100 Creatives 2014: Blame the Comic, Comedian
All photos courtesy of Blame the Comic
Houston comedian Blame the Comic suggests going to a comedy club on a first date. "If you and a person can laugh together, it's a great night no matter where that relationship goes," he tells us. "If you can laugh at the same things, the rest of it should just fall in place, no matter if you end up just being friends or if you find the love of your life. And sitting in a comedy club, it's so much more laid back than going to dinner with someone where both of you feel like you're being interviewed for a job."
Blame, who is legally named Marion Stafford, got the first part of his stage name while still a kid. His grandfather would immediately blame the young Stafford whenever something turned up broken or missing. "One time I hadn't been over to his house for a couple of months and as soon as I got there, he was blaming me for something that had happened the week before. I was like, 'Hey, I wasn't even here when that happened.' But it didn't matter. He blamed me for everything."
Blame became Blame the Comic because Stafford takes responsibility for everything that happens at his shows. "If it was a bad show, blame the comic. If it's a good show, blame the comic. Whatever happens, blame the comic."
What He Does: Blame currently spends about 70 percent of his time performing standup routines on stage and 30 percent of his time making YouTube parody/comedy videos. He stays away from politics and current events in his routines: "I don't want people to say, 'Oh here's his joke on [whatever political situation] is current. Everybody has a joke on [that situation].' I don't want to do what everybody else is doing. I don't want to do jokes about the same things everybody else does and I don't want to do jokes the same way everybody else does. "
Blame says his comedy isn't character based. It's situational. "I look at life and I see jokes everywhere. My comedy mantra is everybody that I run in to writes for me, they just don't know it. If we're sitting down having a conversation and you say something funny, then that's the punchline. I just add something to the beginning and then work it in reverse when I get on stage. And that's a joke."
His approach means he has a relatively unstructured writing routine. "I let the comedy find me. I don't try to force it. If I make myself laugh, it's funny. Then all I have to do is deliver it to the people. I don't sit down and say, 'I wanna make a joke about this topic or that.' I'm just always open to making jokes. I find them everywhere."
Why He Likes It: Early on in his career, Blame won the Kings and Queens of Comedy competition. Part of his prize was getting to do a three-minute routine for which he was paid $1,000. "I never got a $1,000 check for doing three minutes of anything. Once I got that check, that was it. I was hooked. I know that if I stick with comedy, there's no salary cap for this. Right now, I get paid to party; I get paid to travel and meet exciting people and make people laugh. I spend my time drawing people into my foolishness and I love it. It's like a high when I come off stage."
What Inspires Him: "Real life inspires me. I'm not making things up, I'm just looking at life around me and taking the time to see the jokes in it.
"If I'm not doing comedy I feel like I'm in The Matrix, living half a life and not knowing what all is out there."
If Not This, Then What: "I've never thought of that, because I'm so caught up in what I'm doing right now but if I had to do something else, I would coach basketball maybe. Whatever I did, it wouldn't involve being inside four walls all day."
If Not Here, Then Where: "LA or New York is where you want to be in stand-up. That's where all the television and producers are. But there's no money to be made in LA stand-up-wise. You can see really great comics out there for $20 and a two drink minimum. There's no money in that. I might like to go to Atlanta. I like what's happening there in terms of television and films there."
What's Next: For the foreseeable future, Blame will continue touring and performing in comedy clubs. "My next goal is to continue to build an Internet presence through my YouTube videos. Hopefully something will go viral."
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Get the Theater and Arts Newsletter
Exclusive discounts and announcements to Houston theater shows and art events