I go into a store and get an average phone? Or an idiot phone?"
We laughed and talked a few more minutes, inconsequential stuff. A hummingbird zooms up to my window, there are no feeders there. When I got distracted, I told Steven that a hummingbird is hovering at my window looking in at me.
"It's me, coming in for a bird's eye view interview. Is he still there?" he asked.
"No, he just left, I think he/you went to get a drink." I told him.
I finished out the interview with the this question.
RB: If you had another profession, what would it be?
Steven: I am not sure, but I would hope it is something creative. Drawing was my first creative outlet, but I like to paint, write, play music. It would have to be something that lets me be creative.
RB: It would be impossible for you to not be creative, Steven.
Steven graciously thanked me, we concluded the interview and ended the call, but I felt like I had not finished talking to him. This interview was like talking to a friend, a funny, inquisitive friend. I hope to tell him that at the show. When I got off of the phone, my husband who was in the other room said, "What a genuinely nice guy." And then we tell Steven Wright jokes for a few minutes.
In one of my favorites from a video, Steven jokes about his former girlfriend, a mail order bridesmaid who in her spare time likes to waste time. Her eyes were too close together, like the headlights on a jeep. He gave her the nickname of A/C, almost Cyclops.
Hop over to Charleston Music Hall and get your tickets now for the show! Doors open on September 13th at 7 pm. Show starts at 8.