The fury of Furry

For a local stand-up comedian, hard times and hippies make for the best jokes

YOUNG &amp; FRESH <br>Mike Furry was no hippie, even when he had hair in his head.

Mike Furry was no hippie, even when he had hair in his head.

Courtesy Of Mike Furry

Find the Furry: Check Mike Furry’s Web site for upcoming gigs,

Mike Furry made sure to get a good buzz going before we commence our interview inside the Towne Lounge bar in downtown Chico.

Furry’s uncompromising and brutally honest style of stand-up comedy has taken on Chico’s bars and open-mic nights for the past three years or so, and he’s also working on a screenplay that he hopes to finish this summer.

The 27-year-old Chico State grad blends in well at a bar. I’m not saying the man is an alcoholic, mind you, far from it—but an act like Furry’s is probably best enjoyed with a beer in hand and a good-natured sense of humor. His jokes range from bittersweet self-deprecating confessions, to dark irony, to ruthless hippie-bashing. A good time is had by all, except the uptight hippies. And perhaps teetotalers.

So tell me about this screenplay you’ve got going.
It’s a kind of a semi-autobiographical story about a guy who’s going through a rough time in his life, so his philosophy becomes that he’ll follow whatever advice he gets from fortune cookies.

Why did you get into stand-up?
I’d done it a few times when I was living in Oakland at open-mic nights with friends. When I moved to Chico, I was living with a girl and we went through a pretty nasty breakup. There was a little, mild nervous breakdown, and when I came out of it I was on stage and they were laughing at me.

Over the past three years I’ve kind of just developed it into a whole act. It’s kind of therapeutic. Anything that’s bugging me or anything that’s bad in my life, I turn it into a joke. That’s my Prozac.

At one point you did stand-up to pay the bills.
Yeah, there was a good six-month run where I was doing nothing but stand-up. I’m really bad with money. If I could budget everything well, I think I could do it.

I drove a cab for about a year, and I was a bartender for about six years before that. Actually, I get a lot of inspiration from bars. Most of my jokes are made here, I’ll just scribble them down on napkins. I also have a CD coming out from Dirty Mick Records. Hopefully they’ll book me enough so that I don’t have to work anymore.

What can you tell me about the Humboldt incident?
I went on tour last December, and we were in Humboldt and I was doing jokes about hippies. I find hippies comical, what can I say? There were a lot of hippies there trying to heckle me. There was one guy with his girlfriend; they were both trying to yell at me.

Apparently there were a lot of people I pissed off with that show, but other than that it was pretty cool because I ended up hooking up with the guy’s girlfriend.

Later that night we left to go to the next town. That’s my only rock star story. So I tell it a lot.

Can you give me an example of a hippie joke?
Hippies were following the Dead around for years, and then Jerry Garcia kills himself, and they stop following them … Cyanide capsules aren’t that hard to find, folks. Where’s your dedication?