That Time I Bombed is where the Straight asks comedians about their life-changing shows, favourite comedy albums, and, a subject that any comedian will face at some point in their career, a time that they bombed on stage.
Who are you
I am Chris Locke. I am a somewhat affable, somewhat portly gentleman from deep in the woods. I grew up in the nude searching for honey and leaves to make some sort of sticky shirt.
Then, about 15 years ago, I started doing standup comedy. Now I lurch across stages and swagger abruptly in front of laughing people eating nachos! You want some sweat on those nachos? You got it. I am sweating!
These days, I am bald and I have a moustache. My wife likes the moustache. I think the moon should have a moustache.
First standup experience
My first standup experience was an open mic night I did in Toronto at a place called Einsteins in 1999. (The same year Prince was always yammering on about.)
I screamed too loud into the microphone and everyone went, “OUCH!” and “Goddamnit!” Then I went outside and poured honey and leaves all over myself. Honey pours slow.
Life-changing comedy show
When I was a teenager, I watched Richard Pryor: Live in Concert 100 times. He is the best man for the job that ever was. By far.
One time, I rewound a bit 10 times just to watch how he would stay in character for an act-out until every single chuckle was squeezed out of that theatre. Incredible. I’m going to cry just thinking about it.
God, life can be so beautiful sometimes, don’t you think? What are you wearing?
Top three comedy specials/albums
Okay, let’s talk turkey:
Richard Pryor – Richard Pryor: Live in Concert The explanation is above. But even if the only joke on it was his impression of his Grandma telling her family, “Now, don’t tell nobody” about their neighbour’s dessert having cockroaches in it, it would still be one of the best. VHS, baby!
Jim Gaffigan – King Baby This is the album that made me realize, “Oh, you can write one million punchlines per bit.” I don’t think I do that—I try—but it’s still very inspiring to think like, “Don’t let the audience breath!”
He comes out guns blazing, weird as ever with a great hat on, and the audience isn’t fully with him at first and he just beats them over the head more and more with incredible, hilarious nonsense until they’re dying. HUGE inspiration for me cause I’m kind of weird, too—or unique as I like to think!
I got to interview him at Just For Laughs in 2013 and we just riffed to the max and that was a blast.
My friend, Eddie, opens for him in L.A. and I tell Eddie to tell him about me all the time. Harland, if you ever read this, I like you!
All-time favourite joke or bit
Well, when I was really young—back in the 80s—I was still just a nude little boy wandering the woods. So, maybe I’d have to say that time I saw Kevin the Squirrel give Mr. Joshua the Owl a wedgie?
Or maybe, actually, it was that time Jessica the Sparrow landed on a tree branch right in front of me and told me that I was “funny…” Wait for it… “funny-LOOKING!” I was like, “Good one, Jessica!” And then I realized it was getting cold out. I love everybody.
Something you saw that made you laugh but probably shouldn’t have
One time I saw a hot dog cough. I laughed but… Let’s be honest, I should have called the police.
That time I bombed
One time, I headlined a show in Red Deer, Alberta, and no one could understand what I was saying and they were all talking to one other and partying anyway.
So then I got really sad and extremely drunk. (Burt Reynolds shots! Shout out to Red Deer!) And then some locals took me to a strip club.
There, I watched wasted men throw loonies at the strippers’ private parts and the strippers LIKED it! Then I thought, “Nope. I’m fine.”