Guy Seidel: Working Class Head Case

Posted August 15, 2013 in

Guy Siedel is reticent to buy that Subaru, lest the snooty Whole Foods shoppers win. Photo: Cody Moore

Remember that fella who checked out your air conditioner the other day? He was the friendly one that didn’t hogwash you about prices, but just gave you some quotes and went about his business—good man, I think. You were probably just about to pin his business card on your family bulletin board when Aunt Nadine called about her cat again. Well, when I tell you that man is one of the most successful comics in Salt Lake City, and HVAC is just his side job, what do you do? You slump down on your broom in astonishment.

Meet Guy Seidel, a transplant from Price who hates that he’s on the hunt for a Subaru because he thinks it’s too “Whole Foods-y.” He may bust your balls much like he did when he DJed at Big Dogs in Carbon County a while back, but don’t sweat it too much. It’s all in good fun. SLUG caught up with Guy at Wiseguys in West Valley, and asked him how he got into standup, a career he’s been honing in for over five years.
“I was actually on a date with some girl from Ogden. We went into a bar where a comedy show was happening, and I wasn’t impressed at all. I probably came off like a huge douchebag because I kept telling my date how much funnier I was than those guys up there,” Seidel says. His date told him to put his money where his mouth is, so two weeks later, he went to an open-mic show. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Then-owner Jack McDonough and Marcus Comedian (who, at the time, was on Last Comic Standing), took instant notice of Guy, and cornered him about how long he’d been doing standup, and when he said it was his first time, they were both floored. Thus began the very close and fruitful relationship Guy has developed with Wiseguys, a club that has fostered his raw talent from the very start.
“The first two sets went great. I ate shit on the third try, though,” he says. However, Guy ambled along, and quickly landed opening gigs for big names like Christopher Titus and Dave Attell. This isn’t his first pony ride with Jim Norton either. He’s been regularly opening for Jim for the last year and a half each time he comes to town. “I hate using the word ‘surreal,’ but that’s the only way to put it when you end up driving one of your biggest influences to the airport on a Sunday morning.”
Locally, he performs almost exclusively at Wiseguys, mostly stemming out of the fierce loyalty he has for owner Keith Stubbs. “That man has put me on plenty of great shows, so I just feel right about performing at his club all the time,” he says. Outside of Salt Lake, Guy performs comedy extensively throughout the Southwestern states, including a few Native American festivals. “That’s just me selling out, since I don’t know shit about the Native American culture,” he says. “I get to play Indian Casinos from time to time because I’m part Native American … and, well, how many Native American comics are out there to choose from?” 
Since Guy has enjoyed success in comedy, I asked him what wisdom he could impart on comics who are just starting out, and he says, “Study a lot of other comics out there without being derivative. I see all these comedians going to open mic, and they’re basically talking, telling a funny story about their uncle at a barbeque, but you end up asking yourself, ‘Where is that knock-out punch?’” He went on to say, “You can’t tell the audience, ‘I guess you had to be there.’”
Guy’s plans for the future are uncertain, but he’s still confident. He wants to release a CD this year, a project he’s been avoiding for far too long. When asked whether he’ll make the big career move to Los Angeles or New York, he says, “I think about that every single day of my life. If I were 10 years younger, I would move out there, no questions asked. But where I am in my life right now—and this is a complete fault of mine—I’m just too comfortable. Bills are getting paid, and I’m getting all the stage time I want. It’s a hard thing to leave.”
So what if that affable air-conditioning guy does release an album and move out to California? What will become of Nadine’s cat and your jimmy-rigged furnace that groans every time it climbs above 60 degrees? You spit a sunflower onto your porch and wonder what could have been if you just had called the number on that yellowing business card. Maybe you could have gotten a joke or two out of him when you had the chance.
Guy Siedel is reticent to buy that Subaru, lest the snooty Whole Foods shoppers win. Photo: Cody Moore