Stand-up, delivered

These comedians are just a handful of local joke tellers slowly putting Sacramento on the comedy map

Left to right: Eve David, Carlos Rodriguez, Ray Molina, E. Clark, Cheryl the Soccer Mom, Keith Lowell Jensen, Nick Pettigrew and Eric Mee bring the funny.

Left to right: Eve David, Carlos Rodriguez, Ray Molina, E. Clark, Cheryl the Soccer Mom, Keith Lowell Jensen, Nick Pettigrew and Eric Mee bring the funny.

Photo By Shoka

It isn’t easy to get in front of a crowd, expose yourself to hecklers, reveal your darkest secrets and let it rip. But for these Sacramento comedians, performing stand-up is just another day at the office. Some find jokes in their own hilarious—or pathetic—lives, others find inspiration in the absurdity of the world around them. And when all else fails: dick jokes.

Here’s just a small taste of what the local stand-up scene has to offer.

Name: Ray Molina
Age: 32

Describe your humor.

I go for “brilliant insights into the human condition!” but I will settle for far less.

What’s the perfect audience?

Quiet, not laughing or smiling, just staring at me with puppy-dog eyes while licking the blades of rubber knives.

What was the worst thing you ever did as a kid?

Held a slave auction. It was make-believe, but I can never forgive myself for making so much imaginary money. I turned quite a pretend profit; I sold thousands of them. They weren’t human slaves, either, so it’s entirely ethical.

Who do you want to see run for president in 2012?

Someone in a wheelchair, to see how the opposition tiptoes around accusing them of playing up the disability angle.

Name: Eve David
Age: 21

What is your favorite thing about stand-up?

If you are good at it, then it teaches you to be vulnerable in order to make a connection with another person, which allows them to feel less alone.

Describe the perfect audience.

They are sober and intentionally there for a comedy show. It’s never fun when you have a group of people who just want a cup of coffee and then all of a sudden a series of comedians come out and interrupt their work meeting.

A lot of people must ask you to tell a joke. Will you tell one anyway?

Someone once asked me a thought-provoking question. They asked if I were to write a book about my life, what it would be called. I said, “An autobiography.”

Name: Carlos Rodriguez
Age: 28

Have you ever had groupies?

Twice. Once the girls said they had boyfriends, and the second time I had a girlfriend.

You must get a lot of people who ask you to tell them a joke. Will you tell us one anyway?

My girlfriend said, “Ohhh, we should do one of those top-five sex exceptions lists, like on the Friends TV show,” and I said, “All right, I’m down, but mine aren’t famous.”

Why did you decide to be a stand-up comedian?

I never decided to do stand-up. I just was always that kid that never shut up. Ever since I was 5, my life has been an open-mic, not only in a sense of being funny but [also] getting people’s attention. I found out very early on if you’re always trying to be funny, you’re more than likely to be annoying.

Name: Chazz Hawkins
Age: 27

What kind of humor do you use in your stand-up?

I try to use the funny kind of humor, because that seems to be the only kind that works.

What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?

This girl I was dating took me out to dinner and insisted on paying, because I didn’t have any money, so after we ordered the food and ate, she said, “Lets run out on the bill,” and I found out that she didn’t have money, either. What goes better with a dinner than crime?

Have you ever had groupies?

I wouldn’t want to answer this question, because I think it would offend the groupies, because they don’t know how to read and words are seen as a sign of disrespect.

Who are your favorite comedians?

Way too many to name, like [Richard] Pryor, [George] Carlin, Chris Rock, Dave Attell. Right now, some of the best doing it are Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, Patrice O’Neal and Kevin Hart.

Name: Eric Mee
Age: 21, 22 on April 16

Moment you first realized that you were funny?

After I went blind three years ago, people kept telling me, “You’re so funny,” because I would say stupid things after I embarrassed myself. Then, after a year of hearing, “You should do stand-up,” I started to write down my jokes. Then last summer I became bored and went to an open-mic night at Laughs Unlimited and did very well, and continued to go back and to other venues.

How does being a blind comedian work to your advantage (or disadvantage)?

I think being blind is somewhat easier. I have so many jokes that come up just with my daily life. I can walk to school and come up with three or four minutes of material, because of the things that happen. My life has become a comedy show since being blind. Also it can suck, too, because when I get onstage people see that I am blind, and they want to hear the blind jokes. So if I don’t only have blind jokes, I won’t get as many laughs.

What is your most annoying pet peeve?

When guys wear flip-flops. I hate it because I end up trying to hit on them, thinking they are a chick.

Tell us your favorite joke.

My favorite that I tell is: It is really hard to get girls when you’re blind, especially because I have to be selective. … I can’t date Asians, because neither of us can drive.

Name: John Ross
Age: 33

Describe your humor?

I always like to make the audience feel awkward and uncomfortable. I really enjoy making them react to content that they aren’t used to encountering. Dark and personal, I guess.

What was the funniest thing that happened to you in high school?

A Mexican dude slapped my ass, thinking I was a girl. I had long hair and a great girl ass for a guy.

Moment you first realized that you were funny?

The realization comes and goes. For instance, every day at work, nobody gets me. They think I’m lame. Then I’ll get onstage somewhere and make a good portion of the audience laugh. That’s when the realization pops back up again. Unfortunately, I always have to go back to work.

Name: E. Clark
Age: early 30s

Describe the perfect audience.

I love a mixed audience. I like 27 percent black people; out of that 27 percent I need 10 percent to have [gone] to college, and the rest can be state workers, thugs, barbers, beauticians and preachers. Seven percent old people, because if they die laughing I know that I just made God smile; 42 percent Mexican people, because drink sales will be high and only one person is getting a DUI; 2 percent Asians, I don’t see a lot of them at shows except for my Filipino brothers, but I included them with the black people; 15 percent white, so they can make the black people who went to college feel comfortable and we need people to tip the wait staff. And 7 percent other (Samoan, Pakistani, Eskimo, etc.).

Why is Sacramento great for stand-up?

The best thing to do here is laugh! If your joke works in Sac, then it will work anywhere in America. Sac is a West Coast town with a mid-America feel and L.A. envy.

Name: Keith Lowell Jensen
Age: 39

Why did you decide to be a stand-up comedian?

I was in a band until the guitarist got his girlfriend pregnant. I decided I needed an art form that didn’t depend on other people using birth control. I pursue it as hard as I do because I love it, and because I suck at literally everything else I’ve ever tried to do for a living.

Moment you first realized that you were funny?

In fourth grade, I changed schools, and clowning in class helped me make new friends and new enemies. When I pulled out the ventriloquist doll, there was to be no turning back!

What are your sources of inspiration?

Listening to NPR and thinking, “Damn, that’s awful! The world is screwed. How can I make that funny?”

What was the funniest thing that happened to you in high school?

A teacher told us we couldn’t make him mad and then gave us each a “free” shot at trying. I ended up expelled.

Name: Cheryl the Soccer Mom
Age: 50

Why do you use an alias?

I use “Cheryl the Soccer Mom” and not my real name because I’m a huge embarrassment to my children. I know most teenagers would be proud to have a mom who tells dick jokes to strangers, but not mine.

When did you realize you wanted to do stand-up?

I was at a humor-writing workshop, and we had time to get onstage and do some time. After I told a joke, a guy in the front row laughed so hard he had to put his head down and slapped the table. There’s something really addicting about getting a physical reaction like that with words. I was hooked.

Why is Sacramento great for stand-up?

Really, really supportive comics here. There are a few people who encouraged me early on, and if it wasn’t for them I would never have kept going. I didn’t tell my family what I was doing when I first started, because I thought I would make a fool of myself, and I didn’t want any witnesses. I honestly told them that I was going to Target.

Name: Nick Pettigrew
Age: 25

Describe your humor.

A lot of my humor comes from just being truthful, honest and unrestricted in examining how tragic I am as a human being.

Who’s funnier, Mom or Dad?

This is a tricky question. My mother is funny because she is open about her life. When my father gets angry, his cursing reaches a level of obscene poetry. He once called a guy a “cheese dick.”

You must get a lot of people who ask you to tell them a joke. Will you tell us one anyway?

I want to learn sleight-of-hand magic, like how to make coins disappear, because I want to start disappointing the homeless.

Who do you want to see run for president in 2012?

Vince McMahon, owner of the WWE. America is going to crap; let’s at least make it a spectacle. Bring on the fireworks and steroids! I want to see someone put [House Speaker John] Boehner through a table!