FACT: Jason Harvey is originally from Nilbog Porterville in Morgan County, Utah, the land of the burned-down Troll 2 chapel we all love and admire dearly. He’s been performing standup for roughly four and a half years now, and decided to up his personal ante by organizing and hosting the monthly show, Comedy! And Other Opinions at 5 Monkeys, a bar in the heart of Murray.
OPINION: 5 Monkeys is a very good place to be every third Thursday of the month when you’ve got $5 in your pocket that’s itchin’ to burn. The shows start at 8 p.m., 21+.
FACT: The premise of Comedy! And Other Opinions began when Harvey got tired of the same old formula where the host would go up, introduce a comic, come back on, introduce the next comic, and so on … “I wanted to break it up a little bit, and do something different,” Harvey says. “So, I decided to do a random interview after each set where we have two chairs and microphones set up onstage. After their set, they sit down, and we do an improv game, or I ask them a really random, weird question.”
FACT: Comics like Manuel Rodriguez, Natashia Mower, Christopher Stephenson and Jamie Maxfield regularly hit the stage for Harvey’s shows. He uses his armchair Q&A experiment to tease out the writing process by giving the performers an opportunity to think on their feet and start a funny conversation. It also gives the audience the opportunity to hear something other than the already tortured-over material they’re used to.
OPINION: 5 Monkeys is a perfect venue for comedy shows. “I love their stage,” Harvey says. “The bar is set away from the stage area, so you don’t have to compete with clanging bar sounds or people playing pool. The setup is really cool, and I always had a good time doing comedy there.”
FACT: Harvey also has a weekly sketch comedy show called Glass Eye Dog at youtube.com/glasseyedog. He, Rodriguez and Michael Eccleston get together and have ridiculously random conversations where, eventually, one of them will say, “Let’s turn it into something. Now … so what’s it gonna be?” says Harvey. From there, they execute hilarious sketches, post them online and let the accolades come raining down.
OPINION: Filming one show a week makes the rest of our citizenry look incredibly lazy. Although the boys take occasional breaks (usually around the holidays, since that’s when everyone is stressed out, busy and has to go stupid Christmas shopping for people they can barely tolerate), Glass Eye Dog is a well-oiled machine that will feed you a near-endless supply of comedy for free when you’re dicking off at work or stoned as hell at 3 in the morning.
FACT: As a result of working in retail and having to talk to people for way too long, Harvey has developed a habit of just doing dumb little jokes here and there to pass the time and make customers feel better about spending their hard-earned money on Johnny Cash T-shirts. Harvey says, “Whenever I’m talking and something ends up being funny, I think about how I can shape that into an actual stand-up bit. How can I incorporate what’s funny in this situation into something that is funny for everybody?” Also FACT, when asked to define himself in one word in a language other than English, he said, “Sheiße!”
OPINION: As a result of Harvey being an all-around humble, friendly guy who ain’t afraid to say he still gets stage fright, it’s an unsettling yet agreeable surprise to discover how raunchy and bonkers his performance can truly be.
FACT: When pressed about what breed of dog he’d choose the SLC comedy scene to be, Harvey went with a St. Bernard: “It’s very friendly—like Beethoven—it’s a very welcoming dog. People who come in from out of town, we try to get them stage time. So yeah, a big breed that’s not ferocious,” he says. “It’s in its adolescence. It’s in between that period where it’s not chewing shoes anymore, but it still drools a lot when it shouldn’t. Like on my arm? On my chair? Ugh. My main criticism of the local comedy scene is that there’s a lot of slobber and shit.”
OPINION: I have no official opinion of the aforementioned statement. I’m too goddamn busy laughing.
FACT: Upon conclusion of the interview, Harvey was asked what kind of comic he hopes to be. In response, he said he’ll always be performing standup because it’s nice to just be up onstage, get his dumb thoughts out there, and see if it’s funny to anyone else besides himself (and totally recommends that whoever’s interested in doing the same should, because it’s strangely worth it, even if it goes nowhere). He wants to continue writing sketches—possibly even some screenplays—and eventually get into directing.
OPINION: Well, our guess is that now you know enough facts and opinions about Jason Harvey to basically want to stalk him—so do it! Ask for his acceptance of your everlasting friendship on Facebook or follow his Twitter handle, @Harvey_harvey, and catch Comedy! And Other Opinions on April 17 at 5 Monkeys.