LAUGHS GO UNDERbelly

by AARON KINNEY
Local comedian Chris Buck has been performing with the Jacksonville Comedy Collective for more than a year. To help the Comedy Collective promote stand-up in the greater Jacksonville area and to bring comedy to local club Underbelly in a big way, Buck has invited the internationally known Doug Stanhope to perform. Stanhope, traveling with the Big Stink Comedy Tour 2012, is known for his caustic wit and social commentary. Stanhope will perform at Underbelly on August 15. We talked to Chris Buck to learn more about the show.
EU Jacksonville: Have you ever done stand-up at Underbelly?
Chris Buck: Yeah. Probably the first showcase I did was at Underbelly. Still pretty early. I’ve only been doing it a couple months.

EU: So Underbelly started back in 2010 and…went silent for about a year (before moving). Why’d it change venues?
Buck: I’m not sure why they closed. It was kind of a backyard setup they had going on. I’m sure it had something to do with the owners—it was just between shops, just a backyard. It was a cool place. I liked it a lot. It’s something totally different now. They’ve put a lot of work into it. Yeah, not sure why they [closed and moved], but we still kept the Comedy Showcase going for a while and moved it over to a different location.

EU: And now Doug Stanhope’s coming to Underbelly as part of the Big Stink Tour. How’d you manage that?
Buck: Well, basically, he was on tour – really lucky for us – and he had some dates nearby. Jacksonville looked convenient, I think. After that, it was just a matter of finding a place that would do it. Really good timing, with Underbelly coming back and Stanhope on tour.

EU: Comedy’s coming back to the club in a big way.
Buck: Yeah, I would say that we’re gonna bring back the Comedy Collective Showcase to Underbelly monthly. And maybe more shows. You know, this is our first national headliner—international, really. He’s worldwide, I guess. But yeah, it’s a new thing to us, to bring in somebody that large. I’d like to keep doing stuff like that. Underbelly’s into it, and I think it’ll go pretty good. We did our first show over there the other day with Jake Head, who’s actually the founder of the Jacksonville Comedy Collective. It went really well. It was kind of a test show, kinda get ready for that. We’ve done regional headliners, so this’ll be the biggest by far.

EU: Stanhope, what’s his act like?
Buck: It’s pretty nuts. To me, he’s the dirtiest, probably out of everybody. I feel like he’s incredibly intelligent. He’s one of my favorite comics for when I want to think. I just think he’s awesome. He’s never talked about the same stuff twice. He’s always moving it forward. There’s not much description that’d add to his act. He kind of speaks for himself, I guess.

EU: Irreverent, political. Maybe a bit like Bill Hicks?
Buck: That’s what people say. Comedians think so. I mean, there’s no way you can say he’s not irreverent, you know? When you make associations, to me, I think those two areas are just him being incredibly offensive—but I’m not offended by it. I don’t even know if that’s the right word. I’m not personally offended by any of it. Describing it for other people, you could say it was obscene social commentary, you know. You could compare it to other people, like Bill Hicks. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a master at what he does. He’s, like, a stand-up veteran who…is always moving it forward. It seems like he’s putting a lot out there on the stage. Definitely in my top five, I would say, like, of all time.

EU: His humor’s not exactly the kind of thing Jacksonville’s used to, is it?
Buck: Probably not. I don’t think anywhere’s used to it. In my mind, if I were doing what he’s doing? I’d feel like that was deliberate. I think that’d be the best way to make it fun…make it a completely unique show.

EU: Are you planning to bring other well-known acts to Underbelly?
Buck: I would like to. I think that’s the plan. I think they’d be into it. For me, a lot of it has to do with who’s traveling in this direction. That’s how a lot of shows work. [You can’t] call them up and ask them to fly out. It’s different to catch them on tour. I think that’d be a really good thing. To keep that going, that momentum.

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