Steve “Mr Clean” Bruner Interview & Comedy set

Enjoy this interview with high class comic Steve Bruner, a comic who has done TV, hundreds of clubs, corporate gigs, and Cruise lines….a true professional. I titled this show Me Clean because of all the successful road comics, Steve was able to be one of the best while never saying a single swear word…amazing! And, he is FUNNY! Listen to his story and enjoy his comedy set, all right here.
Hosted by R. Scott edwards

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Podcast Transcript:

Announcer: 

This is another episode of stand up comedy, your host and emcee, celebrating 40 plus years on the fringe of show business, stories, interviews and comedy sets from the famous and not so famous. Here’s your host and emcee Scott and words.

Scott Edwards: 

Hi, and welcome to this week’s show. We have a special guest and not only a terrific comic, but a longtime friend. You’ve seen him on evening at the improv. He’s been on Showtime, he’s done. got hundreds of clubs, corporate events. cruiselines. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce one of my best friends in the business. Steve Bruner. Wow, the crowd has got so nice to have you on the podcast this week. I think I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I started. There’s certain people I know in the industry that I think of more as more than just comics that friends and people that grew up in the industry with me, and you’re one of them.

Steve Bruner: 

Oh, I appreciate that. Scott, thank you very much. I do have a question. Are there any non special guests? You have? We’re looking forward to our special guests today. We’re looking forward. You’re less than this is all we could get this week. Yeah, I like being a special guest.

Scott Edwards: 

Exactly. Well, whenever I can get somebody of your caliber of comedy. Special,

Steve Bruner: 

I’m the most famous person in my house. Because I live in my hometown, I moved back about a year and a half ago to my hometown and I run into people from from high school and in heck from kindergarten just want to go out to buy cream and a couple of people. It’s kind of funny that, you know, I’m not I’m not famous or anything. They’re like, Hey, I heard you were doing comedy. You did pretty well. What? What’s gone? You know, I guess you never, you know, you never made it to be famous. And I never knew what to say. And

Scott Edwards: 

say, Well, you’re not famous, but we know you did it.

Steve Bruner: 

Well, but we know you’re funny or not. And Teresa does. My wife Teresa came up with just a just such a great thing to say when somebody’s settling, putting you down or whatever. And you’re not a household name, but you’re in the business. She goes, Oh, yes, he’s not famous, but he’s so successful. And I just quit. That’s really nice.

Scott Edwards: 

That’s actually Teresa nailed it. Because yeah, are one of the top professional, ongoing. I mean, decade after decade, I bet I can list on two hands, the people that got their start in the clubs that are still performing regularly. In fact, you and I just did a gig recently. So yeah, man are still going strong. But let’s lead into the podcast without any

Steve Bruner: 

better. Sure. If you don’t know any better to quit, then you’re that’s what I say,

Scott Edwards: 

well, let’s, let’s let the audience know, how did you end up being a comic?

Steve Bruner: 

Well, I’d always been writing jokes. For a very, very long time, I got some laughs early on in my life, a mistake in a in a play called Oklahoma, where a kid was teaching an older kid was teaching the younger kids how to play poker. And he had any basically was relieving them of their lunch money is what he was doing, but and he had all this change in his pockets. And we were doing a performance of, of Oklahoma, and he’s carried off stage. And he drops all this change out of his pants pocket. And I’ve been down to pick it up because I’m like, oh my goodness, he’s losing all this money. I I totally have no idea. There’s an audience there. In the summer death scene, it gets this huge, huge laugh and an eye and I’m like, Oh, I don’t know what drugs this this, but I’m digging it. So much. So and and that sort of gave me a wow, I really liked the sound of that. The feeling of that. And I was probably picking up the change slower after I heard the laugh. And, and, and I’d always write stuff down that people would say, and in high school. I was. I don’t know where we’ve ever talked about this, but I was like five, two when I graduated high school. So I was very short. Yeah. Yeah, thanks. Yeah, I grew like three days after I graduated high school. People would say very hung out with very funny people. And they’d say things and I’d like me and that’s funny. I’m gonna write it down. And at a high school party one time there was a big group and I tell Hey, remember when so and so did such and such and it got a huge response and, and one of the cool guys in high school said, you know, I was there when that happened. It wasn’t nearly as funny as the way you say it was Was you made him look good? You made her look good. You made it funny. Everybody loved it. Yeah, I think you’ve got something here. And I was just kept that notebook that I wrote funny things down. And I sort of learned how to order material. So the punch line was at the end and,

Scott Edwards: 

and you got really validation it sounds like Yeah. It for

Steve Bruner: 

for being a short guy being funny was my end. And and it helps so got validation. And then in college, I entered a couple little talent shows and got noticed, I just went up and read out of the notebook at a things I had written and, and, and it were in second grade, I wanted to be a comedian. So there’s a little report and

Scott Edwards: 

grow up to be you want to be a Canadian. Yeah, there’s something to be said for living out your live stream and being a success. Like you have. So that’s interesting. I didn’t know that story. And then how did that lead?

Steve Bruner: 

What story do you knew?

Scott Edwards: 

No, it’s great. I love learning. So how did that lead to us meeting and you working at laughs?

Steve Bruner: 

Ah, graduated college, because I thought I did think comics star. And so I thought, well, you’re gonna need, you know, something to make money and you’re just gonna be doing comedy for for fun. And maybe if it turns into profit, hot diggity. But after college, I moved in with a bunch of sellers from high school.

Scott Edwards: 

We’re wrapped up, what would you graduate with degree wise?

Steve Bruner: 

Oh, what are you my dad. I graduated with a degree in economics and a degree in political science, or those were my majors. I don’t know the difference between majors and degrees, but, and then I did get a minor in speech. So I’m interested in minor speech. That’s what I always told my dad, I am using my minor in speech, thanks for paying for most of my college. And

Scott Edwards: 

I tell people, I used to tell it give advice to young comics all the time. And I share just like you said, there’s very few people that float to the top the cream of the crop, that make the money necessary to have a living in any type of entertainment, especially comedy. And I used to give people advice that, you know, have a backup plan. And the fact that you had a degree in business, or political science at least showed one that used your brain that you are smart. And it but I mean, I would have given you that same advice if I had met you in college to finish what you’re doing. Have that as a backup, go for your dream, but have a backup plan. So that’s interesting. So

Steve Bruner: 

it helped. It helped for sure. Because econ, you know, I learned how to sort of invest in stocks. And I sort of knew that there was a little you should live on less than you make, which my first years of comedy was very good advice. I started a little bit but but but anyway, I then have one of the fellows named directly I moved to San Francisco because he wanted to go into modeling. He was a real good looking kid. And he said, I don’t think I can afford to live there by myself. Would you consider coming down, and I said, Time to put up or shut up about, you know, being a comedian. So he moved to San Francisco found a place I moved in a little bit later and started doing stand up did a bunch of open mics.

Scott Edwards: 

You do the zoo and car buying my first paid gig was

Steve Bruner: 

the holy city zoo. Very proud. $12.20 Wow. And, and then there were there were competitions around the Bay Area of which you did. You had one, I think it was called the Great Northern lap off or something like

Scott Edwards: 

Northern California comedy competition. Yeah. Okay. And

Steve Bruner: 

I did. I did one of those. I made it to eight plates. Although Lamont Ferguson, good friend of mine, says, No, I was eight in that. Then. Basically, we’re both we’re both we made it to the finals, but we’re in way over our head. But we became great friends because we’re starting out. So like I got seventh or eighth. And the prize for getting seventh or eighth was a week at laughs unlimited. And, and not at not a bad prize. And I remember my first week was in you had birdcage at that point. I were bird cage with the Oh shoot. I had her name on the front of the end and she gave me some real solid comedy advice. Joanne Dearing was first a headliner, and very funny young lady. She listened. She’s fabulous. She had a TV show there for a while she hosted the TV show. But she said she listened to her tape. After every show. I spent, you know, half my my weekly wage. They’re going to buy a recorder. I listened to my stuff and she helped go over a couple joke. I think I only had probably eight jokes at that time. But he didn’t really have to help edit too long, but I got better and better. And the funny thing is got you thought I was too nice of a guy to hire me back. And I came into laughs and I was told, yeah, go down there, get paid, and get your other weeks. And you said, you know, I heard you were funny, but you’re too nice guy, this, this, this, this business is gonna, you know, make, right. It’s gonna eat you up. And and so, you know, come back with a little more seasoning. And I think I said, man, you’re a jerk. Well, and and then you said, Oh, okay. I’ll give you another week, you know? And so it was kind of like you by stood up for myself? You you hired me?

Scott Edwards: 

Well, I did. Yeah, that’s an interesting. No, I appreciate you. And of course, I don’t remember any of that. But I think it’s, it points out something that was very true. And that was that I took my job is a comedy club with, you know, we weren’t Vegas, we weren’t TV shows. But we also weren’t high school gigs. Were part of the training program. And I took my job seriously on telling people, honestly, if they had an opportunity or not, and I’m not sure I was right 100% of the time. But I would, on a regular basis, sit people down and say, Look, you’re good. But you need to do this and this and this, or you’re not good. And here’s why you need to keep that degree going. You know? And you are one of the nicest guys in comedy.

Steve Bruner: 

Oh, well, thanks. I appreciated it. And I had a little schooling in San Francisco where there was this guy’s very talented comic at open mic. After your show, he would come up didn’t matter if he had a good show or a bad show. He would come up and say, quit now. You suck. Oh, and and I mean, it was it didn’t matter. And I saw him. I saw him do it to a couple other comics who were like, we’re like, yeah, yeah, I got it. He was just being the kind of bully of the open mic system. And when he came to me with the same tone, I’m like, No, I don’t know, I don’t know. I’m, I’m in, I’m in this. You can’t bully me out. He goes. And as soon as you said that, he said, Alright, stick to itiveness. That’s what we need in this business. So I had a little taste of somebody who just kind of bristled up and said, Look, this, this, this ain’t this thing. Assissi game. They’re the it’s a mean hard business. I’ve slept in my car, to get the hotel money that defeat that some club gave you. Because I wanted to make a living at it, you know, and, and it’s not for shrinking violets. And I don’t think you got it. I don’t think you have to be mean. But I think you have to have a little, you know, toughness of, of his show business has thrown a lot of people out, because they just didn’t like to deal with the business part. And I agree that that’s not the fun part. But the the rush of the stage, and writing the material, like I’ve been doing for a while now is just so joyful. I’m so lucky. And I feel lucky.

Scott Edwards: 

They were and I would have had similar advice for people but it is a being a road comic has a one of the toughest existences in business. Because it’s not just the difficulty of show business and trying to be that half a percent that make it to stardom. It’s the grind. Day after day, week after week. Being on the road,

Steve Bruner: 

I I didn’t know it was a grind. I didn’t know it was a grind when I was doing it because I had so much fun. I mean, me and you know, you know Bobbitt and your back in the day Bobbitt and your and I did 10 states in 10 days, 5000 miles, him driving five hours, me driving five hours. I mean, crazy stuff that I couldn’t possibly do now. But we were so excited in two comics. And we, we wrote during that, hey, what do you think about this idea? What do you think about that idea was like an office

Scott Edwards: 

and you were bonding over the experience because it was a shared experience.

Steve Bruner: 

And we couldn’t have been making? I mean, I made enough to cover rent and and there were meals. I used to drive places just for a spaghetti dinner. But the best part about working with Bob is I’m not a druggie or I’ve never got involved in that route. As I say, I’m too cheap for rehab. But but but it was nice to work with another comic, because when we were driving through Colorado, we got pulled over by the fleet because we’re driving it too. Two o’clock at night and in the cop comes over, it’s snowing. And and he’s like, Alright, you guys can California this is a drug run, we’re gonna bring the dog in to smell your car. And Bob turns means Look, man, I’m glad I’m working with you because I can’t think of five other comics that that I trust in this situation is the dog wasn’t going to find some drugs.

Scott Edwards: 

And it’s so funny.

Steve Bruner: 

And real quick, the police off, we had to turn our car off. And the cop had his the policeman had his car still on. And I said hey, while we’re waiting for the dog is no one can we get in the back of your car? And he goes, What do you mean? And I’m like your car you got your heater on? Can we go with and he knew that no drugs. Modular guys wanted to get in the back of the car. And so he goes, you guys know cuz we had cash. You know, we emptied our pockets. We just been paid. We had tax. We’re from California, we had a rental car. I mean, we look, I guess, you know, I don’t look like I don’t know what it drove. I looked like a good you’ll

Scott Edwards: 

never thought of you that way.

Steve Bruner: 

He called. He called the drug dogs off because we asked to get in the back of the pool.

Scott Edwards: 

Just for he? Well, I think that’s a great story. Oh, that’s hilarious.

Steve Bruner: 

It’s true, Bob. We’re happy to have traveled together.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, that is so great. In you alluded to something earlier I wanted to roll back on and that is that. Unlike magic and juggling, and a couple other aspects of entertainment. One of the things I was always aware of and happy about and I’ve heard on this podcast over and over, is that the more mature successful comics have no problem normally in giving advice, and helping young comics. You know, magicians are very competitive jugglers can be competitive actors, you know, models, they can all be very competitive. Okay. And I’m sure there’s some comics that that fear other comics quality on stage. But most of the stories I’ve heard, like you mentioned Joanne daring, giving you advice? Yeah, I’ve heard that over and over again. And I think it’s kind of a proud point of the comedy, at least the stand up comedy industry is that the seasoned professionals have no problem in giving advice to somebody that’s up and coming. There’s a more there’s a more camaraderie and

Steve Bruner: 

ego is that that’s definitely true. In the San Francisco realm that I started out with, they was the most supportive group of people. I did two shows at the holy city zoo. My first show was an open mic, and they put the new people up front, because they just said, yeah, you shouldn’t wait to read the new guys went on first. Let’s see what you have a trial of fire. And I did. I had fun. My first time going up. It wasn’t horrible. I didn’t get many laughs but I think I was deaf to the lab, I wouldn’t have known what a good laugh was anyway, if I got half a lap of thrill. And the second time I went up they go, you’ve been here before you know what it is. And I ended up almost going last at like, you know, 130 in the morning, because I didn’t know there was a dude thing. You know, that’s what it was. You pay your dues. And I did horribly as you can imagine the beginning comic at 130. And I couldn’t. I was I had states right after that for a period of about a month. And I avoided the going up on stage even though I had moved there to do comedy. I was like, you know that and when I finally got up the gumption to go again. A bunch of the people that had seen me the first two weeks, where are you? What do you do and it was they were they you know worried about me that I was gone, you know, and they welcomed me back with open arms. They there were people that went out after and wrote in LA when I had moved there. It was a little more competitive. But man in the early 90s in San Francisco, it was a it was a wonderful schooling community. People like Mike Dubin was would gave gave advice freely. Jim Samuels. They had a comedy class that he’d look at your tape and I think it was $5. He’d look at your tape and give you his advice. And after about two months, about five tapes where he goes, I’m not giving any more advice. It’s all it’s good. And from that point on, I submitted the tape to get gigs. It was it was super. It was a super wonderful community with one guy I was opening for and I was so bold people were giving me advice that I said, Hey, I think this joke that you do, they’re laughing too early. I think if you put this word at the end and He looked at me I had been doing comedy for, you know, eight months or something he’s like, about a year later when I was a middle act and a little stronger and kind of pushing him a little harder. And he, and he said, Wow, that’s a great idea. And so I knew I had been right. If it was mostly one way you give to the new people, the ideas, and you don’t, and yet, I was kind of barking up the tree saying, Hey, I have an idea for you and created a lot of nice. Hey, this guy will give you a suggestion if he has it. I mean, some of my suggestions are worthless, but but I love I wanted to tell them I was all open for whatever they ever wanted to give

Scott Edwards: 

me, in an analogy of what you’re talking about happened to me all the time as the club owner, because I never, never called myself a comic never tried to do your stand up. I mean, some people would say I spent way too much time on stage for not having an app. But I and I think what you’re alluding to, and I think it’s a truism, is that certain people have an ear for comedy on what works, what won’t work in the right, timing and verbiage to make something better. And I often would give my advice to comics, not always, not always heated and maybe not always right. But I have a good ear for comedy, even though I don’t perform it. And I was not shy because I was the boss. Well, you’re very good, you’re you. Well, let’s let’s backtrack a little bit. I wanted to touch on something that you mentioned a few minutes ago that I think is really true, and that you are a clean comic and not a low A nice guy. Like I said, I was warning you about the industry. So you’re a nice guy. You’re also one of the rare breed of ultra clean comics. And you have maintained that for four decades of entertainment or three decades.

Steve Bruner: 

Not trying to age you know, that’s okay, go ahead.

Scott Edwards: 

But then you mentioned being at the zoo or carbs and doing a set at one or 130 in the morning when the people are a little drunker. And they’re a little crazier, and they’re always had somebody dirtier up in front of you. That, or Yeah,

Steve Bruner: 

I was.

Scott Edwards: 

I was just gonna say, can you explain the challenges of being a clean comic? In that situation?

Steve Bruner: 

I don’t know. I just it never. It’s not like I don’t know the swear words. It’s not like when I thought I hammer my thumb that I don’t have a good working usage of that vocabulary. I just never thought it was, as I you know, I saw some guys when I was just thinking about doing it. And I call San Francisco comedy competition, I saw a Whitney Brown and I thought a guy named Frank Princey open for Dr. Gonzo. And some of the people that impressed me most weren’t using vulgarity or swear words to punctuate their jokes. They just for good jokes, and I went cheap. Oh, wow. Yeah, I see that there’s an effect if you grew up with that convert to Eckerd my dad’s were twice my entire life. And, and also my grandmother, you know, not to sound sweet, Polly purebred, but my grandmother threatened to come to almost every show I did in the area. And I never wanted her to be embarrassed about the material that I did. And I just didn’t grow up with that kind of language. And so I wrote with that idea that if the joke needs it, it’s probably not as good a joke as I can make it. And and yeah, it was somewhat hard. It’s hard to sometimes climb out of the gutter if, if,

Scott Edwards: 

if your audience to climb out of

Steve Bruner: 

it. But here’s the best part about it that I accidentally found. There were a couple acts that had gigs around, you know, the California or near the near states that wanted me to be on the bill ahead of them. Because then when they did drop, the F bomb or whatever, it was a shock to the audience, as opposed to some other acts that just threw it in gratuitously so that they could break that ice. So a couple guys got me a ton of work, because I set what I would call a good table. I said a good table up in front of them. That’s a gray net. And man, it it paid my rent. I mean, they were like, okay, you know, and I always had enough material to wear one thing that. I mean, it wasn’t a great material. But I’d say, hey, is there anything that you need? I wanted to facilitate the headline show, they’re the ones that are doing 45 minutes to an hour. What do you need me to leave out? You’ve seen my act would you need me to leave that because I’m only doing 25 minutes, and I got 35 So I can play. And some people were trying out a new bit that I might have been stepping on with a ship a car routine, or an airline routine or whatever. And, and the idea of me dancing around it and being clean, got me so much work, that it was a good decision. Decision not not, it wasn’t something that I planned out. That’s how I

Scott Edwards: 

know but it’s a tribute to your your how you go and look, go into this business. You’re not being competitive, your egos not involved. You’re doing what’s best for the show. And that I tried. Yeah, I mean, you know, but that’s so true. Kermit appeal has done a lot of traveling opening in concerts because great guy. Yeah, the entertainers know, he’s gonna be he’s gonna do the right time, and it’s going to be clean. So whatever they’re going to do after is going to shine more in Yeah, you’re the epitome of that.

Steve Bruner: 

Well, he’s a good friend of mine in such a great act. And we’ve talked over material and all in told some old war stories and, and such that I like knowing those kind of guys. And yeah, it’s and then when there were other people that wanted to say, hey, is there anything that you need to dance around? It came back to me, you know, guys in front of me, of course, there were the guys that were trying to be headliner. So they tried to make it pretty hard in the middle spot. To they push, they step on your stuff on maybe on purpose, or just to see the to show their wares basically. And I was always happy to when somebody said, Hey, do I need to know, do your act. Part of my job as a headliner is to have enough stuff. And but I appreciated those guys that asked, you know, if I was trying to tape a certain piece that was trying to get on TV or something like that, but the other thing about being clean, and this happened at your club, I worked with a i co headline at your club with with somebody. And they, they were pretty upset that that I was closing some nights over them. And, and, and, and a TV person, we’d both been on a TV audition, and I got called back and they didn’t understand it because they were getting a better response from the crowd than my mineralogy was. And and I said, Well, I got called back on the TV thing, because you were doing your act and I was doing my act, and they had to clipboard stuff you can do on TV, and stuff you can’t do on TV. And at the end of the night, I they only had one clipboard for me. And it was I was writing to get on TV. And he he changed a couple bits. I mean, we talked about after he realized I wasn’t gonna get upset that he was, you know, a couple nights he blew me off the stage. Because the people wanted the bigger comedy with the music and, and the language now Well, yeah. I’m I do what I do. I’m not trying to play baseball if I’m, if I’m a good soccer player. And you put a point terrible analogy.

Scott Edwards: 

You put a point on something that I’ve always believed and I told comics from the day I opened my doors at the club, is that I always preferred clean comics and I knew that the guys that made it, you know, Leno, Carvey, Seinfeld, Chandon, you could go on and on and on like that they had to work, they could be dirty, if they needed to, if it was a Friday night late show and the audience would need it. They could get a little risque to to meet that audience need, they can adapt, but their general Act was clean. And that was one of the reasons they were able to go do the Merv Griffin Show and The Mike Douglas Show on The Tonight Show was that they had all

Steve Bruner: 

people that I love to laugh at and I could laugh at him. You know, I found my dad, my my folks, Shelley Berman album, you know, from the early 60s And I’m like, What is this Mike? Mike, folks, my stoic parents have a comedy and I listened to it. And I loved it. I loved it because it told the story. Audiences were different when I got in because they weren’t they weren’t going to wait three minutes for a premise to be acted out. They they needed a little more fast food when I got in you needed a few more. I think jokes but but to listen to that stuff to well written material that had a beginning a middle and an end was such a good school for me to that’s what I wanted to kind of do. And they didn’t swear. You know, I didn’t really hear the until much later the red box party album or anything like that. So

Scott Edwards: 

no. No golden it does make a point we’ll tell you what let’s share with the podcast audience. What a solid clean entertainer sounds like I have a four minute set here that we recorded in the 80s. And at least it in our 2000 our 20th anniversary CD.

Steve Bruner: 

Oh my goodness.

Scott Edwards: 

Now this is a Wayback Machine. Yeah, this is some early material of yours. So let’s go to that right now. Everybody

Steve Bruner: 

Yes, crank up the real the real Scott.

Scott Edwards: 

everybody this is Steve Bruner live on stage at laughs unlimited sometime in the mid 80s. Alright, here you go.

Steve Bruner: 

Alrighty. Too long ago one of these things where the cavalry comes in and realized the hardest job in the entire world bugler in the lead every single charge in that there’s anything you don’t target making noise he just made his own friends right into the fray playing it in his book The words recruiter like it’s not a hard enough job just playing Google it’s a hard instrument and play this guy is trying to play well right the more if it wouldn’t be the toughest guy I hope he had a good dental plan before I joined the cavalry they used to call me and we had a lot of musical instruments leading the charge into bands like The Scottish army that the bagpipe player he was definitely shot for it’s usually by his own man stuff tough jobs everywhere I think he’s got to be a tough guy to be doctor because everybody’s nervous normally the doctor figured out why I’m so nervous last time because they gave me that little forms his name address phone number in line forces in case of emergency Who do you want us to know? Perhaps the doctor if he doesn’t know what to do I should put down coroner should this last flight across the country that she actually said as part of her safety speech in case of an unscheduled landing codeword credit in case of an unscheduled landing file out in an orderly manner Did you not see us trying to get on board he could manage to get on this thing or this plane like he was less chopper and saying no, you’re gonna factor this into the equipment that they find uncomfortable for a lot of people now that outlawed smoking on airplanes. I think that’s a good idea. Yeah, people can applaud that they know people never upload anything. Too busy gasping for breath it’s like the lung capacity I think they should still have separate sections maybe not smoking and non smoking but something to separate it’s like withdrawing and for a seven hour flight and we have to sit next to Mr. fidgety who’s being forced to quit because you realize in the very first minute is the next move it’s going to be a very long flight for both of you don’t cancel are we gonna be on an extract of liquor or anything what are the areas bothered to see what is in anything? The problem here is there like a door to the wing maybe a window in the bathroom is meant it’s a felony we got 80 hate to be in syncing What are you smoking in the boys I used into this last slide I used to worry about a terrorist hijacker not anymore now I’m worried about some guy in the midst of the nicotine fit all right gives him the damn thing good again. Somewhere near North Carolina, back good day. Hey, I don’t start smoking. We all start smoking get what I mean.

Scott Edwards: 

You know, that’s, that’s old material, but it still works. What’s interesting is that that bit ends with smoking on a plane. Which right? You know, back in the 80s was still a thing where you had smoking sections, which made no sense. There was a time that we had a smoking section in the club. The smoke is still there,

Steve Bruner: 

no matter what I understand it doesn’t take direction,

Scott Edwards: 

right? And what’s funny is if if you were under 30, now or under 20, for sure, the idea of smoking at all should not be good. But smoking in a plane would never be back come up in here. It’s a concept on your bit great yet, by the way.

Steve Bruner: 

Oh, thanks a lot. Thanks. Well, I remember doing that material. I had to change it to no smoking, like an anti smoking idea in general. Hey, remember when they used to smoke this, and I remember working Tennessee, and I’m going into the note sort of against smoking idea. And almost everyone in the audience at the same time was inhaling so that these little cherries lit up the whole room on their cigarette, and I was like, Oh, I better dropped this material. It was like a second.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, that’s a great image. A bunch of audience. Oh, it was amazing.

Steve Bruner: 

I love that. Like they were all doing it at once. And I’m like, oh, yeah, I’m in Tennessee. This is pro pro tobacco country. I better. I better stop it.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, that’s hilarious. Well, the other thing was you open that set with one of the bits that I always attribute to you, because it was your opening set for years. And that was the the bugler and the guys. Yeah, start off pep job. Oh, tough job. But anyway, I mean, that set that opening bit and the smoking.

Steve Bruner: 

He’ll do that joke every now and again. I like that. I like that when they’re kids in the crowd, like when I do a cruise ship. And there’s an early show the the because it has a sound effect, even though I’m not as good as our friend Carlos as Rocky. And that’s one of the only sound effects I have.

Scott Edwards: 

Right? Well, anyway, like, very solid entertainment. And and what I like about doing this podcast is I’m bringing up live on stage material from the 80s and the 90s. And yeah, there’s an occasional reference to Reagan or something back in the day. But the material stands. It’s still funny. And I think that is saying, It’s like watching an old Lucille Ball or Dick Van Dyke Show the material works, no matter what generation

Steve Bruner: 

that must have been. I would say instead of mid 80s, because I started at 788. And God ins Yeah, good, good. Maybe I was funnier earlier than I thought.

Scott Edwards: 

I’m a lot older than you. So I do want to use that to transition to another question. Because we’ve talked about the benefits and the challenges of being a clean comic. I mentioned in your intro that you’ve done clubs, from coast to coast. But more importantly, you’re a very successful corporate comic. You’ve done a lot of corporate works, and you do a lot of cruise ships. Were you being clean? Yeah. Being clean is important. But I did want to ask you, the audiences have changed from the 90s to 2020. And you’re still a working performer. We just did a gig together recently. You still rocked the audience’s Thank you. But you’re when you’re out working and I know you do less clubs, I don’t even know if you do any clubs, but even on the cruise ships and and corporate, the comedy audience has changed. And I’ll give you one quick reference. You mentioned earlier that in the early days, people would allow time for a setup. Right for a pipeline. And then in the 80s and 90s. That setup time you alluded to, you mentioned had to be shorter. Now it’s infinite. I mean, it’s like such a small amount of time people have patience for in this world of instant gratification gratification. Yeah, they don’t. A lot of times, I’ll give you a good story. Larry Miller one of the funniest cops ever hilarious told story bits that could sometimes take 1012 minutes. Now they’re finding material.

Steve Bruner: 

Oh, god, yeah, I legendary legend. I went, yep.

Scott Edwards: 

But would it work in today’s audience? What challenges have you found? Or have you

Steve Bruner: 

well, there’s sure I have to I mean, I write some one liners that I put up front in my act, so that they know that I’m funny right away. However, there are a couple acts that I’m just so whatever the positive word jealous or envious or respected. They’re like George Wallace. He knows these funny and He will talk for three minutes before the first lap. But the people that come to see him, he’s a legend. And it’s a little different when you have a name on the marquee that people are coming to see, which is one of the reasons I actually really enjoyed your club, it was kind of a unique thing. At some point, during my career of club work, your club was a comedy club, you didn’t pay for the room, people came to see comedy, as opposed to it moved to a different business model in the middle of the 90s, or I don’t know when

Scott Edwards: 

people would pay for Yeah, and they would pay

Steve Bruner: 

for the room. And it didn’t matter, you got the butts in the seats, and those people then would be buying drinks, whereas you had a cover charge. And people I think, as I recall, you certainly you press them to buy the not so much or not just memory, but but but they could sit there and just we paid for a comedy room. And so they were there for the art form or whatever. And then when it got to a paper room, it got to a different group of people and it was a little harder. Now you’re competing with cell phone, somebody’s cell phone goes off, or it doesn’t even ring but they notice and they need to text their friend back or their babysitter, they have their own lives. It is a little I think it is a little harder, in some ways. But there’s also more availability more people see my little one minute Bruner breaks that I put out every three weeks from a tape show. And just a little bit that lasts about a minute more people see those than I performed in front of I did a thing called dry bar that one little three minute piece got, you know, 5 million people to watch. That’s probably as many people if I was, I mean,

Scott Edwards: 

there’s this podcast.

Steve Bruner: 

Well, there is now but when they look in the archives, but it’s so it’s a weird or, you know, listen, you got to change. I’m old school, I can probably use a typewriter instead of a computer. Better. It’s different. I am not in adapting comedian, I never I just write what I think is funny. And I find audiences enough audiences that think it’s funny to pay my mortgage, and I’ve always lived on less than I’ve made. So if anything happens, I’m okay. I’m gonna be fine. It’s I’m very lucky.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, you’re lucky, truly a success when it comes to stand up comedy road comic, corporate clubs, cruises. You’ve even had done some bits on TV. So congratulations, and thanks for doing this podcast. It was a real joy.

Steve Bruner: 

Fun, Scott, it’s nice to catch up with you. And talk about the good old days and in the days yet to come. And I appreciate the comedy you’ve the people you’ve introduced me to, by being on your shows. You had a good eye for good, folks. That’s some of my best friends I met at last unlimited stand seller. It was with a guy that we were both i i opened he was a middle. I know that headliner from that week. I mean, it was a real pure comedy experience for a real wonderful time in my life. And I’ve already done the interview. So I don’t need to blow smoke. But it was a great, it was a great run of clubs. I had fun. And you you ran a good show. And you did do too long sometimes. But that’s just between.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, I appreciate the kind words but it was a team effort. I think that I came along at the right time. Open up the by the way, I was the only club that never had a two drink minimum because to me it was all comedy. Having entertainers like us, Steve really made the club a success. So thank you for all those you’re entertaining. And we’re still doing some gigs together, which is fine.

Steve Bruner: 

I’m writing material right now. So hopefully, you’ll put something together and I’ll be able to get on the bill and at some point, and I appreciate your age or whatever.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, yeah. And I appreciate you doing the podcast because this is our little historical piece to share with audiences young and old, about Stand Up Comedy in the 90s. And moving forward in somebody like you is a great example of doing it correctly. So thank you.

Steve Bruner: 

Sure. Nice, enjoy good memories together. That’s for sure. So onward and upward. Alright,

Scott Edwards: 

well, thanks so much, Steve. Hey, ladies and gentlemen, we hope you enjoy this podcast. I’m sure you did. And I know you like the comedy set by Mr. Bruner. And if you get a chance there’ll be another new show next week. Steve, take it away. We’ll be talking soon. Thanks for listening everybody. Bye.

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