Mark Twain said that humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.
But for Anthony Krayenhagen – a Ceres-raised comedian now residing in South Manteca – it eclipses the concept of a blessing. It’s a way of life. A chance to find the beauty or the horror in any situation and get a laugh out of it – even if it’s something that most people would find crude or offensive.
No, you’re not going to want to take your grandmother to see him perform.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Krayenhagen is blessed with the ability to work the stage and the crowd like he was involved in a conversation – the laughs being the standard responses that he waits for.
He talks about his relationship with his girlfriend. He talks about people at work that enrage him. He talks about how the day-to-day tasks at times make life seem unbearable – and he does it all while eliciting gut-busting laughter from the people that come to see him perform.
The Bulletin sat down with him to find out what life is like for an up-and-coming (or possibly even arrived) comic and what goes into preparing his set:
Some of the themes in your bits reference pop culture. Do you pay attention t what’s going on in the world?
“I’m kind of a non-topical humor guy – I don’t watch the news and wait for things to happen and think, ‘I’ll talk about this.’ I’ve never really done that. But we do reference things like that on the podcast – get material that we’ll talk about.”
What is it like being on stage and do you have to create a persona?
“It’s a different world, and for the most part it’s how really are. It’s not just a way to get fans and to get people to like your material. You’re getting people that pay to go to a show to see you, and that’s a great feeling.”
How do you deal with people that think that you’re too vulgar, or deal with people that don’t like the material that you’re talking about?
“When you see that it’s going to be negative, you have to take a ‘who cares’approach. I’m not going to be apologetic for it. You really don’t have to listen to it – that’s what great about the podcast is that people actually have to click the link if it’s something that they want to listen to it.”
Who were your influences growing up?
“Patrice O’Neal, Chris Rock. Jim Norton.”
Comics in the Central Valley all seem to know one another. What is it like going to shows of others to see them perform?
“It’s boring. You don’t like to laugh at your own s---, but sometimes it’s somebody that you really respect. That’s a different scenario. But you see people and they’re both doing the same s--- and it makes it difficult to watch.”
When a show is going south – you can see that it isn’t going to end well – how do you respond?
“I feed off of that energy. Sometimes you’re needy and you want them to like you, but I can do anger and aggression well. There was a show in Sacramento that started to go downhill and I knew that it wasn’t going to be good. But I trucked through – you have to acknowledge it when it’s happening. What’s worse is watching other comics bomb. I was at a show where I could actually see it coming. And all of a sudden you hear nothing but people breathing in-and-out – I laughed in the back and nobody could figure out why.”
— JASON CAMPBELL
209 staff reporter