Andy Forrester Has Some Idea What He's Doing

October 24, 2019

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Andy Forrester

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Valerie Lopez

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It was August 18, 2018 (I know, thanks to date-stamped pic­tures and geo stamps for Cap City Com­e­dy Club), and, as I set­tled in for what I knew would be a great evening of com­e­dy at Cap City Com­e­dy Club with head­lin­er Brad Williams (a peren­ni­al Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val favorite of mine), the evening’s host intro­duced a gen­tle­man by the name of Andy For­rester. Not a name I rec­og­nized, and when he and his large frame came up on stage with his tan­gled mess of curly brown hair, miss­ing eye­brow pig­ments, busi­ness casu­al jack­et, and goofy grin, I thought for sure, this was the one time, the one and only time, that Cap City had failed to do its home­work with this big goof of a comic. 

By the end of Andy’s set which fea­tured hys­ter­i­cal bits about a miss­ing tor­toise, his demon­ic chil­dren (includ­ing one poten­tial ser­i­al killer daugh­ter), and his look”, I was sold (and with­out much of a voice left after hys­ter­i­cal­ly laugh­ing for 20 min­utes). All of the phys­i­cal attrib­ut­es that caused me wor­ry when he first stepped on stage are part of his set. In his trade­mark style, he’s quick to say I get it! I’ve seen myself in the mir­ror.” But lucky for me, I became an instant fan in August of 2018 and have been patient­ly wait­ing for his return to Austin (he makes his home with his wife and chil­dren in North Car­oli­na). That patience was reward­ed in ear­ly Sep­tem­ber when Andy came back to Austin to fea­ture for the fan­tas­tic Gareth Reynolds, and carved time out of his sched­ule to sit down with me to talk about some­thing we both love to talk about.….Rage Against the Machine. Hav­ing recent­ly trad­ed sto­ries with guest Leo Gar­cia about RATM, I was excit­ed when Andy start­ed in on what would be an epic Rage Against the Machine sto­ry (sor­ry, you’ll have to lis­ten for your­self). It launch­es our con­ver­sa­tion and sets the tone for the nat­ur­al con­ver­sa­tion­al­ist that For­rester can be.

For­rester’s start in per­for­mance was in improv and while he did gain valu­able skills from this time as an impro­vis­er, he laments his late start” as a standup com­ic. He spent some­where between 6 and 10 years doing improv before com­mit­ting to standup and, of this late start, he says no mat­ter when you start, you always feel like you should have start­ed soon­er.” One could argue that no mat­ter when you start, you even­tu­al­ly get to where you need to be, and when you live a clean life, odds are that you’ll get a long life to reach the goals you’ve set for your­self. Even with his goofy looks and his clean com­e­dy, you respect For­rester even more for mak­ing deci­sions to not drink, and not do drugs, some of the stan­dard trap­pings of the com­e­dy lifestyle.

No matter when you start, you always feel like you should have started sooner.
Andy Forrester

Speak­ing of the stan­dard trap­pings, go to most open mics, and even most show­cas­es, and you’re more than 95% like­ly to hear blue com­e­dy; some­times pro­fane, some­times raunchy, but gen­er­al­ly laced with a healthy dose of exple­tives. For­rester tried that approach, too, and while off-stage (par­tic­u­lar­ly if behind the wheel) he is more than will­ing to drop some saucy lan­guage, on stage, he real­ized fair­ly quick­ly that work­ing blue” did not suit him. It just.…didn’t work for me to be dirty. And it worked for me to be clean. I’m an Eagle Scout. I real­ly am an Eagle Scout.” We’re glad he made that choice, though I admit I did­n’t con­sid­er him to be either clean or dirty that first time I saw him. It was only in the midst of the inter­view that I real­ized that his com­e­dy was clean, which I think is exact­ly how you want it to be. You don’t want a com­ic to make a big dec­la­ra­tion in the mid­dle of their set that they’re clean (or dirty), you just want to enjoy the laugh­ter you get from hear­ing them perform.

It just....didn't work for me to be dirty. And it worked for me to be clean. I'm an Eagle Scout. I really am an Eagle Scout.
Andy Forrester

Andy has earned an impres­sive array of accom­plish­ments includ­ing work­ing with Louie Ander­son, Rita Rud­ner, Marc Maron, Greg Behrendt and Gilbert Got­tfried, and win­ning the 2008 title of Ulti­mate Com­ic in Greens­boro and 2013 World Series of Com­e­dy cham­pi­on in Louisville. But he’s quick to say 2019 has been an even more incred­i­ble year. He details for us what led to his Dry Bar Com­e­dy Spe­cial (you’ll recall that past guest LeAnne Mor­gan has her own Dry Bar Com­e­dy Spe­cial) released in August fol­lowed soon after with the record­ing of his com­e­dy album (yet to be released). It’s fas­ci­nat­ing to hear how just the right dose of hard work, luck, per­sis­tence, and tal­ent can get you these oppor­tu­ni­ties and For­rester pro­vides an in-depth case study to how it hap­pened for him. I think it will serve as a good les­son for those just start­ing out in their com­e­dy career. 

Speak­ing of tal­ent, For­rester has many tal­ents beyond standup com­e­dy: he is a tal­ent­ed artist (vis­it his Insta­gram account for a peek into his pen­cil and paper art­work), graph­ic design­er and self-taught web­mas­ter. His body of work real­ly goes com­plete­ly against one of the run­ning themes of his com­e­dy sets, and one of his best-sell­ing t‑shirts which is embla­zoned with I have no idea what I’m doing.” It does appear he knows, it’s just a lot more fun to think he doesn’t.

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Andy Forrester