Stand Up & Deliver: A Forty Year Old Married Guy
Photo: Andy Hemmingway
At forty years old, Barry Laminack has made a lot of headway in just a couple of years, and has leaped from open mic comic to a feature act with his brand of more adult humor. The crazy thing is that he’s done it without spending every night doing open mics or shows for zero pay. In July, Laminack was set to feature in the biggest show of his career, until the comic Gallagher cancelled. But in typical Laminack fashion, he picked up an August date with someone who’s a better performer and just as hilarious FPH was lucky enough to catch him between one of his three gigs to see how he’s done it all.
FPH: You were born in Houston. We found out recently that my mom knows your parents from high school. How long have you been doing stand up?
BARRY LAMINACK: I actually have two different start dates. I originally started in April of 2012, but I had to quit due to personal reasons after a couple of months; but I picked it back up in February of 2013.
FPH: You’re a busy guy with a really serious regular job, a radio show on ESPN radio, and you do stand up. How do you juggle it all?
BARRY LAMINACK: Not having kids and a really cool wife. But that schedule also means that when I do an open mic or whatever, I have to make it count.
FPH: You told me that you recently drove all the way down to San Antonio to do a spot to get in front of a booker, then you drove back to Houston the same night. Most people would call that crazy, but I call it drive. How bad do you want this?
BARRY LAMINACK: I think that part of my drive comes from my age. I’m not in my 20’s like a lot of comics, so my window of time is much smaller. The help of other comics like John Wessling, Alan Adams, Ed Blake, and Andy Huggins as well as advice from Joke Joint’s Rachel Wegscheid has helped me a lot too.
FPH: What about comedy drew you to it?
BARRY LAMINACK: When I was around seven or eight years old, I realized I could make people laugh, and that was it for me. I used to watch Bill Cosby “Himself” and then do it for my family, and the attention I got made me want to get into stand up. It just took me until the age of 38 to have enough balls to actually follow through with doing it.
FPH: Favorite comics past & present?
BARRY LAMINACK: Well, Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, ironically Gallagher and George Carlin were always my favorites. I don’t really watch a lot of current comics, but I listen to Mike Epps. Jim Gaffigan and Dave Landau would be who I’d say if I had to name anyone current.
FPH: Steve Harvey recently said, “I told a joke between two fictitious characters, and the next thing I knew I was having to apologize. The problem with any joke is, no matter what joke I do, it could offend anyone. But I apologized because I have a talk show.” You don’t do offensive jokes, but because of the radio show, do you find yourself editing your jokes to make sure you don’t offend anyone?
BARRY LAMINACK: I don’t edit myself, but I’m aware of what I say. Honestly, my comedy is based around not trying to embarrass myself. Also, at this point I don’t want to lose a room, so I steer clear of anything controversial.
FPH: You were recently vetted by Houston comic and road dog Slade Ham. That vouching, has gotten you a good amount of gigs since. How did all of that come about and why did Slade say that he’d do it for you?
BARRY LAMINACK: Having Slade go to bat for me helped a lot, and it was such a big deal for me in more ways than one. Basically Rachel at Joke Joint put me on his show as a feature, and he liked me enough to vouch for me. I can’t thank him enough for it.
FPH: You’ve become known for a more adult brand of humor that plays well to couples and people who are closer to middle-aged. Have you always done that kind of material or is it just who you are at the time, and you’re just keeping it relatable to yourself?
BARRY LAMINACK: It’s just reflective of where I’m at in my life. Wessling and Blake told me early on to write what I know, and what I know is that I’m a 40 year old married guy. I’d look like an idiot if I tried to talk about anything else.
FPH: What’s your definition of a successful comedy career?
BARRY LAMINACK: For me, right now, I realize that I’m probably not going to become famous. So, in all honesty…getting to the point where I can headline shows would mean that I’m a success. That and to keep getting steady work is how I’d define a successful career in comedy, for me.
When it comes to honesty, you won’t find a comic who’s as honest and sincere as Barry Laminack. He went out of his way to thank pretty much anyone and everyone who’s ever helped him along the way; though we had to cut them down for print space. That sincerity has earned him the respect of his peers as well as pretty much every audience he’s in front of. While he gears up for headlining his own shows, you can catch him at Joke Joint Comedy Showcase on August 27th through August 29th when he features for comedy legend Billy D. Washington. Each of the extremely limited shows has a ticket price of $20.00.