By Jeff Hanson, Correspondent
C=T+t. Comedy equals tragedy plus time is a classic working formula made popular by Mark Twain and Carol Burnett. Little Falls native and comedian Jason Schommer agrees the method creates for good comedy. Schommer will put this equation to work in “I Just Wanted Candy: Confessions of a Fat Kid,” for an evening of stand-up comedy, Tuesday, June 24, at the Great River Arts Center, at 7:30 p.m.
It would appear the comedic theorem holds up as the attention surrounding Schommer is growing. Schommer, who has surged in popularity after being a routine opening act to Louie Anderson in Las Vegas, Nev. is performing and promoting new material for his act. Schommer spoke from his home in St. Cloud about providing good comedy, his career and future endeavors.
Tragedy. It’s no secret, but Schommer attributes much of his success to delivering content his audience can empathize with. “Relatable material and you have to know your audience,” Schommer said. “[The content] is something everybody can relate to.” Schommer pointed out that seeing a folding chair succumb to the weight of his large frame can be funny. “Jason versus a folding chair? There is no winner. After everybody asks, ‘Are you OK?’ Then the laughter can come. We’re letting the audience know that it’s OK to laugh,” he said.
Schommer, who is planning a move to Los Angeles, Calif. said that he will be bringing his new material to Little Falls this week.
When asked what can be expected from his show, Schommer said that he reflects on day-to-day life experiences.
“People who have seen my show know that the material is material from my life and aspects of my life,” he said. His self-deprecating humor draws from his larger physical presence to finding parallels and similarities of his middle school experiences and the state penitentiary.
Since Schommer’s last performance in Little Falls, he said he’s been busy. “Just a lot of performing and writing a television pilot with Louie,” said Schommer. “We came up with an idea, and said ‘We should write it,’ and plotted a timeline to have it completed.” Schommer said that he’s really excited about the pilot and hopes to pitch and sell it by the end of the summer. He said when the designated one-hour comedy/drama comes to fruition, he would like to act in it.
Schommer frequently works with Anderson and said that he and Anderson are performing a series of shows in Japan next month.
Time. In a day saturated with lewd, crude and vulgar stand-up comics, Schommer’s material is relatively free of gutter subject matter. Although he admits to not knowing exactly which demographic he appeals to most, he said he prefers to keep his content clean.
“You can last longer in this business if you can keep it clean,” Schommer said. “[Profanity] gains shock value and gets people to laugh, but wears thin.”
In the comedic formula, the time variable is attributed to a time lapse allowing sensitive material to desensitize. The time permits the comic to exploit it and create humor.
Perhaps how a comic is able to maintain successful popularity is more important to an equation and the sustainability that Schommer poignantly refers to.