With AthFest around the corner, comedian Shane Mauss will be coming to Athens for the LaughFest comedy festival, headlining two separate shows. On June 21, Mauss will be bringing his Good Trip comedy tour to the Georgia Theatre, and then the next day he will hold a live recording of his Here We Are science podcast. The Red & Black spoke to Mauss about his distinct comedic style, as well as the finer details of his career in comedy.
Where would you say your interest in doing standup started?
When I was young I had a friend tell me I should be a standup comedian and it just got in my head from there. It sounded like a cool job. It was when I was nine or 10 years old when everyone was kind of thinking of what they wanted to be when they grow up.
How did your career shape up once you got your start?
You start doing open mics, you start doing spots at clubs and eventually you start hosting shows and headlining. I did some comedy festivals early on that I did well in, I was able to get on Conan really early on and [I] got on Comedy Central. Things just took off for me after that and I was able to go full time with it. Ive been a road comic ever since.
What kind of material do you tend to cover in your standup? Do you have favorite topics?
I try to incorporate a lot of the things I learn into my standup. I have this special on Netflix called Mating Season that covered a lot of the evolution of mating behavior. I had one called My Big Break which on the surface was about a hiking accident where I broke both of my feet, but it was really about the evolved function of negative emotions. My current show is about psychedelics and how our perception of consciousness is.
How have your interactions with fans been? Being a full time, on-the-road comedian, you must have some stories.
Usually, when people are leaving a comedy show theyre like hey, great job, they leave and thats that. In this show about psychedelics, which I market specifically to the different psychedelic enthusiasts and psychedelic communities in each city, the level of engagement is much higher. People want to share their stories with me and ask a million questions. Oftentimes, people dont get to talk about this stuff publicly, so it gives them an opportunity to meet other people in the community.
Could you tell me a bit about the focus of the podcast?
I talk to a lot of biologists, evolutionary psychologists, behavioral economics people, neuroscientiststhings like that. A lot of the focus of the podcast is about many of our cognitive biases and how we arent consciously aware of a lot of the ways our brain drives us to behave. Why we are attracted to the people that we are attracted to, various mating behaviors, why we spend money the way that we spend ita lot of decision making kind of stuff.
Whats one thing you would like everyone to know about yourself and your work?
My comedy is a little bit different than your average standup. Its a bit more insightful and we cover some bigger ideas. I describe my show as a third funny stories and my experiences, a third standup and a third TED talk.
Shane Mauss performs Conan, Episode 0408, May 02, 2013 Meghan Sinclair/Conaco, LLC for TBS
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