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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Funnybone Emcee Sean O'Brien And His Incredible Norm Macdonald Story

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Page 3 of 3

So how did you start doing comedy in St. Louis? 

I did real-estate for about eight months until the market hit the bricks, around late 2007. Then I also got a job at Cheesecake Factory out in Chesterfield, and after work we would all go to Houlihan's.

St. Louis comic Keith Cissel
  • St. Louis comic Keith Cissel
One night I was just telling a story about how I got screwed in an oil change at Jiffy Lube. And the bartender said, 'I don't know you, but I do comedy at the Funnybone, and that's something I would tell on stage." And that bartender was [St. Louis comedian] Keith Cissel.

So we just hit it off as buddies. So he'd start bringing me to shows and say, 'Sean you gotta try this man,' and I'd say, 'No way,' because I was petrified of speaking in front of people.

Then on May 20, 2008, he said, 'You're going up there ninth.' So I went up there, shaking like a leaf. And I brought friends, you know, it went pretty well.

But the second time I went, I did not bring friends, the audience was not told it was my first time, and I just bombed. To the point I said, 'Fuck this I'm not doing this ever again.'  I didn't back on stage until the end of August, just to get out of my own head. 

Maybe that explains why, when you're running the Funnybone open-mics, you're really gracious with those guys.

One, I really don't see the value in being an asshole to people. Two, I'm just like them in a way. I'm a bit more of an experienced emcee. But I'nm not light-years ahead of them.

I know what it feels like to just want to get on stage. And a lot of these guys are pretty good guys.

Some come in with egos and they're delusional, like 'Oh I went up last week and I killed!' No, you didn't. You got laughs for 30 seconds. You think it sounded like you knocked it out of the Apollo. No, you didn't. Some of them, they're just not realistic.

Most guys are pretty in check, but some of these guys, you have to say, 'Man you're just not ready.' Honestly it's just lack of stage time.

Everyone always says, 'What are the secrets, what are the tricks?'

You just gotta figure it out for yourself, man. There's the microphone, there's the stage: Be funny.

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