“I went to my boss to ask for a raise, he says no, but I can give you a 401K, and I just stare at him. He says do you know what a 401K is? And I said no, but it sounds like a really long race to me.”
Jason Klingman has been “working the room” as a standup comedian for three years; appearing with four other up-and-coming comedians that are beginning to be well-known on the bar and grill circuit. Klingman, who occasionally uses the 401K joke in his standup routine, was performing at open mic nights in Old Town Petersburg when, he said, he “started getting a tiny following even though I wasn’t that good.”
He spoke with the owner of Wabi-Sabi in Petersburg about bringing some comedians down from Richmond and they began doing shows there.
He and his posse of standup buddies, will be yukking it up at Brass Monkeys in Chester on Thursday, Nov. 29 beginning at 9 p.m. He typically opens the show, does about 20 minutes of standup and then acts as the MC, introducing the rest of the comedians. Klingman adds, it’s a free show.
“I don’t think comedy has ever been done in Chester,” said David Allen a partner in Brass Monkeys. “We’ve tried different types of entertainment since we’ve opened, but people didn’t like loud music and it wasn’t really family friendly.”
Allen said he found out about Klingman and his comedy team from a friend who saw them at Wabi-Sabi, Allen brought them to Chester and their first show packed the house.
“We”ll be appearing at Wabi-Sabi on December 21, which should be an interesting show since it’s the end of the world,” Klingman said. “We do two shows a month there now and two at Brass Monkeys. They [Wabi-Sabi] have a lot of real good shows there.” Klingman also works as a bartender at Wabi-Sabi.
“It’s kind of like a drug,” he said. Out of the two jobs he has, he has what he says is the best of both worlds. “It’s kind of hard to hate a bartender or a comedian. One makes you laugh and the other serves you drinks.”
At 31, Klingman says he got a late start in the standup business but thinks it may be best that way. He says he has more life experience to pull from now. He also did a talk/comedy show at WHAP in Hopewell some years ago, and theatre at Richard Bland College, but why did he decide to start doing standup?
“First of all I thought girls would like it, and it would be fun to do,” Klingman laughed. “Then me and the girl I was dating were at the Wawa in Hopewell and we saw a guy shooting into another car. When he saw us looking he shot at us and there’s actually a bullet hole in the car I still drive.” He said it was then that he decided life could be short and it was time to make the best of life because he could go any day.
Allen said that Klingman and his group that appears at Brass Monkeys is phenomenal. “They aren’t looking for glitz and glamour; they’re just a bunch of good guys wanting to have a good time.”
Klingman wasn’t the class clown at Hopewell High School but, instead, the class president; and a comedy routine is not what got him the honor, but he did have a funny family. He said at his house, laughter was a staple. Animal House, Porky’s and Airplane were regular fare for him as a kid and having a funny family had a big impact on him.
What makes Klingman laugh other than the four standups, Corey Marshall, James Paulk, Kenny Wingle and Dylan Vattelana, who will join him Thursday night?
“Oh, that’s a hard one,” he says. “Everybody from the 80s when I was growing up, Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, I really liked Bill Hicks and as of right now, I think Louie C.K. is really great and Patton Oswalt, who is from Virginia.”
What’s next for Klingman? “I would really like to try acting or do a college tour with the group of guys I perform with,” Klingman said. “We’ve actually done a sort of variety show in Virginia Beach. We’re trying to branch out. Standup is fun, but it leads to so many other things. It’s a lot of hard luck and a lot of dumb luck.”
Klingman said he wanted to go really hard at the comedy routine until he is about 40 years-old and then if it doesn’t work out he would go into coaching basketball. He said he was quite a ball player at one time.
Brass Monkeys, being a young business, is working on what niche they will eventually fill. Allen said, “We want to allow our customers to decide who we are. We want families as well as everyone else to feel comfortable at the restaurant.”
Jason’s Comedy will be featured on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 9 p.m. Brass Monkeys is located at 12211 Jefferson Davis Hwy.