Adam Newman: From Rock Star to Standup Comedian

Adam Newman has had success as both a comedian and a rock star. The New Hampshire native received a guitar for his 15th birthday, a few months before his family moved to Atlanta, a relocation he was less than pleased with. "I was furious with my parents," he states. "I was happy in New Hampshire. I literally knew everyone in my school. I was friends with everybody, and played on some of the sports teams. My school had 100 kids in it, so you could play any sport you wanted."

In Atlanta, he wound up in a much larger school. "It was a complete culture shock, just moving from New England to the South, and then in addition to that the school was so much bigger. And it was the middle of high school, and everyone already knew each other. I wasn't good enough to play on any of the teams, so in high school I started playing guitar." With few people to hang out with, Newman became quite good at it.

[jump] Attending the University of Georgia in Athens, he found no shortage of people with interests similar to his. "In college, everybody wants to meet new people. You can find people with your interests. If you want to go to college and join a fraternity, you can find people that are into that. If you want to play music with people, you can find hundreds of kids who all want to play in bands with each other." Which is exactly what he did.

"The whole reason I went to the University of Georgia was because it was a good school and a good place to play music out of, so that's mostly what I did. I played in bands in Athens." The most successful band he was in was called Coulier. "I went to school while I was there, but during summers and spring breaks my band would go on tour, and we put out a couple of albums." But when college ended, so did the band. "We weren't going to be a big famous band," he notes. "We were an instrumental metal band, and you couldn't go far with that. We went about as far as you can go."

Newman stayed in Athens, and began to think more about comedy, something he'd always been a fan of. "I was super into comedy when I was a little kid," he says. "I had a Playskool record player for the kids' albums I had. Then I went through my parents' record collection, and they had cool classic rock stuff and a lot of Motown stuff, but they also had George Carlin records and Bill Cosby records and all that. I'm talking eight years old I was listening to Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television."

While he knew that people could have careers in music, he wasn't sure how to start a career in comedy, especially in Athens. "I didn't know that there were open mics, and at college I didn't know of any standup comedy."

Newman liked Athens, and stayed there after graduation. He found a job that he wasn't particularly excited about. "All day long I was watching DVD box sets of Mr. Show or Kids in the Hall. I was going on YouTube and watching all these New York comedians who were making these weird videos and stuff, and got really into that."

After reading the bios of a few standup comics, he realized he had to move to New York and start doing open mics. Friends who were already there helped him find a roommate and a job. The day he arrived, his new roommate handed him a list of all the open mics around the city. "I dropped my bags off and started hitting all the open mics I could find."

That tenacity paid off, as he is now a headlining comedian. This week's shows at Acme Comedy Co. will be recorded for CD release.


Adam Newman
Acme Comedy Co.
708 N. First St., Minneapolis
8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Call 612-338-6393 or visit for more info