As we continue to grow our local comedy scene, more and more comics are rising through the ranks to show off their amazing talent. --- One of the more recent names gaining traction in the past year has been Jordon Mazziotti, the bowtie-clad comedian who has been a staple of the underground circuit and the host of the blog It's Always Funny In Sale Lake City, which will be turning into a live showcase on May 25 at Keys On Main. Through all this he isn't just helping promote not just his own work, but the work of fellow comedians who are trying to make a name for themselves. Today we chat with Mazziotti about his career as well as his thoughts on local standup. (All photos courtesy of Mazziotti.)
Gavin: Hey Jordon, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jordon: Born and raised in Utah, Jordon Mazziotti currently resides in Utah, but wishes he was from Canada. He has been performing stand-up comedy since he started. Mr. Mazziotti has entertained dozens and dozens of people in audiences within a 67 mile range in comedy clubs, bars and one billiard hall that didn’t go very well. Jordon brings a color coordinated, bow tied observational style of comedy to the stage that spans from the crazy antics of his young family to the weird everyday events that happen to a white man in his 30s. There might be a penis joke, maybe. Jordon is a professional graphic designer by day and a comedian by whenever his wife allows him to. HUSBAND. FATHER. COMEDIAN. BOW TIE ACTIVIST.
Gavin: What first got you interested in stand-up comedy, and who were some of your favorite comedians growing up?
Jordon: I did not really think about doing it until about March 2012. I was always the goofball in conversations with friends and groups, but I didn’t think about it ever. I wish I had started earlier so I could have had friends in my early 20s. So one day I was BSing with a co-worker of mine about an article I read about IKEA starting to build budget hotels and we did this whole sequence of tags to what they would be like. Then a couple of other co-workers that overheard us talking came over and said that our jokes were hilarious. So from that point I started writing jokes. I have always been a fan of listening and watching standup comedians. Growing up I loved listening to comedians like Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Cosby. You know, the typical comedians that people listen to. I think as I got older my taste got more diverse started listening to different styles of standup.
Gavin: What officially brought on the decision for you to attempt it as a career?
Jordon: Comedy is definitely not my career, but I do enjoy doing it as a hobby. I am a Graphic Designer by profession for the last 10 years and if I quit to do comedy full-time I would probably be single and have to pay child support. So I would be broke and have to wear shoes from PayLess and that is disgusting. Standup gives me a chance to get away from my busy crazy life and just make people laugh. I really think that it is my one release I have from the hustle and bustle of being and husband and father. I mean who wants to exercise for fun. That is weird. Another favorite pastime would be eating SunChips and quilting with my Grandma. I almost quit doing standup four times for that.
Gavin: How was it for you breaking into the local lineups and getting gigs?
Jordon: Initially it was pretty intimidating, I didn’t feel like I was good enough to perform, but I eventually overcame that. One thing that I learned early was if I wanted to do something I had to be the person to make it come to fruition. Nobody really knew who I was so, nobody would just come to me and give me a spot. If I wanted to be on a show, I had to ask. Don’t be afraid to ask a show runner to be on their show. My first several showcase gigs where all because I asked. They saw that I had the desire and put me on. It is nice now that I get asked to be shows now. Helps my self esteem. It helps me feel better than all of you. Especially you Christopher James.
Gavin: When you first started out, what were some of the lessons you learned about performing?
Jordon: That I sucked and had no idea what I was doing. I think that still exists to a large degree, but at least people now say I do a good job so I don’t burst into tears 3 minutes and 17 seconds into my set.
Gavin: What's it like for you personally coming up with material and decided what works and doesn't?
Jordon: I am a joke teller and not really a story teller so my jokes mostly come from the little things that happen to me and come across my path. I include a lot of jokes about experiences that I have with my wife and kids too. They are weird and awkward, so I have a lot of inspiration. I would try to do more intelligent comedy, but I am pretty stupid. I have thought about just reading from encyclopedias form the late '80s.
Gavin: How is it for you interacting with other local comedians, both as friends and competitors?
Jordon: I love interacting with the other comedians. I would consider most of them to be friends more than competitors. I have formed some friendships that I hope to be lifelong friends. What I am really do though is faking the friendship so when they get famous and get their own standup/sketch comedy show on Comedy Central or a sitcom on TBS I can be a writer on their show. Because of my blog, It’s Always Funny In Salt Lake City, I have been able to meet a lot of them and form good relationships and have some great conversations.
Gavin: You've been a part of the local circuit for a few years now, how has it been for you to watch it grow?
Jordon: It has exploded since in the relative short time that I have been doing comedy. I think comedians are seeing the importance of creating their own path and taking control of their own destiny. It seems like every comedian is trying out doing their own show (myself included) and really putting themselves out there.
Gavin: You're involved both with the major circuit as well as the underground and indie showcases, how have the two differed for you when working them?
Jordon: I think this keeps you well rounded as a comedian. You can also test your material in different atmospheres to see how well it works universally. I probably have more experience in the underground and indie showcases. I think it is easier to get longer sets more often, but the major circuit is great because the crowds are there to laugh and you get the chance to perform with comedians from other markets and with a ton of experience.
Gavin: Going local for a bit, what's your take on the stand-up scene, both good and bad?
Jordon: The good: There is not a lack of stages. You can go onstage almost everyday of the week if you look for it. Monday you have the U of U open mic, Tuesdays at Mo’s, Wednesdays at Wiseguys, Thursdays at LOL or MovieGrille in Ogden and then on Sundays at Bout Time in Ogden. Those are just weekly shows. That doesn’t include the awesome monthly showcases that Christopher Stephenson does at Sandy Station, Jason Harvey does at 5 Monkeys and Levi Rounds does at the Barrel Room. Plus I hear that some other locals are going to be setting up even more new shows. This does not even include the opportunities that you can get at Wiseguys if you can get in there. It seems like new stages and opportunities to perform are popping up every week too. The bad: There is still a bit of a divide at times. I think sometime egos get in the way and it can cause problems. I do think that this line is disappearing though. The ugly: (Insert your name here). Man that dude is ugly.
Gavin: Aside yourself, who are some of your favorites you like to check out around town?
Jordon: I think Salt Lake is stacked with an immense amount of talent. It is crazy. I also love that the wide range of different styles that people bring to the table. Jackson Banks is the prince of weird, quirky comedy. Nicholas Smith is the son of darkness. Greg Kyte is an older, louder and more intelligent version of myself. Jason Harvey is so cute and cuddly, I just want to wrap him in swaddling clothes and cradle him like a baby. I always enjoy a set from Michael Schooley. Jay Whittaker is the coolest geek I have ever met. Then you have great veteran comics like Steve Soelberg, Guy Seidel, Andy Gold, Christopher Stephenson and Marcus who just show you how it is done. I am really enjoying the female comics we have in town too. Abi Harrison, Melissa Merlot, Natashia Mower and Taylor Hunsaker are really bringing their A-game. I think Brent “BReal” Robinson is another name to watch out for. There are so many people that I could name. If I didn’t say your name it is because I don’t know how to spell your name.
Gavin: What are your thoughts on the clubs that provide comedians a forum to perform, and the work they do to help bring in audiences?
Jordon: I think that it is great. The local bar scene sees that it is important to support comedy and it does bring people in the doors. Over the last couple months there has been an explosion of new stage for people to perform on. I think as people learn more about how great comedy is in this town, attendance will just keep getting better and better.
Gavin: Whats your opinion of national stand-up comedians coming through town and what that does for the local scene?
Jordon: I think that this is a very important part of any comedy scene. It gives us a chance to talk to people who do this for a living. To be able to pick there brains for what works and what doesn’t and learn it from a true professional. Plus you can take pictures with famous picture and post them on your Facebook and people will think you are cooler than you really are. In my case I need that as much as I can.
Gavin: What advice do you have for people looking to getting into standup comedy?
Jordon: Write. Take pride in what you are doing. I think that it is important to write stuff that pertains to you as a person. Be funny. Brand yourself. Do something that will make you stand out. Some people may think that this is hack or gimmicky, but people will take notice and remember you. For me, that is my bow tie.
Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?
Jordon: The biggest thing that I am trying to do this is start off a new showcase show at Keys On Main. I went with Keys On Main because it is a perfect place for comedy. It is a performance room with an awesome sound system and great stage. Plus it just looks nice. I starting thinking of this idea at the end of last year and it is finally coming to fruition. I am hoping that it takes off and will become a really show. The debut of the It’s Always Funny in Salt Lake City Comedy Showcase will be on May 25. The show will include an awesome lineup consisting of Michael Schooley, Abi Harrison, Nicholas Smith, Jackson Banks, Brent “BReal” Robinson, Jason Harvey and Jay Whittaker with myself as the host. As for the rest of the year, I hope to do at least a couple more Always Funny showcases and perform at least monthly on other showcase shows throughout the valley. I hope to be able to get into a comedy festival or two as well. Hopefully the Comedy Carnivale in September and the Idaho Laugh Fest which is January of next year. I hope to be able to break into Improv comedy this year too. Bob Bedore and the guys over QuickWits have been really nice to me and I hope to make some headway there.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?
Jordon: Go to the Always Funny showcase I talked about before. It will be awesome and I am trying my best to make it awesome comedic experience. I hope to have some fun surprises. You can buy tickets for $8 ($10 at the door) from any of the comics on the show or online. Check out my weekly interviews on my blog It’s Always Funny at Salt Lake City. This is were I talk to current local and Utah-grown comedians that have moved on to bigger markets about how they came to be comedians and what they think of the Utah comedy scene. I also usually ask them about food, fighting and/or celebrities. Some great interviews have been with Jackson Banks, Guy Seidel, Marcus, Jenna Kim Jones and Bengt Washburn.
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