Comedian Josh Wolf isn't sure he was what you would call a funny kid. "I had been told a bunch of times by my dad that I was a wise-ass," he recalls, "and all my teachers would say to me all the time, 'What are you, a comedian?'" Indeed, he did his first standup set at the age of 15.
When he arrived at the comedy club for his very first set, he asked what he should talk about onstage. The show's organizer told him to talk about what he knew.
[jump] "The only thing I knew about at that time was my parents," he says. "They had driven me to the show, they were sitting in the audience, and they were so proud and excited when I hopped onstage. And the funniest thing about my parents is that they had terrible gas. I did 10 minutes on how much my parents fart."
His closer was about a particular incident involving his mom's flatulence. "We were driving down the freeway, and my mom was just killing it in the car. Hot gassing all of us. My brothers were sweating and I was lightheaded. Dad pulled the car over, and told his wife she had to get out for a few minutes saying, 'You've got to walk it off.'"
"She walked up and down the freeway until she had farted herself out, while we sat in the car and listened to music," Wolf adds. "That's the story that I closed with, and my dad made it very clear that I was funny, but that I was going to have to find my own ride after that, because he was pretty sure that he and my mom weren't coming back."
Wolf went to college, but he was focused on comedy. "I think I knew all along that I wasn't going to college to be doctor or lawyer or businessman," he says, "but I also knew that college is a very special four to seven years of your life -- depending on who you are -- and it's something that shouldn't be missed."
Wolf took full advantage of the experience. "I knew I was wasting everybody's money." Today, when he performs at colleges, he passes his wisdom on to the students. "I tell kids, 'You know, unless you're a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, you know that big test you thought was so important tomorrow? You're not going to remember that, whereas if you go out tonight and make a memory with your friends, that you will remember.' Colleges hate when I say that."
After college, Wolf found himself in Seattle, where he wound up working for Nintendo. "That was just luck," he says. "There was an audition for something, and I went and it was the first time I hadn't prepared for an audition. I was really just myself." It was also the first gig he ever booked. "[It was an] interesting lesson about honesty and being yourself," he notes.
For his appearances in Minneapolis, Wolf will be joined by fellow Chelsea Lately alum Jiffy Wild. The two will do their respective standup sets before rolling out their Wild Wolf Band. The duo does both original and parody songs, and Wolf estimates that it's sort of like a cross between Weird Al and Garfunkel and Oates.
IF YOU GO:
The House of Comedy
Mall of America, 408 E. Broadway, Bloomington; 952-858-8558
18+; 21+ later shows
7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 9:30 p.m. Saturday