RAISED ON A STEADY DIET OF OUTSTANDING COMEDY, COMEDIAN EDDIE GOSSLING STRIVES FOR EQUAL GREATNESS. DARBY O'GILL LEARNS HOW HE HONED HIS CRAFT, AND TESTS HIS MATH SKILLS.
darby: Eddie, how and where did you get your start in comedy?
Eddie: I started in San Antonio, Texas. I was going to college. Actually, I think I had dropped out at the time, and I was kind of looking for something to occupy my time. I used to occupy my day skipping class. Now that I didn't have class to skip anymore, I needed something else to replace the time. My friend called me and told me about this workshop in San Antonio, so I went down there and did it, and I liked it a lot. I was going to the club a lot to watch comedy. I liked it, but didn't really know how to get into it. I didn't even know if I wanted to get into it, but I went down there and took the workshop anyway. The thing that sold me on the workshop was that you got to go to the club for free for eight weeks. I was already spending $30 a week going there anyway, so it worked out to be cheaper for me to just pay the eight week tuition. It was fun, and it really helped me get on stage, because everyone did a show at the end of it. While I was doing the workshop, I'd also do open mic night up in Austin, Texas, which is about an hour drive north of San Antonio. I really started with the open mics, but the workshop was the first thing that really keyed me into the fact that this hobby could really be a job.
d: What were you into before comedy?
E: After high school, I joined the National Guard, and I was just going to go to college and get a degree. I wasn't sure what in. I knew I wanted to do something in advertising, because I kind of had an artistic side. I like to draw. I like to doodle. Not unlike Hitler. He liked to doodle, too. Have you ever seen that ad for that art institute? "Do you like to draw, sketch, or maybe just doodle?" How insulting to an artist. "Do you doodle? If you do, you may be a serious artist."
d: Can you draw a turtle?
E: Yeah, that's the one! I was just doing the school thing at Southwest Texas State to get my Bachelorís in Advertising. There was a commute. I'm not a good commute guy. You know what I mean? It was 45 minutes each way; that's kind of tough. I just dropped out and started getting into comedy.
d: What were your biggest influences in comedy?
E: I'll tell ya, the first person I ever saw do stand-up comedy on TV was Buddy Hackett: Live and Uncensored from Las Vegas. I was probably 13 at the time, just sitting in my parentsí house, crying I was laughing so hard. He was just so dirty! I knew Buddy Hackett as being on The Love Boat, and now here's this grown man talking like this. It just blew my mind. I also watched a lot of Cheech & Chong movies, Richard Pryor movies, and listened to a lot of comedy albums like, Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, Pryor, and Bob Newhart. I was on a steady diet of that growing up. That, and Saturday Night Live. That was a big staple growing up.
d: In your line of work you do a lot of traveling. What's the craziest place you've performed at?
E: Vegas is crazy, but for other reasons. New York is funny, and I'm moving there. It's just non-stop fun. A real fun place is Boise, Idaho. And you wouldn't think so. I mean, I didn't think so going out there. But man, it is such a beautiful city. The climate is awesome, the club is always packed, and it's just a good time.
d: You've toured with some big named comedians, like Bobcat Goldthwait, Pauly Shore, and Dave Chappelle. Do have any wild stories about being on the road with anybody?
E: One time I opened for Gregory Hines. You know, the dancer. I was so bad; it was one of my first big shows. I had a horrible set and it was in front of a theater of 1800 people. It was at Trinity University, from which I've been banned. Well, they told me I was banned, but I don't know if I really am. I think I am. So I opened for him, and he deserved a better act. At the time they were only paying me $200. You don't pay somebody $200 to open for Gregory Hines. Go out and find a professional; somebody with some legs under him or her. Anyway, I did it. Parents had brought their children, and I was a little blue at the time. I didn't swear, but it wasn't really kid-friendly material either. I just remember sitting backstage, and I knew I probably didn't have a great show, because the band wouldn't even talk to me. I mean, they're not even looking at me. Then Gregory comes out, and puts on a killer two-hour show. He comes off stage, shakes my hand, and says, "I enjoyed your show." He was the only one that talked to me after that, and it was so nice for him to say that to me, because I knew he knew what I was thinking. He's a performer, and has had some tough gigs as well. You know, you're never going to do well in anything unless you have tough times. I know he saw that, and it was nice of him to take time out before his encore to tell me he enjoyed my set.
d: Where do you get your material, and does it cost much?
E: Ha! Well it could cost me work, if it's not good material. I try to pull everything out of my life, 'cause I want people to know about me when they leave. I try to make it to where they're not going to be bored. Although, one time I was in Madison, Wisconsin, and some guy said, "Enough about you!" I was like, "Who did you pay to see, sir?" I just try to keep everything as real as possible.
d: Do dogs have lips?
E: Yeah, I guess, technically, they do. The lip is between the face and the mouth, before it becomes the inside of the mouth. Even if there is no "lippy" material, I think it still would technically be called the lip. I'm going to say yes! Dogs do have lips.
d: Do you feel like most comics today are just using stand-up as a platform to get to the next best thing?
E: Yeah. That's one of my reasons for moving to New York rather than LA. I think New York is more serious about comedy, and LA has a lot of actors out there that come up with seven minutes of material just so they can get the jump into television. If that's what you want to do, it's a great way to be heard. I am taking acting classes, and I enjoy it. But I just really like the comedy part of it.
d: Okay, here's a pop quiz. debbie has to be at work at 9:00am. It takes him 15 minutes to get dressed, 20 minutes to eat, and 35 minutes to walk to work. What time should debbie get up in order to be at work on time?
E: 8:40am. NO! Wait. He's in at 9:00am?
E: You know I'm bad at math, right? If it wasn't for math, I would be the funniest guy at NASA. I'm that bad at math. But I'm going to say 7:40am.
E: Wait! I want a do-over! I demand a do-over!
d: Go ahead.
d: Correct. You want another one?
E: Yeah. This is great. Hit me again.
d: There are 12 tastes like chicken staff members in a room. Six staff members are wearing socks, four are wearing shoes--
E: Are they angry?
d: They could be disgruntled.
E: Okay. Continue.
d: Four are wearing shoes, and three are wearing both. How many staff members have bare feet?
E: Six staff members are barefoot.
d: It's five.
E: See, I use something call Edgebra. Eddie + Algebra = Edgebra.
d: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
E: My dream would be to have a beautiful house on the lake in Austin, Texas, get married, and maybe have some kids. Just staying busy, but still having a great time. I would also have to be a regular on Letterman. Dave and I would just be sitting there talking about the party that we dissed.
d: Any parting words for our readers?
E: I have parting words, and these would be for people that use the Internet: Don't forward jokes! All the information isn't in yet, but apparently if you forward jokes, you might just be labeled an asshole. That's my advice. Do what you like to do. Sometimes you've got to do what you don't like to do, so do that, too. I don't know. I'm not a very feng shui-type of dude. I don't know; don't smoke too much pot?
VISIT EDDIE AT COMEDDIE.COM