Comedian Steven Wright feels like he has the easiest job.
“I feel like I got away with something, like not having a job,” says Wright, who is known for his one-liners and dry sense of humor.
Wright will bring his talents to Talking Stick Resort Showroom on Saturday, April 14. Voted a top comedian by his peers, Wright has influenced many stand-up stars, including Mitch Hedberg. He won an Oscar in 1989 for his work on The Appointments of Dennis Jennings and has performed on numerous TV shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman.
Raised outside of Boston, Wright knew he wanted to be a comedian since he was 16 and saw Johnny Carson for the first time.
“I love him,” he says. “I loved watching him come out and do the monolog and all the guests he had. I thought that was incredible. What a thing to do.
“After watching him for several years, it was soon my fantasy to do that; to be one of those people. I never told anyone. I was superstitious. I was afraid if I told anyone, it wouldn’t happen.”
In college, he braved it and went to a comedy club open mike. The only person he told was a close friend. It was a success.
Now a comic legend, Wright strives to write daily—even if it has nothing to do with stand-up comedy.
“Jokes come in my head by accident,” he says. “Writing is like playing. It’s fun. It’s fun to see something and make a joke out of it. My career is just like I’m joking around. It’s like I’m in junior high and joking around in my own head. There’s no pressure. It’s fun to make stuff up.”
Wright admits he was star struck twice in his career—when he met Carson and Bob Dylan.
“I was very influenced by him,” says Wright, 62, of Carson. “Johnny Carson came into my makeup room, for my first appearance on The Tonight Show. I was speechless and couldn’t really talk. I couldn’t believe he was there.
“He could have said, ‘After the show, I’m going to kill you and bury you in the Mohave desert.’ I would have said, ‘Fine.’ I talked to Bob Dylan several times, just one on one, just me and him. It was like I was watching it from the outside. He’s one of my all-time heroes. I knew that it was happening, but it was very surreal.”
It’s all aspects of his career that he loves—meeting fellow celebs, hearing fans’ stories and creating his shows.
“Being in front of the audience is amazing,” he says. “There’s the electricity. The tension is magnified. I like the writing and the performing and that’s what keeps me doing it.”
Steven Wright, Talking Stick Resort, 9800 E. Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, 480.850.7777, talkingstickresort.com, 8 p.m. Saturday, April 14, $25.