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Rubber City Comedy Festival: Ian Fidance headlines stand-up showcase at Funny Stop

Akron Beacon Journal logo Akron Beacon Journal 5/5/2021 B.J. Lisko, Akron Beacon Journal
Ian Fidance will headline the Rubber City Comedy Festival on Friday and Saturday night at The Funny Stop in Cuyahoga Falls. © Phil Provencio Ian Fidance will headline the Rubber City Comedy Festival on Friday and Saturday night at The Funny Stop in Cuyahoga Falls.

As a suburban kid wisecracking off-color jokes in his native Wilmington, Delaware, comedian Ian Fidance and his friends usually had to come up with their own entertainment.

“Wherever I go now, cities or suburbs, we’re more similar than we are different,” Fidance said. “Growing up in a suburban, rural area, you just have to work harder to find your own fun, and usually that fun ends up in a Wendy’s parking lot on a Friday night.”

Now a stand-up comic, actor and writer, Fidance will headline a total of four shows on Friday and Saturday night as part of the Rubber City Comedy Festival at the Funny Stop in Cuyahoga Falls.

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Who has influenced Ian Fidance?

Fidance has been busy on the stand-up circuit around the country for the past decade, and his introduction to comedy and early comedic influences are about as eclectic as it gets.

“I loved ‘Home Improvement,’ ” he said. “So from Sears, my mom bought me a Paula Poundstone, Drew Carey and Tim Allen VHS.”

Fidance was also big into music, and one band, in particular, turned him on to Bill Hicks.

“I got into Hicks through Tool,” he said. “Paula Poundstone, Drew Carey, Tim Allen and Bill Hicks — I think that’s a very interesting combo.”

Based out of New York, Fidance is an upbeat, offbeat and clever comic who has appeared on Comedy Central’s “This Week at The Comedy Cellar” and the TBS series “The Last OG” with Tracy Morgan. He hosts his own podcast, his own SiriusXM show (“Ian’s Infinite Playlist”) and has written for Comedy Central’s “Crank Yankers” in addition to appearing in numerous commercial campaigns.

Questions and answers with Ian Fidance

Recently, Fidance talked by phone ahead of his Rubber City Comedy Festival appearance.

Q. When did you decide that you wanted to do comedy for a living?

A. I was always kind of getting in trouble for being funny or being that kid that was rambunctious, so it’s nice to be able to turn that into a living. I got in trouble for making jokes at the dinner table, and now I have food on my dinner table because of jokes.

Q. How long did it take for you to find your own voice?

A.  I was feeling so locked and loaded right before the pandemic, I was like “I finally found my voice!” And then that voice got silenced for over a year. I think I’m constantly evolving as a stand-up and as an artist. I definitely have more of a grasp of who I am on stage and where I’m going with what I want to talk about, and that’s kind of an achievement for me. I feel like I’m still evolving and always want to work toward something and just never rest on my laurels. I’m a million more times confident than I used to be. But as far as how long it took or takes, I think everyone’s different.

Q. Do you find it easier writing for other projects or writing for your own stand-up set?

A. The writing jobs I’ve had are mostly punch-up, where you take something and you’re creating in the moment. You’re taking a joke from someone else and punching it up and making it better. Or you’re throwing out a joke and someone is punching up your joke. It almost feels like you’re in a podcast. You’re just kind of riffing. I really enjoy that and really love not knowing where things are gonna go and just finding magic in the moment. Sitting down to actually write, I know my voice and how to say things, and I can get away with saying things that aren’t as funny on paper, but it’s all in the delivery in how I say it. So they’re kind of two different beasts. But being in another room and making other people laugh is great, whether you’re doing it in collaboration with other people or alone on stage making a room full of people laugh.

Q. Has cancel culture affected your approach at all to stand-up or how you approach comedy?

A. As long as you have a good heart and people are aware that you’re joking, you can get away with things. Once you start turning your comedy into a message or an agenda, I think you can get into trouble. Whenever I get questions like this, I always just like to blame it on the Jews. And another thing about Puerto Ricans … I’m kidding! (Laughs) It’s all relative. The country is going to hell in a handbasket, we might as well have some laughs on the way down.

Q. On your SiriusXM show, “Ian’s Infinite Playlist,” you tell your guests to pick their three favorite bands to talk about it. What are your top three?

A. I ask people to give me three bands, and they go, “Here’s 10!” But that’s what I love about the show. I can have repeat guests where they talk about their top three, and then later we can get into another three. Because like comedy, musical taste is always evolving as well. If I were to go all-time favorites … Operation Ivy, Metallica and Nirvana.

Q. What was it like working on “The Last OG” with Tracy Morgan?

A. It was nothing short of a dream. It was just such a fun day, and they were really kind to let me improvise. To break up the whole crew and to make Tracy laugh, it was just surreal and a wonderful experience. I love acting, and any chance I get to do it, I relish it and can’t wait to do more.

Q. Speaking to that, what is on tap for you for the next year as things slowly start reopening around the country?

A. I have a lot of projects. I have my radio show and a podcast. I’m pitching a TV show and putting more tour dates together, and I’m always writing my own sketches. I’m also working on a book, as well. It’s one step forward, five steps back, especially with things opening back up. I almost need another pandemic to recover from my first pandemic.

Digital Planning Editor B.J. Lisko can be reached at bjlisko@thebeaconjournal.com or on Twitter: @BJLisko

Rubber City Comedy Festival

Headliner schedule: Wednesday - Mike Conley; Thursday - Mary Santora; Friday - Ian Fidance; Saturday - Ian Fidance

Showtimes: Wednesday, 8 p.m.; Thursday, 7 and 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.

Where: The Funny Stop, 1757 State Road, Cuyahoga Falls

Tickets: $10 to $20 at RubberCityComedyFestival.com or FunnyStop.online

Afterwork Comedy at Missing Falls Brewery: As part of the Rubber City Comedy Festival, on Thursday and Friday from 5:15 to 7 p.m., Missing Falls Brewery at 540 S. Main St. in Akron will host After Work Comedy featuring a variety of live stand-up. Admission is free.

More information: RubberCityComedyFestival.com; Ian Fidance on Twitch; Ian Fidance on Instagram; IanFidance.com

diagram: The Rubber City Comedy Festival will be held Wednesday through Saturday at The Funny Stop in Cuyahoga Falls. © RubberCityComedyFestival.com The Rubber City Comedy Festival will be held Wednesday through Saturday at The Funny Stop in Cuyahoga Falls.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Rubber City Comedy Festival: Ian Fidance headlines stand-up showcase at Funny Stop

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