Comedian Kevin Shea rediscovers the joy of comedy

Comedian Kevin Shea said his first comedy performance was terrible. He’ll bring his much-improved show to Stir Crazy Comedy Club Thursday, July 25, to Saturday, July 27.

Comedian Kevin Shea, who is set to perform at Glendale’s Stir Crazy Comedy Club from Thursday, July 25, to Saturday, July 27, vividly remembers his first comedy act. It might have swayed another from continuing to perform.

“It was (expletive) terrible,” he said, laughing.

Shea recalls going on stage in 2001 at an open mic in Palo Alto, California, in front of a handful of people, including the bartender serving drinks and not paying attention. 

“Nobody laughed. I didn’t have any jokes, so I just kind of went up there and talked about whatever for three minutes. I thought there was no way it was going to get worse from there,” he said.

Now, about 18 years later, he knows how to address audiences. An Asian-American, Shea jokes he was “bought, not brought” into America from South Korea by his adopted family. That said, he knows it would be easy to make cracks about his “Asian-ness” and how it affects him. He does it some, but only when the subject matter is interesting and not just surface-level funny.

He’s not one to force material. Like any good performer, Shea has guidelines for his shows, but tries to sprinkle something new into each gig. 

“It could just be something I say about my day at the beginning, or what’s happening in the area,” he said. “But it could also just be a new way I move my hands or say something in one of the jokes I’ve been doing a while. It keeps it new for me, and if it doesn’t work that night then so be it.”

By no means does Shea consider himself a household name, though he has been on television programs such as ABC’s “Dr. Ken,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Tosh.0” and podcasts or audio interviews such as Bill Burr’s “Monday Morning Podcast.” He does admit he’s a little irked that his career is not taking off the way it should.

Shea does have a new-found enjoyment of stand-up. He feels the need to prove himself every time he’s in front of a crowd, which keeps his comedy sharp.

“I went through a slow period, where I was kind of getting frustrated. But once I got past that, I realized this is my career, this is what I want to do, and I fell back in love with comedy again,” he said. “It’s made everything so much more fun.”

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Kevin Shea

When: 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Thursday, July 25 to Saturday, July 27

Where: Stir Crazy Comedy Club, 6751 N. Sunset Boulevard, Suite E-206, Glendale

Cost: $19

Info: 623-565-8667,