Comedian John Poveromo Performs at Montclair's Tierney's Tavern

John Poveromo, a Jersey native comedian, performed at Tierney's Tavern in Montclair. Being from the arm pit of America has given him far too much to say about the world in terms of its absurdity. But he is able to skillfully craft his opinions into comedy. He is nationally recognized and his passions for this form of rhetoric started early. All throughout his life, John has idolized classic comedians and learned by watching their standup. However, it took him some time to realize that this passion is one to be pursued.

John: I think it always starts out the same way. I mean, I’ve always been wanting to do stand up comedy since I was in the sixth grade. Maybe. That was like the first time, I think I’ve said that a million times before but, that was the first time. I had it written down in a dumb year book that we made in elementary school. It was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and I wanted to be a comedian. My old teacher retired, she actually had that yearbook, and she gave it to me and said “You wrote it down a long time ago, you know exactly what you wanted to be,” So, I knew immediately I didn’t want to make any money. It starts out as that. Now I have a very strong opinion so I feel like comedy can be an outlet for that kind of stuff. So it started out as a “Yeah, I want to make my friends laugh,” and the idea of making people laugh, which you still do, but then as you get older it progresses from that into “You know what, I think I might actually have something to say.” And, that for me, getting onstage in front of strangers is the best outlet to it.

John: I started going out and doing stand up, right around the end of my freshmen year of college. It was one of those things where stand up was always in the back of my head. I had one friend who- Well I have more than one friend. Let me rephrase that. I had one particular friend during my senior year I told I was planning on going to college and she was like “Why?” And I was like “I don’t know, my girlfriend going, everyone I know is kinda going.” and she was like “Yeah, again. Why?”

John had attended college for a short amount of time, majoring in English and minoring in History. During the summer going into his sophomore year, he attempted stand up and fell in love with it immediately. Regardless, he is still invited as a guest speaker at some High Schools. The success of his first show drove him to continue in that path. 

John: My first show was awesome! Which gives you a really small sense of what you can do as a comic at that point. It always goes one of two ways. And I hear this from other comedians all the time. Either their first show they bomb and then they don’t return to it for like a year or two. Or, it goes really well, and you get this little high from it where you’re like “That was amazing. I wanna do it again” In my case, I went and did my first show. I took a class that I had seen advertised and I already had the material written down because I had been writing stuff down my entire life. I had been writing a lot before that but now I had to figure out how to craft a set. I watched stand up my entire life so I figured out how to do it. The class was a bit of a gateway into doing it, and then I got to performing The Caroline's on Broadway during their off hours. The room was filled, I had my family and friends there at one table and the rest were strangers and I went up and I did my five minutes and it was crazy good. Well, I mean, it was fun.

Following the amazing success of his first show as a stand up, John bombed the second. But of course he continued despite this. Improving his craft, finding his unique voice and getting comfortable with this level of vulnerability. 

John: That was the first time I bombed, but I still wanted to do it again. Its like when you touch a stove and you’re like “You know, I’m going to give this another shot”

John: I’m not nervous anymore. One of my friends, he had told me something in the middle of my career, I had something big coming up and I actually felt nervous again for the first time in a while and he goes “No, no, no. You’re not nervous. Nervous is for beginners, you’re excited.” And I was thinking, “Yeah you know, you’re right” I know what I’m doing at this point and there it was, it was the difference between being nervous and excited. I get excited now, more than nervous. There’s nothing that really bothers me or shakes me anymore. It’s like this numbing thing. The more you do it, also you have to become not delusional, you learn that everyone bombs or you’re not progressing and doing you’re job right.

In this new time in comedy, comics have become more prominent in our society. Pushing the limits on what can or cannot be said. Finding inventive way to shock people into laughter. It’s essential to find a unique outlook on the world. An outlook that resonates with audiences and speaks to the comic themselves.

John: In an age where people are constantly pushing boundaries it can get hard, but that’s the game. I do touch on politics and those issues but I’m not a Bill Maher or anything like that. It’s always geared towards my perspective and not what other people say. I save that for Facebook where people can yell at me.

John looks to his own misadventures for material. As an added bonus, it’s harder for audiences to get offended at self deprecation and personal events.

John: For me, it’s a combination of my own personality and how I act around friends. I think for most people when they start in stand up, they’re thinking “I’m really funny. My friends say I’m funny. I’m funny.” And it’s about taking that, then the craft part of it comes and transforming it to something that strangers can laugh at. Because you’ll always have the office idiot “Oh, I make Bob and Tim laugh all day” then they go and try that in front of strangers and no one knows what they’re talking about. But, I was always funnier around friends so for me now, it’s very conversational and I have my set list and my jokes and stuff I want to do and stuff I want to talk about but I have no problem veering off course from that and being able to talk to the audience. That’s something I learned very early on. I wanted to have that same thing I have in front of other people. I wanted to be in the moment as much as possible on stage.

John’s is passions also span into illustration. With a vast collection of satirical comic strips, John is releasing a book entitled “Drawings from a Nobody”.

John: I’m the nobody. I like that title because no one knows who I am. The audacity of putting out a book is really absurd, theres really no reason to. But the collection of drawings are a combination of both absurd and politically charged.

John now tours nationally doing comedy. He has performed all over well known clubs in New York including the Comic strip and the Caroline’s, and he’s performed all over Chicago and LA. He has also freelanced material for several tv shows and major news networks. Although he claims to be a nobody, John has proven to have made an impact on people all across the nation. Joining an unspoken comedic force that shapes the thoughts of people. Reminding us that the purpose of comedy is to poke fun at the world. To realize that while life is messed up, it is important for us to keep our humor and stay human. His event at Montclair is one not to be missed. 

John: I’ve been doing this for almost thirteen years. Every time before you go up I think about how fast can I get out. It’s usually “This is gonna suck, you’re gonna suck, how are you even doing this?” It’s the last bits of doubt right before I go on. And every comedian has got it. We always joke about it. All of a sudden, the sheer audacity enters your head that you're actually good enough to talk to these people for an hour. And that never goes away. You have your escape plan, you can back out the door, your car is parked right out front, and you can leave anytime but you never do. You never leave. And I love it.

**Originally written for The Montclarion**


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