This week's Spotlight focuses its beam on one of DC’s long-standing favorites, Tim Miller. Born in Waco, TX (ex-attorney general Janet Reno’s favorite town) he took an unusual road to comedy. It wasn’t until after he served in the US Army for 8 years (most comics are pussies!) that he decided he wanted to take a shot at the stage. He since has crushed at local clubs such as The Laughing Lizard, Riot Act Comedy Club, Cafe Rendezvous, The Hyatt in Bethesda, Wiseacres, Baltimore's Comedy Factory, Chief Ike’s, Dr. Dremos, Topaz Hotel and the DC Improv. Tim also currently works in the White House. Didn’t think someone with that type of job could become a successful comedian, did ya? Well, wrong again, WORLD!
He is currently being featured on Comcast On-Demand through the 9th of February. If you have that cable provider, take a peek. It’s FREE!
You can also catch him at the DC Improv MC'ing for Pablo Francisco, Jan 24th thru the 27th.
*Where did you first perform?
Wiseacres Comedy Club in McLean , VA. I remember my first performance being nasty. I did a joke about the pygmies in Africa being very short with long dicks. Before I first got on stage I said to myself I would make fun of a loud group that was up front heckling everyone. That worked out pretty good but after that my set was downhill. I remember driving home in my car and going over the jokes I did, (by the way I never did any of those jokes again) realizing I had probably embarrassed myself but also having such a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders I had to embarrass myself again.
[Hit the jump for the rest of the interview with Tim, plus a video!]
When did you realize that you wanted to do comedy?
I always thought about it but it wasn't until I went to a live comedy show at Jillian's in Arundel Mills Mall that I said "I can do this"
Who were some of your earliest influences?
Murphy, Pryor, Jamie Foxx. Later on after doing comedy I got into Cosby, Seinfeld, and Chris Rock! I liked the way they commanded the stage. They seemed conversational up there.
Do you prefer to write on or off stage?
I think writing on stage is better for performance reasons. The audience can give you an automatic reaction as opposed spending time writing at work or wherever and then going up on stage to have nobody like it. I enjoy the process of brainstorming but the actual writing is not my favorite thing.
What about performing live do you enjoy?
The creative aspect of being on stage and having those ad libs that just come to you aside from your written material.
Do you ever want to convey a message?
Just concentrating mainly on trying to be funny and maybe in the future when I can sustain an audience I'll drop some knowledge.
What's hacky to you?
Hard to explain and also I wouldn't want to type it all the way out. I guess in short someone stealing another comics' persona on stage. I think that right now we all are just redoing some of the same ideas as previous comics did (relationships, racism, etc) just from a different angle. All art is subjective and I think we seem to be very critical of each other.
How do you feel about the comedy scene in DC?
The DC comedy scene is like high school to me at times. There's different cliques and groups but depending on who you are that might not matter. I don't think you can stop shit like that because the entertainment industry is built off of it. People putting their friends on even if others are more talented. If I was in that position I would too. Everyone has a motive for doing what they do. Do you question that or do you accept it and wait for you time to come. This is not just the DC comedy scene, it's any comedy scene. Remember most comedy shows, clubs, and etc. are run by comedians. To understand that you have to understand the nature of a fucking COMEDIAN. Comedy comes from some kind of pain but when you have a comedian that pain has manifested into a need for attention.
Any advice for newbies starting out in DC?
For any new comedians starting out I would say get up as much as possible. Find early what your trying to do with your career and write your jokes accordingly. I mean are you it in for the money, the fame, or do you want to be the funniest comedian ever. Humble yourself and you won't get bitter (so fast). Good luck and I hope to see you out there.