Friday, December 14, 2012

Funny Friday! (part 1) Meet Chad Errio!

Wow... I'm totally in love with Friday now. Forget about it being the start of a weekend.
Fridays are now when I get to interview amazing people. So much hilarious, so many people, so little time! That being said, until further notice I will be posting two - count 'em, TWO - blogs for Funny Friday. Eventually I may work my way up to some audio or video interviews. Exciting, right? Something to look forward to...
What am I doing? Stalling? Geez, let's get on with the amazing!
Meet Chad Errio. I first saw him doing stand up when he opened for The Blacklist (the super awesome, ever-amazing adult improv group I'm a part of... as if you didn't know!) Currently residing somewhere in the middle of Illinois, he's a real down to earth guy who's a lot of fun to watch onstage. Let's meet him, shall we?
me: Who are you, in your own words? (whatever that means to you)
chad: Who am I? Such an easy question to ask, but hard to answer without sounding like a pretentious asshole... My Twitter description says "Stand up comedian... Host of 'Three The Hard Way' podcast... Husband, father, firefighter, elected official... What else you got?!?".... So I'll just go with that. What can I say? I like to be busy. I love to make people laugh. I've always been the guy that said inappropriate things at the wrong time. But my Dad & Uncles were the same way. My family owned a bar so I kind of grew up hearing alot of things I shouldn't have.
me: As a kid, what did you dream of being when you grew up?
chad: I always wanted to be a hero. The good guy, so to speak. But even then, I imagined myself being the wisecracking cop/fireman/militarty guy... I actually joined the Army right out of High School but injured the tendons in my arm so I ended up with a Medical Discharge. I tested for the Sherriff's Department and actually was offered the position. But I turned it down when I realized cops don't get paid shit, and I'm not taking a job that requires a kevlar vest if I'm making the same amount of money as a McDonalds manager... I've been a Volunteer Firefighter for 11 years now. I'm the Training Officer and probably one of the biggest smartasses on the department. So I guess I got what I wanted.

me: When did you know you wanted to be a comedian?
chad: I was always the class clown. I knew I loved making the people around me laugh, but never thought in a million years that a kid from a town of 350 people could ever actually be a comedian. I remember listening to Smothers Brothers albums with my mom, Bill Cosby Albums with my Grandfather, and soaking in everything I overheard at the bar. I loved to laugh, but I loved to WATCH people laugh more. I kind of still do.
The first time I remember thinking, "I wish I could do that" was when I was 12 yrs old. My parents had just gotten divorced, and comedy helped cheer me up. I remember the first stand up special I saw was "Robin Williams: Live At The Met". I loved it so much I laid infront of the TV and recorded the audio onto a cassette tape. I listened to that tape every night when I went to bed. I wore it out. I thought it was amazing the way Robin Williams just went up there and just 'went off'. Because even though I was the class clown, I was actually terriblly shy. I still kind of am, but most people mistake it for being cocky or stuck up.
me: How long have you been doing stand up?
chad: I'll be doing this 3 years as of January 2013. I wish I would have started sooner. I look back and realize I was telling myself 'I want to do that' for years but then turning around and telling myself 'You could never do that.' in the same breath... I'm pissed at myself for not taking a chance when I was younger.... I finally had the balls to do something when I was laid off from work, sitting at home depressed, and realized I needed an outlet. I looked into taking some Improv classes at Second City since that was the only place I had really heard of. But I scrapped that idea when I found out the classes were like 300 bucks and you had to take 5 different classes before you actually got on stage. I needed something NOW. I ended up meeting Dave Odd at The Edge Comedy Club in Chicago. He has done more for new comics on the scene than anyone. I never would have gotten stage time starting out without him.

me: Who are some of your favorite comedians?
chad: Off the top of my head, in no particular order- Guys like Christopher Titus, Louis CK, Richard Pryor, & Bill Cosby because they talk about their lives openly & honestly. Guys like Doug Stanhope & Bill Hicks for pushing boundries & talking about whats funny to them, no matter what it is or who it may offend. Comics like Maria Bamford & Dana Gould for doing it their own way, even though I hate the term 'Alternative Comics'. Last but not least, Brett Erickson at The Jukebox Comedy Club in Peoria is one of the most naturally funny guys I know. He's an amazing host and an unbelievable local comic.

me: Describe your brand of comedy, if you can. What's funny to you?
chad: I honestly don't know what my 'brand of comedy' is... More Blue Collar if anything. I love doing shows outside of Chicago because I seem to connect with the crowds more. I think its funny making people laugh at things that they probably shouldn't laugh at. Whether that is stories about my wife & kids, or jokes regarding race or sex, I like to make people laugh at themselves for laughing at what I'm saying. I like to find that line that shouldn't be crossed and tip toe right up to it. Sometimes, I'll jump right across it... I'm honestly still trying to find my voice.

me: What does being a comedian mean to you?
chad: Being a comedian has become not just something I like to do, it's become who I am. I look at the world differently now. I honestly can't picture a future without me on a stage telling jokes somewhere. I'm still that little class clown at heart and I finally have an answer to all those teachers that asked me, "Do you think you're going to be able to find a job where you can sit around and crack jokes all day?".... Every time I look out at the crowd and see all those people staring back at me, laughing & smiling, just waiting to here what I have to say next... It's one of the greatest feelings in the world.
(I second that emotion, sir.)

me: What has been the greatest influence on your comedy?
chad: As sappy as it sounds, my wife has been an amazing influence on my comedy. She has supported me from the begining and has pushed me to be a better writer & performer. She doesn't mind being the butt of a joke, as long as its funny. She's been there with me recording my sets so I can review them later. She's honest enough to tell me what she thinks I did wrong if a bit doesn't go over just right. She's really been more of a partner in this with me than she actually realizes. She's not Yoko Ono or anything but then again, I ain't John Lennon.

me: What is one of your favorite moments (so far) as a comedian?
chad: Everyone has crazy, funny stories about things that happen on the road, but my personal favorites, oddly enough, are the train wreck moments... Those are the times I'll never forget. The night I hit a deer on the way to the comedy club- I had to change the tire on the side of the interstate, in the dark, without the correct tools, with 'deer chunks' all over the front end. I made it to the club and ranted on stage for 10 minutes about it and ended up with a decent chunk of material.... Another time I was hired for a private Xmas party. The Chief of Police was there, sitting in the front row, so while I was working the crowd I made a few jokes at his expense. He didn't seem to like that very much, so I moved on. After the show, I hung out for a bit, talked to everyone, and then left. 3 minutes down the road, I was pulled over for suspicion of DUI by the Chief of Police... You can't make this shit up! And no, I didn't get ticketed. I was totally sober. (This time)
But as far as a favorite moment on stage? Last year, I had a show in St Louis, then a night off, and then a show in Springfield. On the night off I decided to hit an open mic that was ran by a comedian I knew. When I showed up he asked me if I would do 20 at the end to close the show. Right before I went up, he said "Do as much time as you want." I ended up doing 45 min off the cuff, barely touching on my prepared set. It was the first time I had ever done anything like that. It felt awesome. It was one of the best nights I've ever had and it taught me to loosen up on stage and to just go with the flow.

me: If you weren't doing comedy, what would you be doing with your life?
chad: I'm a Union Sheetmetal Worker but the economy has been in the shitter for the last couple years and there hasn't been a lot of construction work. That's helped me with comedy because its allowed me to do more shows because I'm off a lot. But if I wasn't doing standup at all? Who knows?!? Maybe I'd take that job with the Sherriff's Dept... Apparently the only things I'm qualified for are either getting DUIs or giving them.

me: What do your friends & family think of your life as a comedian?
chad: They couldn't be more supportive! Besides my wife, my parents have been my biggest supporters. Hell, they bring their friends to shows! I've acted in a couple short films & a web series and have been doing some work as a background extra for TV . My kids think it's great. They see me on TV for 10 seconds and they love it. I'd almost do it for free just to see the smiles on their faces.

me: What is your biggest, wildest comedic dream you hope comes true some day?
chad: I would love it if I was able to do this full time and support my family. Whether its standup, acting, podcasting, or whatever. I still love to make people laugh & I love to entertain. What more could a guy ask for than to be able to do something he loves everyday? And if all that fails, there's always porn...
(Yeah, baby! Porn! I mean... ahem... moving on.)
me: Elvis or the Beatles?
chad: Elvis! (*swoon! I...)Without a doubt! ( I am a HUGE Elvis fan. (!) I've got the albums. I've got his entire discography on CD. When I got married, my wedding party was announced to a montage of Elvis songs. Over the years, other groups have been compared to and called 'The Beatles of their generation.' But there's only been one Elvis. He's the god damn king of Rock n Roll.
(So how close ARE you and your wife, because I think I have a pair of panties I'd like to toss your way... just sayin'.)

me: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to give stand up comedy a try?
chad: Just get up and do it. Stop thinking of the reasons why you can't and just find an open mic and do it. Write everyday. Even of you aren't writing anything good, you're creating something, even if its shit. And believe me, you're going to write A LOT of shit... Be on time to gigs- In fact, if you aren't at least 15 or 20 minutes early, you are still late in my opinion... Be respectful to the club owner/producer and the crowd... Remember that you WILL bomb eventually. Do I kill every night? FUCK NO. I bombed horribly at a corporate gig last weekend. It happens. Anyone who says they never bomb is full of shit. I've seen some of the best comics suck ass in front of a crowd. But when it happens, you need to learn from it, put it out of your mind, and move on to the next show... And stop saying you 'killed it' in front of 10 other comics at some open mic for 3 minutes or some bar show in front of 15 your drunk friends. A little humility goes along way in this business.... Listen to comics that have been around longer than you. Most comics are more than willing to give you their opinion about something. We're all self centered assholes. And you don't have to take their advice. I've learned just as much by learning what NOT to do by watching other comics. Most importantly, to me anyway, is to have fun doing it, BUT take this shit seriously. Almost anyone can be funny. And alot of people ARE funny. But not many of those funny people can make it in stand up comedy... If you can do all this, and be consistently funny, you can call yourself a comedian. If not, you're just the funny guy at work.

Well, spoken fella, this Chad Errio cat. If you'd like to see/hear/read more of/about him, he's got plenty of places for you to get your fix:
On Facebook - just click on his name at the beginning or the end (like that, right up there. look!)
On Twitter - @ChadErrio and @3TheHardWayCast
On Tumblr -
On Youtube - ChadErrioVideos
He's also got a short film on Vimeo titled "It's Always Cloudy"
As always, thanks for reading friends. Stay tuned next week for a new dynamic duo blogstravaganza of hilarity. Say that 5 times fast and I'll bake you a cookie.
Yes, "a" cookie. It will be epic.

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