Jacob Erdman: Keep Swimming, Globally

November 7, 2021

Photo Credit

Jacob Erdman

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Richard Goodwin

Listen

We love when a guest enjoyed their first Com­e­dy Wham Presents inter­view expe­ri­ence enough to come back for a sec­ond round. For return­ing guest Jacob Erd­man – per­form­ing in town for the 2021 Alter­ca­tion Com­e­dy fes­ti­val – the con­cept of tak­ing mul­ti­ple runs at endeav­ours seems to be in his blood.

In our pre­vi­ous con­ver­sa­tion with Erd­man, he extolled the virtues of always be record­ing”, and keep­ing mov­ing like a shark”. Erdman’s pro­fes­sion­al life has cer­tain­ly giv­en him the oppor­tu­ni­ty to prove his ded­i­ca­tion to the lat­ter. The 2 year span sep­a­rat­ing our talks has seen no small amount of trav­el, a career change, and all the while Erd­man has main­tained a focus on not only build­ing his own skillset, but sup­port­ing the com­e­dy scenes he inhab­its as well.

More on the first two life events in just a moment; for now, let’s take a sec­ond to cov­er a bit of the here-and-now. Erd­man con­tin­ues to grow his pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny, 970 Com­e­dy, and con­tin­u­al­ly reach­ing out for comics to per­form in Ft Collins, Col­orado. I sup­ply room and board for trav­el­ing comics,” he proud­ly notes, with an RV that they stay in… and three rooms for shows month­ly.” With trav­el costs no small part of the chal­lenge for per­form­ing on the road, it’s an entic­ing offer indeed. It’s just one of an ever-expand­ing ways Erd­man wants to make the expe­ri­ence of play­ing – or watch­ing – com­e­dy as pain­less as possible. 

I would say 100% of my jokes are predicated on real life experiences
Jacob Erdman

It would be impos­si­ble to men­tion trav­el” with­out delv­ing for a bit into Erdman’s own recent changes of locale. After exit­ing his for­mer posi­tion at Air­bus, Erd­man hit the road, fly­ing from locales domes­tic (like Atlanta) to exot­ic. In the sec­ond cat­e­go­ry, he shares his trav­els across Cam­bo­dia and Chi­na, with the cul­ture shock that being a per­former can bring, regard­less of the size of their fol­low­ing. That’s not to say his per­for­mances for Chi­nese audi­ences went flaw­less­ly: cue one sto­ry of being pelt­ed with beer cans for mul­ti­ple min­utes after a par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­liked joke!

Inch­ing his way clos­er back to state­side, Erd­man also spent a stint in Cos­ta Rica where – after explain­ing his with­draw­al symp­toms” due to lack of stage time – he nego­ti­at­ed a gig with a semi-dis­tant rela­tion who agreed to grant room and board in lieu of cold hard cash pay­ment. Post-that he hopped through Pana­ma as well, and per­formed at hos­tels. At this point I think we can pass the ver­dict on our ear­li­er ques­tion: Erd­man is a ver­i­ta­ble land-shark, always in motion. It’s part of the secret sauce behind his mate­r­i­al as well. I would say 100% of my jokes are pred­i­cat­ed on real life expe­ri­ences,” he notes, urg­ing fel­low comics to get out there and expe­ri­ence life.”

If all this talk of trav­el sends a minor chill down your spine, it’s at this point we should note that this was large­ly in 2019, with Erd­man return­ing to the US right around the begin­ning of COVID land­ing here. It’s a time that will remain marked in all our mem­o­ries, but cer­tain­ly so in Erdman’s case: he came down with the virus imme­di­ate­ly on return­ing in March 2020, and relates his fear that he was an ear­ly super spread­er” across Iowa (and even San Antonio…the man does trav­el a lot!).

After being knocked on his butt” for sev­er­al days, Erd­man – in shades of 28 Days Lat­er – to a changed world, where COVID had tak­en over all of the land­scapes, com­e­dy includ­ed. As we know of Erd­man, he is a big sup­port­er of his com­e­dy com­mu­ni­ties, and wasn’t going to let a pesky world­wide pan­dem­ic get in the way. Armed with an FM trans­mit­ter, he set out doing park­ing lot shows, one of the many cre­ative ways that comics tried to give back (and keep from dip­ping into sav­ings) in those ear­ly shut­down days. As they say, nei­ther rain nor shine would stop him from per­form­ing: I’ve done com­e­dy in a bliz­zard just hold­ing an umbrel­la. And I was like, Dude, if that’s not a comedy…”.

Thank­ful­ly, Erd­man made it through with both his health and love of com­e­dy intact, and as the world slow­ly piv­ots back to nor­mal, he’s con­tin­ued his break­neck pace of per­form­ing. In his cur­rent pro­fes­sion­al posi­tion in mort­gage inspec­tion” (I won’t pre­tend to ful­ly under­stand what that is), trav­el is again the order of the day, and he’s already put 50,000 miles on his vehi­cle between March and Octo­ber of this year. 

I've done comedy in a blizzard just holding an umbrella
Jacob Erdman

From San­ta Fe to Sedona, and all over the south­west, wher­ev­er his day job takes him, Erd­man finds a way to get on stage at night. And, as we pre­vi­ous­ly not­ed, he’s always record­ing. Whether he’s in top form, or giv­ing away his free show mate­r­i­al” (as he describes it), the tape is run­ning, giv­ing him a chance to ana­lyze after the fact, opti­mize, and improve. 

As we men­tioned up top, Erd­man is also con­sis­tent about apply­ing that per­son­al rig­or to sup­port­ing oth­ers. In case his world­wide itin­er­ary didn’t blow your mind, we com­plete­ly omit­ted the bit where he served as a des­ig­nat­ed school sub­sti­tute for many pan­dem­ic-months (which, like dog years, can seem expo­nen­tial­ly longer). Known as Mr. E” (we can only assume he didn’t let slip his exist­ing nick­name: Bird­man”), he made a point of try­ing to make the expe­ri­ence fun – dig­i­tal learn­ing or oth­er­wise – and act as a role mod­el for the kids. Being a pos­i­tive male influ­ence in that set­ting is…very impor­tant for me,” he relates. 

It’s safe to say that being a pos­i­tive influ­ence in gen­er­al is core to Erdman’s phi­los­o­phy, and as we close on his sec­ond time with us, it’s a warm wel­come from the many months of iso­la­tion many of us expe­ri­enced. He’s work­ing non-stop, in both his day-and-night pro­fes­sions, and is always at the ready to help share in – and guide oth­ers to – his suc­cess. We urge folks to get out to Col­orado, whether on-stage or in the audi­ence, where no doubt Erd­man will be wait­ing with open arms to wel­come you.

Of course, with the way he trav­els, keep your eyes peeled wher­ev­er you are…Erdman just might pop up around the next cor­ner in your town. 

Fol­low Jacob

Jacob can be seen and heard:

  • Pro­mot­ing com­e­dy in Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Per­form­ing and sup­port­ing The Com­e­dy Fort in down­town Fort Collins
Support Comedy Wham

If you'd like to support our independent podcast, check out our Patreon page at: Patreon.com/comedywham .

You can also support us on Venmo or Paypal - just search for ComedyWham.

MORE ABOUT
Jacob Erdman