Interview: Standup comedian David Huntsberger
The pair would stay up late at night and stumble onto shows featuring standup comedy like MTV's Half-Hour Comedy Hour. "That was pretty influential." Around that same time, Huntsberger's mother would take the two to shows in nearby Reno, Nevada. "We'd go to a casino about once a year and see a comedy show." Those performances weren't as interesting to him as the ones he was seeing on television, though. Then, in high school, he saw David Spade. "That was the first time I thought standup could be really cool. There was someone similar to me, kind of closer to my age, with a similar sense of humor. That was much more appealing."
In school, Hunstsberger was not your typical class clown. "I was very subtle and probably more of a smart aleck," he recalls. "For the teachers it had to be annoying, but I do remember them laughing at my jokes." One teacher in particular told Huntsberer's mother, at a parent-teacher conference, that young David should be a standup comedian. "We're friends on Facebook, and he still brings that up: 'I'm responsible for David being a comedian.'"
In high school he played sports, and thought of pursuing that. "That only lasted a few months and didn't pan out," he says. So he turned his attention to horses. "I grew up around horses and cattle and always had a bit of a cowboy background. I was on the rodeo team in high school, and did a lot of team roping."
Huntsberger thought of graduating high school early and using his mad roping skills to pursue a career, but a high school guidance counselor had some different advice for him. With his grades being so good, she urged him to go to college and study engineering. "I guess her husband and son were both engineers and I reminded her of them. I think it was her way of saying I was boring," he laughs.
Feeling it was an opportunity he shouldn't pass up, he headed to Colorado State. "I knew I had an interest in something, but it was comedy. You can't really do standup in college, but it's all I wanted to do. I thought of doing it when I was younger, but I didn't have any life experience." After graduating from college with a degree in civil engineering, he felt compelled to finally give standup a try.
He soon wound up in San Diego working as a substitute teacher during the day and doing standup at night. After a time in Austin, where Comedy Central first took notice of him, he relocated to Los Angeles.
Today, he's a headlining comic and co-host of Professor Blasoff along with fellow standups Tig Nitaro and Kyle Dunnigan. The show started as a vehicle for the three to explore topics that interested them, mostly ones centered on science. "It has morphed so much. There's such a big umbrella. Where we've had shows where we just chat with each other about what's going on in our lives," he explains. "Then we'll spend time with another comic who isn't a scientist but has an interest in a certain topic. Other times it's an actual expert with a Ph.D. in a particular field."
His CD, Explosion Land, was released last year on Stand Up! Records.
IF YOU GO:
Acme Comedy Co.
708 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6393
8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, Saturday; 10:30 Saturday (no show on the Fourth of July)
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