Interview: Aaron David Ward – ‘Thoughts From A Mental Ward’
Aaron began his stand up comedy career on May 31, 2002 when he was fired from a job and realized he had nothing left to lose but his dignity and self-respect by stepping on stage and making people laugh and think about what’s wrong with our world, culture, and ourselves and how to fix them with absurd solutions.
Since that fateful day, Aaron has performed throughout the Northeast and Midwest, appeared in the Boston Comedy Festival, and in several movies including What I See In The Dark and Aftermath as well as a pilot for MTV and VH1 entitled The List. Every week on MY TV 4 in Albany, NY, Aaron appears on a hit TV show called The Glenn Slingerland Situation where he provides comedic commentary critics describe as “Andy Rooney on Acid.”
Aaron prides himself on always writing and performing new bits to keep his act exciting, fresh, and original. He never does the same set in the same order instead Aaron adds new material to his act as his life changes.
His act is both auto-biographical and worldly. Aaron explores his inner demons and outer foes with honesty, integrity, and, of course, humor. If you are a fan of funny, insightful, and intelligent comedy, Aaron David Ward is your kind of comedian. Catch Aaron David Ward on his Not Too Far From Home Comedy Tour making stops throughout the Northeast.
Daniel: How did you get started in comedy?
Aaron: I was fired from a job on May 31, 2002. Sometime that day or the next day I began writing stand up comedy. Within a month of losing my public relations job, I was on stage performing stand up comedy. About two months later, I was offered the job of house emcee at The Funny Farm Comedy Club and Restaurant in Broadalbin, NY. I hosted six shows a week every week for about a year and a half before I left to head out on the road as a feature act in the fall of 2003. I began headlining one nighters in 2007. Eight years later, I have performed in hundreds of shows in 12 states from California to New Hampshire and back.
I’ve traveled as far west as Los Angeles and as far south as West Virginia. Prior to performing stand up comedy professionally, I grew up listening to stand up comedy on cassette tapes, watching it on TV, and most importantly talking about it with my Dad. My father is the funniest person I know and he inspired me to pursue stand up.
Daniel: What inspires you to write new skits?
Aaron: Life experiences, specifically events that frustrate, worry, anger, annoy, or seem unusual inspire me to write new jokes. The funniest bits are the truest and the ones that emotionally impact me the most.
Daniel: What have been your best and worst experience in a show?
Aaron: One of the best moments I experienced on stage is headlining a show where every single joke killed and ever ad lib connected in just the right way. It happened at a fundraising event in Connecticut. It was feeling as if I was floating outside of my body, watching myself, it was a magical moment. One of the worst experiences was performing outside at a show where a female audience member came up to the ”stage” which was really a small patch of grass and grabbed my crotch while I was performing. Had she been more attractive, I might have not minded but nonetheless a strange experience just the same.
Daniel: Who are your favorite comedians?
Aaron: George Carlin, Lewis Black, Dennis Miller, Dave Chappelle, Gilbert Gottfried.
George was a master at combining fart jokes with biting social commentary. Lewis makes anger the funniest emotion on the planet. Dennis Miller inspires me to Wikipedia pop cultural references. Dave is so comfortable on stage he makes you feel you’re sitting on a bar stool next to him talking about your day. Gilbert has created a character that allows him to do everything from absurd observational comedy to socio-political commentary.
Daniel: What compelled you to do stand up at first?
Aaron: I had lost a job, was living in my parent’s basement, and had used virtually all of my savings. I had nothing left to lose. When you have nothing left to lose, taking chances becomes very easy. My parent’s were hugely supportive and still are. They stand as an emotional bulwark against self-doubt. Fear, self-doubt, and self-loathing stand as the biggest impediments to successful careers no matter what your trade or profession.
Daniel: Is there anything you’re very successful at that not a lot of people know about?
Aaron: Cleaning! My obsessive-compulsive disorder makes me exceptionally good at housework. Then again, I talk about that in my act, so maybe most people do know that about me already.
Daniel: If you could perform with anyone (living or deceased) who would it be any why?
Aaron: George Carlin. I’d love to pick his brain about stand up. How he constructs bits, how he refines them, and how he finds the courage to always do new material.
Daniel: What’s on the horizon for Aaron David?
Aaron: My independent comedy tour the Not Too Far From Home Comedy Tour featuring me and my opening act Deric Harrington continues to tour the Northeast making stops around upstate NY and New England at indie rock clubs, small black box theaters, and other similar venues.
I continue to perform at comedy clubs. And I am producing brief mini-movies about my OCD. And I continue to appear weekly on My TV 4 Albany WNYA on a quirky late Sunday night show called The Glenn Slingerland Situation where I deliver comedic commentary likened to “Andy Rooney on Acid.” I have acted in several independent films and I continue to remain open to whatever comes my way whether that is a bit role in an independent film or the next stand up gig.
My goal is to become a national headliner with my own fan base. I want to be known as a comedian’s comedian who makes people laugh and think at the same time. I believe my stand up does just that. And I will continue to perform in fundraising shows too. I enjoy using my gifts to help other people. Life is short, there are many people who are suffering, and if my ability to make people laugh can do some good on this earth, then I’m blessed twice.