After winning a comedy contest and being flown to Las Vegas to perform on Pauly Shore’s “Vegas is My Oyster” comedy special, stand-up comedian and Louisville native Jacob Williams sat down to talk with The Voice about his experience.
How did you get in to comedy?
There were a lot of factors, but I think one thing that helped was seeing someone else my age try comedy during my freshman year of college. I was already a huge fan of stand-up, but it was not until I watched someone in the starting-from-scratch stages that I could think – “Oh, maybe this isn’t as impossible as I thought.” I would still get nervous before shows, in the first couple years, and sometimes now, but it definitely helped to dive in regardless of any stage anxieties.
How did you learn about the contest?
I had put together a very short video for, another contest for the Chicago Improv, but then I randomly saw an ad for the Pauly Shore contest while I was on Facebook asking for the same type of video, so I entered that on a whim and actually ended up winning them both. When I edited the clip, I was thinking it might be nice to try and win the contest for a guest spot at the Chicago Improv, but I could never have expected two weeks ago that I would suddenly be flown to Vegas for a show with Pauly Shore, Andy Dick, Tom Green and many others. The whole trip was really surreal and one of the absolute best experiences career-wise and fun-wise of my entire life.
How did you find out you won?
I got an e-mail about a week before I went to Las Vegas that, the judges had chosen me, to be, in the final five and that Pauly Shore had picked my clip as the winner out of those.
What was your initial reaction when you found out you won?
My initial reaction was excitement, mixed with a very heavy dose of skepticism. I am pretty insecure about certain areas of my life, including and perhaps especially comedy, so it was a huge shock to me that I would have been given such an amazing opportunity out of the blue. I think I had enough disappointing experiences before this that I had a healthy dose of groundedness going in.
How was your experience in Las Vegas?
It was one of the most fun experiences of my life. My friend and I both got flown out for the weekend, with a free two-night stay at the Palms, where the theater for the Showtime special that Pauly was filming was. Exploring the city was like being in a gigantic theme park for adults. I also enjoyed performing at the Louie Anderson Theater the night before the show with Pauly Shore. The Louie Anderson Theater was a great place to practice because it felt very intimate compared to the crowd of 2,000 people for the Sunday night show, but, it really helped, relieve some of my nerves about whether my jokes would work in Las Vegas or not.
What were you most nervous about?
My aunt and uncle flew out from Milwaukee to see the show, so I was a little nervous about that, but luckily I don’t have any dirty jokes. The whole trip was filled with experiences of things that I was expecting to be nervous about, but honestly I felt pretty relaxed for most of the time. The crowd at the concert theater was definitely the biggest I have performed at before, but the audience seemed so supportive – there wasn’t any type of disadvantage to me.
Who did you meet?
Some of the people I met were Pauly Shore, Andy Dick, Tom Green, Bobby Lee (from “Mad TV”) as well as Charlyne Yi, Maz Jobrani, Faizon Love, and April Macie – all very successful and funny comedians that I enjoyed watching on stage. There were also a ton of very friendly behind the scenes agents, managers, assistants.
Is this a dream come true for you?
This was certainly a very big moment for me in terms of what I have been working for with my stand-up and entertainment business goals, but if anything I would like to use this experience to motivate me to work even harder because I think that is going to be very important.
So what’s next for Jacob Williams?
My goal this year is to keep writing and performing as much as possible and in as many types of venues and cities as possible and hopefully get more paying work from clubs and colleges around the country. I am in the final round of a comedy competition at the Louisville Improv on Wednesday, Feb. 16, which will feature the winners of other rounds of a contest. If any readers are interested in coming to this show to support me they can mention my name at the door or contact me through my website www.JacobWilliamsComedy.com. I have a mailing list that has funny updates every once in a while about things that are happening in my life.
Category: The Spotlight
About the Author (Author Profile)
Voice-Tribune Staff Writer Lauren DePaso enjoys being a tourist in her own city, exploring the nightlife and cheering on the Cards. A Louisville native, she currently resides in St. Matthews.