27 year old Clayton is a pretty swell guy who hung out and chatted with me over a session for his head shots. I've caught his act at my favorite funny bone joint, Helium, when he opened for Judah Friedlander and before he even opened his mouth I was in giggles. From his amazing hair to his insane Hawaiian shirt, this fella gets a crowd laughing easily just stepping onto the stage. Add that to his self-deprecating jokes and the fact that he sounds uncannily similar to Seth Rogan... let's just say you need to go check out one of his shows! We passed the time talking about his career as a comedian, his favorite person in the world (his grandma), the importance of smelling clean, and what's coming up for him soon.
Let's jump right in!
Me: Hey Clayton, how long have you been doing this? How'd you get started?
Clayton: I got into comedy almost 4 years ago. I've always loved comedy and I was told about an open mic at Nietzsches so I went there to check it out. It used to be email only and every time I tried to sign up, the person running the room would say it was full, so I found another open mic at Mr. Goodbar and started there. Now I run that open mic
M. Any highlights from the show last night? (Clayton performed at the Riviera Theater for the 8th Annual Big Lebowski Party before the flick.)
C. Uh, getting to perform in a theater was really cool. It was the first time that's happened. The most interesting thing I guess that usually the comedy portion of that show doesn't go well because the crowd just want to see the movie. So it was a surprise that the audience were invested
M. That's really great it went well. Did you like performing for a bigger crowd? I always got so nervous
C. It's funny, that wasn't the biggest crowd I've performed for but it was different because it was a theater so the sound was really spaced out. Performing in front a large crowd isn't as nerve racking as performing for 6 people.
M. Ha, no, I guess not for comedy. Have you had to do that or do you mean when you're bouncing ideas off people?
C. I've done shows In front of like 12 people before. At open mics it's very common to perform I front of 3 to five non comics.
M. Ever bomb?
C. I've bombed. I've bombed a bunch of times.
M. What's the worst/best part of all this?
C. Best part is when you do really well, it's one of the best feelings in the world. Like, if drugs feel as good as that you can understand why people do them.
The worst part is the feeling that you never know that you're going to do well. One guy said "comedy is the only job where you don't know if you can do it everytime."
M. That sounds like an anxiety attack to me. Perks of the job?
C. Meeting really good people that you've looked up to for years. Free drinks at places.
M. So that was your first show?
C. Paid show? It was a new faces show at Mr. Goodbar. I was probably a year in
M. How'd you do?
C. I had a good set. I was bad but I got decent laughs.
M. Tell me about a show you did where you walked off knowing you were da bomb dot com.
C. It was a showcase I did that was being recorded for the managers of the other helium clubs. And I remember just doing super well on it, got an applause break and they kept laughing. It was the best feeling.
M. What's an applause break?
C. When the crowd likes something you did to the point where they stop, laugh, and clap.
M. Ok, so it was as self-explanatory as I thought it would be!
C.It is but it's still hard to explain cause it just seems weird.
M. Is there anyone you consider a mentor now, or when you first started?
C. I would say Mark Walton has had the biggest influence on me in buffalo comedy. He gave me my first paid show and he's helped me a lot. He also put me in charge of Goodbar cause he was moving to New York. Weird Al Yankovich is also a big influence on me comedy wise
M. Who's someone you really liked opening for?
C. The coolest and nicest guy I've opened for was this Magician named Justin Wilman. He was super cool to hang out with me and friended me on Facebook like 2 months after the shows we did. He was the host of cupcake wars.
M. I know you're funny, but what's the best show you've ever seen?
C. Kyle Kinane like 2 years ago.
M. What's big and upcoming for you?
C. I'm opening for Kyle Kinane in March, he's probably one of my favorite comedians right now and as I mentioned he was the best show I've seen in person