Erik Escobar is a comedian who has performed all over the United States at clubs, colleges, and theatres independently, with the Almost Asian Comedy Tour, and opening for acts such as Rex Navarrete and Jerry Seinfeld. You can catch him on NBC's Last Comic Standing, Buzzfeed, VH1, the upcoming feature film VHYes alongside Tim Robbins and Thomas Lennon, and his own TEDTalk out of Carroll College in 2020. Erik was also recently featured on the Viall Files Podcast and as Musical Bars on FOX's I Can See Your Voice. He holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Comedy Theory and Studies from Goddard College and resides in Los Angeles, CA.
He's on our show on December 9th together with Liz Glazer & Patrick Haggerty.
We caught up with him to ask a few silly questions.
asembl: How long have you been doing standup comedy?
EE: I did my first open mic ever in 2008, my second time doing stand up was in 2010 at the Last Comic Standing auditions (they passed on me, not sure why. I had a solid 1 and a half jokes), then really got serious in 2012. Before doing stand up, I did a bunch of improv, theatre, and did balloon animals at children’s birthday parties for the free pizza.
asembl: What’s the best gig you ever had? The worst?
EE: My best gig? Well you never forget your first standing ovation. I’ll get one eventually, but I’ll also never forget getting to open for Jerry Seinfeld at Gotham Comedy Club. NYC is a wild, beautiful, and electric space for comedy and I’ll never forget that night. Worst gig? A couple months ago I did a casino in Oregon and a table of hecklers were just being the worst: talking loudly, trying to go on stage, I asked for security a bunch from stage and they didn’t come until one of the hecklers busted out a concealed carry. Don’t worry, I’m still alive for the most part.
asembl: A lot of comics have been doing outdoor gigs since the pandemic struck. If you’ve done any, how terrible has that been?
EE: I’ve done a bunch the last few months and honestly the weirdest part about it is so many audience members come through and are more fascinated, embarrassed by, or just amazed to be outside doing something than they are of coming to a comedy show to laugh. I get it. If you’ve been quarantined for 6 months and are now around people and able to order a beer while I’m doing poop jokes, it’s a culture shock after all we’ve been going through in this wild time. It’s not the #1 weirdest thing many may experience these days, but a solid #2. Number 2! Poop jokes! Comedy!
asembl: Other than yourself, name a comedian that nobody knows today but you think everybody will know in two years.
This is tough! There are so many great comics and hustlers I know will pop into stardom soon. Can I just list off a bunch of people you should check and support on their wonderful, crazy journeys? Monica Nevi, Kevin Camia, Tom Clark, Steph Clark, Shayne Smith, Helen Hong, Josh Firestein, Narin Vann, Mike Masilotti, Josh Florhaug, Daniel Eachus, and honestly so many more I’d love to throw some shine to. Go support live comedy so we can all be known by everyone in two years, or like a year, or like next week. Rent is due soon and I need that Netflix special money.
asembl: What early trauma was most influential in bringing you to stand up comedy?
EE: I love my folks. My mom is a Filipina immigrant with that fun, yet aggressive style of parenting where there is always something wrong and the mindset of one can always do better. I think growing up with the outlook of everything has an issue or can be criticized really established the skill of always trying to find the weird thing in a situation which can be developed into comedy. Also I loved French fries and was hella chunky as a child.
asembl: Which comics have influenced you the most?
EE: My favorites and influences definitely include Rex Navarrete, Emo Phillips, Laurel and Hardy, Mitch Hedberg, Anthony Jeselnik, and Jimmy Carr.
asembl: Which of the following is the threshold at which you consider a gig to be well paid?
o Having to pay to perform.
o Not getting anything.
o Few free drinks.
o Any money at all.
o $20 or more.
EE: I’m very much an advocate and pro artists getting paid. I get in the beginning when a lot of comics don’t fully understand the game yet, they may pay to play or do some mandatory bringer shows, but it’s definitely a big one for me where I’ll do most any show, but won’t pay for stage time. We should be getting paid! The way I see it, is everything in comedy should be a launching pad for other wins. I’m down to do an unpaid show if it may lead to more instagram followers, some merch sales, etc. For me the bar is mostly what tangible success or growth can happen from a gig and capitalizing on it as much as possible!
asembl: How has the pandemic impacted you creatively? Are you writing more, less or the same now?
EE: I feel like I’ve written new stuffs almost as much as I’ve forgotten old stuffs. When you’re on the road doing shows every night, you get in a rhythm and know your big ole hour long set since you’re doing it all the time. After being in quarantine, doing less shows, not being able to do as much real, live stuff, I’ve totally forgotten big chunks of bits or will be reminded of a joke I used to do a bunch, but completely forgot and stopped doing it. I feel like I’m just as creative as before, but it’s not filtered and being processed in a new different way!
asembl: How have you adjusted to Zoom therapy / AA / etc.?
asembl: Best puppet based sitcom: Alf or Unhappily Ever After?
Ee: Alf of course!! I vibe with the homie for sure. We have similar excitement levels and body hair mass.
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