An account executive by day and up-and-coming comic by night, Kenny Wingle has been performing stand-up for four years. The 35-year-old has started to make a name for himself on the local comedy trail with his wry observations and self-deprecating personal anecdotes. Recently I took Wingle out for drinks, and what follows is an edited version of our conversation.
Let's just go ahead and clear this up now. Your bio says that you're Indian. Red-dot or feather?
Feather. The Lumbee tribe from North Carolina. Technically only a quarter Indian. I'm actually Indian and Polish.
Wow, the jokes write themselves.
That would make me "Spins With Light-Bulbski."
Since you are literally the minority in every room you go in — unless you're visiting Oklahoma, on a reservation, or in a casino in Oklahoma — does that give you free rein to be racist during your stand-up routine?
It does but I have to explain it because at first glance I don't appear to be American Indian. I do racial stuff but I'm not blatant. More playful.
What is your stance on dick jokes? Hacky or funny?
They're not hacky, but you have to be creative with it. You have to philosophicate on it. Make it something that no one has heard before.
Who made you want to get into stand-up? Which stand-up comedians have inspired you? I personally like Doug Stanhope and Anthony Jeselnik because they do a lot of dick jokes.
Dave Chappelle, [George] Carlin, [Richard] Pryor. I have a huge collection of comedy DVDs from when I was just a fan. I used to watch for the laughs, but now I really study them and look at it more as an art form. Another favorite of mine is Bill Burr.
Other than Richmond and that eyesore 30 minutes south of here, where else have you performed?
C'mon man! Petersburg isn't that bad! I've done shows all over. Newport News, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Fredericksburg, Nova. A lot of college venues too. Right now I'm probably averaging eight to 10 shows a month.
On that note, who are some other local comedians who you admire, and what are some of the best nights for the uninitiated to catch some local comedy?
Corey Marshall. James Paulk. Jason Klingman. Dylan Vattelana. Michal Ketner. Sort of the crew of guys I write and work with. All very talented. If you're looking for a solid room, be sure to catch Jesse Jarvis and the night he does at McCormack's Irish Pub every Wednesday.
In this day and age where social media and branding mean everything, you seem to have a limited online presence. One of the few clips I could find of you was from MySpace circa 2008, which in itself is a complete joke. Is that laziness, or do you believe in working the rooms one person at a time? You know, I hear this Internet thing might be the next wave.
I think I'm just lazy. I also had some custody shit with one of my baby mamas, which led me to keep a low profile. That's where I was. You just have to do a lot of shows and build up followers. There's no quick route.
Custody shit with a baby mama? Well there's an issue that you don't usually associate with the Native American community. So does being a stand-up comedian make it easier to get laid? Stand-up groupies, perhaps? I've found that regardless of how half-witted the things that I do are — like write a column in Style Weekly — it tends to make women notice. I can't explain it.
No, I don't think it's easier. At the local scene there are no groupies.
So you're forced to actually go out and meet women? Damn. Lemme ask you, when you meet a girl at a bar, are you an account executive or a comedian?
Pretend I'm a girl and tell me a joke that you would drop in that situation?
A redneck with a job application is just like an Asian dude with a Magnum condom. We all know they ain't gonna fill that thing out.
OK, I guess I play the race card sometimes.
Sum up your comedy style in a sentence — or just say something awesome about yourself that will make women want to sleep with you. I'll put whatever you want in this column to help you get laid.
Indians were the stereotypical big-dick people before black people came along. We were here first with our big dicks. But seriously, I don't sweat the small stuff and I don't carry the small stuff. … in my pants.
Nicely crafted dick joke, sir.
Thanks. I try.
So what's the end goal? Special on Comedy Central? Fifth runner-up on the 29th season of "Last Comic Standing"? To someday open for Gallagher at the Mohegan Sun?
When I started doing shows and studying comedy, I set a goal for myself. Told myself that I'll quit when I've had my 13th HBO special.
Dream big. I like it. Where can we catch you next?
Thursday, Oct. 25, at Brass Monkeys in Chester, and then the Friday after that — Nov. 2 — at Wabi Sabi in Petersburg.
Have a question for Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Lauterback also serves as co-host of 103.7-FM's "River Mornings with Melissa and Jack," weekdays from 6-9 a.m. On Twitter @jackgoesforth.