STAND-UP TUESDAYS: Steve Gillespie

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Stand-Up Tuesdays is a weekly comedy spotlight written by the wonderfully talented Angie Frissore. Covering both known and unknown comics, Stand-up Tuesdays is your new source for all things funny.

This week, Angie puts a spotlight on Ari Shaffir’s standup career. If you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email utgjames@gmail.com.

This week in Stand Up Tuesdays, we take a little virtual trip up to Minneapolis to take in the debut CD from comedian Steve Gillespie, Stever Fever.  Recorded at Acme Comedy Club and released via Rooftop Comedy, it’s the label’s second release of 2013 – but despite what the name implies, this fever should be relatively easy to get over.

That’s not to say Steve Gillespie isn’t contagious at all. He has appeared in some of the best comedy clubs all over the country and has opened for Dave Attell, Harland Williams, Jim Breuer, Gilbert Gottfried, and Doug Benson. In 2010 he performed at the Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival, and in 2011 he appeared in the prestigious Boston Comedy Festival. This year Steve was named a finalist in CMT’s Next Big Comic competition. Hailing from one of the most competitive comedy scenes in the country, Gillespie certainly has the comedy chops to release a strong freshman effort. Stever Fever, however, falls slightly short of that in areas that could have easily been improved upon, such as the comedian’s timing and reaction.  In one particular joke about the over-medication of children of the 80’s, the humor is all but lost completely in Gillespie’s slow and almost awkward delivery.

Gillespie also relies heavily on audience interaction throughout the duration of his CD – which includes some slightly cringe-worthy moments as Gillespie seems to rely on his audience a little too much (even hoping for a certain reaction from an audience member to transition into his next joke – a plan which ultimately falls flat).

Overall, Gillespie’s material certainly means well and has many a laugh-out-loud moment. In what could be the boldest admission I’ve heard yet on stage, one of the CD’s highlights is when Gillespie admits to having soiled his shorts a minimum of eight times during his adult years. And yes – as the comedian tells me, this has really happened to him.

“You’re the third one of these interviews I’ve done; the first thing that’s asked is that question. Everyone wants to know. Yes, I have. Definitely have and it’s not something to be proud of,” Gillespie tells me. “Once in bike shorts, too – that was funny. I have an issue – once nature calls, I don’t have a lot of time. My whole life’s been like that.”

When asked about how he knew he was ready to make the jump as a comedian and record his first CD, Gillespie had a little trouble in pinpointing that moment, but spoke about his ongoing relationship with the label that made it all possible, Rooftop Comedy.

“I ended up having a relationship with them previously because they had been taping at Acme, pretty much every show. So when I was performing at Acme, just starting out, I knew they that were kind of always around and had shown interest in me then,” states Gillespie. “I had done a couple of different things with them before the album; I was on a compilation album that they did awhile back, so that’s kind of how I got to know them. And then I got to know Dominic over there, and eventually we just got around to talking about it – I had looked at some other options, and it seemed like the best fit. I just kind of felt like I had a good chunk of good material that I wanted to get down on the CD and eventually kind of move away from it; start working on new stuff. It just seemed like a good time.”

Steve Gillespie’s Stever Fever is an enjoyable, if slightly forgettable, hour of comedy that one can’t help but feel could have benefited from more time spent fine-tuning. Gillespie’s comedy chops are certainly there – they’re just waiting for Gillespie to grow into them personally and become a little more comfortable with himself on stage. Find out for yourself if Gillespie is ready for prime time by heading on over to Amazon.com and picking up your copy of Stever Fever today – and be sure to tell us what you think.

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