By Jason Tanamor
“I don’t write jokes, per se. I’ve always considered my time on stage to be a one sided conversation where the audience isn’t allowed to talk.” This is what comedian Drew Hastings believes stand-up comedy is all about. “It comes naturally and there is no process. I should work on it, but I’m really good at avoidance. In fact, I’m so good at running away from my life, I should stretch beforehand.”
Although he jokes about his life, his act, and, in this case, his interviews, Hastings’ life and his rise to comedic stardom is far from a joke. This, of course, is coming from a man who didn’t start doing stand-up comedy until the age of 31, after partaking in a myriad of career choices including owning a small trucking business, a records/document shredding company, and scalping tickets to rock concerts. “My trucking and storage business had gotten bigger and more complex, and I had partners to answer to, government regulations to adhere to. Basically, I morphed from being an entrepreneur to an administrator,” said Hastings. “I thought, I’m going to turn 50 and have a heart attack behind my desk while comparing insurance plans. So, I sold my part of the business and just started comedy full time. Everybody thought I was crazy.”
Born in Casablanca, Morocco, and raised in both, Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, Hastings currently resides on a farm in southern Ohio. His act, self-described as “intelligent, opinionated comedy with a Midwestern viewpoint,” hits on all cylinders, even when the audiences aren’t laughing. “It’s never the audiences’ fault. If things go badly, it very seldom is the audience. You’ve done something wrong or are not right for that particular crowd, but you can’t blame them,” Hastings said, adding that all comedy comes from pain. “Most people never stop to think about that. It seems like the stand-up stage is the last place you can be honest. Say whatever you want. It may not go over, but you can say it. College campuses are really bad. I won’t even perform at a college. But it spills over. Young college students in the audience are much more shocked and offended by certain topics than 65 year olds.”
And Hastings has dealt with all sorts of people, even the unpopular Hollywood personality, which he attributes to what’s wrong with stand-up. “The experience of dealing with Hollywood networks, producers, studio executives - most of them are completely clueless and want your talents and material for next to nothing,” Hastings said. “You really have to compromise yourself and your integrity if you want fame, L.A. style.”
For now, Hastings is happy how his life turned out. And if this doesn’t work out, he has another career in mind - archaeology. “As in Indiana Jones. I’d be finding lost sites for the glory and riches. The part where you sit with a paintbrush and wipe dust from a shard of pottery doesn’t interest me,” Hastings said.
Drew Hastings has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and is a fixture on The Bob & Tom Show, a nationally syndicated radio show, in which his character, Jack Freeman, became a huge success.
Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous."
By Jason Tanamor