Scott Long headlines comedy clubs across the country. He's based in Indianapolis, which is just fine with him. "I've played pretty much every Improv and Funny Bone and had the chance to move to New York or Los Angeles, but I grew up in the Midwest, and just never had the desire to relocate to either of those cities." When career opportunities made the idea more attractive, he had already put down roots. "Financially, it just wouldn't have made sense," he explains. "I couldn't move my wife and very young daughter -- at the time -- all the way to L.A. or New York to live in a tiny apartment when we had a nice house here."
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Not that Long is your typical Midwestern neighbor. "My neighbors are all people that work for banks or pharmaceutical companies or law firms," he says. "I'm a standup comic, and I'm the only one that voted for Obama. When they found that out they were like, 'What? How?'" He gets along with them just fine, though. "They're nice people. The guys like to talk in the garage. When they found out I voted for Obama, they would look around before they started talking about politics, like I was a black guy and they were about to tell a racist joke." He doesn't bring up his political leanings onstage. "I never wanted to preach to the converted."
As a suburban dad, Long knows he's not a young comic anymore. "I went from hipster to dipster," he laughs, "I used to go to concerts and see bands like the Replacements and the Pixies. Now I'm driving a minivan." He can still play to a variety of crowds though. "I'm this weird mix of standup comics. I can play alternative rooms, I can play more of your beer and a shot crowd," he says. "Versatility, when you're based in the Midwest, will keep you working every week. Unlike most comics, I have a wife and three kids, so I'm kind of living this split life, which I never could have imagined when I was younger." Inspired by Bill Hicks and George Carlin, Long likes to get edgy. The latter really connected with him when he was younger. "Carlin spoke like I wanted to speak, and I still feel that way."
When he has to, he can dial back the edginess for things like corporate work. "I wish I could get more of that," he says. "The problem is my act used to be a lot dirtier. So there are a lot of YouTube videos of my older sets. A corporate client goes on there, and sees me talking about oral sex and golden showers, and thinks, 'I can't use this guy!' Being on the internet is like being an ex-con: You have a record."
In addition to doing standup, Long has written for fellow comic Frank Caliendo's NFL bits on Fox Sports and ESPN. Onstage, his set has changed over the years. "I was your typical narcissistic standup comic and ready for a flame war on stage or off," he recalls. "But now I've come into myself and gotten better about looking at my life. My oldest daughter, who is on the autism spectrum, and her challenges really put things in focus and help me understand what I'm doing here."
IF YOU GO:
Scott Long The Joke Joint Comedy Club 801 Sibley Memorial Hwy., Lilydale; 615-330-9078 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 10:30 Friday and Saturday $10-$15 Jokejointcomedyclub.com
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