Truth is the key to Patrick Keane’s stand-up comedy
Comedian will perform at the Egyptian Theatre
Stand-up comedian Patrick Keane, who will perform Nov. 3 and 4 at the Egyptian Theatre, has an issue with today’s news outlets.
“I don’t think news should have a demographic,” Keane said during a phone call to The Park Record from a stop in Miami, Florida. “You don’t do news to appeal to these people or those people.”
Keene, who makes his home in Los Angeles, said catering to identities only creates divides.
“I think America right now is addicted to being offended,” he said. “That’s why I hope people come to the shows with open minds. They should understand that it’s OK not to agree with someone because you can still laugh with them. Comedy keeps things pure. It’s a very good education.”
Comedy has been on Keane’s mind since he was a child living in Orange County.
“Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, we were spoiled because we grew up on the best comedy movies, ever,” he said. “Whether it was stand-up or sports characters, there was a lot of funny movies, and they were a nice escape for me, who grew up Catholic.”
Keane watched the Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers and saw how comedy could help him communicate with people.
“I was an average student, average athlete and very shy,” he said. “We moved around a lot when I was a kid. So comedy was the outlet to make new friends or talk to girls.”
Comedy was also something that Keane noticed around his own home.
“I had two very silly, drinking Irish grandfathers,” he said. “So that was part of draw for me, too.”
The idea of making people laugh followed Keane to college, where he began writing scenes for movies.
“I would be in class and think of something that I thought would be funny,” he said. “By the end of college I had something like 200 scenes that I didn’t know how to put together. I also had a script, but didn’t know how to sell it.”
Friends told Keane to move to Hollywood, submit the script and get involved in acting.
“At that point I was in my mid-20s and I didn’t have any acting chops,” he said. “So I thought about the most hands-on and quickest thing to [get noticed], which is get on stage at an open mic show,” he said. “So I started going to open mic shows in Orange County but moved to L.A. pretty quickly after that and found some more open mics.”
Working open mic shows in Los Angeles showed Keane how hard the business could be.
“On the other hand, you learn how hard you have to work, but I really didn’t pay attention to how hard it was,” he said. “I just knew that I wanted to do stand-up, so it didn’t worry me that I was at the club at 1 o’clock in the morning.”
The benefit of doing open mics in L.A. is that Keane never knew who would be in the audience.
“The hope is that you will make some people laugh and that the word gets around,” he said.
Getting to that point is a challenge as well, because a comedian needs to find a way to stand out from the competition.
“Every stand-up comedian has to deal with this,” Keane said. “You first come out telling any kind of joke. All you’re doing is trying to survive, so you tell jokes that have nothing to do with yourself just to get the crowds to laugh.”
Once a comedian progresses, he or she starts telling jokes about themselves.
“That’s what I did,” Keane said. “I started telling self-deprecating jokes,” he said. “And then I started telling jokes about things from my point of view. This is important because you want people to start identifying you with the jokes. When you look at the greats — whether it’s [Richard] Pryor or [Robyn} Williams or Ellen [Degeneres] — the jokes they tell are uniquely them.”
Keane said truth is a powerful tool for comedians.
“Anyone can tell if something is fake and pretentious,” he said. “That was one of the most surprising things about the audience.”
Keane learned that lesson one night when he was doing a show with Nick Swardson, David Spade and Adam Sandler.
He went up first and told the audience that he was probably the only one in the night’s line up who is driving Uber later and offered his services.
“I think that was one of the most rewarding cheers I had ever gotten,” he said. “And I think it was because it was real, because I really had to drive Uber after.”
Keane said there is a line he has yet to cross when it comes to his material.
“I have an older brother who is mentally disabled, and I just can’t broach that on stage,” he said. “As much as I have written jokes around that topic, I just can’t find myself coming clean with that aspect.”
Sometimes Keane argues with himself about whether or not he should bring his brother into his material.
“I sometimes feel like a coward by not letting the audience in on that part of my life,” he said. “I may eventually talk about my brother, or someone in m family who was an alcoholic and then talk about what I think I’m suffering from. But if I do that, I have to do it in my voice. I mean it’s fine to talk about different things, but if you’re not into something, don’t go there.”
Comedy has taken Keane to multiple appearances on “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “The Bob and Tom Show.”
It has also helped him launch the web series “Fifth Quarter,” a mockumentary that, as Keane said, “chronicles the greatest untold and untrue stories in sports history.”
“I always loved the ridiculousness of how serious things got after a post-game press conference, but I still love professional and college football,” said Keane who played football in college. “And we all dream about being interviewed on ‘The Tonight Show’ or ‘Howard Stern’ and think, ‘This is how I would answer that question.’ So I thought we could combine those things into one show.”
Keane also believes comedy has helped him cope with life.
“People talk about how depressed comedians are, but I think we have this realistic view of life,” he said. “Nothing is shocking, because you know a lot about human nature because you perform in front of all kinds of people.
“In this day and age of everyone getting offended at everything it’s nice that comedy still exists where it’s all just a joke,” Keane said. “From the comedian’s perspective there’s a great freedom at not worrying about what you say that seems to be something that everyone longs to do. That doesn’t mean go out and yell and swear in the streets. It just means that it’s nice to have the freedom and that perspective. Anyone who’s truly lived life knows what battles to pick and that not everything is offensive.”
Stand-up comedians Patrick Keane and Quinn Dahle will perform at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3-4, at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St. Friday tickets range from $15 to $25 and Saturday tickets are $19 to $29. They can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com.
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