Bubbs Harris – Punk Rock Comedian!
Bubbs Harris is a true inspiration. A man who knows what he wants out of life and went out in search of it. Overcoming obstacles and road blocks – bulldozing his way into the Comedy scene. A Punk Rock Comedian with a style that has been cultivated by society, and fine tuned into a lifestyle of greatness. Funny…yes, original…absolutely, that’s what you expect from a comedian, but he is much more than that, he has STYLE! And a lot of it. Don’t take my word for it. We asked this rising star a few questions, and I have to tell you in the simplest terms I can think … he’s just super awesome!
FLUNKROCK: Tell us how you decided to become a comedian.
Bubbs Harris: I’ve always been into comedy, in all forms. My mom would let me watch the Rodney Dangerfield showcases on HBO back in the 80’s, and I pretty much grew up in the golden age of sketch comedy. The 90’s was great for that. You had what I consider the best cast on SNL (Myers, Farley, Sandler, Meadows, Carvey, etc.), as well as shows like Kids in the Hall, The State and Upright Citizen’s Brigade that were way better than that Tim & Eric shit people watch these days. It wasn’t until I started discovering and watching George Carlin specials that I really got it in my head that I wanted to be a standup. The thing was, I grew up in a tiny Alabama town (Dothan), and the entertainment scene was, is and probably always will be nonexistent. I never thought I’d get to do it. Then, I moved to Florida and saw Carlin perform live, just a few months before he passed. After that, I had the itch. I still didn’t know how or where I was going to do it until I met my pal Ryan James, who was in a local band. He got me a gig hosting with some rock bands (still one of my favorite kinds of shows to do), and the rest is comedy history….within my mind. I also used to run a web magazine called The Salty Pirate with a couple comics from Baltimore. They thought I was really funny in the way that I wrote reviews and conducted interviews, so they said I should try it.
FLUNKROCK: What do you enjoy most about being a comedian?
Bubbs Harris: The laughs, man, the laughs. It’s like a drug. It’s also rather nice to have someone come up to me after the show and tell me how they could relate to the things I was saying. It’s nice to know there are other weird fuckers out there too.
FLUNKROCK: Tell us about your comedic style.
Bubbs Harris: Rock’N’Roll, Hoochie-Coo (laughs). I don’t know. You can pick up some of my influences, like Carlin, David Cross, Eddie Murphy, in my delivery and outlook, but I like to think that I’m doing something unique to myself. Due to my love of music (Heavy Metal & Punk Rock mostly), and background as a journalist, that works its way into my material often. I don’t aim to outright shock people with obvious cheap laugh ploys (abortion, rape, STD jokes), but I do bring up some sensitive subjects. I guess it’s all in the way people perceive it. I think plain old silly works way better than gross out, offensive humor. That isn’t to say I am a “clean comic”, though.
FLUNKROCK: What do you do if you have a heckler in your crowd?
Bubbs Harris: Annihilate them! I used to get flustered and it would mess me up, but after I started becoming more comfortable up there, it became second nature to shut hecklers down. For instance, I was once doing a show at Handlebar in Pensacola, FL with this band Mose Giganticus (Relapse Records), and this old drunk dude thought it was the question and answer period of the show, so he staggered up to the stage and started trying to become a part of the show. I gladly obliged him and proceeded to use my entire 15 minutes to screw with the guy. Turns out, my improved set was pretty damn entertaining, and the guy heckling ended up buying me some beers and MG merch after the show. Sometimes, a heckler can bring out the best in a comedian.
FLUNKROCK: What are your favorite cookies?
Bubbs Harris: I tend not to eat too much pastries and such. I’m a sour candy guy, but if I was to choose, I’d say Oreos, straight up.
FLUNKROCK: What is your outlook on being a comedian today in regards to 10 years ago?
Bubbs Harris: I’m only in my fourth year of being a comic, so I’m not sure about ten years ago. I do things a little differently than most comedians do these days. There are so many unwritten rules of comedy that everything is considered “hacky” these days, and no topic is okay to discuss. A lot of new comedians take their cues from podcasts or bullshit books like Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage, so they think that they have to follow these preset guidelines to preserve the dignity of the art of comedy. Personally, I think that’s a bunch of crap. I’m up there telling jokes, not competing in a fashion show, or at a job interview. Those ancient “rules” might work out for some comics, but as for me, I’ll wear whatever the fuck I want and say whatever the fuck I want unless asked specifically to do otherwise for some reason. I’ve done a million shows while wearing shorts, and not once have I had someone say, “You were really funny, but it was hard to hear you over your clothes”. I’m not worried about being a big star, I just want to tell jokes and have fun. I’m sure I’ll catch some flack for that, but it’s true. I think all comics should do it for themselves, not from what a podcast or blog says they should do. This mentality has served me rather well so far. DIY, or die.
FLUNKROCK: Have you coined the term “Punk Rock Comedian” or is that an actual genre?
Bubbs Harris: No, I didn’t coin it, and I’m not sure it’s an actual genre, but there are a lot of us out there. I’d say the top “Punk Comic” out there now is JT Habersaat (Altercation Records). He’s been flying that banner for a long time, and does a lot of cool stuff with that DIY/FTW mentality. I’m often considered a “Punk Rock Comic” due to my affiliation with the music and from doing so many shows with bands of that ilk, as well as being signed to a Punk Rock label. I’ve also been called a “Heavy Metal Comic” by some, much like Brian Posehn or Don Jamieson. I love both musical styles equally, and thrive on being a member of the small league of comics that can pull off performing at rock shows to bloodthirsty music fans. It also goes back to that outlook I have. I’m not going to spend the next 10 years working up a solid five minutes in hopes of open mic’ing my way to the top in some cutthroat comedy club. Instead, I’ll work extra hard to continue writing and performing quality material that I can shop around to dive bars and music venues. That’s what I’m all about, and if that makes me a “Punk Rock Comic”, so be it.
FLUNKROCK: Who are your favorite comedians out there?
Bubbs Harris: My favorite living comic is David Cross. Not only is he a friggin’ comedy genius, in my opinion, but he always sticks to his material, even if it isn’t always working so well. That is because he believes in what he writes and stands by it. Not enough comics do that these days. I love that guy. My all-time favorite is, of course, George Carlin. Other than that, the aforementioned JT Habersaat makes me giggle, as well as my good pals Matt Moseley and Chuck Diesel. I’d better also shout out to these great comics too: Anthony Taylor, Matt Ward, Karry English, Joe Pettis, William Masters, Bill Dykes, April Patterson, Mac Harde, Vaudeville Vinnie, David Abbott, Mercer Morrison, Jarrod Harris, Doug Canney, Romeo Divine, Tim Huff, The Howler Monkeys in Tallahassee and a couple of dudes from your neck of the woods (Baltimore), Justin Jones, Ryan Arvin and Matt Stovall. There are tons more, but you know, space and all.
FLUNKROCK: What is the most memorable (good and bad) thing that has ever happened to you during a performance?
Bubbs Harris: Let’s start with the bad part. I once did a show at a place in Pensacola called Play. This was a complete hipster D-bag bar, and the people there had no tolerance for comedy when they could be listening to the new Coldplay single, except when the bar owner went up there. They loved him (free rounds!). It was supposed to be a set lineup, but ended up becoming an open mic when a zillion other comics showed up. The guy hosting was a total dick who didn’t like me for some reason and kept pushing me back in the lineup so that I ended up going on at almost 1:00am on a Monday. By that time, the wax was wearing off on their handlebar mustaches and the $2 PBRs were dwindling, so they just weren’t having it. I also got wasted while waiting, so by the time I went up, I was in no mood to deal with people in skinny jeans, so I just cussed them up and down and made fun of them and left. In hindsight, that was stupid on my part. Since then, I just take each crowd with a grain of salt. As for the best thing, I’d just say that any time you have a good set and someone comes up to you after the show to shake your hand and talk to you is awesome. I just did a show with Don Jamieson (VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show), and that crowd was the coolest ever! I’d also say that one of the most memorable was when I was last in Columbus, GA. It was the last time I saw the late Allen Nasty (TwoThirteen). He was undoubtedly my biggest fan, and he was so pumped to see me. I’ll never forget the smile he had while standing right up front. Never.
FLUNKROCK: What do you perceive as the biggest obstacles about being a comedian these days?
Bubbs Harris: Sticking to your guns and ignoring the “rules” and “guidelines”. I’m also from a small town, with little to no comedy market, and no comedy clubs, so I have to work a lot harder to get my name out there. But as far as obstacles go, I don’t know. Hurdles, maybe?
FLUNKROCK: How would you define “having a successful career” as a comedian?
Bubbs Harris: For most, it’d be becoming a movie star or super rich. For me, as long as I can do what I do and enjoy myself while doing it, that’s all I can ask for. Success is an afterthought. I’m all about the high.
FLUNKROCK: If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and why?
Bubbs Harris: I think mankind is quite rapidly becoming stupider in all aspects of life and thought. Pretention runs rampant, and nobody is passionate about anything anymore. I’d change lots of things. For one, I’d make it illegal for dudes to wear Capri pants and sport layered haircuts. Have you ever seen a picture of the band Asking Alexandria? Disgusting.
FLUNKROCK: Do you believe in bad luck? Because this is question 13.
Bubbs Harris: If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have any at all.
FLUNKROCK: Tell us about your upcoming album.
Bubbs Harris: It’s called Comedy’s Not Dead, which is a play on the iconic album Punk’s Not Dead by The Exploited. I called it that because comedy has dipped drastically in the past decade or so. There are more and more comedians coming out of the woodwork, (you can tell that by the staggering amount of people who feel it necessary to put the word “comedian” in front of their name on facebook to clear up any confusion) yet fewer and fewer clubs are keeping their doors open, so we’re forced to go looking for alternate venues and stage time wherever we can. In small towns like Pensacola, where I live, when you tell people about comedy, they look at you like a weirdo. I recorded it all high-tech style with a Sony voice recorder on a stool at The Squeaky Lizard in Ocean Springs, MS. It isn’t the best production on the planet, but I meant for it to be that way. You see, I’ve heard of comics gathering 20 or 30 of their friends into a studio to record. That’s cool and all, I guess, but it is kind of like cheating. You’re guaranteed good laughs out of that, because your pals are going to back you up. That just seems like a rip-off to me. With this album, I was at a venue I’ve never played before, in front of a crowd that I’ve never met a single one of them. (I have since come to adore that venue and have made friends with that entire crowd, and I return often) That gives the record an authentic punk rock feel. It’ll be released this summer, probably July or August on the small punk label Born Dead Records based out of Columbus, GA.
FLUNKROCK: Anything else to add, before we wrap up?
Bubbs Harris: First off, thank you so much for your support. I dig the magazine, and will be keeping up with you guys. Also, keep an eye out for Comedy’s Not Dead and keep supporting live and local comedy in your town. You can stay in touch with me and all my shenanigans at the wonderful sites listed below. I have tons of cool shit lined up, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing you all soon enough. Cheers!
About the Author
Bass Player - Web Designer/Developer - Graphic Artist - Journalist - Photographer - Friend and Foe.