Jack with Ryan Stout
RYAN STOUT Ė DOWN-UNDER - 06/09/10
Ryan Stout, who on a couple occasions been dubbed as the Dark Prince of Comedy is an easygoing, likable lad who at times is lost in a world of his own. Since starting the comedic road, his reputation has grown among the cognoscenti. It has often been stated that performers need certain amount of ego to be successful however in Ryan Stout we have talent. He has been entertaining audiences in Australia Ė at Sydneyís famous Comedy Store and a late night segment at the Opera House.
Since the age of 14, he wanted to perform comedy, but laws in the US prevented him doing so. They wouldnít let him in the door at the Comedy Club it was the same with the local bars, there was just no available place. Had he grew up in New York he could have started earlier in his chosen profession.
His first paid job as a comic was in a bar in San Francisco where he was paid a mere $25. However, his first cheque came when performing at the Punchline Comedy Club in San Francisco. Ryan is a peopleís person Ė who appreciated the company of others. ďSince I came up with all these other comics we were kinda of the same generation Ė so after the show I took my cheque and bought everybody pizza. It was such a community feel about it, that we were all in it for each other almost . . . that was where the first cheque wentĒ.
Great acts are far and few between, and many comedians use profanity to get a good laugh from their audiences Ė Ryanís approach to comedy is equally sinister without the obscene language. His style of comedy maybe tasteless to some, hilarious to others although at the end of the day, itís all good humour.
ďWhen Iím on stage Iím trying to get people into a kinda heady and thoughtful place and so if I do material thatís off colour or dirty Iíd like to think that Iím doing it for a reason beyond just shock value. There are still audiences who donít appreciate that. I talk about certain subject and they sit there with their arms crossed, and get upset with me, so at the end of the show, I say well, weíve talked about third-world kids, a guy in a wheelchair and midgets freezing to death and not once did I use the ĎFí word. I do that only to see those people get upset as if to say Ďwhat a righteous asshole this guy isí Iím only not swearing as a complete FóK YOU!! to the people who donít like meĒ itís sheerly ironic for me.
People often ask why the suit? Ryanís answer is simple. ďThe late comedian Robert Schimmel certainly is one of the reasons. Heíd dress up for the show and he always claimed that he could get away with filthy material because he presented himself so well. Unlike some comedians whoíd wear just about anything and up there for a quick laugh. I want the audience to know, like Iíve put a lot of work into this and I am here to give it to you, so please sit quietly and listen to what I have to say I like the audience to know that itís a show, itís not some drunk hanging outĒ.
No subject is taboo Ė when asking is there any subject that he would never hit on!! ďprobably my rapeĒ Ryan said (nah, Iím kidding), ďno, thatís the one point Iíd argue to my death, you can talk about any subject as long as you approach the subject in a thoughtful way. People say you canít joke about suicide, but Iím aloud to joke about rape, how is that okay in your head? And how is it okay that I can talk about a guy whoís missing an arm but to talk about a third world kid who is missing parts, thatís terrible for you? Like whereís your moral line. You can either talk about all of it, or none of it, in my mind Ė and if you are gonna tell me I canít talk about any of it, then Iím gonna tell you, ya crazyĒ.
ďItís always a bad experience when the crowd isnít clicking to what you are saying, you know if they donít catch the irony of it or if they are not willing to . . . . umm . . . in my jokes and I like to argue in most good jokes, there is a kinda logical meet that the listener is forced to make on their own and fill in the blanks, they have to put the picture together by themselves. Some crowds, I donít know if itís mod-mentality with what is happening in the room but itís amazing to me, like when you have a hundred people in the room all unwilling to put the information together on their own, itís like you really have to spoon feed it to them, and they are looking at you like itís your problem Ė and Iím like NO NO NO!!!, Iím doing what Iíve always done and youíre not playing the game.
Aside from that though, I remember a particularly bad moment when I took the stage, it was a corporate gig I had been hired for and they were these older men. I donít like any crowd that is all one thing, because everybody feels unified Ďweíre us, and youíre the comedian you make us laughí. I prefer diverse cause itís like we are all in this together, and everyone has their own little thing going on letís try bridging the gaps. BUT, these old men, soon as I started, this one old guy said ďitís too loud, itís too loudĒ then a guy maybe a seat away from him saying ďI canít hear youĒ so they both had opposite problems. I said well you guys can switch seats, or I donít know what to tell you, itís the same volume for everybody. That was just a weird way to start the show and it didnít get much better after that . . . .
In his spare time, there is a serious side to Ryan, well almost Ė itís mostly where the internet is concerned: ďYou know it baffles me, you can have any thought about anything and just search the information on it. Like Iíve been watching philosophy classes from Harvard University, I read a lot about evolution on line and creationism. I love when people (Ryan laughs) have this religious debate still, verses the scientific debate and what I love is getting in there and reading these arguments. But yeah, Iím pretty obsessed with just being bombarded with information I just canít get enough. A lot of it I take in my head process a little bit and then just dump it Ė Itís more like mental masturbation, really, it goes nowhere and does nothingĒ
When I caught up with Ryan in Sydney I throw some random questions his way, and heís what we got.
You were inspired by:
I really clicked with George Carlin in the late nineties the way heíd get up and say things that were . .um . . they made sense logically but on moral level, that people wanted to disagree.
If you were to be an animal what would you be & why?
ďA lower level primate, just so that I would still have the opposable thumb and jerk off all day Ė thatíll be a bonus for meĒ . . or a pig, cause they have 30 minutes orgasm. If youíre an animal you have no higher level of thinking, you just live to eat and fók. So might as well pick something like a dolphin that enjoys it.
The movie you would have loved to star in?
The Big Lebowski and Dr Strange Love
If you could turn back time?
ďI would probably . . . .would probably like to . . . I mean I can turn back time all I want, but you just canít change history really, my biggest dream is that I would have grown up in a city where I could have started stand-up soonerĒ
What bugs you more than anything?
People who just donít pay attention, I really hate that. If somebodyís in public and theyíre crossing the street theyíre not paying attention to traffic Ė or youíre at the grocery store and theyíre pushing a cart and they donít realize youíre behind them and they just go about their day in this haze where they donít recognise anybody but themselves, and it just drives me absolutely crazyĒ. ďI feel like I spend so much of my day just being aware of others and trying to go through life without getting into someoneís way.
You would like to meet?
I would like to meet . . . umm . . . Iíd like to meet anybody with an interesting story, really. Itís weird Iíll meet just a new person just sitting and talking and they get into detail or story about my life and their life . . . I just click, you need to tell me more, suddenly one of the most interesting people Iíve ever met. I just wanna know everyoneís most interesting story.
You are patronizing when?
Nearly always. . . . if youíre dating me I am patronizing. Anytime I am dating a girl, and she stays with me, Iím just driving you crazy all day long and I know it, Iím sorry I canít stop. I just have that thing in me, where I have to push somebodyís buttons and if Iím not pushing your buttons than I probably donít like you.
When you got up this morning
I immediately thought about having coffee. Instantly Iím just a caffeine-attic. I love the stuff so much.
What keeps you awake?
Iím kept awake by the circumstances in my life that I have no control over and donít think are fair. Like I wanted to do this television show in America and they turned me down three or four years in a row. Then when they say Ďwe think youíre really funny and weĎd like you to come and do the showí they cancelled the show before I could do it. So then, when I was doing a show for them years later in the same theatre that they filmed the initial show in and I did some of the same material that they had turned down initially, and I was like, oh so that material wasnít good enough way back when but now itís fine, you could have pushed my career ahead by six years and you just chose not to. Things like that just drives me crazy, and I donít why I canít let them go Ė I mean I have no control over it and they have no idea that thatís the case.
You canít live without?
I canít . . umm. . I donít think I can live without having meals with other people. Like thatís one of my favourite things to do when Iím not on stage. After the show I like to go with everybody and have a meal some place and I suppose drinks as well, but thereís something about sitting around with people consuming food thereís almost a respect there. They say that humans are social creatures and I feel that thatís the one place I really love it more than anything.
Youíll be best remembered for?
I hope Iím best remembered for what Iíve done and not for what I am. Cause if youíre remembered for what youíve done that means other people can relate to it and study it, but if youíre remembered of what you are, then the next generation of people after youíre dead who never got to meet you then they have no interest in you. Theyíre like Ďah yeah right Stout was a great guy but who gives a shit, thereís probably a lot of dead great people Ė but if itís like Ďlook at this great body of work that this guy created then the next generation can look into it and study it and go Ďoh yeah I can kinda get a feel of what heís done and contributed.
How are you finding it Down Under?
You know, Iím finding it really welcoming and friendly. I think Iím just trying to struggle with . . . umm . . . Iím forced to pay attention to people when they are speaking so hard cause I want communication to occur and I want them to talk and I want to understand what they are saying and communication is a two person process. So Iím paying hard attention and kinda translating in my mind and going oh, thatís this, this is that, so I feel Iím putting a lot of energy to get communication happening. On stage I can tell that the audience here is doing the same with me, that Iím using words and phrases that may not be common here (Australia).
In the regards to direction of road traffic!!
ďIíve spent the last three decades almost, when I step out onto the street, look left and then right and here (Australia) Iím gonna get killedĒ.
If you were President, what would be the first thing youíd do?
Consulting with people smarter than me, I feel thatís all the job is. The only job of a President is to be the face that people point fingers and yell at. Iíd just sit around consult the smartest people I had, all day long and say Ďis this what we are deciding, you sure itís a good decision? Okay Iíll tell the people thatí... youíre just messenger, its not the job even most Americanís think it is. I canít stand when people point at our President and go Ďheís ruining the countryí . . . bullshit!!! He has nothing to do about the country getting ruined Ė Itís the senators and representatives you vote for all the way down to your local level. If you canít pick better representatives, than the President canít do anything for you. The presidency is just a popularity contest, nothing more, itís nothing more. . . .Ē
I would like to thank Ryan for his time, it was great to have met him while on his tour of Australia. Folks, if you are interested in knowing more about Ryan Stout or would like to catch one of his performance details are on his website.
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