NEW YORK, N.Y. — Comedian Jordan Pease started doing standup three years ago, but the 22-year-old New Jersey native already has a list of accomplishments that would make older performers jealous.
In 2012, Pease won the Funniest New Comic in LA competition and was a featured stand up performer in Punchline’s “Bay Area’s Best” showcase. This year he’s published Accidentally Okay, a memoir of his experiences in Verona, Italy. He’s gone from traveling for hours to perform a seven-minute standup run for free to being booked for week-long runs at major comedy clubs.
Yet of everything he’s achieved, Pease said that his proudest moment was when his mother came out to Los Angeles and saw how much he’s grown since he left home. Family is very important to Pease. “My grandmother still calls me with advice and encouragement before every big show,” he said.
Since a young age, Pease recognized the importance of laughter. “When I played soccer, I’d say anything to make the kids on the opposing team laugh and then go steal the ball,” he said.
Pease, who experienced many difficulties growing up, including the death of his father when he was a teen, also learned to use comedy as a coping mechanism. “I learned to laugh at everything,” he said. “Whatever happened, I’d turn it into a joke and laugh about it, have my family laugh about it.”
Pease is a gay comedian, but he doesn’t want to limit his audience by being categorized as a ‘gay comic.’ “There are a lot of great gay comedians in LA and New York,” Pease says, “but many of them focus on doing all-gay shows – you know, one straight host, five gay guys, and a lesbian. I don’t mind doing those when I’m asked, but I know that to get where I want to get, I need to learn how to make everyone laugh. Comedy is color blind, and if you can make anyone laugh, you’re going to get more work.”
About half of his routine relies on material from his childhood. “I can always fall back on my experiences growing up,” Pease said. “You can’t even imagine the stories I have from going back and forth between an alcoholic father in Jersey City and a mother in East Brunswick who was doing her best with three children.”
Pease left New Jersey for San Francisco after graduating high school, and moved to Los Angeles in 2011. He just started an East Coast tour, but Pease says that he’s noticed that New York and New Jersey audiences “love to see you push the envelope” and they want to hear more “personal stuff.” He added, “They love to hear about your experiences coming back to New York or New Jersey.”
Pease wants his audiences to laugh and forget about their problems for at least as long as his shows last. He also hopes that people will see him as someone who is working hard to achieve his dream, and maybe that will inspire some of them to go pursue their dream and find true happiness.
“I want every young person, gay or straight, short or fat, to leave my shows with hope believing they can do anything,” Pease said.
Pease has three upcoming Manhattan shows: tonight, Aug. 21, and next Wednesday, Aug. 28, at 9:30 p.m. at the Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W 53rdStreet (between 8th and 9th avenues); and Saturday, Aug. 24, at 5 p.m. at Stand Up Live NYC, 236 W 78th Street.
Next month, he will be performing for a week straight at the Laugh Factory at the new Tropicana on the Las Vegas strip from Sept. 2-8, with shows at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.
You can also find Pease online at http://thejordanpease.com/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/
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