"I'm just thinking out loud," a boss once told Drake Witham. "That's talking," Witham corrected him. He was fired. "Out loud," he adds. A string of temporary jobs provided a lot of material for the aspiring comedian after he quit journalism and moved to L.A. to pursue a standup career. "It was about having that 'I don't care' attitude," he says, "which worked well, but it wasn't really me because you have to work hard to make it look like you're not working hard." Fortunately, he was soon doing comedy full-time, drawing on his writing skills. Traveling outside of L.A. to do gigs presented some new challenges. "I felt people in other parts of the country might not quite get what a temp is, or might not react well when I said, 'I don't care about anything.'" He quickly found his footing, though, and was able to craft jokes about things other than his old day jobs. "My wife told me she wants to start a family this year," he tells an audience. "And I told her that I don't want to have kids until my second marriage." He still revels in the challenge of writing a solid joke. "It's always an exciting thing; finding that piece of material and working it, figuring out how to make it really tight, shaping it, and turning it into part of the next TV appearance." Lately, he's been moving beyond the rigid structure of set up/punchline, and taking in what's going on around him while he's performing. "I'm just trying not to be afraid if something happens in the room and talking about that for a few minutes," he explains. "It's great fun, because you're up on the tightrope, and I think the audience senses that. You don't know where it's going to go. It could be beautiful, or it could blow up in your face."
April 19-21, 8 p.m.; April 20-21, 10:30 p.m., 2012