Audio By Valerie, Words By Richard
All comedy is about voice. Whether it’s the writer, the performer, or sometimes even the audience – the voice guides you to someone’s soul, and what it is they have to say to the world.
When Jesse Hensley sits down with Valerie Lopez, there’s simply no way to miss his powerful, addictive, North Texas timbre. (Nor would you want to). Hensley hails from the little not-quite-a-town of Diana, Texas. Diana is a geographical crossroads, one hour away from Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
Hensley grew up absorbing performances of names we’re all familiar with, like Mitch Hedberg and Dave Chapelle. Still, comedy wasn’t always a given in his future. Two years ago, during a brief bout as an aspiring author, he got the bug to head to Coldtowne Theatre and try his hand behind the microphone. It wasn’t a home run, but it became the first step on his journey to making comedy a full-time passion.
The ball really started rolling for Hensley after he got a guest spot at Cap City facilitated by one of his idols, Nate Bargatze. That led to opening spots and multiple runs in Funniest Person in Austin. As he honed his style, Hensley found himself trending towards storytelling, one of my favorite formats. A great storyteller can build a structure to suck you in and hold you on edge waiting for that sweet, sweet payoff. It’s a craft that is a mixture of rhythm, refinement, and even a bit of math, which we know is near and dear to Valerie Lopez. His philosophy of comedy, and what it means to the billions of us walking the planet, is fascinating.
Hensley appears in many Austin shows, including Drink Up: an outdoor, booze-themed experience. It runs the first and third Mondays of the month at The Parlor Room. In the interview, Hensley drops the secret phrase that may even score you a free drink. See more of his upcoming events at Last Gas Comedy, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.