Comedian quips and croons on campus
The past few years have definitely been exciting for musician/comedian Evan Wecksell. He was named Hot Comedian for 2009 by Campus Activities Magazine, performed on "America's Got Talent" and participated in VH1's "I Love the '70s: Volume 2," "I Love the '80s 3-D" and "I Love Toys." Currently, his comedic journey has him traveling throughout the country, making stops at college campuses including Otterbein.
Your online biography compares you to Adam Sandler and Stephen Lynch. Do you see the comparison yourself?
When I tell people about my act, that gives them a reality of who I am, because those people are out there. My main influence was actually Jon Bon Jovi. I'm a huge Bon Jovi fan. That's how I started playing guitar, and the comedy thing didn't happen until a few years after. I kind of wanted to be a funny Bon Jovi.
You were into sports marketing before comedy. How did you end up becoming a comedian?
I really didn't know where my life was going after college. I just finished an internship with the National Hockey League in New York City. At NYU, I took a sports marketing seminar and for my final presentation, I talked about the WNBA and I was really funny about it, using hand puppets and all these silly things. The professor liked the presentation, but he really thought that I should be on stage. I love comedy and every club anywhere has a class, so I took a class at a club on the Upper East Side to learn stand-up itself. It taught me things that I still use today, even though I play more songs.
You do parodies of "bad music"?
I did a parody of Bowling for Soup's "1985," and I actually just finished a parody of the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" just because they're on tour again and I kind of just wanted to have some fun with it. What I really love doing recently is bringing people on stage and making the show personal.
You've done work for VH1 with "I Love the '70s: Volume 2" and "I Love the '80s 3-D." What was that like?
It was cool, and it was weird how I actually got the job at VH1. I was actually at a job for the New York City Marathon, and I was in the fundraising branch and all the people were helping us fundraise. And this one lady from VH1 found out I was a comic. Sometimes they spoon-feed you what you need to say, and depending on when you go in, they just need certain things. You're pretty much answering questions from a producer, and there's a green screen behind you.
Is it intimidating knowing that you're going to have a large audience through TV or a live performance?
Well, TV's easy because you write down your thing and then you hand it to the editors. I guess a lot more can go wrong with a live performance. I used to do crazy things during my live performance, whether it was chasing after students who left during my show, or calling people silly things. Just being like a kid. I get nervous when it's a little more than what I'm used to, like when I did "America's Got Talent" a year and a half ago.
Do you think that a sense of humor helps relieve the stress of performing?
Yeah, I like to interact. I don't want to just go up there with my script. I know what songs I'll do, but I want to keep it conversational. I like to have fun with it. It's just about being topical and making it personal so that you kids know what I'm talking about. I have to stay current. I'm probably ... 10 years older than all of you guys, but I still know about "Jersey Shore" and Four Loko and all of that stuff.
What is your best performing experience?
I think the best was Missouri State because it was the first time that I performed in front of about 650 people. It was really packed. It just played really well and I guess they really liked me.
I got kicked off the stage once. I did a show for North Dakota State, and it was really unfortunate because I know that there was something in the contract about an obscenity law. Like, in the state of North Dakota, you can't curse and you can't reference sex. They wanted PG and I may have brought PG-13.
Can you describe your college experience?
I went to Tufts University, near Boston. I ran on the cross country track team, and in my sophomore year, I pledged to a fraternity because I was injured. I didn't expect to pledge, but I knew some of the guys. It was interesting. It gave me another group to be a part of. And I think that Greek life helped my career more than anything.
How do you develop your jokes?
It could happen at any time, anywhere. It can be externally motivated. I don't really write from my soul, per se. One time, a person asked me if I had a song about "Jersey Shore," and I said yes but I didn't. So I had to write a song that night about how the "Jersey Shore" was so bad that I killed my grandpa. I saw the Backstreet Boys at the American Music Awards, and I wanted to write a song about them. Instead of "I Want It That Way," it's "We Need the Money."
Any advice for current college students?
A career is just a job. Your first one will not be your last. If you have that itch to do something that will shake people up a little bit, you should do it before you get some cortisone cream for your itch. t&c;