Sawyer Stull: The Curbside Kid

February 15, 2022

Photo Credit

Brian Risch


Valerie Lopez


Sara Cline


If this week’s guest had been the lyri­cist behind the song Escape,” that per­son­al ad would go a lit­tle less like If you like piña coladas and get­ting caught in the rain,” and a lit­tle more like, if you like drink­ing while curb­side and watch­ing Guy’s Gro­cery Games.” No, real­ly: When Sawyer Stull isn’t host­ing and per­form­ing in shows around Austin, he’s kick­ing back on the curb with friends. It’s got­ten out of con­trol,” he jokes. Yes­ter­day, we brought a rug and a table out, we had a fire going, we’re play­ing backgammon…”

Grow­ing up, Stull didn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly come from a back­ground geared towards per­form­ing (though maybe a lit­tle geared towards his love of NASCAR and drink­ing in the street), but there were still inklings of a future career in com­e­dy. As a kid, I was des­per­ate for atten­tion,” he recalls. Grow­ing up [as] an ugly kid, you kind of have to have a good per­son­al­i­ty [and] find a way to make peo­ple laugh,” he mus­es. In addi­tion, he had a media diet of James Bond and Austin Pow­ers à la his father, as well as an expo­sure to the Blue Col­lar Com­e­dy Tour DVD via his cousins, leav­ing him enam­ored with Ron White. Still, as eager to make peo­ple laugh as Stull was, his jour­ney wasn’t one of those ones filled with encour­age­ments to try stand up. Instead, it’s just some­thing that sort of hap­pened one day.

After strug­gling with the com­pe­ti­tion in the copy­writ­ing job mar­ket (despite his adver­tis­ing degree) and fail­ing at being a rock star, Stull decid­ed to give com­e­dy a whirl. I was like, I always said I’d do this thing,” he shrugs, “‘So, let’s give it a go.’” After a few open mic attempts, the habit stuck. It’s the one thing out of all the things I tried that real­ly kind of felt most nat­ur­al or easy,” Stull explains. He fig­ures that he talks a lot any­way, so to get paid for that is a pret­ty sweet gig worth pur­su­ing. Plus, his mom always said he had a thing for instant gratification.

Of course, it wasn’t all smooth and instant­ly grat­i­fy­ing. Ear­ly on in his career, he recalls par­tic­i­pat­ing in a com­e­dy com­pe­ti­tion where he had to do ten min­utes. Wor­ried he wouldn’t remem­ber all his mate­r­i­al, he wrote his jokes on the back of a Sty­ro­foam cup. But I drank all my water before I went up,” he explains, “[so] I went to drink and you just heard emp­ty ice click around…” It was pret­ty mor­ti­fy­ing, but Stull’s luck was just about to turn for the better.

It's (standup) the one thing out of all the things I tried that really kind of felt most natural or easy
Sawyer Stull

After six months of per­form­ing in San Mar­cos, Stull moved to Austin — right around the time that the Fun­ni­est Per­son in Austin com­pe­ti­tion was gear­ing up to start. In line with his gen­er­al why not?” atti­tude, Stull fig­ured he might as well throw his hat in the ring. And though he didn’t man­age to advance, he still got quite a bit of serendip­i­ty: He was bestowed with the hon­or of Joke of the Night,” as well as the atten­tion of the man­ag­er at Cap City, which led him to an oppor­tu­ni­ty to host two shows at Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val. “[A]fter that night, I was just like, This is def­i­nite­ly what I want to do for the rest of my life and like, a high to chase.” Sure, Stull admits that “…[stand up] can be one of the worst feel­ings you have when it does­n’t go well. But,” he adds, “…when it goes well, there is real­ly noth­ing like it.”

Of course, hit­ting that momen­tum so quick­ly comes with its own set of prob­lems: Stull began to won­der if he was mak­ing any progress, or if he was just plateau­ing, doing the same thing over and over. “[Y]ou do this so many times a week that it’s impos­si­ble to see the for­est [for] the trees,” he admits. Of course, that momen­tum came to a screech­ing halt any­way thanks to oth­er machi­na­tions of the uni­verse… in the form of a nov­el coro­n­avirus. “[It was] a real kick in the teeth,” Stull remarks.

Even amidst the viral pan­dem­ic, Stull kept his com­e­dy mus­cles sharp, espe­cial­ly now that he’d made some friends in the scene. “[W]hen you’re hang­ing out with the fun­ni­est peo­ple and just try­ing to get them to laugh, it’s like, hey, you’re still kind of doing it and get­ting bet­ter in some aspect, you know, try­ing to flex a mus­cle.” Not only that, but he pre­vent­ed his com­e­dy chops from get­ting rusty and dusty by con­tin­u­ing to write every day. “[I]f you’re going to spend an hour in a day going to an open mic for three min­utes, you can sit in front of your com­put­er for an hour and just type some­thing and try that. And so, there’s no sense in stop­ping,” he rea­sons. Then once venues start­ed open­ing up, Stull recalls being so des­per­ate like a lit­tle fiend” that he would dri­ve to San Anto­nio every Fri­day for the Blind Tiger’s mid­night mic, just for the five min­utes in the base­ment of like, a chil­dren’s themed restau­rant. And maybe there are peo­ple there, maybe they’re not,” he adds, but I’m like, Who cares? I want to do this.’ So it was worth it.”

[If] you're not working on new material, it's like, ‘What are you working towards?
Sawyer Stull

Now that com­e­dy is back in the swing of things, Stull’s hav­ing plen­ty of fun (and anx­i­ety) run­ning shows. Cur­rent­ly, his favorite is Ground Floor at Hotel Vegas, which has new­ly come under his wing. “…[I]t’s just a very estab­lished show already,” he explains. Tay­lor Dowdy had been run­ning it [for] so long. And [so] it’s kind of like Dad gave you the keys to the car; don’t scratch it.” On top of that, he co-hosts Face/​Off, where comics trade mate­r­i­al and per­form each other’s jokes. You just see peo­ple do the same mate­r­i­al so much. I’m guilty of it; I know the jokes [that] I tell a lot,” he admits. “… And some peo­ple feel, like, I guess stale. I know I feel stale.” Plus, some of his favorite parts of his mate­r­i­al are tags that oth­er peo­ple gave him. “[S]o I’m like, Why not give peo­ple an oppor­tu­ni­ty to do dif­fer­ent mate­r­i­al?’” he says. And some­times they’ll just do it straight up, but our whole goal is to be like, No, take their jokes and make them your own.’”

Even co-host­ing the open mic at Kick Butt Cof­fee has come with its own set of insights. For exam­ple, Stull real­ized over the past year that going to every pos­si­ble open mic might not be the best recipe for com­e­dy suc­cess, after all. See­ing mic atten­dees at Kick Butt doing the exact same mate­r­i­al over and over with­out chang­ing any of the word­ing, he real­ized, “[If] you’re not work­ing on new mate­r­i­al, it’s like, What are you work­ing towards?’” Thus, Stull makes it a point to always have mate­r­i­al he’s actu­al­ly work­ing out and redraft­ing. More than that, Stull’s most valu­able phi­los­o­phy is to actu­al­ly have a life out­side of com­e­dy. “…[Y]ou can’t relate to an audi­ence when all you do is com­e­dy… You’ve got to be relat­able too and have expe­ri­ences and things to draw on,” he says sagely.

Giv­en how well comedy’s been going for Stull, we’re pret­ty keen to take his advice. So, you may just catch us kick­ing it curb­side and play­ing some backgam­mon too.

Fol­low Sawyer

Sawyer can be seen and heard:

  • Face/​Off (Vari­ety) — Co-host on First Fri­days of the month at Velvee­ta Room 
  • Ground Floor (Show­case) — Co-host on Sec­ond Fri­days of the month at Hotel Vegas
  • Kick­butt Open Mic — Co-host every Wednes­day at Kick Butt Coffee
  • Moon­tow­er 2022
Support Comedy Wham

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

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

Sawyer Stull