Chatting with non-partisan comedian Steven Wright

Part of the big-picture success of your When the Leaves Blow Away special and the Grammy-nominated I Still Have a Pony was introducing that comedy to younger audiences. Do you find that the newer audiences coming on board respond differently than audiences who might have been with you from the beginning?
Audiences just laugh. They don’t really care about style. I see no difference. But that’s why I did When the Leaves Blow Away, in order to reach the younger audience, ’cause it had been, like, 15 years since my other special before that. I was just doing live stuff, and all this time went by. I thought, “Oh my God, the last time I made a special the people who are in college now were 5. They don’t even know me; they know me from Half Baked. So let me do another special and a CD.”
On your MySpace page the No. 1 friend seems to be an Obama support page …
What? What do you mean?
On your MySpace page, there’s an Obama support page in your Top Friends. Is that not something you were aware of?
No, I was not. I saw the MySpace just a few days ago, so I don’t even know how that got on there, but I’ll have it removed. I don’t like politicians, and I don’t like politics. I definitely don’t want to be associated with any of them. To me they’re all full of shit, lying, fucking bullshit bastards—from A to Z.
Is that a direct quote there?
[Laughs] Yeah. I’m glad you’re tapin’ it. [Laughs]
You have samples of your music and your paintings on your website; what is it that these outlets allow you to express that the spoken word does not?
The painting I do now is very abstract, and that’s very freeing for me because I love comedy—and I’m not complaining about this, I’m just describing it—comedy has to make absolute sense, no matter how crazy it is. You can’t just say, “Fifty midgets were in a rowboat …” It’s weird, but it’s not funny. Comedy needs to make some kind of logical sense. But painting abstract doesn’t have to make any sense. You can just go by your gut, your emotion. “I’m just gonna put these colors here and these shapes here because I feel like it.” And then the music is kind of in between. The music makes sense, but the lyrics don’t have to make total sense. So to do the comedy and the painting and even the music, the rules are all different, and it’s fun to go from one to the other to the other.
Is there an ultimate goal you have as a creative person? Something still pushing you forward even after influencing so many others at a semi-young age?
I just have a relationship with my imagination. It’s like my friend, almost. I just like making shit up. I like shitting around with words and foolin’ around with the guitar. I want to do more film stuff. I want to do more of all of it, really.

May 30-June 1, 8 p.m., $30. The Orleans Showroom, 365-7075. Buy tickets


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