Jesse Joyce started out as a vomit-wiping, toilet-cleaning barback at the Funny Bone Comedy Club. These days, the 31-year-old Oakland native returns as the headliner, performing four shows on Feb. 18-20. Joyce spoke with CP from the road.
Previously, you've performed all over the Middle East. Now, you're busy performing all over the Far East. How's it going?
I did a comedy tour of China, Malaysia and Singapore. It was pretty wild. I got to do Good Morning Malaysia, which is a lot like Good Morning, America, only the hosts are malnourished teen-agers and only speak English half the time.
Does your routine change much for different audiences?
In the old days, I used to sit and grind out material in my apartment, and then try to remember everything I wrote when I got onstage. These days, I've had a lot more fun and confidence just exploring an idea on stage. I'll just start talking about it on stage and see where the funny is.
You shot your first feature film recently?
This past fall I worked on a new film called Stags. It's written and directed by Jamie Greenberg and produced by Ben Barenholtz, who's considered the king of New York independent film. He's produced Requiem for a Dream, Raising Arizona and Miller's Crossing. The easiest way I've described it is "Sex and the City for dudes." I play Price -- who's an alcoholic stand-up comedian, which is all too familiar to me.
So it was easy to tap into that character?
Price's comedy is a lot more cynical. I'm definitely a sarcastic asshole at times, but at least I come off in control and reasonably well adjusted. He's kind of unstable.
You've also appeared as a correspondent for RedEye on Fox News.
According to bookers there, apparently I'm one of the favorite regular guests, so they have me on every other week to basically make fun of what's going on in the world. The show's format is kind of conservative Daily Show meets Real Time With Bill Maher. [It] has a really hard-core fan base and people do seem to come out in whatever city I'm performing and tell me they saw me on RedEye.
And I hear you told a pretty daring joke to Al Sharpton within moments of meeting him.
I got to meet [him] at Fox Studios and tell him a joke I wrote about him: "You were ordained a minister at 8 years old. What, did you molest yourself?" To his credit, he actually laughed.
Jesse Joyce with Blake Carter Thu., Feb. 18, through Sat., Feb. 20. Funny Bone Comedy Club, 242 W. Station Square Drive, Station Square, South Side. $8-15. 412-281-3130 or www.funnybonepgh.com