by Ryan Meehan
Jason Lawhead is more than a stand-up comedian, he’s a fun guy. A Tailgate aficionado and accomplished cook, he also possesses a quick wit and likable personality which enables him to be a multi facetted talent. A remarkably fresh outlook on topical issues branded with a charmed delivery and unorganized life-lessons makes Lawhead funny from start to finish. The Ohio born Comedian makes the audience feel as if they themselves where involved in the stories and jokes he tells.
Great at thinking on his feet, Lawhead is able to blend personal experiences, fresh subjects & facial expressions all ranging from topics about sports & life to questioning relationships and most off, himself. His ability to do voices may come from being the youngest of seven children. Jason always had a built-in audience and would often mimic household life by doing impressions of his siblings and parents which he brings to the surface today. A sports fan from the time he could talk, he is excited to have launched his new Podcast “Lawhead’s Court”, which is available on ITunes and is looking forward to releasing his debut CD early this year as well as his appearance on AXS TV’s “Gotham Comedy Live” airing February 6, 2014. Lawhead entered stand up over 10 years ago in Cleveland, Ohio and began as a regular opening act & MC at Hilarities 4th Street Theater. A pioneer in helping create an underground comedy scene in Cleveland that thrives today, Lawhead spearheaded the most popular one night show in town called the “Grimey Ninety”. Moving to California in 2007, he spent time cutting his teeth not only in San Diego but the Los Angeles comedy scene as well. Lately, Jason has been seen touring as an opening act for some of the best Stand-Ups in comedy. Bill Burr often takes Jason out on the road and both have performed together in legendary venues such as The Chicago Theater, The Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles and The Tabernacle in Atlanta, just to name a few. He also has been lucky enough to have had opportunities to open for Sebastian Maniscalco numerous times and in some of the best comedy cities in America, like New York and Chicago among others. Jason recently headlined Hilarities, the club he first started in, along with the House of Blues in Cleveland last year when he headlined the WMMS Alan Cox Comedy Tour. Having performed all over the U.S., he is a club favorite at places like the famous “Hollywood Improv”, “The Stand” and “Gotham Comedy Club” in New York City and “Zanies” in Chicago. Jason recently was a guest on the “Artie Lange show” on Direct TV & Sirius XM radio and has been a frequent guest on many radio shows while having been heard on ESPN and Playboy Radio along with appearances on television. Jason spent time in sports radio before embarking for a career on stage, An experienced play by play voice of basketball, football & baseball, the Lorain, Ohio native called local high school games in the area for over 4 years. He has competed in comedy and film festivals from Boston to Los Angeles and is currently planning a tour this 2014 with more details to come. Jason also uses his radio, television and live performing back round to serve as MC and Host to several non-profit and charitable organizations raising millions of dollars for cancer, epilepsy and blindness just to mention a few. Now Southern California resident Jason has performed at Theaters, Clubs & Private Events all over the country. A self proclaimed dreamer, Lawhead appreciates every chance he get’s to make people laugh by doing what he loves and also being hooked up with free golf. He’s our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: How would you describe Lorain, Ohio in one sentence? What was it about being raised in that environment that caused you to be interested in standup and all other things comedy?
JL: Kicked in the dick with the jock strap on backwards. Lorain has a lot of great stories & people that come with it, that’s like DNA that sticks with you. A once great city of industry, now in peril and I lived it, grew up hearing of a steel and ship building trade, saw Ford leave and schools & churches close my whole life. You could make 10 documentaries about different topics about Lorain and they’d all be interesting. 8 of them would be sad but interesting. The youngest of 7 kids in an environment like that it was either laugh or cry.
RM: How has being a sports fan helped you when it comes to dealing with a tough room or a bad case of writer’s block? What record do you think the Cleveland Browns will finish with this upcoming NFL season?
JL: I think playing sports competitively has helped me more than being a fan. Burr once told me, he thought a lot of me getting better was the ability to draw from the “bigger the show/game” mentality that I had as a player. As far as a tough room, that is what it is I guess. Like bad refs, you still have to go out & play well. Yes, being a sports fan does help writers’ block because there’s enough stupidity in sports to get tons of material. As far as the Browns, at this point the longer they lose the more I write – I’ll say 1-15 because I need to have a breakout year.
RM: What can you tell us about your podcast “Lawhead’s Court”? It is more of a sports show or a comedy show? What do you do in order to make your podcast different from all of the other ones available these days?
JL: Lawhead’s Court is named after my dad. He was head basketball coach at Lorain Catholic High School for 35 years and won over 500 games, anyway the LC signifying the school’s logo in the middle of the court became known as Lawhead’s Court over the years, so thus. I do talk sports on it yes because I like it and so many others do, but it is only an ingredient. I have a segment called the Lawhead Life, which is my life on the road, cool places, encounters, stories of the past, present etc. I have interviews with comics, sports figures, actors, and also do the show solo from time to time. – My goal is to try to bring kind of a modern day Paul Harvey podcast experience to people. With, what’s now, what’s past, and what’s what.
RM: I saw the video of you on the Artie Lange Show and you began the clip by doing this killer impression of Artie. What do you think is the key to nailing down a really good impression? Who is your favorite impressionist; and has there ever been a voice in the world of sports and entertainment that you haven’t been able to emulate after trying so hard to do so?
JL: Yeah, I’m glad Artie liked it. I think the key is to listen to what they say and how they say that or those certain things you pick out, rather not to how they sound. The best thing about my Hubie Brown impression are the certain small words he says over and over I hit them at the staggered pace he uses. My Hubie voice is not spot on but it cracks people up. My favorite impressionist right now is probably Jay Mohr. Although Billy Crystal is why I got interested in doing voices as a kid, Fernando Lamas “You Look Marvelous” was the first impression I did at 10 years old. The one in sports I’d like to get is Jim Nantz, I have so much golf material to do but I just can’t get anywhere close to his voice.
RM: What’s the best advice that Bill Burr has given you about the industry of stand-up? Do you have any great stories from being on the road with him?
JL: Save your money… Seriously, it’s to not give up on an idea or bit especially if it’s a true thought, keep taking it to the stage and craft it. Stories, we’ve had a lot of cool ones, there is one from the opening night in Denver last season when Peyton threw the 7 TD’s but that’s a bit personal. I’d say being on the set of Anchorman 2, meeting all the guys as they are but dressed in character, then go to work, watching Ferrell doing Ron Burgundy give the news in person 7 months before the movie came out was as good as the road gets.
RM: I read on Facebook that last year you stopped playing fantasy football. As a huge NFL who also does not play fantasy, I have to ask…What’s your reason for no longer being a part of that world? Do you feel that there is a certain fan base now that cares more about their fantasy players and team winning instead of their own team emerging victorious?
JL: The last sentence to your question is basically why I don’t play. I love answering NO to the average person asking do you play fantasy? Because when you do the discussion is over. There is nothing more I hate than having to listen to a person that has no idea what 4 down territory means or what an underneath route is talking football with me. Period. The only good thing that has come from Fantasy Football is The League on FX
RM: When you are writing new material, is there any way at all to assume whether a joke is going to go over really well? Do you feel like after a decade doing this that you have a pretty good idea of what an average audience will or will not laugh at?
JL: After 10 years you really never know if it’s funny. I think a joke is either funny or its not and that’s all based on who its coming from and how they deliver the meaning of it. Like the scene from Goodfellas you’re a funny guy the way you tell that story its funny. Essentially that’s what’s it all about.
RM: Out of all of the venues that you’ve performed at across the country, which has been your most favorite and why? What is it about that particular city that you like so much?
JL: The Chicago Theater opening for Bill last September 2 sold out shows. I still think of it often when I day dream, it’s like it’s some beautiful super model I got to spend a night with. The first 2 live acts on its stage in 1921 where the original 3 stooges & the 2nd night was Harpo and Groucho Marx. Chicago, as a Cleveland guy it’s the same kind of people and a Mecca of comedy… Nuff said.
RM: What’s the one thing that you’d love to do in the entertainment industry that you haven’t had the opportunity to do yet? In ten years, do you think that you’ll be able to say you’ve done it?
JL: Write a published book. Yea, I will have that done.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
JL: My first live CD will be releasing soon I am in the midst of releasing tour dates for this spring and summer soon to certain west coast and east coast cities soon which I’m looking forward to and I’ll be spending more time in NYC this year evolving into that scene more.
Official Website: http://jasonlawhead.com/
Jason on Facebook: Facebook.com/JAYJLAW
Jason on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JasonLawhead
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