Throughout April, High Note Humor (based in Haddonfield, NJ) ran the South Jersey Stand-up Championship at The Taproom Grill. On April 26th, Paul Welsh took home the championship belt. Here’s Paul with more about his stand-up history, writing process, and upcoming shows.
WitOut: How did you first get into stand-up?
Paul Welsh: I was always the one to crack a joke or a funny line but about ten years ago my wife signed me up for a stand-up comedy class at Mercer County Community College as a Christmas present. She said “You think you are so funny…now go and learn how to do it properly.” I got the bug and a group of us from the class continued to work together, writing and performing wherever we could.
WO: What’s your joke writing process like?
PW: I was born in England and I tend to notice little differences between England and America. I then use these ideas to develop material. The process isn’t always the same, sometimes I get an idea and write the joke within minutes…other times the idea languishes in a notebook for months or even years.
WO: How did you prepare for the South Jersey Stand-up Championships? Did you write a totally new set specifically for the contest, or was it all tried-and-true material?
PW: To be honest I had forgotten about the semi-final until the afternoon of the show…I was cleaning out my garage when I got a reminder email from the High Note guys so I scrambled to put my set together. So for my semi-final I used all tried and tested material…but I was a bit better prepared for the final and wanted to do a different set so I threw in some new stuff…it seemed to work.
WO: Winning this contest probably felt pretty good, but since you’re a comic, I’m assuming you’ve had plenty of onstage experiences that felt pretty miserable, too. Describe your worst onstage moment, and how/what you learned from it.
PW: I think the most difficult one was when I was starting out and was asked to host a show at a hotel in North Jersey. They hadn’t promoted it very well so nobody showed up…I mean nobody! At show time the room was completely empty. So the show’s promoter was out in the hotel lobby pleading with people to come in…no cover…no drink minimum. He persuaded two couples to come in and so I opened the show to those four people. I learned that whatever the circumstances to perform my set with the same enthusiasm…it was my job to keep those four people entertained so they wouldn’t leave. They eventually did leave but not until after my set!!
WO: What’s next for Paul Welsh? Any upcoming shows or other projects in the works?
PW: I am in the process of refreshing my material so I am in writing mode right now.
I have some shows coming up:
5/18 Hornets Nest, Browns Mills NJ
5/31 Hibernian Club, Hamilton NJ
6/1 German American Club, Hamilton NJ
6/7 Sandi Pointe, Somers Point NJ