"You can't be tough if your name rhymes like mine does," says comedian Pete Lee. "My parents might as well have named me Okee Dokee." That self-effacing manner wasn't always a part of his comedy. Indeed, the Wisconsin native didn't start making himself the butt of his own jokes until he moved to New York City. "I discovered everyone there is self-effacing," he says. "The guy that sells me bananas makes fun of all the stuff he's doing wrong." That persona has worked well for Lee, though he adjusts it slightly when performing outside of the Northeast. "Here in the Midwest, I approach it like, 'I'm one of you, and here's why.' In New York it's more like, 'I'm not like you, and here's why.'" Either way, audiences have embraced his self-deprecating style and easygoing manner. His latest project is a program on the NFL Network that will feature comedians and sportscasters commenting on pro football. It's an odd situation in that the network canceled his previous show, After Further Review, saying the league in effect did not like being made fun of. Now it seems they've changed their minds. "I think it's cool the NFL is willing to have a sense of humor," he says. "They're really supporting the new show." 18+.
Aug. 7-11, 8 p.m.; Aug. 10-11, 10:30 p.m., 2012