After a few explosive shows in Changzhou and Suzhou, high energy comedian Steve Simeone is looking to tickle a few funny bones in Shanghai. He wraps up his China tour with three shows at Kung Fu Komedy starting tonight. Shanghaiist caught up with the funny man for a quick chat.
This is your first time in China. What are your first impressions of China? Is China what you imagined it would be?
Incredible. That would be the word. It’s a little bit overwhelming yet almost familiar. When you feel like coming to “China” as a country it’s overwhelming but then I get here and its just comics hanging out. I’m having a great time.
You have been doing great on stage this week. What is it about your material that is so relatable?
I have no idea but it’s awesome. I feel like I’m making friends on stage. I feel like I’m away at summer camp so far, everyone’s so much fun and I can’t wait to come back.
I guess the material is relating because I talk about my family and everyone has a family. It doesn’t matter where you grew up, everyone grew up and everyone wants to enjoy life and that is what my show is about.
The people are so nice here. We just lit off fireworks outside of the venue here in Suzhou. The security guard from the building next door came over and I thought “Oh no. He is going to tell us we can’t do this”. But no, he just said “hey, you can do it on the street.” Then he moved it 10 feet to the right.
A minute later we lit them off, there were explosions everywhere and when I turned around the same security guard was there laughing and holding a fire extinguisher, just in case we needed help. So nice.
A few years ago you tutored the WWE wrestler Rowdy Roddy Pieper in comedy. What were you trying to get across with him? What would you try to teach a new comedian?
I told him to have the confidence to be himself, and I would say that to any comedian. On the wall of The Comedy Store in Hollywood there is a quote that I love, it says “ “Everyone can have three minutes on stage, that doesn’t mean you have to be funny in three minutes but you have to be you in three minutes”. That is the secret to all great comedy. Just be you.
About a year ago you launched the now, very successful, “Good Times with Steve Simeone” podcast on Itunes. How has your podcast changed your comedy career?
It’s opened a lot of doors for me, it’s gotten me work. I’ve gotten into clubs in different cities based off listeners demanding clubs in their town book me.
As you mentioned you started your career working at the world famous Comedy Store in Hollywood, California. This is where people like Jim Carey, Sam Kinison, Jimmy Shubert, Ari Shaffir all worked as employees at the beginning of their careers. What is it about the Comedy Store that lets employees launch into successful comedians?
It’s the friendships and relationships that you form. Life is a team sport and comedy is the same. Working there is so difficult on your emotions that you learn to rely on your friends. You get exposed to the best comedians in the world. It’s like enrolling in the best and only comedy school in the world.
One of the main lessons I learned working the door is that everyone bombs and you shouldn’t be afraid of it.
What are you going to tell people about China when you get back?
Tell them they have to go. Fireworks are awesome.
Catch Steve Simeone at Kung Fu Komedy in three shows at The Camel this weekend.
Where: The Camel (1 Yueyang Road, by Dongping Road 岳阳路1号，靠近东平路)
When: Friday 8.30pm; Saturday 8pm, 10pm
Tickets: ￥170 (pre-sale, must be paid for prior to the day of the show); ￥200 (at the door)
BUY TICKETS HERE.