So, tell me how long had you been writing for music magazines prior to going into stand up?
Bubbs Harris: Not too long.I began writing for a now defunct heavy metal magazine called Explicitly Intense in early 2007. I had picked up a copy of the mag and there was a form to fill out for a free compilation CD. After noticing that they had a small staff and covered a lot of the underground stuff that I was into, I wrote a little note, as I couldnít afford my own computer at the time, asking if they needed writers, and stuck it in with the CD form. They called me about a month later, and so it began. Since then, Iíve gone on to write for more notable mags like AMP, Hails and Horns (for which I just did an interview with Dream Theatreís John Petrucci for the next cover story) and a few more.
Punk Globe: You were working with quite a few notable magazines. Was it hard getting on the staff?
Bubbs Harris: Not really. It took a while to get going with AMP and Hails, but mags like that have such large writing staffs, so it can take a while for them to find you something to do. When Explicitly Intense died out, I did a lot, and still do, for an online outlet Metal Exiles, with former EI co-editor Jeffrey Easton. I also used to run an online mag called The Salty Pirate, covering a lot of comedy, metal and punk, which could very well make a return some time soon. The thing is, a lot of these gigs donít pay, so you really have to be in it for the love of your music, which I always will be. I make a bit here and there, but Iím cool with never paying to go to shows or for music, unless the labels donít give it to me.
Punk Globe: Did you do reviews, interviews and articles?
Bubbs Harris: The first thing I wrote for Explicitly Intense was a Municipal Waste show review, which they never printed. After that, I moved into doing reviews and interviews. Iím pretty much 50/50 on metal and punk music, and I have been lucky enough to interview some of my favorite artists of all time, such as Rob Halford from Judas Priest, Kerry King from Slayer and Blag Dahlia from The Dwarves. I think my golden moment in journalism is my trilogy of interviews with Oderus Urungus from GWAR for Metal Exiles. Iíve also done some photography, but Iím still very much a novice. I do a lot of article style pieces for the Independent News here in Pensacola.
So, according to your bio you began doing stand up in 2008 what prompted the career change?
Bubbs Harris: George Carlin died. I was always into comedy growing up, and was always the funny kid. Growing up in the 80ís and 90ís, I had the pleasure of watching great sketch shows like Kids in the Hall and the glory years of Saturday Night Live. That was also the golden age of the standup comic. The thing is, I grew up in the shitty little town of Dothan, Alabama. There wasnít much of a scene for anything there, much less comedy, so I never though I would get a chance to do it. When I moved to Florida in 2007, just before starting the music writing thing, I got to see George Carlin live at the Saenger Theatre in Pensacola. I was dumbstruck. Here there was this man in his 70ís, still as sharp as ever. When he passed away, I figured that somebody had to take his place as Americaís hateful old bastard and call everyone out on their shit. The scene in Pensacola was non-existent at the time, so I started booking myself with bands that my friends were in. That is still my main form of gigging. I love to mix it up with the music crowds. Also, my old web mag, The Salty Pirate was run by myself and two comedians from Baltimore, Matt Stovall and Justin Jones. Those dudes always told me I should get out there and give it a try, since I often made them crack up with the shit I would say in reviews and the crazy interview questions I would ask. Now, I canít get enough of it. All of the bullshit and stress of life melts away when Iím on stage. Itís the greatest feeling in the world, other than being a parent and being in love.
Punk Globe: Did you know Lisa Lampanelli started her career in the very same manner. Doing articles and interviews with hair bands.
Bubbs Harris: I did. She wrote for Hit Parader and Rolling Stone, right? I love her style. I tried to email her manager about an opening spot when she was in Biloxi, MS last month. Never heard back, haha.
Punk Globe: Tell us about your first show. How did it go?
Bubbs Harris: My first time doing stand-up was at a club in Pensacola called Ready Room (now Club Ice. Jeez.) in late 2008. I hosted a show with three ďIndieĒ bands, Timberhawk (FL), Mr. Fahrenheit (FL) and El Cantador (AL). It was weird, seeing as how my comedy was heavier than anything the bands were playing, and I was doing short sets between each band, but the crowd was into it, and the legend of my aggressive comedy style began to grow from there.
Punk Globe: What is the Comedy Club circuit like in Florida?
Bubbs Harris: I wouldnít know. At this point in my career, having only been in the biz for a little over three years, I havenít been able to break into the conventional ďComedy ClubĒ circuit, yet. Those folks are pretty picky. I play a lot of alternative venues, like music clubs and dive bars ,which I like. My style of comedy is a little off kilter, so it tends to confuse a lot of the regular comedy crowds. That isnít to say that I wouldnít love to start appearing at the big clubs; It just hasnít gone down like that yet. As far as Pensacola goes, it sucks, so far. As I said before, when I began doing standup, there was no scene here at all. Last year, a bunch of comics began to come out of the woodwork as bars and venues began introducing open mic nights. Some of those have turned out to be pretty cool, but it is still very hard to get people in this town to take to anything that isnít wrapped in a cardigan and dipped in mustache wax. I currently run a weekly show at my favorite Pensacola bar, Big Easy Tavern, called Free Laugh Fridays. Itís been going pretty well so far.
Punk Globe: How long did it take you to start booking out of town gigs?
Bubbs Harris: I began venturing out this year, actually. I had done several shows in the Gulf Coast region since I started out, but it was May of this year that I traveled up to Columbus, Georgia to play a show with some of my friendsí bands. That show was fantastic, and I gained a huge following up there. After that, I caught the road bug and began looking into more touring. Iíve done some tours around the South-Eastern US and up the east coast with my good friends in the bands Nik Flagstar and His Dirty Mangy Dogs and Xscape Gote. I also have a few cool things lined up, including the Gulf Coast Crude Comedy Tour, starting in October with my good friend Karry English, as well as a potential West Coast jaunt with the metal band Poisonwood, early next year. I have also been in talks with comedian Matt Ward about joining up and doing a few dates on the Crackers of Comedy Tour, but none of that is official yet since itĎs a way off.
Has anyone from your area broke out big?
Bubbs Harris: Not that I am aware, at least as far as comedy goes. (We do have Roy Jones Jr.!)There are a few in the local scene that claim to have done all kinds of things, but it all remains to be seen. Not that I doubt any of it, I just havenít been confronted with proof. This one dude, Kris Wernowsky, opened up for Brian Posehn when he came through, and Posehnís tour mate Jeremy Essig took a liking to Kris and coaxed him into moving out to St. Louis to give it a try in a more comedy friendly city. This was a short time ago, and I wish Kris all the luck in the world. Heís a very funny guy and has tons of potential.
Punk Globe: How do jokes about RepubliKKKans go over in Florida?
Bubbs Harris: I think that depends on the joke and the crowd. I myself donít often venture into political territory, as I pay very little attention to any of it, but a few of the local acts do. Sometimes it kills, sometimes it bombs. Pensacola is a very pretentious and PC town, but there hasnít been too bad of a reaction to anything us comics have done. Well, on second thought, I did do a show in Ft. Walton Beach, FL with Kris Wernowsky and Chris Stokes at a Blues/Jazz club. Most of the folks in the joint were over 40 and had no idea what us young fellows were talking about, but Stokes does a lot of political jokes, and he had this one lady outraged. She started crying and asked the club owner to toss us out. He didnít, and I have to give it up for Stokes for making a lady cry, and he was the opener! That was nice lube for me to slide in with jokes about retards and cripples.
Punk Globe: Have you booked shows outside the state of Florida?
Bubbs Harris: Sure. Iíve played venues in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and more of the Southern states. I really want to make it out west soon. It's also important for comics to work in New York, so hopefully that dream will be realized sooner than later.
Punk Globe: Who are some of your favorite Comedians?
Bubbs Harris: George Carlin, of course. I also love Kyle Grooms, who has been very encouraging and supportive. Other than that, I am big into David Cross, JT Habersaat, Louis CK, Doug Stanhope, Eddie Murphy, Roseanne Barr, Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford and way too many more to list. I am also amazed by the work of Eugene Levy and Danny DeVito. Those guys are wonderful comedy writers and actors who donít get as much respect as they should. Iíd also like to mention one of my favorite new comedians, who also happens to be from Pensacola, whom Iíve done many, many shows with, Matt Moseley. This guy was born to be a standup comic and never leaves me in less than stitches when I see him perform. Watch out for him.
Punk Globe: Have you ever thought to, or have you ever auditioned for shows like "Last Comic Standing" or "America's Got Talent"?
Bubbs Harris: I have thought about that. LCS would be really cool, but most of my material couldnít be cleaned up for television, which also cancels out AGT. Thatís not completely out the window though. I would like to go on AGT or American Idol as a singer, just to show the world how easy it is to sound like shit, singing terrible music and become famous.
Punk Globe: What are your thoughts on the following?
Bubbs Harris: Iím in no position to talk bad about any comic, but I will answer these as best I can......
Don Rickles - Love the guy. One of the originators of insult comedy and the bane of hecklers around the world. So much respect for Don Rickles.
Louie Anderson - Louie has been around forever and has accomplished a lot in the business. Heís still going strong too.
George Lopez - Not a big fan, but my kids love a few movies with him doing voiceover work, so Iím getting used to him more. Iím just not a huge fan of comics who play on their ethnicity too much.
Joan Rivers - Canít hate on Joan. She was on the front lines for female comics and still is. Sheís built an empire for herself, and you have to respect that.
Paul Provenza - Heís one of those comics that has managed to stay under the radar, but is really good. I really dig his work as an interviewer of other comics.
Kathy Griffin - I was never a big fan of hers, personally, but I respect the fact that she has forged on through a lot of bullshit in her career. She was great in Muppets From Space.
Eddie Griffin - I saw Eddieís new special on Netflix a few weeks ago, and it was a bit disappointing. It wasnít that the material wasnít good, it just seemed that he was not quite there mentally. However, DysFUNKtional Family is one of the greatest standup films of all-time, in my opinion.
Eddie Izzard - I love Eddie Izzard. From his film work, to his standup, Eddie is a guy who fears nothing and will take any chance he wants to.
Jeneane Garofolo - Man, it may sound strange, but I had the biggest crush on her when I was coming up. Way before I saw any of her standup, I dug her work on television and in film. She was wonderful in Mystery Men and Clay Pigeons. I was really attracted to her because she was so anti-chick, with that wry sense of sarcasm. Iíd love to work with her someday, though that crush has faded over the years.
Punk Globe: Any websites that readers can find out more about you?
Punk Globe : Any plans to come to the West Coast?
Bubbs Harris: Indeed. Most of the mags I write for are based out of California, and Iíve been threatening to head out there for a while to visit and seek out some shows. I have some good friends in a band from Hollywood called Rusty Eye, and we have been talking about combining the mighty powers of comedy and metal pretty soon. Other than that, I mentioned hitting the road with Poisonwood when we get the details sorted, and that will probably be a West Coast jaunt. Iíd actually love to move out there, to Cali, but I have to convince the wife first. Pensacola may be a small town with a hit or miss scene, but itís a beautiful place to live and raise kids, which I have two of.
Punk Globe: What is in store for you in the future?
Bubbs Harris: Lining up as many tours and shows as possible. Iíve been doing well with playing to rock crowds, so Iíll definitely be doing a lot of mixed bills. I also plan on submitting to a few of the American comedy festivals this year. Cape Fear Comedy Fest would be a great one to hit. As far a the journalism front is concerned, I have a cover story with Dream Theatre coming up in issue #24 of Hails and Horns, and I just spoke with Misfitsí PR dude about covering them for an upcoming show in Pensacola. That will be a dream come true. I will also be recording my debut standup record, titled ďComedyís Not DeadĒ, when I return to Columbus, GA this winter. Iíll release the album on the small imprint Born Dead Records, which is run by my good pals from the legendary horror punk band TwoThirteen. That should be released in spring of 2012.
Punk Globe: Do you have a New Years Show booked?
Bubbs Harris: Not yet, but Iím open to suggestions.
Punk Globe: Any last words for Punk Globe readers?
Thank you so much for the interview and the support! Much like music, underground comedy is out there and takes a little digging to find, but is more often than not worth the dig. Check me out at www.bubbsharriscomedy.com
, and spread the gospel. Also, look for Bubbs Harris (Comedian Ordinaire) on Facebook and click that "Like" button. Cheers!