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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