Who: Stand-up comic Jeremiah Coughlan mines material from his everyday life, his work and his travel experiences, and performing sets at clubs from the Northwest to Missouri. Twice yearly, he makes his way to Central Oregon, where, this weekend, he headlines shows with Julia Ramos at 8 p.m. Friday at Seven Nightclub in Downtown Bend and 8 p.m. Saturday at Double J Saloon in downtown Redmond.
Q: Sorry I’m late calling. I’ve just been watching some of your YouTube clips.
A: Oh no.
Q: No, it’s good stuff. You come off as so natural, like you’re just telling people about your day-to-day life. How much do you polish your material before presenting it?
A: Not much. … It’s advisable, but for me, it’s like “Well, let’s just throw this in here and see what happens.” Then I can kind of build in a direction with that. I’m at a point now where I get enough stage time where it’s like doing (a) 5-minute (set) … is actually kind of hard, where it’s like, OK, I can basically do three jokes, whereas most of the sets I do nowadays are between 25 and 45 minutes. It’s like finding a way to shoehorn everything I want to say into 5 minutes, that becomes the challenge. When I come to Bend this week, I’ll be doing almost an hour each night. There’s plenty of time to say, well, I have this new thing about something weird that happened to me at the gym. (I’ll) throw it in the middle of three things that I know work, and they are kind of along the same subject line, and I’ll see if I can bounce those ideas back and forth. … I don’t really write a lot. It’s all kind of stuck in my head.
Q: Where do you think that confidence comes from? Were you always the funny kid at school or work?
A: Yeah. I was definitely like a comedy nerd as a kid. My sister and I would watch, back when Comedy Central played stand-up, and MTV played music videos, we would watch stand-up for hours and just recite it back. That would be the way we would crack each other up at the dinner table, like, me doing a Kevin Meaney impression, or John Pinette, just the guys who we thought were funny.
Q: Is your sister doing comedy, too?
A: No. She works for the state of Washington. She’s a lot smarter than that (laughs).
Q: How do the audiences here compare to, say, Portland?
A: They’re always great. … It seems like a mostly progressive town, so people there are on board with whatever. It does still have that small town feel to it, where people are very appreciative of entertainment. Bend gets concerts with the amphitheater and stuff, it’s not (like) some of the towns I go to in Idaho and Montana and northern and eastern Washington. … Bend is obviously a beautiful city, there’s a cool downtown and there’s culture. People love the arts there. That’s why I’ve always liked going there.
Q: What’s the worst place you’ve played?
A: There are places that I go back to repeatedly, and it’s just, like, for whatever reason, the jokes that work everywhere else in the country just don’t seem to work there. I don’t know if I want to name any names (laughs). Then there’s towns like, “Well, this is Cashmere, Washington. I don’t know how this is going to work,” and they just love every minute of it. They’re so on board and happy to have comedy, and somebody there who’s speaking their language.
Q: Are you still driving a truck for your day job, delivering beer?
A: I work for the same company, but I’ve upgraded. Now I’m a desk jockey.
Q: Nice … you can watch Youtube clips of yourself performing.
A: (Laughs) Yeah, I listen to a lot of podcasts. Uh, let’s see. Pretty much all I do is listen to podcasts.
Q: Anything else you’d like people to know?
A: I probably talked more than you really wanted me to. Like, “I didn’t even ask you that question. We’re going to need less answers. More Q’s, less A’s, a--hole, all right?”
— David Jasper, The Bulletin