Comedian Allan Sidley
Father’s Day is a touching holiday for some as family dynamics aren’t always warm and fuzzy. But comedian Allan Sidley is compartmentalizing and utilizing his sorrow and comic talents to revitalize a somber story into one that will bring people joy. With his father passing away when Sidley was only 9 months old, his determined mother made sure to nurture her son and his talents which quickly came out in his writing and continued to thrive as he pursued stand-up comedy. With the recent success of his book “Daddy Issues” and three comedy shows coming up on Father’s Day weekend, Sidley has proven himself as an aspiring entertainer to keep your eye on.
Q. What inspired you to go into comedy? Who are some influences you can thank for encouraging you to pursue this path?
A. Like many comedians, I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh. Friends and family encouraged me to try stand-up at an early age, and after 20 years I relented. Whether it be music, comedy, or entrepreneurship, anyone who has walked an unconventional path has inspired me.
Q. Your book “Daddy Issues” derives its title from the passing of your father when you were a baby. How has writing this book helped you learn more about your dad and the rest of your family?
A. It’s not something I’ve ever felt comfortable talking about, however, this book has given me a platform to express my daddy issues and connect with those who’ve experienced similar. My Dad was a genius entrepreneur, and I like to think I channel a bit of that through my book and comedy.
Q. You are described as “a stand-up comic, author, producer, sketch comedy writer, hip hop improviser, podcaster, motivational speaker, and business consultant.” How do you balance all of these entertainment professions?
A. It’s difficult now that I have a 9-5 job again. It’s all about prioritizing my projects, seeing where my time is spent, and course-correcting when necessary. Right now, I’m focused on Father’s Day Weekend, which includes marketing, creating social media content, and refining my material.
Q. Tell me about your upcoming three-city tour during Father’s Day weekend at Busboys and Poets in three venues (Washington D.C. Baltimore and Arlington, Virginia). Why do you encourage everyone to come out? What should they expect from these shows?
A. I’ve booked some great comedians (including myself). The lineups are diverse in their material and life experiences. It’s going to be a great weekend if you love jokes. Expect to laugh a lot, groan a little, and overall have a really fun time with friends, family, and strangers.
Q. How do you select the other performers who join you during your stand-up gigs? Have any of them become close friends over the years?
A. I’ve always cared about diversity, and as a cis straight white male comic, I feel a duty to include underrepresented folks. Of course, I have to think they are funny and audiences do too. Will they fit the target audience for the show? My ideal comic is someone who’s low maintenance, funny, and a pleasure to be around before/during/after the show. Some of my closest friends are comedians that are on these shows.
Q. How did you overcome stage fright?
A. I think stage fright stems from the fear of “bombing.” Once you realize the worst isn’t that bad it’s all about managing your nerves. I do a lot of one-liners, so my biggest fear these days is not remembering all my jokes, as I tell a lot more of them than your average comedian.
Q. Why do we need comedy now more than ever?
A. Comedy is about bringing a community together to connect and laugh about the good/bad things in life. It’s fun AND therapeutic. I think after the past couple of years we need these ordinary experiences again.
Q. You and your wife, Jill, recently moved to Baltimore. Talk about what you enjoy about living there and how it has helped your career.
A. I love Baltimore. We live in a great area in the east harbor. We walk almost everywhere and it’s quite beautiful. The restaurants are great. We’ve made new friends and reconnected with some old ones. The best growth for my comedy career has been getting to spend more time with creative funny Baltimore comedians I’ve befriended.
Q. What has been your favorite venue to do stand-up over the years?
A. I like venues where the audiences are hyped for comedy and a fun night out. Comedians thrive off that energy.
Q. What do you love about your comedy shows and making people laugh?
A. It feels so good to laugh and hear others laughing. I love the intimacy and mind-meld that happens between the comedians and the audience when they are hooked and acting like one.
Q. What can you reveal about your second book that’s in the works?
A. I’ve written hundreds of jokes since last year, and many of them will find a home in my next book.
Q. What is your current career goal?
A. My goal is to do weekend headlining tours of comedy clubs around the country 1-2 times a month so I can travel to new places telling jokes, but also have family time and hang out with friends because that’s really important.