I was recently granted the chance to pick the brain of Chris Barylick, founder of the Geek Comedy Tour. They've had shows in DC at the new Riot Act Comedy Theatre as well as DC Improv. And that's just the beginning; they've been taking other parts of the U.S. by storm.
And make sure to check out their website for up-to-date info, including tour dates.
Q: What was the motivation behind creating the Geek Comedy Tour?
Q: What additions or developments do you forsee for the tour in the future?
Q: What themes are the most discussed in the program?
A: Beyond the usual stuff like dating and video games, there's the overall theme that we are geeks, we tend to obsess over the weird minutia of the things we love and this can be both a great thing we enjoy or the anchors around our necks depending on your perspective.
Q: When did you decide you were a geek? Why?
A: I don't think it's a matter of really deciding you're a geek and boom, that's the lifestyle, it's just realizing you tend to obsess about things other people might not really care about and want to know almost every aspect of that thing. Back in middle school and high school, computers (especially the Mac), comic books and video games were definite comfort zones, as I went to a mostly-jock high school, was waiting for puberty to finish up on some level and when I got home, I could pick these up, dive in and not come up for a while. I think we all have this to some degree, albeit the difference is deciding how much of your life you're going to let it be. There's geek pride to be had and felt and you should never feel ashamed for your interests or what other people think of them, but you also need to remember to come up for air every so often.
Q: What stereotypes of geeks drive you crazy?
A: I think the stereotype that we're just this one thing, a one-dimensional construct that's obsessed with only a few things and everything else, including social skills, have gone rightout the door. People are geeks in their own right, they hold their interests and obsessions close (be it for books, comic books, knitting, languages, video games, a sports team, camping, hiking or anything else they happen to love). We're as varied as they come and it's pretty common to go to something that's typically considered a nerd event and find people obsessed with a hundred new things you'd never even thought about. No, these generally don't fit into the stereotype of things it's considered cool to be interested in, but you have people from a wide variety of backgrounds digging into the things they love and it's a varied thing (as opposed to the 80's movie stereotype of the uncool kid with the glasses and the pocket protector that never seems to quite go away...)
Q: What advice would you like to give other geeks out there?
A: Honestly, that it eventually gets better. I went to a high school that I felt was more obsessed with sports than what it was supposed to be teaching, was one of the few people who played "Magic: The Gathering" or was interested in computers or video games in the 90's and had a bad habit of mouthing off to people whom puberty had just added about 30 pounds of muscle tone to. These were not my better moments, these were not the best decisions of a lanky, 105-pound person and these were not the best years of my life. Still, it gets better in college, as you have a much wider social pool to draw from, it gets better after college and the Internet has only made it easier to find people with similar interests as you.
Where comedy (especially geeky comedy) is concerned, just get out to as many open miss as you can, refine what you have and try to take in all the comedy, books, music, pop culture and anything else you can get your hands on. No, the sports bar that's WAY too close to actually being the Double Deuce in "Road House" might not go for your new five minutes of "Metroid" jokes, but the weird/cool thing is if you look hard enough, you CAN find a way to make it relatable to any audience and it is attainable, albeit it's sometimes an incredibly rough, ego-shattering path to get there.
Finally, watch the movie "Road House", as the key to all of life's deeper mysteries and questions are found in that movie's 114 points of pure, totemic wisdom.