Zoom VIP meet-and-greets after shows with comics who have yet to break have been one of the more curious attractions of the pandemic. During a recent event, a grand total of three fans kicked in extra bucks to hang out with stand-up Ryan O’Flanagan and two other comics who are hardly household names.
“That was brutal,” said O’Flanagan, who lives in Los Angeles. “Nobody was talking. I don’t know if the three guys were expecting more material. I just didn’t have much to say. None of us did.”
O’Flanagan, who will make his Spokane Comedy Club debut this weekend, doesn’t have much to say except when the suburban Boston native is onstage. It might seem odd, but a number of comics are introverted. It helps O’Flanagan’s cause since his awkward experiences, when he’s not under the lights, inspires material.
“My inactive dating life is a source for me,” O’Flanagan said. “I have relationship humor that people might be able to relate to.” O’Flanagan is adept at delivering silly, strange material that is often absurd and almost always light. “That’s what I like to do,” O’Flanagan said. “I’m not political. I like to have fun.”
However, O’Flanagan will render pandemic material. “I have to bust that out,” O’Flanagan said. “It was brutal doing the Zoom shows. There is nothing like doing comedy in silence. It was eerie doing those shows.
“I understand that the audience couldn’t turn up the volume since there’s dogs and people making noise in their homes, but I can’t tell you how happy I am to be out in clubs again.”
After O’Flanagan’s Spokane sets, he will fly to Wilmington, North Carolina, to star in the independent film “Birdie.” O’Flanagan will play a golfer trying to save a country club.
“I haven’t golfed or acted in a while,” he said. Perhaps two negatives will make a positive, like in algebra. “Maybe it’ll work out that way,” O’Flanagan said. “I’m just looking forward to the work.”
O’Flanagan has had success as a voice actor. He’s been working on the Disney series “The Owl House.” “I love doing voice work,” O’Flanagan said. “It’s perfect for a schlub like me. No one has to see you. I would love to make a career out of it. It’s fun and easy.”
For now, he’ll be working the clubs. “I love doing stand-up,” O’Flanagan said. “It’s been that way since I was a kid.”
Boston comics such as Bill Burr, Louis C.K. and Dane Cook inspired O’Flanagan. “I love all of them,” he said. “I dreamed of becoming a stand-up, and that’s what I do. I love it.”
O’Flanagan enjoys delivering material but isn’t crazy about those meet-and-greets after shows. “I have to get better at that,” O’Flanagan said. “I’m worried that people will realize that I’m an absolute weirdo.”
Weird is an asset in comedy, as late comic icons Robin Williams, Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks come to mind.
“I’m just going to be me in Spokane,” O’Flanagan said. “I’ll do some research and do some local humor. That might seem hacky, but I’ll try to connect with the crowd and see where it goes from there.”
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