2016 is shaping up to be another banner year for Austin-based comedy label, Sure Thing Records. They had their first #1 record on iTunes’s comedy charts with Jay Whitecotton’s Hi Lonesome! an they’re set to release an album later this year from Brooke Van Poppelen (truTV’s Hack My Life). For the second year in a row, Sure Thing Records is hosting an album recording during Austin Sketch Fest, this time from the amazing Eric Krug. Eric is a veteran and a past winner of the Funniest Person in Austin contest (so he’s seen some shit). He’s appeared on Comedy Central and Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. He’s also a straight-up rascal.
What’s been your process, putting together your set for the album recording?
Eric Krug: I typically try to sift through all my “hits” and find what I think is my best material, then fine tune it and compile that into a cohesive structure so it flows naturally in a one-hour set. Then I work those sets out at shows and open mics until it no longer seems funny to me anymore, at which point I throw out all my jokes and go to sleep for a few weeks. Then when showtime rolls around I just sort of wing it. I’m usually drunk.
You won FPIA back in 2008 – what effect did that have on your career?
Eric: 2008 was the same year that Barack Obama was elected our first black president. How my winning FPIA contributed to that is just something the historians will have to continue to debate amongst themselves. I think the Affordable Care Act has its flaws, but for better or worse, I think it is still a landmark legislative achievement. The answer is none.
The comedy scene in 2008 – while vibrant – wasn’t nearly the behemoth that it is today. As someone else who was there in the early days, why do you think it exploded the way it has?
Eric: I think it was a behemoth even in 2008. The industry has been coming here for years, and always taken a particular interest in Austin comics. And the fellas that were here when I started (Matt Bearden, David Huntsberger, Brendon Walsh, Martha Kelly, Jimmie Roulette, John Ramsey, Lucas Molandes, Doug Mellard, Bryan Gutmann – just to name a few) are still some of the best comedians I’ve ever seen anywhere. I think it’s exploded because more and more comics have come to the same conclusion I did. I drove up to open mics in Austin while I was still stationed in San Antonio in the Air Force, just to check the scene out, and I really had no intention of staying in Texas. But I recognized something in the Austin scene I couldn’t find anywhere else, so I knew this is where I wanted to be. The first open mic I saw was at Cap City and it was one of the best comedy shows I’ve seen to this day, and it was an open mic!
What’s your writing process like?
Eric: I love the writing process. It’s like stand-up, but without the audience. It’s the best. I’ve just never really cared for people.
Who are your influences? Who are some of your favorite comedy acts performing today?
Eric: The first time I saw Maria Bamford will forever go down as the best stand-up show I’ve ever been too. I adore her. Growing up, I remember me and my brother couldn’t get enough of Norm MacDonald. This is a tough question to answer. I don’t want to just name well-known people, but there’s so many good comics in so many scenes around the country now I wouldn’t know where to start. Though I will say Nick Mullen is the best thing on the internet. That guy just makes me laugh stupid hard.
Do you have any fun “worst show” stories?
Eric: Actually, I told a story at Bryan Gutmann’s album recording (which won’t be on the album, since I was just the warm-up) about the time I got boo’d off the stage in Wales in the United Kingdom. I think it was because I started my set by saying, “I didn’t even realize you guys were a country. I just thought you were some stuff England owned.” Anyway, they called me “wanker” a whole lot.
Do you have any fun “best show” stories?
Eric: There was this one time when I had unprotected sex with every member of the audience after the show. I almost ran out of jizz (almost).
What else – comedy wise – are you looking forward to this year? What do you have cooking?
Eric: I plan to spend most of my time writing while I’m out in L.A. for the summer. I’m also a giant history nerd who listens to C-Span for fun, and I have tentative plans to start doing a podcast on all the presidents (in sequential order from G-Wash to Barry-O), and if it comes together I want to start recording on presidents 1 through 5 this year and release that as the first “season.”
Eric Krug records his debut album, Sunday May 29th, 7pm at Spiderhouse Ballroom. Danny Palumbo, the winner of the 2015 Funniest Person in Austin contest, opens. TICKETS HERE.