One Flew Over Cuckoo Country

Text by Danielle Grant
Photograph by Karl Walter

Stand-up comedy is a relatively new form of performance art that has created some of our nation’s most treasured and fascinating personalities, and we want more.

Meet Jasper Redd. Redd is a good old-fashioned Southern boy who decided to pursue comedy on a whim and moved to San Francisco three and a half years ago with nothing more than the clothes on his back and the jokes in his head. Since the transition from Tennessee to California, he’s gone from making the rounds at San Francisco’s coffee shops – and their respective open mic nights – to touring some of the best comedy clubs that American cities have to offer. His blend of observational wit, absurdist silliness and eloquent syntax has won him spots on Last Call with Carson Daly and Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. Last year he was hailed as one of the “new faces” at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, the biggest festival of its kind in the world.

His recent signing with the Gersh Talent Agency has forced him to move to Los Angeles, which isn’t one of his favorite cities – but as he points out, it really doesn’t matter because he’s never there. The constant traveling that comedians are forced to endure, combined with the grueling nature of the craft itself, can produce a pretty lonely lifestyle, and most comedians including Redd will attest to that. Although it’s tough at times, there have been bright spots along the way, such as working with notables including Charlie Murphy, Dave Attell and Bob Saget. But the best part about becoming a full-time comedian for Redd isn’t the famous comedians he gets to work with, but the freedom from never having to work in a service industry job again; for instance, “slap a customer” is one of his favorite sayings. When I asked what I should write about him, he told me to “just tell the truth. I’m a brown clown who turns frowns upside down.”

Watch for Jasper at the 2006 Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival where he’ll be performing alongside Radiohead, Beck and The Daily Show’s Lewis Black.