Comedian Geoff Keith gets candid
April 2, 2010
When Geoff Keith realized that he wasn’t destined to be an NBA basketball player, he decided to go with plan B, which involved frequenting Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, nudist colonies and swap meets.
"I always wanted to be a comedian," he says. He started doing stand-up in 2004, at the tender age of 18. "I’d drive hundreds of miles a night just to do sets," he says. "I’d do anything."
His first break came when the manager of well-known comedian Pablo Francisco noticed him and invited him on tour. Francisco then invited him to be part of his 2006 Comedy Central special, "Pablo Francisco’s: Ouch!"
Those performances spurred a series of TV appearances including CBS’s "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," ABC’s "Comics Unleashed with ron Allen," HBO’s "Down and Dirty with Jim Norton," BET’s "One Mic Stand," and E! Channel’s "Chelsea Lately."
At 24 years old, he’s already staked his claim in the comedy world. Keith has been touring on his own, headlining clubs and colleges all over the country, for the past few years. He is currently filming "Disaster Date," a reality show that airs on MTV.
Tonight, April 3, he’ll perform at The Egyptian Theatre in Park City. Kathleen McCann will resume her role as emcee for the evening and another young comedian, Brian Moote, will open the show.
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The laughs start at 8:30 p.m., with doors opening a half hour prior. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, and $25 for cabaret seating. For tickets, visit http://www.parkcityshows.com or call 649-9371.
Below, Keith provides a glimpse into what the life of a comedian entails:
What is your earliest memory of making people laugh?
"I’d always make my parents laugh. I’d do impressions of people in movies and on TV. I had big lips so I’d stick them out and talk like Bubba from Forest Gump. My parents thought it was hilarious and they’d always try to get me to do it for their friends. I was super shy and I hated that. They’d be like, ‘Everybody gather round, Geoff’s going to do this,’ and then I wouldn’t do it."
When people come up to you and ask to hear a joke, what do you say?
"It’s kind of weird. People don’t do that with any other profession. I don’t really tell ‘jokey jokes’ in my act, I tell more stories and stuff that’s happened to me, so it’s not really my style. I sometimes purposely tell them a bad joke I’m like, ‘That’s not what I do, but you just asked to hear a joke.’"
What would you be doing if you weren’t a comedian?
"I have no idea. I really don’t have a lot of talents. I thought college was kind of pointless. A lot of comics used to be lawyers or something; I was a pizza delivery boy. Everyone’s always like, ‘Do you pay the bills doing comedy?’ and I’m like, "Yeah, and I’ve never had a job that paid more.’"
Has joking about someone you know ever gotten you into trouble?
"Yeah, it caused some problems with my ex-girlfriend. For the most part, I’m an autobiographical comedian." [Meaning that certain episodes from their relationship found their way into his act.] "There were a couple bits she did not like. There were a lot of different problems, actually."
Have you ever been on a disaster date?
"Not really. I started doing stand-up really young, and I would meet girls after the shows who already like me a lot. It sounds kind of scummy when I say it out loud, but I never had to meet girls and do the whole dating thing."
What’s the best thing about being a comedian?
"When it really comes down to it, I make all my money being funny and entertaining people. I think the best part is when people come up to me after shows and they’re like, ‘You made my week’ or ‘I’ve never laughed so hard.’ It’s nice to make people happy and it feels good to brighten someone’s day."
What’s the most challenging thing about being a comedian?
"Building a fan base and becoming popular. There are a lot of people that, if they just landed a big movie part or a good TV role, they could do the exact same act they do now and everybody would know who they were. The hardest part is mentally staying tough and staying positive and just knowing that you’ll eventually get your big break."
How would you rate your act?
"PG-13 to R. I could go X-rated, too, but I won’t do that in Utah. I’ll curse here and there, but it’s all in good fun."
What are your career goals?
"My goals are to do as much TV and movies as possible, because that’s what builds a fan base the quickest. I want to get to the point where people will see my name and be like, ‘Oh he’s gonna be there? We gotta go!’ Not like, ‘This guy’s been on this… you might’ve seen it you probably didn’t.’"
— Alisha Self