May 15, 2013

Comedy: Rich Vos — Sober and swinging

Rich Vos got his big break on the first season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” and since then he’s been all over television, from appearances on late night to Comedy Central and VH-1. After spending years crisscrossing the country in smoky comedy clubs, the break “Last Comic Standing” afforded him was well-earned. This weekend, Comedy Caravan will embrace the brash, balls-to-the-wall comedy of Vos, but before he arrived in town, he took time to talk with us about all things Vos.

LEO: You’ve never been to Louisville before?
Rich Vos: No, never. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever worked in Kentucky before … I’ve worked in Evansville, Ind. — that’s kind of close to you guys, right?

LEO: Not too far. So, what do you expect from coming to Louisville?
RV: Oh, I know what to expect — an audience and a lot of laughing, because there are people no matter where you go. I just hope there’s some nice golf courses close to where I’m working, you know? I‘m not worried about the show. I just need golf and a Wal-Mart. If the show doesn’t go well, give me a Wal-Mart, a golf course and a (golf) club — I’ll be good.

LEO: Having given up drinking more than 20 years ago, is golf something you use to avoid vices on the road?
RV: Golf is a vice. I’ve been sober 27 years, so what other vices are there for me but golf? I don’t go out, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink — I still do coffee.

LEO: As a comedian in comedy clubs every night, has it been hard staying sober for 27 years?
RV: No, not at all. If you don’t wanna drink more than you do wanna drink, then it doesn’t matter. If your desire to not do something — or to do something — is greater than the other desire, then you’ll make it happen, you know? So it hasn’t been hard. I was done 27 years ago and that’s it.

LEO: When did you start listening to comedy?
RV: When you come from a divorced family, as a little kid, comedy covers pain — you don’t realize it when you’re that young, because you’re laughing, but it covers the pain. I was listening to comedy when I was in second grade, third grade; I just always listened to it as a little kid. But then you find yourself listening to it to mask whatever is going on in life. Well, not always, but that’s how I was.

LEO: You say you were covering the pain. Are comedians naturally unhappy people?
RV: No. In life, people are happy or unhappy. You don’t see comedians doing anything irrational in their daily lives — they got all their shit out on stage. I guess artists — all types of artists: comedians, musicians, painters — I guess it’s a different type of creativity they have, whether it comes from depression, happiness, anger … it’s just some well inside of them. And those are the best to me, because people can learn how to do things, but if it isn’t in them, then it doesn’t really matter.

Rich Vos
May 16-19
Comedy Caravan
1250 Bardstown Road
comedycaravan.com
$12.50-$17.50; various times