In Session: Drew Jacobs
ALBANY – Comedy is a tough art, let alone clean comedy. In an era where comedians are seemingly heralded by the amount of vulgarity they can squeeze into their routine, it can be hard to stand out going the route Drew Jacobs travels. That being said, his latest release, Get Your Haha’s Out, shows extremely well that you don’t need to swear or push the envelope of acceptability to be funny.
Blending sardonic, tongue-in-cheek musical comedy (in “I’m Allergic to My Job” he literally calls out key change…) with standup bits in between the songs, this particular listener found himself chuckling quite often. One of the more enjoyable bits was the routine about Bob Dylan that’s followed by “Dylan’s Just Screwin’ With You.”
Though true is the fact Jacobs keeps it clean, his bit “I Don’t Go To The Doctor Anymore” and last song “There’s An App For That,” include several adult-type topics that, in my opinion, were the most memorable of the album.
With all that said, when discussing why something is funny, there’s definitely a loss in the impact of the art. It’s best if you check it out for yourself here.
Upon listening to the album, I wanted to get a chance to learn more about Jacobs from the man, himself. What follows is our conversation.
Lucas Garrett: Hey, Drew. Thanks for taking the time to chat for a bit. What got you started down the road of comedy?
Drew Jacobs: Well, I’ve always loved comedy and comedians. The ability to make someone laugh is exciting. Watching comedians on tv when I was a kid was always great fun, especially people like Henny Youngman, Flip Wilson, and all of the guys who you’d see on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show.
LG: Comedy can be its own niche that is incredibly hard to break into, let alone musical comedy. What was the impetus behind this focused route you took?
DJ: I always loved funny music. I’ve been writing funny songs since I was in high school. In the early 80’s, I worked in radio at FLY92, writing and producing parody songs with Rick Knight, as “Rick and The Enzymes.” This was around the time that Weird Al was having some success. We got a lot of positive feedback and some press. Later, as I was writing and producing my own songs, I started combining standup with my music, developing funny intros and stories for my songs. Now, I’m at the point where I have enough material to do either straight standup or a combination of standup and my songs, which is what I did on my CD.
LG: When writing your songs, what are some of your major influences that you feel seep through your work, both comedically and musically?
DJ: Folk music certainly has more than its share of humorous songwriters and singers. I remember seeing Loudon Wainwright III open for George Carlin, and Steve Goodman open for Steve Martin. It just seemed like such a natural pairing, comedy and music. When I first started doing comedy open mics, I’d show up with my guitar, and I’d get the stink eye from the other comedians. Then I’d do my set, and they’d laugh, and I became “the guy with the guitar.” Now, when I do comedy open mics, I just do my stand up, and every once in a while, someone will say, “where’s your guitar!”
Musically, it all begins and ends with The Beatles. Also, groups like The Bonzo Dog Band (look them up!) and Martin Mull, who before becoming an actor, put out several comedy music records. I’m a big fan of pop music as well as country and folk, so I try not to limit myself to one genre. I’ve done CDs that are more folky, and CDs that are more rocking with a full band. I’ve even got a Christmas CD! So, I go wherever the idea takes me, as long as it’s funny.
LG: Do you have any opinions on the current state that comedy seems to be going? Have you noticed a difference in your craft from before COVID to now?
DJ: Obviously, technology has increased the opportunities for both professional comedians as well as regular folks who just have a funny idea. Political correctness has become a sticky issue for comedians, myself included. A genius like Don Rickles would have been drummed out of the business now, and that’s a shame. I do a lot of self-deprecating humor, which keeps me from getting into too much trouble (I hope!).
LG: Is there anything else you’d like to highlight that I may not have touched upon?
DJ: I had the opportunity recently to attend a songwriting workshop in Nashville, and played a few of my songs for Rodney Crowell, a great songwriter, and artist. He thought they were great, and not only was that thrilling, but it was also reassuring that I’m heading in the right direction. For me the song has to hold up as a song musically first, and then be funny.
LG: Thank you for your time, Drew, and thanks for the laughs!
DJ: Thanks, Lucas!