While being on Stand-up Revolution with Gabriel Iglesias might have catapulted his career, Shaun Latham isn't resting easy. He's touring all over the country, but come April 1, you won't have to go far to see this funny man in action. Latham is starting a brand-new comedy night at Harvelle's in Long Beach, making it easy for you to get down with "Team Lazy-Eye" (not only does he have a lazy eye, but he owns that shit, as well). We talked to him about big breaks, big interruptions and his big new venture.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): How'd you hook up with Gabriel Iglesias? Shaun Latham: It was all by coincidence, really. My buddy Ivan, who has worked with him for years, said that Gabriel needed some video editing done and recommended me. So I get this text from Gabriel that said, "I'll give you 500 bucks to come over to my house and do this editing." At the moment, I had, like, negative bucks, so I took the train down to his house because I didn't even have a car at that point. After that, I just started doing some video editing for him, and then he was like, "I'm doing the Irvine Improv this weekend if you want to do a guest set." That's kind of how it started!
So would you say that doing Stand-Up Revolution was your "big break"? I did a couple of small TV things and a movie that I thought would really do something before that, but I would definitely say Stand-Up Revolution was huge for me. Working with Gabriel gave me some credit, that action onstage, and notoriety. Once you get that "Comedy Central stamp" as a comedian, it definitely solidifies some things, too.
You are so high-energy when you're onstage. Do you have to hype yourself up, or are you just naturally jacked up on life? No, I don't really have any pre-stage rituals. I started smoking weed before I went onstage, and now, I can smoke in the afternoon with no problem, but if I'm getting paid, I need to have my energy and my wits firing out of all cylinders. I love weed, and I can smoke before I go on, but it's important for me to not take my energy level down.Gotcha. I'm not trying to hype up your ego, BUT . . . you're so great at crowd work! Has anyone ever caught you totally off-guard?
You know what caught me off-guard last year? When you open for Gabriel, it's an all-ages show. So there are, like, 4,000 people in this theater, and during this pinnacle silence when I'm about to hit a punch line, a fucking baby cries out! It was at the top back end of the theater, and you could have heard a pin drop. All you heard was, "WAHHHHH!" Everyone looked up, and then looked at me like, "What's he gonna say?" I just go, "Look, I respect your opinion, but, really, if you don't like the joke, you don't have to yell out at me." So, yeah, getting heckled by a baby was pretty different. The thing is, once you've heard enough ridiculous bullshit coming out of people's mouths in an audience, they can't really surprise you. I mean, the audience can really say some random shit, but as far as losing my place, naw.
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So tell me about this new room that you're hosting in Long Beach. Who's on the lineup and what's the room going to be like? Harvelle's is this amazing old-school-type venue, but it has only been in Long Beach for a couple of years, I think. They have one in Santa Monica that's been there since, like, 1931, and it's really dope. It's a blues/jazz type of bar, so they opened this ridiculously beautiful Long Beach location, and the comedy show will be in the basement. The first show on April 1 will have me hosting, and Jen Murphy, Ruben Paul and Edwin San Juan will be performing. It's a really nice place, so you have to come and check it out. It's going to be so much fun!
Shaun Latham performs at Harvelle's, 201 E. Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 239-3700; www.longbeach.harvelles.com. Every Tues. starting April 1, 9 p.m. For more info on Latham, check out his website, www.shaunlatham.com, and follow him on Twitter: @ShaunLatham.