A Fiendish Conversation with Drew Barth
The Seattle nice-guy comedian, fresh back from L.A., fills us in on his stint in Hollywood and what he missed most about the Emerald City.
A year and a half ago, Drew Barth decided to take a leap, moving from the gray Northwest to the forever sun of California. He'd been working the Seattle standup circuit for years, was a finalist in the Seattle International Comedy Competition, and was ready to see what Hollywood might hold.
While Barth performed at revered venues such as Laugh Factory, the Comedy Store, and the Improv—and loved it—he never felt like he really belonged. For one, he tried to work a long distance relationship, which was great fodder for his act but not so great for his love life. Now he's made his way back to Seattle to find things are much brighter under our constant state of cloud cover. New Year's Eve marks both his fourth anniversary with the girlfriend who stuck with him through his trip down South and a doubleheader at the Comedy Underground.
Overall, how was your time in L.A.?
It was good. It was fascinating. I would totally do it again. But I would change the auspices under which I went down. There are so many things that people tell you that you should do to prepare, and I have a tendency to figure out most of my stuff just by making mistakes. If I could do it again, I would have gone down with about twice as much money as I thought I needed and also really focused a lot more on expanding my portfolio and reel. I definitely got to check off a couple bucket list things; just to perform at those places gives me chills.
What did you miss most about Seattle?
One was the people. You never really appreciate the general politeness of strangers until it disappears. People in Seattle will make eye contact with you on the street, or say hello as you walk past, occasionally. L.A. just makes you feel like you are constantly in someone's way. Or, if you're being nice, you must want something.
The weather. I love sunshine, but I truly did get tired of waking up and having every single day look the same. You completely lose track of what season it is. Sunny Easter, sunny Halloween, sunny New Year's. Bizarre.
Food wise, Dick's cannot be bested. I have tried many an In-N-Out burger for comparison and they still always left me wanting. Also, the wonderful bounty of beer selections that we have in the Northwest makes a guy long for home when there are slim pickings in a bar states away.
What should we expect of the New Year's Eve shows?
I never like to go in with a 100 percent set idea of what I want to do, especially on a night like that, when people are going to be a little bit rowdy and drink-y. You can usually figure out within the first five minutes what you're going to do.
Sometimes people really love crowd work and interacting, because it's a fun muscle to flex as a comedian, plus it makes the show that much more unique and special. Some audience members like to interact, some people don't, some people might want to be the center of attention that evening. I'm just throwing that out there. I'm sure somebody [in the crowd] may get the idea, "You know, I'm going to make this show better; this could be so much better if I had my opinion out there."
Do you have any resolutions for the new year?
I’m just going to try and hang on to the stuff that I started. My New Year's resolution is just not to fuck any of it up, try and keep it all going for as long as I possibly can. I already quit smoking. I’m not going to quit drinking—what a horrible night to do that. New Year's Day always has an odd feeling to it; nothing’s really open and everybody feels like shit.
What local artist in your field should we watch for?
Derek Sheen, who's a friend of mine. Really sweet, funny guy. He put together an album and a CD release party down at the Underground and he started to go on tour because of that. One guy from Seattle who now lives in LA, but you see him a lot: Solomon Georgio. He's really, really funny.
If you weren't a comedian, what else would you want to try?
I don't think I ever had quite the attention span for it, but I would have loved to go into something medical. Just because I'm so fascinated with the human body. I'm just a geek that way, but maybe I watch too much House…. I could never be a doctor, though. Maybe if I had a different brain with the same amount of interest.
December 31 at 8 and 10:30, Comedy Underground, $20-$25