5Q :: The antithesis of ‘Blue Collar’ comedy hits townWhen Tim Northern worked his way up the “Star Search” ranks a couple years back, he made a splash with the more-astute-than-most nature of his jokes. Will he leave Duluthians scratching their heads?
When Tim Northern worked his way up the “Star Search” ranks a couple years back, he made a splash with the more-astute-than-most nature of his jokes.
Even judge Ben Stein, a former presidential speech writer known for his “cerebral” observations, was impressed.
“I love the fact that he assumes his audience has a brain,” he remarked after fellow judge Naomi Judd said Northern was the only contestant who could be a member of Mensa.
Whether or not we’re ready to have a couple jokes fly over our heads, Northern is bringing his thinking-man’s routine to Superior Street: The comedian will be appearing alongside David Schendlinger at Dubh Linn Irish Pub this weekend.
To celebrate his three-show stint here in town (details below), we harassed him for a spell:
Budgeteer: What was your introduction to comedy? Staying up past your bedtime and catching Carson or sneaking a sibling’s stand-up records?
Northern: Actually, I was introduced to comedy by my father at the age of 9. It was a Richard Pryor album — vinyl, of course.
On that, when did you first realize that you were A) funny and B) able to get up in front of people and remain funny? As a non-comedian, I can’t imagine anything more nerve-wracking than getting up on stage for the first time. Were there a couple false starts” before you found your groove?
I have never been shy or afraid of public speaking, so it was very easy to get in front of people. I’d say high school is when my sense of humor reared its funny-looking head. I tried standup twice when I was 19. I realized that I was too green to keep going.
I lived a little then went back to it at 27 and have been doing it ever since — 17 years. Can you believe it? Sometimes I can’t.
As was remarked repeatedly on your “Star Search” run, there is a certain cerebral quality to your comedy. Does it ever get frustrating when the punchline goes over the head of the majority of the audience and sort of floats away into the ether?
At times, yes, but, generally, no. My comedy is considered cerebral because I talk about things most comics don’t. Even though some don’t get the joke(s), they appreciate the effort, which to me is more than acceptable.
When you hit Duluth, you’ll be sharing a bill with David Schendlinger? Have you worked with him before? What can you say about his material?
Forgive me; I’m not familiar with his work. I’m sure he is funny. I’m eager to see him perform.
Finally, everyone understands that the life of traveling comedian isn’t easy, so ... how do you do it? How do you keep sane when you’re out on the road for long stints?
Long trips in the car help me to write. I need those boring rides to keep my sanity. I can’t wait to see the good people of Duluth.
NEWS TO USE
Food & Funny, featuring comedians Tim Northern and David Schendinger, will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, May 28, at Dubh Linn Irish Pub. Cost is $10 ($18 with pre-show dinner). On Saturday, May 28, the two will perform at both 6:30 and 9 p.m. Cost for those shows is $10 (or $25 with pre-show dinner). Reservations recommended; call 727-1559.