For anyone looking for a good laugh, look no further than the Holly Hotel. Every Friday and Saturday the hotel hosts comedians from across the country, and some from right here in the tri-county area.
One of those comedians includes Bryan McCree. What motivates him to perform on stage?
“There is nothing like the power of being able to make somebody laugh,” he said.
The youngest of three bigger brothers, McCree said that he survived his household — with his mouth. “I would torture them with my mind instead of getting them back physically,” he said.
Many of the premises for McCree’s jokes originate from things that happen to him, he said. “Some of the premises come up organically, but then I’ll take them back home and do some writing, and sit down with the premises and work them out,” he said.
A lot of McCree’s material has to do with race. “As great as the country is, we still have major obstacles with race,” he said. “It’s very hilarious.”
Being a comedian is not without its challenges. McCree said he comes across hecklers all the time. “I think people have in their mind that heckling is part of it, and somehow they are helping the show,” he said. “They’re not helping the show.”
McCree said while he loves performing on stage, the difficult part is getting to the stage in the first place.
One difficulty includes booking shows and dealing with agents, and convincing them you are funny, McCree said. And after that, physically getting to the stage — traveling from club to club — can be difficult.
Norm Stulz, a comedian who lives in Holly, shares McCree’s sentiment about travel. “The road is hard. It’s lonely,” said Stulz. At the same time, the job has offered Stulz many opportunities to travel with his family.
Stulz has performed at the Holly Hotel many times over the years and said he enjoys that venue in particular.
“Many comics enjoyed working the small room, and I still do,” he said. “The energy from the audience is more immediate and closer.”
Stulz describes himself as a storyteller by trade, utilizing callbacks instead of just telling set ups and punch lines. As his life has changed, so have some of his stories.
For example, Stulz said while in the past he talked about his children, some of the focus now has shifted to his grandchildren.
For Stulz, being up on stage can be very rewarding. “Taking them out of their world and whatever their problems are, and bringing them into mine, and knowing for that one hour they didn’t have any troubles,” he said. “That’s the best part.”
Being able to entertain a crowd and allow them to forget their worries may be so rewarding because it is not easy. Being a successful comedian is difficult, Stulz said. “I have great respect for anyone who can get on stage and do it.”