April-May 2022 - MAKE 'EM LAUGH: The Rock n Roll Jesus of ABQ Comedy
Comedians find their way to the stage in a variety of ways. Some people stumble into an open mic night by accident, some practice in their bedrooms for years before making their debuts, and some have been onstage for years–but in a different capacity. Chuck Parker is a performer who was in that third category. Though he started comedy in 2020, he’s been a musician for much longer.
As the bassist and lead singer of Duke City Riots since the band formed in 2011, Parker is no stranger to being in front of a crowd, but he knows better than anyone that the two roles have notable differences. “Comedy has you more on the spot as an individual. You don’t have instruments or other people to hide behind. You are exposed, for better or worse.” He adds, “Comedy stage time is more frequent, but often [briefer], so it winds up taking less out of you, energy wise. On top of which, you’re not hauling a herniating amount of gear, to and fro, to do one set.”
It’s not just the performance approach that’s different. Parker also notices that there are some A/V differences that live music has from live comedy. “In a music venue, it’s more important that the PA is good, and the bands usually bring the audience. In comedy, you can have an SM58 (mic) plugged into a speaker, and if it’s a decent crowd, that’s a good spot. Comedy always comes down to the audience.”
And when asked about his favorite places to lob jokes at crowds? “I enjoy Revel here in Albuquerque and Tumbleroot in Santa Fe,” he says. “Both are good rooms with people there to see stand-up comedy–something that isn’t always a given at other venues.”
As a part of the comedy community, Parker has gotten the chance to perform alongside fellow comics. He specifically mentioned performer Robert Eyster as someone he admires for the ability to quickly think up material, moments before taking the stage. When pushed for more details, Parker adds that he’s partial to Eyster’s bit describing “the terrible affliction of Muppetism.”
In addition to memorable sets and shows, Parker also says being part of the 2021 Funny Fiesta was “a high point.” Adding, “The whole experience was so fun. Especially doing the sketch show.” Sketch comedy is something Parker has also added to his repertoire. He’ll feature fellow comedian and Funny Fiesta alum Jared Ostrom’s online video sketches where, due to his long hair and beard, is often cast as the big man himself: Jesus Christ.
Looking forward, Parker has big plans. “I wanna be on the road as a national act, working towards doing a [comedy] special. I think I’d like to write more scripts for tv and movies, too.” Rock and roll.