Thursday, January 24, 2008

Comedian Spanky Brown gears up to headline The Comedy Zone on opening night

by Sara Abadi

“Man, I’ve got more drama than CBS daytime,” chuckles Spanky Brown as he describes his life as a comedian. “I’ve been married; I’ve been divorced. I’ve been married again and divorced again. My show is a time to listen to my problems and forget about yours.”

Growing up in the South and spending 40 weeks out of the year on the road have certainly provided Brown with material over the past 10 years. His crazy stories and hard work have paid off: Today, Brown performs all over the country and will even be headlining a major comedy club chain when the Comedy Zone opens in Chicago Jan. 25.

While flying to different cities -- Brown’s preferred form of travel, especially compared to the long drives he used to make -- to headline shows seems like the ultimate dream job, Brown keeps branching out to flex his comedic muscles. Brown has been featured on the Bob and Tom Show on XM and Sirius Satellite radio and was recently added to the Bob and Tom All Star Show. Brown also has plans to head out West for a potential stint on the Late Show with David Letterman and with hopes of getting a sitcom he wrote picked up.

Brown feels his humor transcends racial or age barriers and insists his comedy is for everyone. “I’m not a joke writer,” Brown says in a serious tone. “Part of being a good comedian is recognizing the joke in real life, but then painting the picture for the audience.”

Brown says his stories draw enthusiastic responses and positive feedback from fans, but modestly points out his stories are relatable. “It’s like R&B and county music,” Brown explains. “The styles are totally different, but really they’re the same: Someone’s always losing their stuff.” Brown prides himself on being able to connect to his audience regardless of what music they listen to.

While his stories and opinions on current events crack up audiences around the nation, Brown says he puts on a purely funny show. “I look up to guys like George Carlin and Richard Pryor,” he says. “I try to do comedy from a purist’s point of view: no frills, no props, just having a good time.”

To catch Spanky Brown and other hilarious acts, check out Chicago’s newest venue, the Comedy Zone (1030 N. Clark, 312-560-5137);