STILLWATER — It may seem like just yesterday, but it was 2002 when then-fledgling comedian Chris Maddock was a finalist for the “Funniest Person in the Twin Cities.”
But since then, the Stillwater native has been laughing his way through the comedy circuit, bringing his salty homegrown brand of humor to towns across the Midwest and the East Coast.
A 1995 graduate of Stillwater Area High School, the comedian got his start waiting tables at Grumpy’s Bar and Grill in downtown Minneapolis, where he would mock Vikings fans who came in after the games. His boss put him in charge of an open mic night, and soon Maddock was doing standup there as one of the originators of the bar’s Death Comedy Jam. He also was bassist and lead singer for the standup comedy/music hybrid act “$4.99 Show” presented by Stand Up! Records.
Maddock’s self-proclaimed “succinct observations, comedic integrity and gut-busting moustache appreciation” most recently won him the title Best Local Stand Up by the City Pages “Best Of” Issue (2014). He’s produced his first comedy album, recorded at Minneapolis’s 7th St. Entry, and landed gigs at Hell’s Kitchen, Comedy Corner Underground, The House of Comedy and Joke Joint, to name a few.
Maddock’s seven-man “super group” The Turkeys was named by City Pages as one of the hottest shows on the local comedy scene this past year. Performances combine stand-up, digital shorts and live sketch, and are usually sold out.
The Turkeys perform in Stillwater on June 6. The Lowdown recently interviewed Maddock.
Q: Did you grow up in Stillwater?
A: I moved to Stillwater in junior high and still see lots of my lifelong childhood buddies who I used to cruise around the river with, doing homework and not LSD.
Q: Do you come from a funny family?
A: Everyone in my family is funny, and my dad’s dad was Red Maddock, jazz drummer with the Butch Thompson Trio and “Prairie Home Companion.” He used to flip the sticks in the air, let them fall on his head, and he’d hit the cymbal just as he’d spit out his dentures, a bit that got him fired from Mancini’s Char House. So you see, I come from a long line of censored performers.
Q: How did you get your start in comedy?
A: Twenty years of bad habits left no other options, plus a desire to prove that I was funnier than the existing comics in Minneapolis. I was wrong, but it got me on stage.
Q: Talk about your sketch group, The Turkeys.
A: The Turkeys are a collective of the best standup comics from Minneapolis, all 10-plus-year veterans with credits from “Conan,” “Late Show With David Letterman” and “Comedy Central,” and internationally acclaimed director Matt Olsen (Cannes Film Festival). We film short sketches, and the show runs much like “Chappelle’s Show,” but whiter. Standup comedy, video and live sketch. We’ll be at the Water Street Inn June 6. It’s part of a local tour coinciding with the release of our website, Turkeys.net, slated for around the same time.
Q: You have a 2-year old. Did becoming a parent change your comedy? How’s your family doing?
A: One kid. One. That’s it. I have a couple jokes about the boy. The family is hungry. Please come to the show.
Q: How do you think of material? Do people always try to crack jokes around you?
A: Lots of people tell me jokes after the show, adding that I should “use that in your comedy skit.” And I just want to thank them all, I’ve used every one of those incredible jokes.
Q: How would you characterize your material?
A: My standup is pretty autobiographical. The videos are all over the place, from short fake commercials to short comedy films.
Q: Is this your full-time job? Other jobs, interests or hobbies?
A: The Turkeys and standup are my full-time job. I pick up shifts at local bars when I’m home, and spend lots of time with my son.
Q: Any other upcoming shows or projects?
A: Self-immolation, but that’s on the back burner, ah, thank you.
Q: What’s it like to be you?
A: Frustrating, handsome.