A (lazy) eye for comedy

Shaun Latham returns to Dayton with mean, hilarious punch

By Gary Spencer

Photo: Shaun Latham recruits more Daytonians to #TeamLazyEye at Wiley’s Oct. 14 and 15photo: Heather Ennis, Earth by Ennis Photography

Stand-up comedians are a dime a dozen, and most of them don’t do much to stand out or differentiate themselves from the pack. But every now and then, a new comedian will step onto the scene and really catch your “eye” (see what I did there?). Well, if you like comedians with a (lazy) eye for comedy, then Shaun Latham is your guy. Latham has the uncanny ability to jump from topic to topic, whether it is being a player, hip-hop culture, video games, dating, sex toys, twerking, buying weed, public restrooms, or the military, with a fast-paced gift of gab, while his punchlines pack a mean but hilarious punch. Latham is also as self-deprecating as they come: he owns his signature lazy eye like an Olympic gold winner owns his medal, encouraging all who wish to follow to get on board with #TeamLazyEye.

Long before he became a regular on the international stand-up circuit, Latham was bitten by the comedy bug as a teenager in the ’90s.

“My first influence in comedy was the HBO show Def Comedy Jam,” Latham says. “I also loved Martin Lawrence. His crowd work would kill me. It was the funniest thing I had ever seen up to that point in my life.”

Latham eventually got a job that gave him the impetus to pursue his own career comedy, albeit with a less than auspicious debut.

“I got a job as a waiter at Improv in Tempe, Arizona,” Latham explains. “There were a few open mic comics back then working as waiters and door guys also, so I jumped in after some pressure from those guys. I smacked over half the drum set by accident. It didn’t go so well.”

Shortly thereafter, Latham moved to Los Angeles to seriously pursue his dream of becoming a comedy sensation, and he has come a long way since then. In addition to building his reputation of a guy-to-see on the L.A. comedy club circuit, Latham made his first splash on the national comedy conscience when he made his big screen debut in the movie “I’m Not Like That No More,” alongside Latin-American comedy icons Paul Rodriguez and Felipe Esparza in 2009, where he put the world on notice with his dynamic range as a comedic performer. Since then, Latham became a featured headliner on NuvoTV’s Stand up and Deliver, season two, and then became an invited guest to the first-ever Oslo Comedy Festival, as well as becoming a featured comedian on Comedy Central’s Stand Up Revolution. But perhaps his biggest accomplishment and exposure came via his two international tours with the “fluffy” king of comedy, Gabriel Iglesias, which have put him on the stand-up map as a key comedian to watch and laugh at.

“This was an amazing time in my career,” Latham says. “Paid salary, doing nothing but huge venues, gaining a lot of fans. It was almost too good. Fluffy is just a great guy who loves to help out. It was a hell of a run, though.”

Latham is currently co-host of the hit comedy podcast The Pat McAfee Show in addition to regular appearances on The Bob and Tom Show on national radio. Despite this success, he claims his heart belongs to stand-up:

“I don’t think I will ever leave stand-up. I love it too much. I enjoy being high energy. Not the entire time, but I enjoy a performance where I take the crowd on a roller coaster ride of sorts. Lots of emotion, with a little goofiness.”
While his comedy has evolved over the years, these days Latham claims his material comes from whatever he encounters, from just being alive. He makes note of everything that might suit his routine as quickly as possible.

“At this point in my life, the material comes from life,” Latham explains. “My mind has created a muscle that recognizes when something happens that I can use in the act. I will grab it and write it down immediately. Otherwise, I will forget it right away. I am sure I have let go of at least three hours of solid material because I didn’t write it down fast enough and forgot it.”

Despite all of his international and high profile activities, Latham has been a regular on the comedy circuit in Dayton, and he clearly enjoys coming back to perform for audiences in the Gem City.

“I love the crowds in Dayton,” Latham says. “I have been here several times, and each time, the shows are wonderful. I know this coming trip will be full of more awesome Dayton crowds. I’m really looking forward to these shows and making my friends there forget their problems for a night and laugh their butts off with me.”

Shaun Latham will perform this Friday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7:15 and 9:30 p.m. at Wiley’s Comedy Club, 101 Pine St. in downtown Dayton. Tickets are $10 in advance for patrons 18 and over. For more information, please visit ShaunLatham.com.

Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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