Five Easy Question With Ryan Singer
Written by J.T. Ryder
J.T.: What was the reason that you got up on stage for the first time?
Ryan: I just had to. It is that simple. As a kid I remember seeing standup comedians on television and thinking to myself, “that is the best job ever!” I just never thought I could write my own jokes. Then, over time I started trying to actually write things down instead of just being funny and took it to the stage.
J.T.: Have you seen those who have material but no stage presence or an overblown stage presence with no material?
Ryan: Comedy and humor are subjective. I can think someone or something is funny, but the person sitting right next to might be offended or just bored. I’ve seen performers and I’ve seen writers if that is what you mean. Most people are stronger in one of those areas than the other. The people that can be great at both of them are the ones that will be great in this business if they work hard enough and get the right breaks. I’ve seen some go up on stage very early on in their career, like me for example, and just try to get by strictly on personality. It can only get you so far before you need solid writing and good jokes to fall back on. The same way great writing needs a vehicle to get out. Some of the best jokes ever written are just that: written.
J.T.: Did another comedian help advance you a little farther in your career?
Ryan: There have been a few comedians that have helped me along the way. The most influential are the ones that inspired the interest in the first place. But, after that you need peers that you can come up with that challenge you in a good way to keep getting better and keep working hard. There has not been one specific comedian that has taken me under his wing or anything like that, but there have been a couple of people in this business that truly nurtured me and forced me to literally get my act together. Without them, I would still be another would-be comic without a chance to develop.
J.T.: Who do you view as inspirations for your comedy? (It definitely doesn’t have to be another comedian)
Ryan: Inspiration comes from many sources in my life. I have been inspired by different comedian over the years. When I was child, I was with my dad and my uncle coming back from the store and they popped the trunk and there was an album that caught my attention and I grabbed it. It was a Richard Pryor album and my dad quickly snatched it from me. He said, “No, no, no. You can listen to this when you’re a little older. For now, you can listen to this,” and he handed me Bill Cosby’s Himself album. I listened to it over and over again. When I was older, the first comedy CD I ever bought was that Richard Pryor album Is It Something I Said? My dad would listen to that CD when we drove places and laugh our asses off. Also, Steve Martin and his absurdly funny style influenced me heavily. There are really too many to list as I believe I can learn something from any performer, no matter how long they have been performing, no matter what their avenue of expression. At this moment in my life, I have someone very close to me that I consider to be my muse. She has really inspired me to go above and beyond what I thought I was capable of doing.
J.T.: I’ve seen you perform live and have also seen your video clips. How would you describe your comedic style?
Ryan: I do not know how I would describe my style other than what people have told me. At the end of the day, I could try to mold my style or be methodical in the type of image or material I put out there, but it is the audience that decides. I would hope that my comedic style is funny. That is really all I am striving to be. When people say my name, I just hope they attach that word: funny.
Ryan has been featured on the Bob and Tom Show and Comedy Central’s Open Mic Fight. He recently recorded a live CD at Go Bananas Comedy Club in Cincinnati titled How To Get High Without Drugs. You can check out clips of Ryan’s randomly weird comedic style on his website, ryansingercomedy.com, as well as checking out his touring schedule and perusing his random brain droppings.
(This article was originally published on December 19th, 2007 in the Dayton City Paper)