Comedian Steve Byrne has performed in front of some pretty diverse crowds. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; screaming fans of Mariah Carey; nude women in mid-coitus on Playboy TV's Night Calls. The 32-year-old Hampton High School grad, who now calls New York City home, does four nights at The Improv starting Thu., June 21.
How was Night Calls explained to you?
I knew it was a Playboy show and I'd be doing three minutes of stand-up. I'm sitting in my dressing room, someone comes in and says, "We're filming now. Do you want to come on back?" and when I get there there's girls eating each other out and it's wild. This goes on for about an hour and three girls sharing a dildo say, "And now let's get ready to laugh!" The audience was surprisingly receptive considering that there were girls masturbating as I was telling my jokes.
You often start sets by asking if there are any Asians in the house.
Yeah, sometimes there aren't any. But even if there are, there's hardly any brotherhood. If a black comic asks, "Any black people?" there's whooping and hollering, but Asians show no support.
What does it mean to be an Asian American in 2007?
It means you're not going to get laid. If you're an Asian girl, you're sexy. If you're an Asian guy, people assume you work at Geek Squad. I'm half Korean and half Irish and I think I'm what people are going to look like 300 years from now because everyone's just going to go bananas with each other.
How do you feel about Asian representation in the media?
There's a Korean on Lost and Heroes. You finally have two Asian leads on two major television shows, and yet they still don't speak any English. Come on, can you give a brother a break? I think it's getting better. I'm actually working on a show with Bobby Lee and Dr. Ken Jeong from The Kims of Comedy.
Your MySpace friends list suggests that much of your audience is bikini-clad women. How do you effectively target this demographic?
You eat a lot of bad food, you don't work out, and you try to make fun of all of your insecurities and they'll come out of the woodwork. Before, you had just a Web site, but now thanks to MySpace I get crazy pictures and really wild e-mails.
What sort of e-mails?
Like, you're going to a city to work and then you get e-mails like, "Come eat dinner with my family." The intentions are sincere, but I'm not good in those situations and I don't think I could just walk into a stranger's house and have dinner with them. Unless, of course, they were bikini-clad.
Steve Byrne Thu., June 21-Sun., June 24. The Improv, 166 E. Bridge St., The Waterfront, W. Homestead. $16. 412-462-5233 or www.symfonee.com/Improv/Pittsburgh