Local comedians balance family, dreams

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SALT LAKE CITY — There are dozens of local stand-up comedians hitting stages up and down the Wasatch Front.

On a recent Wednesday night at Wiseguys in West Valley City a number of local comics are present; some just starting out, others trying to expand beyond Utah. About a dozen comics are preparing to try out some new material.

Whether they are experienced or new, it’s easy to see that comedians like attention.

"When I was growing up, I was always kind of entertaining people,” comedian Spencer King said.

King has been at it for about 10 years.

"There's really nothing that can compare to the rush that you get when somebody laughs at a joke," King said.

But when you're a husband and father, which King has been since the birth of his 6-month-old son, there can be added challenges.

"Here's something that nobody told me,” King said on stage. “Nobody told me that babies come with little razor blade fingernails."

Being away from your family, to go and do a gig, and be there for four to five days, depending on how long, how many nights you're performing, it can be tough on your family.

–Spencer King

And that isn’t referring to being a stay-at-home father by day.

"Being away from your family, to go and do a gig, and be there for four to five days, depending on how long, how many nights you're performing, it can be tough on your family," King said.

King said he pursues the occasional road trips to work toward his ultimate goal.

"I would love to write for like a late-night talk show, or a sitcom, or something like that,” King said.

Mike Grover also has a goal of becoming a comedy writer.

"You see those bumper stickers with, like, the stick figure families,” Grover said to preface one of his jokes. “I'd like to get, like, the biggest red marker I can find, pick one of the kids at random and just cross him out. I don't know if they'd take it as, like, a threat.”

Being single and younger, he's making the leap — preparing for a move to Los Angeles

Grover said he spends a lot of time worrying about what life will be like when he arrives with no job and no major connections to the local scene. He's one of the hundreds who head there with the dream of making it work.

"Like, if you take away being from Utah and being raised Mormon, like I’m pretty much the same as every other guy, trying to make it in comedy," Grover said.

He does have a unique perspective he can use on stage.

"When I drive and get tired, I like to get a coffee,” Grover told the audience at a recent performances. “I don't drink it, because I’m Mormon. But the pure rush of adrenaline that I get from just buying a cup of coffee — that'll keep me awake for hours."

Doing comedy is hard, but King and other comics agree that a positive response from the audience gives them perspective.

"I think it's worth every struggle, to hear that laughter, when you tell a joke,” King said.


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Mike Anderson


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