by Ryan Meehan
Joe Sib is a man who wears many hats. So many hats that he doesn’t get much sleep—and that’s just the way he likes it. Sib spent the 90s playing in punk rock bands and relentlessly touring around the world, then moved behind the scenes as co-owner of Side One Dummy Records where he signed and released albums from bands such as Flogging Molly, The Gaslight Anthem, ANTI-FLAG, and many more. Ever the music enthusiast with a wealth of stories only a touring musician could boast, Sib began hosting the Complete Control radio show in 2004, which airs in seven cities across the country, including 98.7FM in Los Angeles. Instead of abating Sib’s energy, the show simply added more fuel to the fire and spawned not only his one-man show–California Calling: A Story of Growing Up Punk Rock—but also an unexpected leap into stand-up comedy. California Calling is a 70-minute “broken word” roller coaster ride delivered with enough energy and passion to power an entire city. Sib began performing his multi-media show in 2009 and held residencies at the renowned Largo at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles, CA and performed to a sold-out crowd at the Punchline Comedy Club in San Francisco, CA during the 2011 SF Sketchfest. From there Sib took the show on the road and eventually began breaking the one-man show down into smaller bits. He took the stage at the 2010 Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, TX (he was been invited back for 2012) as well as the 2012 FYF Fest in Los Angeles. As Sib’s craft grew, it transformed and took on new dimensions and made the natural transition into straight up stand-up. Sib continues to work like a mad man, hitting the comedy circuits and making a name for himself in the comedy scene. Bringing the charisma and presence of a frontman who’s used to commanding massive crowds, boundless energy and enthusiasm of a teenager, and the relatable everyday experiences of family, friends, jobs, and music, Sib’s created his own unique brand of stand-up. Sib is an all around funny guy and family man who gets it. To hash out new material, he pops in to Los Angeles and Orange County-area comedy clubs regularly. Musician, label owner, radio host, stand-up comic, a husband and father of two… no wonder Joe Sib never sleeps these days! If you get the chance be sure and check out Sib on stage performing and hosting his own DIY take on comedy, breaking rules and making his own. Catch Joe Sib at The Hollywood Laugh Factory every third Thursday of the month at 10pm for The Bare Bones Show, the modern version of the ultimate variety show. Sib host’s the night made up of the best comics, story tellers, magicians, and musicians! The only way to describe the show is “planned chaos” because you never know who might show up, get on stage and hijack the night. Here are just some of the comics who have stopped by unannounced Aziz Ansari, Bobby Lee, Dane Cook, Daniel Tosh, Chris D’elia, and Iliza Shlesinger. Stop in and see who shows up, and check him out as my guest today in 7 questions.
RM: How did the process of transitioning from being a punk musician to a stand-up comedian initialize itself in your life? Were there several aspects of both forms of entertainment that were noticeably similar to you; and if so what were they and how did you go about beginning that transitional phase of your life?
JS: The progression was simple – no one wanted to play music with me anymore! While all of my peers were able to pick up an acoustic guitar and grow into their art in different ways, I was always more of the frontman who spent more time doing flips into the crowd than on the actual stage. I did love the process of songwriting, though, and stand-up comedy reminds me a lot of that process. My jokes and stories are like little songs that I’m constantly re-working to get to the chorus, which is the funny part. I even write what I’m going to do on stage like a set list, just like I did when I was in a band. I always want my sets to have a beginning, middle and an end. I probably think about it way too much, but it’s just the way I am.
RM: When did you first become interested in skateboarding; and what are some of the injuries that you have acquired through the years? Have you ever found yourself thinking of new joke ideas while you’re skating?
JS: I first got into skateboarding when I was 7 years old. My dad took me to K-Mart and bought me a yellow banana board. I grew up in the woods and there was nowhere to skate except on a 25×25 square piece of cement in front of our house. While other kids were riding horses and motorcycles, I was skateboarding. As far as injuries go, I’ve had the usual sprained ankles and bruised body parts but I didn’t experience my worst slam until five years ago in Palm Springs. I said the unthinkable “this is my last run” and then proceeded to slam so hard that I gave myself whiplash and rang my bell so hard that I ended up seeing stars.
RM: What’s the best part about working for (Laugh Factory founder) Jamie Masada? What are some of the aspects of the comedy business that you have learned from him; and how would you best describe the relationship the two of you share?
JS: The best thing about working with the Laugh Factory is how present Jamie is with everything. He’s always there to give you advice, answer questions and to tell you the truth on where you’re at with your stand-up, good or bad. To have that access to someone who has been around as long as he has and worked with the amount of incredible comedians that he has, you can’t put a price on that.
RM: Is “Complete Control Radio” something that you expected to last a decade when you first started out? What would be the mission statement of that particular project?
JS: No way! I thought it would maybe last four months. The fact that it’s lasted over a decade blows my mind. Does anyone think they’re gonna do anything for ten years? Even when you get married, you ask yourself “Is this really gonna last?” (I’ve been married for twenty two years.)
The real mantra of the show is that the stations give me two hours and I get the opportunity to play bands that listeners at those stations may have never heard of before.
RM: How heavily was the decision to start Side One Dummy Records influenced by the things you saw and the stories you heard touring the country and interacting with other punk rockers?
JS: SideOneDummy was started out of necessity. My band WAX got dropped and no one wanted to work with us. I knew how to release records independently and my good friend/partner Bill Armstrong wanted to do the same thing. So together, we decided to start the company. Neither one of us thought we’d last twenty years but every single day when we come in, we’re so grateful it has.
RM: Could you ever see yourself doing another one-man show later on in your career?
JS: I’m still not with California Calling! It changes each time I perform it and the story is still growing. I like doing the show once or twice a year and see how the story changes.
RM: It seems like you have a million things going on at once, even more so than a lot of the other comics I talk to…Do you ever feel as if you may be a little bit overwhelmed at times; and how often do those close to you suggest that you might have too many irons in the fire?
JS: I always feel overwhelmed. Every day. But I think being overwhelmed is where I’m the happiest. Even my wife tells me that I’m the happiest when I have a million things going on!
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
JS: I’m going to release a free EP Don’t Call Me Dude, Bro in May. And I’m stoked to be performing comedy at this year’s FEST in Gainesville, FL this October!
Official Website: http://joesib.com/
Joe on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joesib22
Joe on Twitter: https://twitter.com/joesib22
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