By John Benson
As far as performing goes, comedian Pete George is a New Year’s Eve veteran.
“Usually, my show is the same other than maybe I’ll be drinking,” said George, calling from Los Angeles. “Energy-wise, it may be different on New Year’s Eve. The one mistake some clubs do on New Year’s Eve is they hand out noisemakers before the show. So the entire time, people are making noises and being disruptive.”
That’s George’s not-so-subtle clue for Youngstown audiences taking in his New Year’s Eve show at The Funny Farm. The Cleveland-area native will be performing Friday, Saturday and Tuesday at the Austintown venue.
“I’ve played Youngstown many times,” George said. “I’ve been working for the Funny Farm since the ’80s. I’ve always had a really good time there.”
The mid-’80s is when the then-aspiring comic won a few open-mic contests at the Cleveland Comedy Club. From there, he started working as much as possible before landing a traveling opening gig with a comic-musician.
Ironically, that’s exactly what George does today. Known as the Rock Star of Comedy, the traveling funnyman divides his set in half between straight stand-up and music.
“I’m pretty unique,” George said. “I talk about observations and things from my life. I make fun of people, but I don’t make fun just to make fun. I’m observational. I’m very sarcastic. But I say it in a way where I’m just making a point. I also talk about life experiences, an ex-wife and current wife.”
He added, “People ask what’s the difference between my ex-wife and current wife. I say my current wife can actually see her reflection in a mirror. I also talk about during high school I was put in a learning disability program for three years, and I don’t have a learning disability.”
The second half of George’s set finds him grabbing an electric guitar, turning it up to 11 and rocking out to his own funny parodies.
“I do a very funny version of Van Halen’s ‘Eruption.’” George said. “I close my show with a black version of ‘Stairway to Heaven;’ it’s almost hip-hop. It’s different, but a lot of people tell me it’s extremely smart even though it’s silly.”
George feels his humor is decidedly a Midwest style. When asked to elaborate, he disclosed his penchant for playing a heavy-metal polka song.
Invariably, those folks attending George’s shows can expect to hear plenty of noise.
As for those pesky noisemakers, what if audiences bring out their own?
“That’s fine,” George said, laughing. “I’ll work with it.”