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This interview was done for the amateur comic website "Professional Jackass" in October, 2005 and can be found at their website along with other related stories at


Ryan Wingfield was born an unloved middle child in Alaska. I hate him because he's polished, fit, and doesn't write down his jokes. I interviewed him, hoping to find his Achilles heal so that I can destroy him.

PJ: How long have you been performing?

RW: I did my first open mic about a year and a half ago. I started working as an MC a couple of months later, but I've only been going out on road gigs for about six months.

Most of my road gigs have been Tribble gigs, which normally means a small bar in a remote town. Sometimes those can be really rough crowds, but other times they're great. The first road trip I ever did I was the feature and the headliner was running late. So the bar owner told me to do my set, and if the headliner wasn't there when I finished I was to fill until he got there. I only had about 30 minutes of material at the time, but I ended up being on stage for two hours. I filled by talking to the audience and ad libbing my way through topic to topic.... doing improve and anything else I could think of to keep them laughing. I'll admit a lot of it wasn't that good, but I ended up with another 10 minutes of solid material it, and the bar owner gave me an extra fifty bucks for my effort.

PJ: Why did you start performing?

RW: When I was a kid I always wanted to be a stand-up comic, but I grew up in Alaska so there wasn't much opportunity to try it out. I eventually gave up on my dream until I came to Boise. Someone told me about a comedy club and I decided to check out a few shows. After seeing some of the comics at open mic I thought I'd give my childhood dream a try and I haven't looked back since.

PJ: Did you try out at all in Alaska before coming here? Have you ever been back to Alaska to perform?

RW: The most I ever tried comedy in Alaska, was when I was a class clown in school. However most of my jokes tended to annoy people rather than make them laugh, so I never tried any actual stand-up. I don't think I would mind going back and doing comedy, but it's not high on my "to do" list.

PJ: How do you write? Do you sit down and write on some schedule, do you wait for inspiration, or something else?

RW: I probaly write comedy completely different from any other comic. I hardly ever write anything down. The few times that I've tried my hand hasn't been able to keep up with my head. Instead what I do is say my set out loud to myself. If a line doesn't come out right I'll start from the begining and try again until it does sound right. Normally I can create and memorize a five minute set in about thirty minutes by doing this. Then I repeat the material over and over to fine tune it for stage. Because I write this way I do almost all of my writing while driving alone in the car.

It's the only place where I feel comfortable enough to talk out loud without worrying about someone overhearing me. Ocassionally I'll notice someone looking at me funny at a red light, but then I just grab my cell phone and pretend I'm talking to someone. I try to do this every day on my way to and from work. It's a great way to get through the commute.

PJ: That's unusual among comics. You have a bit in your act about going bald, because baldness runs in your family. Does Alzheimer's run in your family, and are you worried about losing all your material if you start forgetting things in old age?

RW: Alzheimer's isn't a family trait, but a bad memory is. On rare ocassion I'll forget a joke that I wrote. Maybe a tag or a callback, but most of my material I work on until I'm ready to perform in front of an audience. Most of those shows I capture on tape, so I do have a record of my material, just not very much of it is on paper.

PJ: Has your family heard your comedy yet? If so, did they like it? If not, are you nervous about them hearing it?

RW: My parents have requested tapes of my shows from the moment I told them I was doing comedy. For their credit they have been very supportive of what I do, but I can tell my mom is a little uneasy about some of my jokes which she thinks are borderline "toliet humor." I guess there's just something about a joke where my girlfriend catches me peeing in the shower that makes my mom uneasy. Go figure. In fact after I sent them the last tape of my material my mom wrote me an e-mail that included a list of clean topics that she would like me to develop jokes on. On the other hand I think my dad really likes my "inapropriate material." Particularly when I encourage the men in the audience to give their wives a dutch oven.

PJ: That's funny because you are known as one of the "cleanest" comics in town. Speaking of which, have you always worked clean, or did you have a "blue" phase?

RW: I never tried to write clean comedy or dirty comedy. I just write what I think is funny, and it comes out pretty clean, because that's who I am. On occasion I'll write a joke that comes from the "dirty" part of my brain, but I don't often use those jokes because they don't fit in with the rest of my set. I basically save those jokes for when I'm in front of a rowdy crowd who doesn't respond well to my "clean" material. Sometimes you just have to give the audience what they want.

PJ: What other questions should I have asked you?

RW: You never asked me what's my favorite flavor of soda. It's orange by the way.

PJ: And on a similar note: do you like pie?

RW: Pie is good, but nothing compares to cake. I think cake is the best food ever invented. All your tasty carbs, mixed in with a week's worth of sugar. I consider myself a healthy eater, but if I'm surrounded by cake I will eat it non-stop until it is gone.

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