Brad Williams: From Daddy Issues to Fatherhood

October 13, 2021

Photo Credit

Brad Williams


Valerie Lopez


Lara Smith

2021 Moontower Series

2021 Moontower, in its 10th year, came back strong with a roster of 4 full days of comedy, film, live podcast, and foosballing. We're featuring our favorite conversations from this year's festival this month. Enjoy!

It’s a Fri­day after­noon in the thick of the Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val, and on this evening Brad Williams will head­line the State­side The­atre. Despite this fact, paired with our knowl­edge that he was up late the night before doing his best Eddie Ved­der at The God­damned Com­e­dy Jam, he has tak­en time out of his sched­ule to sit down with us and talk com­e­dy, life, and every­thing in between.

Brad Williams Headlines at Stateside Theater (Live at 2021 Moontower)
Brad Williams performs at The Goddamn Comedy Jam (Live at 2021 Moontower)

If you’re look­ing for the often-expect­ed tale of strug­gle, hard­ship, and emo­tion­al bag­gage that led some­one to com­e­dy, this ain’t your guy. Brad Williams describes his child­hood as great and speaks of his par­ents with warmth and rev­er­ence, but this should come as no sur­prise. Williams alludes to such an upbring­ing in his 2016 release Dad­dy Issues, and a father that pre­pared him ear­ly on for adver­si­ty. He may be our first guest to ever describe their past, not future, as opti­mistic.”

Grow­ing up in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Williams was an active kid vot­ed Most Like­ly to Become Famous in school. He loved com­e­dy and watched a ton of stand up, but he nev­er viewed it as some­thing he could do stat­ing, I was always fun­ny, but I nev­er thought I could make a liv­ing being fun­ny.” Williams adds, It’s one of those jobs where you’re like, well no one actu­al­ly does that.” But some­times luck strikes when you least expect it and when Williams was picked out of a rather uncom­fort­able Car­los Men­cia crowd to come on stage fol­low­ing a slew of midget jokes,” Williams answered his ques­tions hon­est­ly, but with such humor that the crowd laughed even hard­er. That feel­ing of those laughs hit Brad Williams and let him know stand up was for him. He told Men­cia that night he was going to become a come­di­an, and with that a once-thought unat­tain­able goal became a pas­sion­ate pur­suit. But it wasn’t just luck that would make this new dream pos­si­ble, and he knew it. Williams hit the open mic stages hard and a year and a half lat­er when Men­cia returned he remem­bered him and asked if had con­tin­ued the pur­suit. Pur­suit was an under­state­ment. Williams was so ded­i­cat­ed that he once stopped in the mid­dle of giv­ing a state­ment to police at a traf­fic acci­dent to run inside and do his open mic slot. 

I was always funny, but I never thought I could make a living being funny.
Brad Williams

The ded­i­ca­tion paid off because that night Men­cia gave Brad Williams his big shot, five min­utes open­ing the show, let­ting the audi­ence decide if that hard work had tru­ly paid off. You can guess the answer. But Williams nev­er seems to for­get for a sec­ond how grate­ful he is to have been giv­en those chances. He still seems in awe of his cho­sen career and how for­tu­nate he and his com­e­dy col­leagues are to do what they do. Talk­ing about the Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val he says, You come to this fes­ti­val and you see so many tal­ent­ed men and women that we all kind of get to look around and be like, Can you believe we’re actu­al­ly doing this shit?’ Like we’re actu­al­ly doing this and mak­ing mon­ey and sup­port­ing fam­i­lies with jokes.” 

Now that his com­e­dy tenure is old enough to vote, that’s right…he’s into his eigh­teenth year of com­e­dy as of the post of this arti­cle, Williams remem­bers those men­tors, like Car­los Men­cia, who gave him his big break, and makes sure he pays it for­ward. That feel­ing of pay-it-for­ward and men­tor­ship has also helped pre­pare Williams for the biggest men­tor role of his life. In Jan­u­ary of 2020, Williams and his wife wel­comed a baby girl into the world. In the midst of pater­ni­ty leave, the pan­dem­ic hit and in true opti­mist nature, Williams tried to look at the sit­u­a­tion as a rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to spend unprece­dent­ed time with his new­born daugh­ter. One big thing that father­hood has revealed Williams states, “…you become more in tune with your emo­tions because when you have kids you tru­ly care about some­thing more than your­self.” Williams seems to ful­ly embrace all the emo­tions being a new father brings to the table.

…you become more in tune with your emotions because when you have kids you truly care about something more than yourself.
Brad Williams

Before I wind this arti­cle down and let you get to the audio, I must tell you about some­thing of a real-life fact check the uni­verse deliv­ered to us dur­ing this inter­view. Lat­er in the record­ing you will a voice say, I know him.” Many times, fans will stop to say hi dur­ing an inter­view, it’s espe­cial­ly com­mon in the beau­ti­ful­ly relaxed envi­ron­ment of Moon­tow­er. This was not the case. The voice you’re hear­ing was actu­al­ly that of Jeff Hass. He and his father Jer­ry Haas coached Brad Williams (pic­tured below) along with Jeff’s broth­er, Evan, on the North Orange Coun­ty YMCA Bas­ket­ball Super­stars in 1993. What are the odds? Hass also con­firmed Williams’ state­ment that he had an amaz­ing child­hood and added he was a real­ly good point guard. If you’re won­der­ing we did make sure the two got in touch with one anoth­er fol­low­ing our interview. 

Brad Williams (front row-center) on the Superstars North Orange County YMCA Team (Photo Courtesy of Jeff Hass)

I’m not sure the exact Brad Williams we would have met in Moontower’s past, but the one we met this year is a kind, thought-pro­vok­ing, heart­felt, and hilar­i­ous guy you’d want to be friends with (warn­ing: he will judge your piz­za choic­es). A guy with a future that seems boundless.

Fol­low Brad

Brad can be seen and heard:

  • Pod­casts — About Last Night (100s of past episodes with Adam Ray)
  • Com­e­dy Albums/​Specials — Com­ing Up Short (2011); Fun Size (2015); Dad­dy Issues” (2016)
  • Check his web­site for tour dates

A spe­cial thank you to Jeff and Jer­ry Hass for pro­vid­ing the sto­ry of Brad’s time on the YMCA bas­ket­ball team Super­stars and the pho­to from 1993.

Brad Williams