FAIRBANKS ‚ÄĒ In his 40 years on the planet, Chris Porter has done comedy for almost 20 of them, and things have definitely stayed status quo.
‚ÄúYeah, comedy‚Äôs changed a lot since I‚Äôve started. I mean, obviously, you know, not to sound like an old man but with the internet coming into play … I started doing comedy before the internet,‚ÄĚ Porter says. ‚ÄúWe seem to be in a large boom era, which is great. There‚Äôs a lot more people doing it, there‚Äôs a lot more people into it. It‚Äôs grown a hundred times over since I started doing it in 1998.‚ÄĚ
Though Porter is best known for a third-place finish on season four of ‚ÄúLast Comic Standing,‚ÄĚ his 20 years of stand-up have not been idle. He‚Äôs been in his own ‚ÄúComedy Central Presents‚ÄĚ special and on ‚ÄúLive at Gotham,‚ÄĚ appeared on¬†‚ÄúTommy Chong Presents Comedy at 420‚ÄĚ¬†and the ‚ÄúArsenio Hall Show,‚ÄĚ created several one-hour cable specials such as ‚ÄúUgly & Angry,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúScreaming from the Cosmos‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúLost and Alone,‚ÄĚ¬†and has just finished taping a new special tentatively called ‚ÄúThe Man from Kansas,‚ÄĚ which, Porter says, is ‚Äúabout how guys my age have not really manned up.‚ÄĚ This weekend, he‚Äôs back in Fairbanks for two performances Saturday night at The Blue Loon, 2999 Parks Highway.¬†
Porter‚Äôs career has taken him all around the United States, including eight or nines trips to Alaska, but he‚Äôs only gotten wanderlust once, he says ‚ÄĒ when he moved from Kansas City to Los Angeles to further his comedy career. Since then, Porter‚Äôs been living there and devising skits and bits from his daily life and the lives of others, and Los Angeles certainly has material to give.
‚ÄúI love this city. It‚Äôs weird and it‚Äôs ugly and it‚Äôs busy but it‚Äôs fun, like your weird uncle,‚ÄĚ Porter says. ‚ÄúHe shows up uninvited, sometimes he takes your car, smells like a bag of cigarettes and depression. That‚Äôs LA.‚ÄĚ
Despite having many years of experience under his belt, Porter continues to try and better himself and his comedy, always striving for something more.
‚ÄúThe thing I admire about some comics is their ability to just go up on stage and rip for 45 minutes. I can do that at times, and there have been nights that I have done that,‚ÄĚ Porter says, ‚Äúbut to do that on a daily basis is a gift ‚ÄĒ it‚Äôs definitely a muscle I haven‚Äôt worked enough.¬†I usually go up there with a pretty planned situation and I know guys that‚Äôll be like, ‚ÄėHey, give me a word,‚Äô and you‚Äôll say ‚Äėavocado‚Äô and they‚Äôll walk him onstage and he‚Äôll just do a bit on avocados. That‚Äôs something I would try, but if one joke didn‚Äôt work I would immediately bail.‚ÄĚ
Porter‚Äôs methodology is not always as¬†instantaneous.
‚ÄúLike, yeah I do sit down and bash out jokes when I need to, but then I‚Äôll take a half-written joke up on the stage and hope to finish it, and then you go record that set and take it back to writing the next day and that‚Äôs kinda my process,‚ÄĚ Porter says. ‚ÄúEvery once in a while a bit will come to you like a god-send and it‚Äôs finished and perfect, but that‚Äôs a rarity.‚ÄĚ
Much¬†of Porter‚Äôs high-energy observational comedy is laden with¬†vulgarity, but it doesn‚Äôt really bother him.
‚ÄúWhen you‚Äôre in the heat of writing a joke on stage or whatever you can‚Äôt really worry about the curse words,‚ÄĚ Porter said. ‚ÄúNow that being said, when I write at home on paper I don‚Äôt use curse words when I‚Äôm writing because my thought is that I‚Äôm gonna add the curse words already from when I speak and if I have curse words already written and I add more curse words off of just being natural, then that‚Äôs like double the curse words.‚ÄĚ¬†
While Porter‚Äôs topic-pool is wide-ranging, he‚Äôs cut off political jokes from his repertoire for the time being.
‚ÄúGiven the temperature of the environment now, it‚Äôs a very divisive thing to do to bring up any sort of politics. I also know comics that only talk about politics now because of the way things are,‚ÄĚ Porter said.¬†‚ÄúWe‚Äôre just there to have a good time, I think, is the end of it, and I want everyone to have a good time no matter what their belief structure is. A Democrat and a Republican can get along just fine as long as you don‚Äôt talk about Democrat and Republican things.‚ÄĚ¬†
David Jones is an editorial assistant for the News-Miner. He can be reached at 459-7518.
If You Go
What: Stand-up comedian Chris Porter
Where: The Blue Loon, 2999 Parks Highway
When: 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22