It has been 28 years since comedian Brad Upton quit his job as a teacher to pursue his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian. Since then he’s won the Las Vegas Comedy Festival, appeared at Caesar’s Palace as part of the HBO Comedy Festival and performed more than 5,000 shows across the United States and around the world. The Seattle-based comedian has built a solid a career out of making people laugh and will celebrate his 30th anniversary as a performer with a headlining slot Aug. 28-30 at Laughs Comedy Spot in Kirkland.
At what point in your career did you realize this was a life-long gig?
I didn’t go into it with a 30-year plan, I just wanted to do it for a living and here it is, 30 years later. I’m 58 and just now starting to realize that this is going to be my life-long gig.
There must have been times when you experienced self-doubt, what got you past that and kept you performing?
I didn’t go through that much. You HAVE to have confidence in yourself if you’re going to succeed. You have to believe that you have the right stuff. I’ve always walked onstage believing I was going to succeed. I know that sounds like Tony Robbins, but it’s true.
What was your first time on stage like?
Sept. 4th, 1984. I truly signed up for what I thought was the Tuesday night open mic at the Comedy Underground, but in reality was an audition for the Seattle Comedy Competition. I actually signed up a year earlier and then chickened out about 15 minutes before I was to go on stage. I drove back to Pasco with my tail between my legs hating myself and taught school for another year, before coming back and signing up again. The Comedy Underground was packed (it used to be like that for open mics in 1984) and I killed. After my set, the late Laura Crocker came up to me and told me congratulations, that I had done great and they wanted me in the competition. I didn’t understand what she was taking about. I thought it was an open mic. She explained that it was an open mic, but also an audition and I had passed and the competition started the following Tuesday night. So starting the next Tuesday night, I commuted from Pasco to Seattle each night to perform in Seattle and teach in Pasco the next day. I finished 18th out of 20 for my week.More