If you have had the opportunity to see Steve Byrne perform, you know he loves what heís doing Whether it is his interactions with the crowd or his pin-point precise imitation of the dance steps executed by Thunder From Down Under, he is going to make you laugh. Steve is hard working guy, a CaucAsian guy and just your every day regular guy. (Editor's note: The Steve Byrne interview was conducted back in February.)
AMR.com: What got you into stand-up and was it always your aspiration to be a comedian?
SB: I got into stand up on a whim. I had just finished college and I moved to NYC to hang with my folks for a bit. My plan was to move to California and I wanted to save some money so I'd crash on their couch for a bit. The first day I got to NY I walked up and down Broadway to find a job. I ended up getting a job that very day at a comedy club in midtown Manhattan. I was sweeping the floor and answering the phone. Eventually I was inspired enough to try out stand up. Within 4 months of working at the club, I gave it a try at another club in NYC and within a few weeks I was MCing, barely making any money, but I was on my way. I was hooked.
AMR.com: Can you talk about the first time you got up in front of crowd to perform?
SB: To be honest, it was a blur. A lot like the first time I had sex, it was quick, there was lots of laughter, I knew I wanted to do it again as soon as possible and I cried. That is all true.
AMR.com: How much of you being half-Asian has contributed to your material?
SB: When I first started I relied on it a lot. I always thought it needed to be addressed, so I did. Its like seeing a fat comic on stage and he never tells a fat joke. Just acknowledge it and we'll move on. When I first started its all I talked about. Now it may make up five to ten minutes of my act and then I move on to other subjects.
AMR.com: Who were some of your favorite comedians growing up?
SB: I'll be honest, I never got into stand up. Most of my friends loved Raw or Dice, I just wanted to be Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux. I never got into stand up until I was in stand up. When I did get into
it, I loved the NY comics I saw and looked up to, Colin Quinn, Greg Giraldo, Bill Burr, Jim Norton, these are still guys I look up to and appreciate.
AMR.com: Who are some of your favorite comedians now?
SB: The fella's I mentioned above and loads more. I really do love watching guys I get to work with. Pablo Francisco, Ahmed Ahmed, Dr Ken, Bobby Lee, Kevin Shea, Burt Kreicsher, Sebastian Maniscalco, just loads of great names. I really could go on, but it really would be a list of guys that may not have national recognition, but deserve to and hopefully will someday! Oh, Sam Tripoli, Bryan Callen, Dov Davidoff, I've got to stop.
AMR.com: When did you know you had finally arrived?
SB: I don't know that I have yet. I do sense that something is waiting for me around the bend. Its gonna happen and I know its soon, but with me, its always been a long, slow journey and when it does happen for me, people will shake my hand and see the dirt in my fingernails and know I worked very hard, from the ground up to achieve any success that I may have. Til then, I am still eating chicken fingers all across the country in every comedy club you can imagine.
AMR.com: Who came up with the Kims Of Comedy?
SB: A fella named Jeff Beacher. I was good friends with him in NYC and he had a popular show in NYC that has moved on to Vegas, called Beachers Madhouse. He liked me so much that he wanted to create an Asian themed show. Ken and I did the first one. After that we assembled a good crew and now we are four.
AMR.com: How much fun is it performing with Bobby Lee, Dr. Ken and Kevin Shea?
SB: A complete blast. I love each of them for their own quarks. Kevin is the youngest and maybe the most talented. Great writer. I am always inspired working with him. Bobby is just nuts. I have never met anyone so absolutely reckless. He is the sweetest fella you could meet and he was the first real friend I had in LA when I moved there. Ken I consider a brother. I love him. We dealt with so much BS getting every
Kims of Comedy show off the ground and he is a huge reason we still do them. He is taking off with the
acting bug. Movies and all. He has always wanted that and I am glad it is actually happening for him. He deserves it.
AMR.com: You and Prince did a NFL promo for the Super Bowl 41. What was it like doing a commercial with Prince?
SB: It was very quick. He was in and out and very short. He was a very nice guy. I just can't
believe someone that short gets so much ass.
AMR.com: How much fun did you have doing the Real Wedding Crashers and is there a chance for this show to come back?
SB: Well I heard the show will now be airing soon on the Style Network. It was a complete blast to work on that show. I made great friends on it and we, the cast, are all still great friends.
AMR.com: You did the Tonight Show in October of last year. How was the experience?
SB: It was surreal. As a young kid, I would watch Carson all the time. Even when everyone
was watching Arsenio. I just loved Carson. So, to finally be a part of the show that he carried all those years was in some way me connecting to that old feel of Hollywood. I have done a few shows, but being backstage before Jay Leno called my name, my heart had never been beating faster. I was so nervous, I thought that people could see my heart beating through my shirt. It was unreal. Jay was one of the nicest
people I had every met. Just a gentleman from start to finish.
AMR.com: Which do you enjoy more, the big venues or small ones like colleges?
SB: They are both great for different reasons. Smaller venues are more intimate and for me, I get to do more improv and play around. Bigger venues, you want to give them greatest hits. Get through and just have a great set. I really do enjoy both. They are great for different reasons. I would say that one day, I'll like the bigger venues cause that says you are packing em in!
AMR.com: What are your favorite cities to perform in?
SB: NYC, Vegas and Los Angeles. I have to say I just got back from Minneapolis and DC and
really enjoyed the crowds in those cities as well. I started in NY so its kind of like going back home when I get to go. Vegas has an energy that is just fun to be a part of. You feel like you are a part of that excitement. LA is great, because when I perform there, I know at the end of the night, I get to sleep in my OWN BED!!!
AMR.com: What is the toughest thing about being a comedian?
SB: The traveling. When I was younger all I wanted to do was be a headlining comic. Seeing your name in lights comes with a suitcase in this biz. Sometimes its tough, but the payoff is that brief amount of your whole day when you get to be onstage and make strangers laugh. Its the best feeling in the world.
AMR.com: What is the best thing about being a comedian?
SB: Hanging with my other comic buddies. I have never laughed so hard as the many times backstage with my friends. That sometimes is better than any show you'll ever see. I love my buddies and their senses of humor.
AMR.com: How do you spend your downtime when youíre not doing comedy?
SB: I love documentary films. I love films in general. I get a lot of DVD's and see a lot of movies on the road. I just got the PBS film, The War. I am into that and a road movie by Oasis called Lord Don't Slow me Down. Most of my downtime is spent falling into a bed or couch from all the miles you have to go from city to city. Music helps too! Love listening to my ipod!
AMR.com: Who is Steve Byrne?
SB: Steve Byrne is just a very normal guy. Very laid back. Fun to drink with and just likes to have it nice and easy.
AMR.com: Any advice for those who want to be a comedian?
SB: Itís a tough gig. Its like being a salmon. You've got a long road ahead of you, but keep heading upstream and eventually through luck or talent you'll end up in that pool with the other lucky ones in time to get laid.
AMR.com: Anything on the horizon your fans should be on the look out for?
SB: March 29th, Happy Hour, my very first hour special on Comedy Central. Its got loads of new material. I really hope folks like it.
AMR.com: Is mac and cheese food for the soul?
SB: Always! Its better if you just listen to it though!
AMR.com: Who is a better volleyball player? You, Keanu or Tiger?
SB: I think Tiger. He's the pro athlete. Keanu would just run his fingers through his hair and I would be the skinny one people thought was female with hairy legs with sunburnt shoulders.