Ryan Waning has been doing stand-up comedy in Maine for more than a few years now, though he got his start as an on-air sportscaster for University of Maine hockey games. Waning is one of four comics featured at this year’s annual Comedy Riot, set for 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer; Brian Beaudoin, Adam Hatch, Cory Guglietti and host Rich Kimball also will take part.
I caught up with Waning earlier this week and asked him a few questions about the show, comedy in Maine, his personal style and his favorite fellow comics.
Tickets for the Comedy Riot are $12 in advance by calling 989-1811, or $15 at the door.
Comedy Riot is now in its, what, fourth year? What’s the most fun part of doing a show like this, with New England and, specifically, local to the Bangor-area comics?
The Riot is in its fourth year now, yes. One thing that’s really fun about this year is that we are trying to give back to our local community by donating a portion of the net proceeds to a few of our favorite nonprofit organizations such as United Cerebral Palsy, Bangor Humane Society, and Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center. As the show grows, so does the stature of comics that we can book. Having a couple of national headliners mix in with two guys from Maine gives the locals a chance to show their stuff alongside some of the best in the business.
Tell us about the comics performing, besides yourself.
Brian Beaudoin, one of our double headliners, might be my favorite comic working today. He’s been voted the Funniest Comic in Rhode Island by the Providence Phoenix two out of the last three years and earned his reputation by working stages at a prolific rate. Cory Guglietti is a fast-talking, fast-thinking comic’s comic who is quickly becoming a favorite all over New England. Adam Hatch, one of our features, is a Maine guy who is finally making good on his enormous potential; he’s just so likeable. And our host, Rich Kimball, is an improv group fixture with his Focus Group and just happens to be a Maine broadcasting legend.
How would you describe your comedy? Who are some of your biggest influences?
Describing my own comedy is hard. I like to think it’s smart, but unflinching might be a better word. I go as quickly as my mouth and brain will allow and I enjoy the feeling of really letting it all hang out. A booker in Vermont referred to me as “brutal and thoughtful at the same time,” which was something I liked hearing. I had done stand-up for a few years before I stumbled onto Bill Hicks. His comedy changed everything for me. It gave me the idea that I could be myself onstage instead of doing what I thought stand-up comedians did. Aside from the other usual suspects that every comic worships like [George] Carlin and [Richard] Pryor, I find myself transfixed by both Doug Stanhope and Joe Rogan, who are truly at the top of their game and you can see them for about twenty bucks any night of the year. And who doesn’t love Louis CK these days? He’s changing the game.
Name a comic that few of our readers have probably ever heard of, and tell us why he or she is awesome.
Glenn Wool. When I heard his first CD, “Let Your Hands Go,” I was in a car and wasn’t in the mood to even listen to comedy, much less appreciate it. I laughed for almost an hour straight and it was the type of eye-wiping belly laughter that made me feel like I had worked out afterward. He’s like a utility belt of comedy in that, whatever the situation calls for, he’s got it covered better than 99 percent of comics out there. He’s just fantastic.