Steve Sabo, the caffeinated voice of reason has been seen on HBO, Comedy Central, UPN and E!. He is heard regularly on SiriusXM Satellite Radio and has performed for the troops in Iraq and Kuwait. We asked him a few questions…
1. How do you describe your comedy?
I would describe my comedy as autobiographical observational adult humor. It’s energetic and intelligent without being over the top or preachy. It’s not too raunchy, but definitely not for kids.
2. How did you get into comedy?
When I was a kid I always loved comedy. I used to memorize comedy routines from Eddie Murphy, Sam Kinnison, Dice Clay, Richard Pryor. I had friends videotape all the HBO specials. I always thought comics were the coolest guys, they were my heroes. But I never thought I would become one. My freshman year in college, they had the Certs College Comedy Competition. I entered it just to see what it was like. I didn’t win, but I was instantly addicted. I never looked back. This was 26 years ago.
3. Who were some of your comedic influences?
My comedy influences starting out were Brian Regan, George Carlin, Eddie Murphy, for their control of the audience and natural and powerful stage pressences. I loved Kinison’s anger. I studied them all but tried not to copy anyone. Later, I really got into Bill Hicks, Bill Burr, Dane Cook, Dave Attel for being raw and real. I think you can learn from almost any comedian, good or bad. You can learn what to do, or what not to do. And it’s ever evolving.
4. In addition to your live shows, you have many appearances on radio and television. How do you think about, prepare, and measure the success of your appearances on these different mediums?
I try not to overthink it. Radio is only as good as the dj who is interviewing you. Sometimes they want to just talk, sometimes they want you to just do material and sometimes they want to ask you a bunch of questions that you can’t make funny. You just go with the flow. I try not to over-prepare, because I have been doing this long enough, I don’t want to second guess myself. With tv, there is usually a specific set that you have to do, and a specific timeframe. You want to make your set as tight as possible, get as many laughs out as possible. You want to convey your personality through your material, as quickly as you can, because your time is limited. It’s stressful, but you have to have fun. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, your audience won’t either.
5. You’ve released five comedy albums. What advice would you give to a comedian preparing to record their first album?
Know the material in and out, be over prepared so that when recording happens you can be more loose. Don’t be so locked into the script that if something goes awry it throws off your game, because something will always go awry. If you can, record multiple shows and use they best one. Do as little editing as possible, because it is always better when it is raw. You don’t want it to sound too polished because then it loses the charm of a live show.
6. You performed for our troops over seas. Describe that experience.
I tried for 5 years to perform for the troops before I got the opportunity. There are essentially three companies that send comedians to perform for the troops, the USO, Comics on Duty and Lone Wolf. I submitted to all and waited for a call. Sometimes, it takes someone dropping out last minute so you have to be prepared to go at a moments notice. It was probably my greatest comedy experience. The troops are the best audience and they are very supportive and love to laugh. Probably because they are in a serious situation nonstop, they need the outlet to let loose. It is actually impossible to describe, but it was definitely one of the things I am most proud of, and I am very glad I was given the opportunity.
7. You’ve been performing comedy for several decades. How does your comedy evolve as you get older?
When I first started doing comedy, I was an impressionist, believe it or not, and worked mostly clean. I evolved to become more honest, more personal, more real. There was a point where I tried to be edgy, maybe even dirty for the sake of being shocking. But I realized that the audience wants to know about YOU, and can relate to your struggles because they have their own. My material now reflects me, but maybe a slightly distorted version. If I was who I am on stage in real life, I would probably be locked up. My stage persona is more who I could be if there weren’t societal constraints in the world.
8. What are you working on currently?
I am always working on being the best comic I can be. I am more of a “journey, not the destination” kind of guy, that way, I leave myself open to opportunities. I am working on perfecting my next hour, for a future cd, which will probably be released in 2017. I have enough material already, but I am working on making it better. By the time I record it, I want it to be the best me I can put out to the world.
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