With a hippie, New Age folk singer for a mom, a father who sells insurance, a sister who attended graduate school at Harvard University, a wife and two hairless guinea pigs, comedian Tommy Ryman is never short on material.
“There’s a lot of storytelling,” Ryman said from a tour stop in Fort Myers, Fla. “It’s relatable. There are random goofy ones, too. Absurdist stuff.”
After finishing as a semifinalist on season eight of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” in 2014, Ryman hired a manager and embarked on a career in comedy. Today he’s regularly heard on SiriusXM and iHeartRadio, and he’s worked alongside popular comedians Hannibal Buress, Maria Bamford and Louie Anderson. He’ll perform Thursday through Saturday at Loonees Comedy Corner.
While he didn’t win the reality TV competition, he credits the experience with helping him find his voice.
“I learned to be more honest,” said Ryman, whose 2018 album “Having the Time of My Life” landed at No.2 on the iTunes comedy charts. “I started doing jokes where people thought, ‘Oh, that’s Tommy Ryman.’”
Today those jokes stem from a lot of random life stuff, such as almost getting hit in the mall by a 4-mph train for little kids. Or odd hits of inspiration, such as how many eyes jellyfish have.
It was his sister who spurred him to perform at an open mic in 2005 while he worked at Barnes & Noble. He’d never been to a club and had only seen one comedian on stage: Mitch Hedberg, whom he idolizes to this day.
“I’ve always been sarcastic and funny,” Ryman said. “I had a ton of his (Hedberg) stuff memorized. I learned the one-liner and originally modeled myself after him. Now I’m more into longer stories, but some people will say, ‘I see a little Mitch in there.’”
JENNIFER MULSON, THE GAZETTE, 636-0270, JEN.MULSON@GAZETTE.COM