Bryan Miller talks Dave Chappelle, battling bathroom doors
Bryan Miller has had an interesting year.
The local comic has had his share of ups (opening for Dave Chappelle during his legendary week-long residency at First Avenue) and downs (getting stuck in a hotel bathroom in Duluth).
This week, Miller will continue his roller-coaster year when he opens the Thursday and Friday night Wits shows at the Fitzgerald Theater, and then headline two shows this Saturday at Comedy Corner Underground. Before his action-packed weekend, we talked with the standup/City Pages proofreader about his last-second Chappelle shows, what it's like to be endorsed by a late night talk show host, and the drama that unfolded in that hotel bathroom in Duluth.
So, what was it like opening for Dave Chappelle?
When he first announced the shows, I really wanted to go and see him but tickets sold out so fast. Then out of nowhere I got the call literally about an hour before the show asking if I'd open for him. My wife had the car because she was at a party, but of course I said yes. Once I was in the cab over to the club I started thinking, "This could turn into a disaster." Everyone has heard the stories about him getting heckled, and I think now some people are actually coming to his shows just to mess with him. I started worrying that they were going to boo me off stage, so I was definitely panicked. Nate Abshire said to me once that no matter how long you've done this, there's always a chance of having a bad show. I just didn't want it to happen at First Avenue in front of Dave Chappelle. Fortunately, I had a great show, he was great, and it was a really cool experience.
Chappelle wasn't the first big name in comedy you've performed in front of. Last year you performed on Craig Ferguson's show, which is a pretty big deal. How has your career changed since you were on the show?
It was great and helped my credibility, but if you're not any good in the first five minutes you're onstage, no one cares what shows you've been on.
Last month you had a pretty crazy experience on the road in Duluth, right?
Yeah it was pretty crazy. I was in Duluth for a weekend to do some shows, and I brought my wife with me. We were staying in a pretty nice hotel in town, which is the last place you'd expect this to happen. I was in the bathroom taking a shower before the show, and when I went to get out the doorknob broke. My wife was upset because she still needed to get ready, but I literally couldn't get out. They ended up having to send a maintenance guy to take the door apart. I thought I was going to have to call and cancel the show, which is something I never do. They ended up getting me out and we got to the club just in time, but it was close. It's funny because every guy I tell that story assumes he would have been this total bad ass and broken the door down or something, but there was no getting out of there.
This week is a pretty big week too, between your Wits shows on Thursday and Friday and then the Comedy Corner Underground shows on Saturday. Anything special planned?
Yeah, the Wits shows were kind of a surprise but I got the call to open for David Cross last week, and then I'm opening for Jason Ritter this Thursday and Maria Bamford Friday. I was going to do one show at Comedy Corner Underground on Friday and one on Saturday, but now I'm going to do two on Saturday to make up for it. It's going to be really fun, and I might even try and do something holiday-themed; if I can think of enough Christmas jokes. We've got some special guests coming to perform too and they're going to be really, really good shows.
What do you have on tap for 2014?
Just a lot more touring and hopefully not getting stuck in any more bathrooms.
IF YOU GO:
Saturday, December 21
8 p.m. & 10 p.m.
Comedy Corner Underground
Click here for more details