By Khaleel Herbert
Brian Flynn isn’t your typical college student. When Flynn isn’t studying English at Metropolitan State University of Denver or making dough from his grind at the Crema Coffee House, he does stand-up at local Denver clubs, records his own podcast and hosts a late-night comedy show.
The Beginning of a Beautiful Passion
Flynn’s fascination with comedy was a small spark that erupted into a passionate flame. Conan O’Brien, Maria Bamford, and Patton Oswalt are only a few of his comedic influences.
“I remember listening to Steve Martin records with my dad and Richard Pryor on my own, when my dad wasn’t watching me,” Flynn says. “The first thing I started really following was Jon Stewart and ‘The Daily Show.’”
Flynn’s decision to break into comedy happened when he and his friends, Zachary Powers and Patrick Medaugh, resolved to give stand-up a try in July 2011. The trio’s first performance was at the now-deceased Rooster and Moon Coffee Pub. Friends and family attended the show.
“We did fine,” Flynn recalls. “It was one of those things where I heard people talk about their first times up and I heard them say, ‘If I get one laugh, I’ll keep going.’ That was my baseline.”
Flynn’s joke-writing quota is set committed to cranking out at least five jokes a day in his notebook.
“I try to write things that resemble jokes. Some days I can get 10 or 12,” Flynn says. “Some days I’m struggling in bed before I go to sleep to get them. It’s not a magic number. It’s just a thing I give to keep myself disciplined.”
Flynn forms his jokes from current events and things he notices around him.
”A lot of my jokes come from a place of, ‘This is the world as it is,’” Flynn says. “And implicitly comparing that to an ideal world and how far off we are from that on a social level down to a personal level.”
Powers says the night before the trio performed at the Rooster, they all went to his parents’ house to test out their material.
“Initially, I think Brian was a more clever writer than he was a gifted performer,” Powers says. “I think as time has gone on, he’s become more skilled at working his kind of inherent awkwardness into the act, rather than allowing it to be a distraction from some clever observations or wordplay.”
Jen Kolic, Flynn’s girlfriend of two years and publisher of the new fiction magazine, Cherry, says he has matured as a comedian when it comes to crafting his jokes.
“He’s definitely matured and I think he’s being more purposeful with how he spends his time and the goals he sets for himself,” Kolic says. “I try to be as supportive as I can partly because I believe in him and think he’s doing awesome things, and partly because he’s been so supportive of my creative pursuits as well.”
Flynn has performed at the Denver Comedy Works, the Syntax Physic Opera, 3 Kings Tavern and other places in Downtown Denver. Flynn has even performed in Minneapolis and Iceland.
Taking Comedy off Stage
Flynn’s comedy is not confined to stand-up. He incorporates his comedy in various projects including a podcast, “The Revisionists,” which he and Powers host together.
During the show, one person tells the true story of a historical person or event. Another person tells a revised comical version of the same story and the third person will judge and pick the best version of the story. “We give the guest first choice between telling the true story and telling the alternate. We were letting guests judge but it didn’t really work,” Flynn says.
Flynn and Powers have covered various historical topics from Vikings to World War I.
“The Revisionists” has recorded over 50 episodes and one live show, gained over 7,000 subscribers, and featured 30 guests including local comics Janae Burris and Jose Macall. Flynn and Powers record the podcast twice a month.
In February 2017, Flynn started coordinating and hosting “Nighttime Tonight,” his own late-night comedy show at the Deer Pile, a room above Denver’s City O’ City restaurant in the Capitol Hill area. Flynn jokes about current events and has local, and not-so-local, comedians do stand-up.
“The experience of writing for a late-night show is something I wanted. That’s my dream job,” Flynn continues. “I figured this would be a fun way to play around with that.”
During the show, Flynn asks guests to donate money to local charities and organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Rainbow Alley, Denver’s LGBTQ youth center.
More Laughs to Come
Flynn wants to continue making funny projects he’s proud of. He wants people to see the love and care he entwines with everything he does.
“If there’s one thing I want people to take away from seeing me perform beyond ‘Oh, he made me laugh,’ is that I put a level of care into my work,” Flynn says. “On a personal level, just the baseline that I’m here and doing my best to be helpful. To be the sort of person that makes people feel safer, like they have someone to talk to, to count on.”
Although it’s not always easy for Flynn to balance everything in his life, his passion and persistence in comedy keeps him going strong.
To listen to “The Revisionists,” visit: http://www.revisionistspodcast.com.
This article was first published on the Metro Post-Telegraph: https://post-telegraph.com/news/brian-flynn-the-comedian-of-many-mediums/