Shane Torres isn’t afraid to stand up for the Guy Fieri’s of the world, the folks just following their own muse, whether that’s frosted tips or just being the King of Flavortown. A comedian, Torres has a keen mind at exploring the more sublime moments in our society, in a way that makes it seem easy. You can watch his most recent Conan bit below, and check him out tonight at Monnik Beer Company featuring Goodrich Gevaart, Jacob Reber, Shelley Hoblit, and hosted By Kegan Kegley. We caught up with Torres to ask about getting into comedy, getting nervous, and Jean Claude Van Damme!
Never Nervous: What got you into comedy? More importantly, how did you take the first steps into performing live?
Shane Torres: I got in because I always wanted to do it, but I started in Portland after I moved there from Texas. Everyone pretty much starts in the same place in stand up and thats at open mics. It was the Hungry Tiger Too a restaurant on the South East side of Portland.
NN: Are you still nervous performing live? Do you have stage fright? How do you psych yourself up to perform?
ST: I still get a bit nervous on occasion. Secondly I would say I am a bit anxious, but not stage fright. To psych myself up I usually just yell at myself in the corner for half an hour.
NN: How do you write material? I mean that from a logistical standpoint: do you literally write and read back your material, or do you just have bullet points that you work from?
“Since there are no real shortcuts in comedy, it becomes in my mind an even more valuable thing to have a few mentors who can help guide you.”
ST: Creating material is a obstacle course so I think doing it a few different ways helps. I will sit and write. I will also bullet point or try and write from stage (just kind of playing jazz), but that can go very poorly.
NN: Relative to that, how much improv goes into your set and when do you know to employ that (if ever)?
ST: A fair amount of improv, but not a ton. I am a person who plans the set fail well.
NN: Is the comedy scene supportive? Are there people out there, bigger names, who kind of tutor you or help you along your path? How do you make and sustain those connections?
ST: I have been very grateful and lucky to have a ton of comedians look out for me and say positive things. Since there are no real shortcuts in comedy, it becomes in my mind an even more valuable thing to have a few mentors who can help guide you.
NN: What’s off limits, if anything?
ST: Nothing is off limits. Certainly some things are off limits to certain comedians. Meaning you need to be good enough to write a joke that it surpasses peoples anxiety about what the subject is.
“Nothing is off limits.”
NN: Have any of your bits (thinking here of your recent Conan stand up about Guy Fieri/Anthony Bourdain) ever responded to your work? Does it matter to you if they hear it?
ST: I know Fieri has heard about it and I am pretty sure he has listened to it. I have no idea about Anthony Bourdain, but if they hear it I think thats cool, but if not I am still proud of the bit. People seem to have responded to it
NN: On a scale of one to Jean Claude Van Damme, how would you rate your own ability to jump kick?
ST: My jump kick is split pants down the seem if I try it, thats how I would rate it.