Former Gang Member, current comedian, future famous comedian. Shayne Smith is the runner up in the Wiseguys’ 2015 Funniest Person In Utah competition, winner of the 2015 Salt City Comedy Superstar contest and most recently voted best Alternative Comedian of 2016 by City Weekly.
We discovered Shayne Smith’s comedy late one night & literally wasted no time contacting him for an exclusive interview. We were just 3 days away from closing the Spring/Summer issue for The 7th Magazine’s Exclusivity edition & wanted to include his comedic story. Below is our interview with Shayne Smith –
Congratulations on all of your recent success Shayne, tell us a bit about yourself & your journey as a stand-up Comedian –
Well thank you so much! I am not sure where to begin there is a lot to cover. I am a person that gets very excited about things which has resulted in me going hard in the paint on anything I have decided is worth my time. This has resulted in me having a strange set of skills and hobbies like being covered in tattoos, sculpting, weight lifting, and playing Chess competitively. My journey as a stand-up has been a wild ride. I have had a lot of incredible luck getting to perform all over the country and meet so many amazing people but it has also seen me lose my previous career and my marriage. I’m still loving comedy though so I suppose it all works out.
When did you know you wanted to be a comedian & how long have you been doing comedy?
I knew I wanted to be a comedian when I realized I wasn’t gonna be happy doing anything else in life that I had tried and that people were not ever going to give me the opportunities to do things I truly wanted to do because of my tattoos. I had to face facts and accept that how I look was a barrier I’d never get over in certain fields. That was when I started comedy in December 2014.
How was doing stand-up when you first started versus now?
Wildly different. Stand up now is much more fun and at the same time much more complex. When I started it was just about not doing badly haha now it’s all about being creative and enjoying myself but also it has become work so there are times I am forced to make creative choices I wouldn’t normally make. It’s harder but much more pure when you start so I suppose that’s the trade as you progress through your career.
You talk about your childhood a lot in your act, how has the bad influenced the good in your life?
There is a lot of bad in my life leading up to when I started comedy and it definitely gives me perspective. I enjoy the little things a lot more than most people and I try to be very mindful of those things constantly which is what gives me a very positive attitude even in the face of a lot of adversity. I didn’t even realize I was a very positive person till people started pointing it out to me and I absolutely attribute it to the bad in my life. Also it has influenced me to have a very dark sense of humor. It doesn’t come out too much in my comedy but I am slowly starting to let some of it out.
Also quite noticeable are your tattoos – what was the story behind your first tattoo?
I drove with a friend to another small town about 2 hours away from where I grew up and we lied about our age in order to get friendship tattoos on our wrists which are some dorky lyrics to a song but I love the tattoo and what it represents. Youthful risk taking, passion for friendship, and self expression.
Your jokes about people’s perception of you are hilarious – what was the funniest interaction you’d ever encountered?
Once when I was in Las Vegas a Japanese tour group saw me and they just lined up to take photos with me without me even really consenting they just started one by one taking group photos or having kids come take photos with me, it was wild. I was cracking up about it I couldn’t tell if they just thought I was weird and wanted a photo or if they thought I was famous but it was so absurd I laugh about it often.
Where do you see yourself & your comedy in the future?
I try to take it a day at a time but ideally I see myself touring and having a special on a more mainstream platform. Acting or writing and just being as creative and funny as I can be. All I want is to be happy and not worry about finances. Fame and fortune are fine but I just like to laugh, eat well, and pursue my hobbies.