Seriously funnyPublished 8:01pm Saturday, December 1, 2012
Comedian Jon Wilson is showing it’s not against the law to be funny
For a funny guy, Jon Wilson doesn’t mind telling you how serious he is.
He went to law school, eventually graduating and practicing law for a time. But after working at a cubicle for a few years, he had an epiphany after he turned 30: He wanted to give comedy a shot.
“That was when I was like OK, I’ve got to give this a try because I’m not getting any younger,” he said.
That was more than five years ago. Nowadays, Wilson’s an increasingly successful Minnesota comic, and he’s coming to Austin in a few weeks to do a show at the Eagles Club.
“Austin is great because there’s people there to come out to shows, and for me it’s not that long of a drive,” Wilson said.
Wilson, like many comics, has gone through clubs and shows trying different jokes and adopting different comic styles. Whereas he used to be self deprecating — one of the first Youtube videos on his web site has to do with the time he was diagnosed with psoriasis — he is slowly moving away from those kind of jokes and adopting a new repertoire.
“I’m becoming a less self-deprecating person, but I’m still telling those jokes,” he said. “When I first started … everybody thought of me as awkward and fat, so I did a lot of jokes about being an awkward person and a lot of jokes about being fat.”
He’s had plenty of time to experiment, as the five-year veteran became successful early on when he appeared on Louie Anderson’s Showtime Comedy Special in 2008. Wilson was in Los Angeles, working at comedy clubs in the area when he met Anderson, who took a liking to him. According to Wilson, Anderson had asked several younger comics to be on the special because Anderson wanted to showcase new talent.
Since then, Wilson has toured around the country, though he likes sticking close to home. In fact, Wilson can often be seen trying new material on Thursday nights at Goonie’s Comedy Club in Rochester. He makes the one and a half hour drive from Bloomington to Rochester almost every week, going over new material in his head and reviewing notes he recorded.
Yet he hopes to grow his craft while at the same time helping younger comics. Wilson wants to become so successful that he can play theaters without having to give up creative control of his work in a sitcom or movie. While he has nothing against movies, he likes performing stand-up and enjoys comics like Brian Regan and Louis C.K., who made their reputation more on their comic work than their TV appearances.
In addition, Wilson’s trying to find ways to help comics write better jokes more easily. It usually takes a while for comics to get creative enough to write good jokes, and writing for comedy doesn’t necessarily come easily for people who are linear thinkers. As Wilson puts it, comic writing is more like a lightning bolt, with different branches of thoughts and ideas that carries the comic to the end of the show.
Wilson will be at the Eagles Club on Dec. 15, with more details to come from the club as the event gets closer. He’s ready for the show, and he’s ready for a lot more laughs to come.
“I’m really lucky to have had this amount of success this early on,” Wilson said. “Usually it takes a lot more years to get on TV … but it was just a lucky situation.”