One star headline

Greg Warren at Funny Bone

By Don Hurst

Listeners to the Bob and Tom Show and the Sirius comedy channels already know Greg Warren. His down to earth mix of frustration and self-deprecation is a daily fixture on the radio. He has appeared on Late Night with Seth Myers, The Late Late Show, Last Comic Standing, and BET’s Coming to the Stage. His comedy albums Running out of Time and One Star Wonder are best-sellers.

Warren relies heavily on his life to bring the funny. His father coached him when he wrestled in high school. His mother wanted him to have balance, so he also played the clarinet in the band. The juxtaposition of varsity wrestler playing the clarinet was too much for his teammates to ignore. After graduating, Warren decided he needed more punishment and went off to the US Military Academy of West Point.

Recently, Warren took time out of his busy tour schedule to discuss his comedy with Dayton City Paper.

I hope you don’t mind, but I used some of your material to teach a life lesson to my son.

Greg Warren: Oh, man. How did that work out? It couldn’t have been good.

He’s at the age where he’s not sure if his dad tells him the truth. He doubted some of my Army stories so I played him your bits about West Point from your first album One Star Wonder.

GW: Wow. That’s horrible. The stand-up comedian has more credibility, you don’t see that too much. He liked the West Point stuff? I forgot all about that being on the album.

Did you repress those memories?

GW: I must have. Those West Point people yelled all the time. It’s all a blur of pushups, screaming and marching. So much marching. Not a very fun college experience. That’s why I only lasted a year there at the most.

So it wasn’t like summer camp?

GW: It was miserable.

In One Star Wonder you also poke fun at what you call “One Star People.” 

GW: When you think of Walmart people, those are One Star People. You can’t escape them. They’re everywhere. Even at four star hotels, ruining my trip.

Who would ruin a vacation more? “One Star People” or the West Point Cadre?

GW: Neither would be too pleasant. That’d be a horrible vacation. I think at that point you should just stay home.

When you were getting screamed at during your short stay at West Point did a part of you know that it was funny, like this is going to make a great story later?

GW: No. Not at all. I don’t see the stuff that I go through as hilariously funny. It’s usually the opposite. It’s only later, much later, when I tell the story does it become funny.

Some people say comedy is just tragedy plus time.

GW: I don’t do tragedy. My formula is more like minor annoyance plus time equals comedy. Encountering people you’d rather avoid. Obnoxious one star hillbillies hogging the hotel pool with their 20 kids and a dog. Your date’s parents when you and they are the same age. You know what? I spend so much of my time trying to avoid annoyances and unpleasantness, but that’s where the funny stuff happens. I need to seek out more of that stuff.

You haven’t had enough of that in your life?

GW: You could always get more.

You want more unpleasantness like your wrestling team making fun of you for playing the clarinet in the school band? Or more drill sergeants screaming at you?

GW: Whoa, we don’t have to go that far. My older material deals a lot with characters like that. Running out of Time is quicker. It’s less about these gigantic characters and more about looking around at your life and discovering it hasn’t turned out like you thought it would.

Sometimes that’s a good thing though. You started out on a path to becoming a West Point educated Army officer. That didn’t work for you, so now you’re a stand-up comedian.

GW: It’s been a crazy trip.

How did you get here?

GW: I blame Dayton.


GW: No, it’s not like that. It’s good. Dayton’s been great to me. I used to work in Cincinnati at Proctor and Gamble for five years, selling Pringles and Jif. On the weekends I drove around to all the comedy clubs. All of them. The ones in Cincy, in Columbus and all the time in Dayton—anywhere that had space for me on an open mic night. The old Joker’s Comedy Club that used to be by the Dayton Mall was really supportive. They gave me so many opportunities to get up on stage and fail. I learned a lot by performing around so many great comedians. If it wasn’t for Dayton, I wouldn’t be a comedian.

That’s awesome. So Ohio has been a great place for you?

GW: Well, I did get carjacked in Cincinnati …

Greg Warren performs Wednesday, May 4 through Saturday, May 7 at the Dayton Funny Bone, 88 Plum St. at the Greene in Beavercreek. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. with additional 10 p.m. shows Friday and Saturday. Tickets range from $17 to $47 and can be purchased at Doors open 30 minutes prior to the show and there is a two item minimum. For more about Greg Warren, please visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Don Hurst at

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Don Hurst is a combat vet and a former police officer. He now lives in Dayton where he writes novels and plays. Reach DCP freelance writer Don Hurst at

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