Local Love: Andy Huggins
Photo: Joe Grisaffi
This year, at the Come and Take It Comedy Festival, watching Kids In The Hall co-creator Kevin McDonald get a little starstruck when meeting Houston’s Andy Huggins was kind of awesome. I often forget how lucky any of us in Houston are that Huggins is part of this thriving comedy community we all enjoy, and that he’s the catalyst for why these younger comics have built their own footprint in that community. For those of you who don’t know, Andy Huggins was one of the Original Texas Outlaw Comics, back in a time that’s similar to today in the history of comedy in Houston. Back then, those outlaws included Bill Hicks, Ron Shock, and Sam Kinison; all names who live on in the world of historical stand-ups. So, when I found out that Huggins was going to record his debut album at 64 years old, it was an honor to have a chance to attend the taping at Rudyard’s in December of last year. What came forth was a hilarious barrage of Huggins’ a list material that would become the album, “Inspired By True Events.” In a little over thirty minutes, Huggins covers more ground than most comics do on three albums, and keeps the listener in stitches while doing so.
I should preface this by saying, that the bulk of the material on this album, I’ve heard no less than twenty times. That’s the bonus or downfall of being around comics a lot, is that you see these jokes multiple times, in varying forms. That being said, I still laughed thoroughly throughout the album. Andy opens things up following an introduction from Victor Tran, by getting right to it the comedy, covering the topic of “Drinking.” He does so by retelling years spent in an alcoholic haze from years of drinking, but in typical Huggins fashion; the stories are strewn with well timed and great written jokes. Most of the comics in this town would tell you that Huggins is easily one of the best joke writers going, and it’s riotously obvious within the first minute of the performance. He continues this trend on the second track, “Still Drinking” as well as “Can’t Forget The Drugs;” the third track. These dark themed tales would be depressing if they were told by anyone other than Huggins. However, like all of his material, Andy spins tales of being a drunk or doing drugs in a humorous fashion.
Around the fourth track, “Laurie” where Huggins covers his girlfriend by peppering the story with jokes about differences in age, role play, and slang. The entire track, which spans around seven minutes shows you how many jokes one comic can fit into a small amount of time. Huggins keeps this pace going with the following tracks, “Now That I’m 64,” and “My Neighborhood.” You realize that Huggins might have more jokes per minute than any other comic you can hear today. He does this while playing on the premise of the older guy in the room, covering everything from getting older to differences between the generations. The final track, that came from the performance, “Little of This, Little of That” covers pretty much everything else. The following two and a half minutes shows Huggins go into a coupling of jokes that stand on their own without any structure to them. However, this isn’t a bad thing, as like the rest of the album; Huggins is dropping more jokes in the guise of age, doing so like he was meant to make this album now; and not thirty years ago.
The album closes with an “Epilogue” that covers about a minute long sketch that just explains that he’s been at this for 35 years. Like all good albums, “Inspired By True Events” is one that you’ll want to listen to over and over. In the vein of guys like Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, Huggins’ has jokes that I can see younger generations reciting verbatim after hearing this release. You can pick up your own copy of the album from the man himself, if you see Andy honing his craft at any one of the city’s open mics around town, or when he frequently performs at Improv and Joke Joint. You can also grab a copy from iTunes, Google Play, and CD Baby, as well as stream the album over on Spotify.