ARLINGTON – Hollywood Comedy Store blue-collar comedian Davey Wester will perform live at the Mirkwood Public House April 21.
It’s a coming home of sorts for the Washingtonian who was born in Minnesota, but spent most of his youth in the small town of Ephrata east of the Cascades, earning him the nickname, “adopted East Sider” by friends.
The nationally headlining comic Wester, 39, is crisscrossing the country on a self-described “Create the Change” Tour, with a stop in Arlington.
“Through the tour, we want to create community,” Wester said in his aw-shucks redneck drawl. “We want people to come spend time with each other off their phones, off the Hulu. There’s not enough of that.”
Wester has strived over the past 17 years to establish himself in the comedy world, all while living with cerebral palsy. He was born with the disorder, and his parents were told he most likely would never walk or talk.
Cerebral palsy affects a person’s ability to walk and talk because the brain causes the muscles to involuntarily move. That didn’t hinder his ambition to pursue a career that many people only dream about.
After graduating from high school in 1998, Wester struck out on his own for the first time, moving to the big city of Spokane, but soon found himself back in Ephrata working in the same processing plant where his father worked.
In spring 2001, Wester said, he was encouraged to go to Hollywood and break into the comedy circuit. He was casual about it. “I said, ‘Oh, all right, I don’t care. Hollywood. This is going to be a great story.”
Wester still remembers his first time at the microphone in the Comedy Store.
“I was horrible, but I liked it, and I became hooked,” he said. “What you know you can do well sometimes isn’t going to be the easiest thing to do, but comedy is something I love, so I kept working at it.”
He started hanging out for stage time in the early 2000s, and refined his craft to the point where Comedy Store co-founder and owner Mitzi Shore made him a paid regular. He got his name on the wall at age 23, he’s proud of the marquee billing, and has been there for 16 years.
Wester is the only blue collar comedian who’s really performing at the Comedy Store now, other than Ron White. Blue-collar funnymen that deliver the down-to-earth style comedy include Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy.
Wester said he gets the cerebral palsy bits out of the way early in his act.
“Yes, I’m a redneck born with cerebral palsy, and people don’t know how to take it,” he said, adding, “But I’m more of a redneck than I am a guy with messed up legs. I like fishing and shooting.”
Often, family, friends and situational observations are the source of his joke writing material that he spends three or four hours a day preparing.
People like cousin Bubba. “I don’t talk to Bubba to get his views on foreign policy,” he said.
“It’s easy stuff to write, about my family and friends,” he said. “My friends are characters, and they’re all game about it.”
He told the story how once he and other comedian friends were doing standup at the Del-Red Pub in Soap Lake, when one of the comics needed a ride to the hotel. Wester said he didn’t know where it was, surprising the comic who thought an Eastern Washington native would know. “I don’t know how to get to the hotel, but I can tell you where the fishing hole is.”
Wester said his act is an abnormal, blue collar style of comedy that draws inspiration from the old-time radio shows he listened to as a kid, and kinds of comedy such as George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Bob Newhart.
“I think that’s why I have an unusual style,” he said. “The audience finds me funny, but they find me real, too.”
Standup comedy has meant a lot of travel connecting with people from all our the country, but he is grateful to have grown up where he did.
“I live in LA but I’m very proud of where I came from,” Wester said.
His plan, he said, is to come back to his Washington roots to perform at least once a year. “It’s got a special place in my heart.”
Tickets are $7 per person, available at the door at the Mirkwood, 117 E. Division St.
“I know the show is on Easter, but come after all the family stuff, and talk about it Monday at work,” Wester said. “I know it will bring people enjoyment for that brief moment.”