SXSW hopes to tickle your funny bone
I am easily humored so, I'm not a good judge of what's truly funny and what's not. I'll laugh at anything. I hear it's good for your heart, but that's not why I chuckle at this or bust a gut at that. I just love to laugh.
So, why not take News 8's South by True Life series into the realm of comedy? You might not know it, but there is a comedy showcase tied to the music conference. It features the old veterans to the rising starts of the stand-up circuit, and one Austin comic will have the chance to perform among them.
I met Ramin Nazer at a trendy little coffee shop in East Austin, just down the street from his own business office. Indeed, at 25 years old, I was interviewing a moonlighting comedian who has his own business in web design. Ramin is a breath of fresh air. He’s young, driven, focused and funny. He's my type of humor. The one-lined zingers that bring a rousing chuckle from your gut to your mouth. Think Steven Wright. Like he says, sure he was the funny guy... for the people who got it.
Ramin started out at open mic nights and gradually grew into "being a little bit good, and then gooder." He said he caught the eye of Charlie Sotelo, who books the comedy showcase for SXSW, as a contestant in a stand-up comedy contest at Cap City Comedy Club. Sotelo was one of the judges. After that, Sotelo asked Ramin if he wanted to be a part of the SXSW 2010 showcase.
Don't worry if you didn't know the comedy showcase existed. At one point, neither did Ramin. Folks like Margaret Cho or Andy Ritchie aren't as big a draw as past SXSW headliners like the Beastie Boys or Metallica. Nonetheless, Ramin says it's the music conference's best kept secret.
The University of Texas grad and I chatted away before we ended up at his office where he introduced us to his co-workers/former college buddies. At this point, News 8 photographer John Pope and I need to "shoot some video." Basically, we need shoot an hour-worth of footage that gets edited down to 2 minutes while the reporter (me) talks over it. But, somehow asking Ramin to "do what he would normally do" felt more like a skit than a work day. He entertained us with fake phone calls to clients, his role as the intimidating boss. And, oh, who could forget the scooter demonstration around the office? (Something tells me that would actually take place in the office.)
When it comes to thinking about his SXSW showcase, Ramin doesn't let his head get in the clouds. He's certain it takes baby steps to reach any level of stardom, and when it comes right down to it, he's happy enough just providing the laughs, "I can see myself even doing the little open mics even when I'm 80."
Ramin is performing throughout the week, but his official showcase is Saturday, March 20 at 8 p.m at the Velveeta Room. You can find out more about him at www.raminnazer.com.