by Ryan Meehan
Adam Norwest was born with the ability to make people laugh. He began performing professional improv comedy at the age of 13, and just a few years later stepped into the stand-up spotlight. In a short period of time Norwest was featured on “Comcast on Demand”, and cable TV’s “Man Up, Stand Up”. In 2012, Adam was named “CMT’s Next Big Comic”. The Seattle Native uses his energetic style and natural confidence onstage to make his stories about dating, his family, and looking so young not only funny, but relatable and engaging as well. Adam mixes his clever material in with crowd interaction for a truly memorable experience. Adam currently resides in Seattle, WA, and can be seen performing in clubs and colleges across the country. In 2012, he released a CD that is now available on iTunes and he’s our guest today in 7 Questions.
RM: I have to ask this first – Due to the fact that you are from the Pacific Northwest, have you ever had anybody ask you if your last name isn’t real? If you did have to come up with a stage name, what would it be and how far “out there” would you be willing to go to make it stand out from all of the other comedians in the industry?
AN: I get asked if Norwest is made up after probably 1 in 10 shows. It is real. I don’t know why I would just slightly change the region I am from. I have done random characters as Adam Souwest, and Adam Noreast – never goes as well. I like to tell people I am 3 letters better then Batman (Adam West). People sometimes ask if I named myself after Family Guy. If I ever created my own fake name I would want it to be super ridiculous. I used to joke about legally changing my name to Super Man – and then getting paged at the grocery store. Do they call it paged? Intercom’d.
RM: What made you decide to make the transition from improv to stand-up comedy? Did you feel like it was more pressure since it was a solo thing and there weren’t other performers to rely on, or just a different type of pressure altogether?
AN: An actor that I did improv with, Jim Kellner, wanted to try stand-up so he got me to try with him. I loved it. I think I mostly just loved the attention and the fact that everyone had to be focused on me. I just kept doing it and loving it and eventually got busier with it, so I had to stop doing improv. I did not have time for both. 9 years later I have performed stand-up in 40 states. Jim Kellner has become a comedy hypnotist. And I miss improv!! I am starting to do more improv again. Something about just making things up on the spot seems to be the most fun for me.
RM: Where and when did you realize that stand-up comedy is something that you were going to really be able to do at the professional level?
When I was 23 years old I decided I should move to LA and “give it a shot”. I had been saving money (working full time and living with my parents), so I just did it. I rented a room in an apartment with 2 other comics, and went for it. I lived there for a year, and then moved to Chicago so I could be closer to comedy clubs. I spent the next couple years just driving around the country putting 100,000 miles on my car. I thought I was “making a living” – but I was basically $300 away from being homeless at all times. Now I am more comfortable, and my career is at a place that I can breathe. It is really cool how hard work can pay off.
RM: Have you received any flack from DGC regarding your album cover being pretty close to one of the greatest records of all time? Or would that be considered to be in the public domain since it’s been over 17 years since that album came out?
AN: I received no complaints about my album cover. I almost wish I did. That would give me great publicity. I would be almost as controversial as 2 Live Crew.
RM: How did you go about the entire process of selecting material, a venue, and everything else up until the night of the performance? What’s your favorite bit on the disc and why?
AN: It was a really fun and stressful process. I wanted the disc to be something fun, but also something I was proud of. I figure if I ever stop doing comedy I wanted something tangible that I could show my future kids, and they could be proud/embarrassed. I knew for a while that I wanted to record it at Skyline Comedy Cafe in Appleton, WI. The owner, Cliff, is a gem. Supportive of comics, and cares about the shows being good. The audiences in Appleton are outstanding. Fun, easy going, down to earth, good people. My favorite joke on the disc is probably my car accident joke. It has a fun twist that every time I tell, I love watching people’s eyes and faces react.
RM: In all honesty, do you think you would have a different opinion about the format of “Next Big Comic” had you not won? With all of the comedy competitions in these big cities such as San Francisco, do you think it’s almost impossible for a comedian to be against competition of the arts and be successful in this day and age?
AN: Of course I would feel different. I would say it was a scam, and they don’t know true talent or art. Comedy contests are so interesting and subjective, and none of them really matter. There are so many of them! Obviously the most mainstream ones like America’s Got Talent or Last Comic Standing can give you incredible exposure, and you can sell tickets, and make more money – but most contests are just fun shows where someone makes all the money.
RM: What other aspects of the entertainment industry would you like to become involved with? If you had the chance to write for one show right now on network television, what would it be and why?
AN: I would love to be on a panelist show, or write for something like that. If I could write for any network show right now, I would probably say Modern Family. It is just so smart and saddle, and sometimes I laugh and feel like the jokes were just for me but so brilliant everyone should get it. If I could write for a cable show I would like to wrote for Tosh.0. I love being offensive, and he can get away with it best.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about? AN: 2014 is a year of mystery for me. Trying to figure out the next step in what I want to do. Hopefully something big. At this point my only plans are to eat Chipotle for lunch.
Official Website: http://adamnorwest.com/
Adam on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adamnorwestcomedy
Adam on Twitter: https://twitter.com/adamnorwest
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