“Who the hell is Flip Schultz?” I thought to myself back in 2007 when he warmed up for Pablo Francisco in Helsinki. He turned out to be way smarter in his jokes than his successor. No offense if you by any chance ever get to read this post, Pablo. Anyway, Flip came back to Finland in February this year. I attended. It was awesome. Laughing to a controversial sketch of Stephen Hawking giving his wife a moral speech after cheating on him. Epic. After the show I was so convinced and confident that I sent Flip an email asking if he’s going to throw any gigs in the LA area in March and if he’d be up for a little interview. The response: “Hey Fred, that should be fine.” Awesomeness.
March 12th. My 27th birthday. I’m enjoying a locally brewed beer at the Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank while waiting for my interviewee to appear to the bar. I’m moments away from chatting with Flip Schultz and all I can think of is how the hops are getting to my taste buds like beer angels sent from heaven, soothing my senses.. Flip walks in. “You’re Fred, right?” I return to Earth from my day dreaming and focus. “Yes, indeed I am.”
Small talk and such never seemed to be problem to Flip or Americans in general which smoothened this a whole lot. So what got this seemingly normal fellow on the other side of the table into comedy? “It sounds a bit cliché, but it’s one of those things that I always knew I was going to do.” Originally from Florida, Flip started amusing people when he was eight years old. Eight! Going to school he used to go to talent shows and he watched other comedians. He hasn’t stopped comedy since his amateur night debut when he was 18. Lucky us.
If you’ve seen his show, you know that he’s clever with his audience and from time to time he cracks himself up for coming up with a joke on the spot and delivers it to somebody in the audience. The enthusiasm, fresh thinking and the intense interaction with the audience makes this guy a joy to watch.
“Interacting with the audience. I love that.” Has it ever gone to the point of no return with somebody in the audience? “No, not really… No wait. Yes as a matter of fact it has. I had a guy threatening me once. He was something like ‘If you say one more word to me I’m going to break this beer bottle and shove it up your ass.’ It was in my early career and it was because I wasn’t so confident in my ability to go to the audience.” (here we laugh a little, especially when I picture this scene happening.) “It’s one of those aspects of being a comedian to be able to go to the audience and interact with them. It was scary at first, but I just made myself do it. It got easier over time.”
On one of his DVD:s Flip asks a 20-something in the front row if he jacks off. The response is “yes, unfortunately.” “WHAT, what do you mean unfortunately, it’s the best thing you can do!” Flip responds – and it goes on for a while until he asks a follow-up question whether the guy has ever got caught doing it. The guy then responds to him “What? Got caught of doing what? Weed?” which then turns into eyeballing and more laughing “do you even recall our chat 7 seconds ago?”. Flip goes on telling that “Interacting creates a sense of intimacy and those moments are never going to happen again. I feel that the audience really appreciates that”.
I’m all out of my delicious local beer so we go into talking about his international tours and especially Finland and Sweden which makes his eyes light up. “To me it felt like standup is this exciting new kind of phenomena. It felt like the States in the late seventies, early eighties. All of the support people were giving me, it felt amazing to be there on tour.” (Flip likes Finland! Let’s get him back soon!)
When being in Finland you knew quite a lot of the local things that were going on. Are you hardcore on doing research before a gig abroad? “Not really, I just talk to people, pick up something and my brain goes with it and turns it into a joke.” He goes on to dig out a book to clarify his sets. “This is my ‘book of jokes’. It has every gig in it, which jokes I should pursue, which ones (out of experience) I should definitely not go with depending on location and new ones on what to work on. So don’t worry, I’m always prepared regardless if I interact a lot with the audience or not. Furthermore I do like to change my set in order for it to remain fresh for people who’s seen me before.”
As the clock is ticking, people are getting louder and the show is about to start I pursue one last question in hope for something good. ‘What is your greatest memory in your comedy career?’ “Going from being the biggest fan of Weird al Yankovic, to actually touring with him was a turning point for me. That’s when I realized I’m really good at this, I’m a professional now.” How awesome is that? Going from being the biggest fan of somebody to hanging out with them on backstage.
“This is the dream. You know, there are a lot of people who wants the fame regardless of how you get it, but in the end of the day if you can make your living doing exactly what you want to do and actually enjoying it. To me, it’s making it.” I thank Flip sincerely and look forward to being picked on during the show. Off he goes to host another standup comedy show at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank.
The venue is great for laughs, but for your own sake please don’t eat the pulled pork sliders. I ran into some serious relationship issues later on that night with my good friend, my tummy. Nonetheless thank you for the show and everybody’s inability to pick on the Finn properly due to lack of geographical expertise!
Be sure to check Flip Schultz out on www.flipisfunny.com
Flip’s comparison on sunglasses and women