Local stand-up comedian Wayne Walsh hosts the Weekly Comedy Competition at 3rd Street Bar, 125 W. Third St., every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. He’ll also be performing at a new comedy event, Tahoe Comedy North at Pioneer Underground, 100 S. Virginia St., on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 10 p.m. And, to top it all off, he got engaged on Valentine’s Day.
How long have you been doing stand-up comedy?
About eight years now. I had a couple of breaks here and there, but eight years.
How’d you get into it?
Actually, a friend of mine—who I got to meet through working at the convention center, on-call banquet serving, a crap job—she did stand-up comedy, this older black lady named Josie Spadoni. I got to know her and she said, “Wow! You’re really funny. You’ve got two weeks to write six minutes.” I didn’t have a choice. She was like, “You’re going to do this.” And I went to my first open mic and kind of got hooked.
What was your first set like?
I think I said the word “fuck” like 287 times in six minutes, because I was so nervous. “Oh, and the fucking fucking and the fucking fucking fucking.” Yeah. And it was at the—at that time it was called the Speakeasy—and they had an open mic there. It was just myself, Josie, two other comics, the bartender, my best friend growing up, and his wife. That was it. That was the entire room. That makes it even more nerve-wracking. Five hundred is way easier than five.
Because then they become just a sea of people, you know what I mean? You don’t notice the fact that they’re just sitting there staring at you. When there’s a whole bunch of them, it just makes it easier. They laugh easier.
How long have you been doing 3rd Street?
I took it over in July.
How does the event work?
It’s basically just an open mic, but we award the person who did the best—or brought the most friends, one or the other—with more stage time the following week. So, what we do is we have a bunch of people doing five-minute sets, and maybe a guest spot or two, but typically just the five minute sets, and then whoever won the previous week will do like 15 or 25 minutes.
How do you prepare for a set?
I usually know what I’m going to do before I go up. I’ll figure out what jokes I want to do and line it out. I’ll take into account what kind of audience I’m expecting and what jokes I’m going to do. If something pops up, and I have a chance to adlib off on a little tangent, that’s always fun. But I can’t rely on that. A lot of times you’ll have audiences that just sit there, and even when you try to get them to talk, they don’t want to. The typical comedian banter doesn’t work for me. I don’t know why. People say it’s because I’m scary. I’ll try to do that, “So, where you from? What do you do?” And they act like I’m trying to interrogate them, like I’m trying to get them to rat out on their family.
How would you describe your stand-up?
Basically, just the really twisted little thoughts that come to me if I can’t sleep or I’m bored at work. … [T]he worst possible thing that you could say at that exact moment is the kind of stuff that I find hilarious. … We’re actually in a hotel in Virginia City right now. We just got engaged last night.
No shit? Congratulations!
Thank you. … But there’s a joke I wrote recently. We’ve been seeing each other for about a year-and-a-half now. So people ask, “When are you going to get married?” “Shit, I don’t know. Maybe never. Not for the typical reasons, but because I refuse to call the woman I love ‘my fiancée’ because I hate the French.”