Ian Edwards has been causing laughter for years both in person with his stand-up and on television with his appearances on Def Comedy Jam and Conan O'Brien, to name a few. Followers of NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas may also remember that it was Ian Edwards' shark joke that Gilbert used a few years ago while passing it off as his own.
Ian will be performing at Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco Oct. 20th through the 23rd. For tickets and additional information please visit CobbsComedyClub.com. To stay up-to-date on Ian's career and upcoming performances, and to view clips of his stand-up, you can visit his website here.
TH: You've written for the BET Awards as well as Saturday Night Live, do you find it more difficult to write for other performers or for yourself?
IE: It's easier to write for myself because I'm more familiar with me, and I've had more practice doing it. I like writing for others because it pays more than writing for myself. I'm a cheap boss. I also like writing for others, because of the challenge of figuring out what they need, and getting it right. It's also an opportunity to learn more about writing and to add new dimensions to your skills.
TH: You've performed in front of millions of viewers on Def Comedy Jam, Conan, and Lopez Tonight, to name a few, is there one performance that has meant more to you than any other thus far in your career?
IE: Def Jam was big because it was the hottest show at the time. It almost made everyone who appeared on it black famous. Conan was great because it's almost like an industry seal of approval.
TH: What is the toughest thing about being a comedian for a living that the general public just doesn't understand?
IE: Having a bad show is tough for a comedian, but that's pretty obvious. It's the audience not knowing why you had a bad show is what's tough. For example, I'm working on new material right now, which I have to if I want to progress in this game, and the audience might leave that night saying, "That dude sucked." And I can't catch up with each and every one of them at their homes to tell them I'm really funny, but I was working on new jokes and "Here are some of my old jokes that work."
When the audience is dying with laughter at a hack, it always hurts for a second. You wish the audience knew better. I feel like if they didn't laugh at this guy, he wouldn't be hacky next time. But it's not really the audience's fault. Good comics have to step up and make quality comedy be known.
TH: There was a lot of reaction and discussion when NBA star Gilbert Arenas used one of your jokes a few years ago on his NBA.com chat without giving you credit. What was your take on the issue at the time?
IE: Well, first he stole it. Then he dissed me after he got caught. Then he promised me free tickets to a game, which I never received. Then he had a string of professional bad luck. He kept getting injured. Then he got in trouble for having a gun in the locker room, and then he got traded, and has never been the same player since. I'm Jamaican and if you listen to my friends they'll tell me I used voodoo on him. Which I won't confirm nor deny. I really don't care anymore though. It was so long ago. I wish Arenas the best of luck. If you keep writing people can't out steal you.
TH: Your Comedy Central profile on Jokes.com says that your comedy style is similar to Jeff Dunham. In your opinion, what is it about your comedy that makes you similar to a ventriloquist?
IE: Holy shit I had no idea I had a Comedy Central profile. Or that it says I'm similar to Jeff Dunham. What are they comparing me to, his black puppet? I've got to go check that out. What I am, is an observant human being with an original take on the things that happen in this world or my life. My comedy is colorless, universal, but edgy. I always see some members of the audience covering up their mouths when they realize they're laughing at something they don't think they should be laughing at.
TH: I'm sure you've seen a lot of strange things occur with patrons at comedy clubs over time, but what's the weirdest thing you've seen?
IE: A few weeks ago I was doing a show at the Comedy Store and there were a group of girls talking loud and texting throughout the entire show. I asked them to be quiet nicely three times, but they wouldn't stop. I trashed them for being rude, then told them to leave and they refused. Even when security and the managers came over to escort them out they still refused to leave. The crowd stood up three times and chanted "Get Out" and they still wouldn't go. They stayed halfway through the next comics set, and then threw a glass at him as they left. Then they got into a nasty fight with the crowd outside. I had the pleasure of watching a hundred people on the Comedy Store patio jeer them into a cab.
TH: How often do you work on new material for your stand-up?
IE: I've taken it up another level now. I used to wait ‘til stuff came to me but now I force myself to write everyday. Then I try it as soon as I get up. I have a new joke that started out as a one liner, but has grown like a tree into a five-minute bit. I'd like to have new forty-five minutes by the end of this year.
TH: You're going to be in three upcoming Comedy Central shows, what can you tell us about them?
IE: Well I'm gonna be on one for sure. It's called, Russell Simmons Presents: The Ruckus. The others I don't wanna jinx, so I won't talk about. Remember what I said about being Jamaican and voodoo?
TH: The roasts on Comedy Central are always popular; if you could roast any celebrity who would you choose?
IE: Let's just say Chris Rock or Kevin Hart, because it would be fun, and I know they'd destroy the dais when they got their turn.
TH: We end all of our interviews with word association, so I say "wombat" and you say...
IE: Why would you ask me that?