Miami could use more laughter in its life. With crime and corruption dominating our daily news cycle, we need every excuse for a guffaw we can get. Luckily, there are more than a few talented comedians in our midst, some of whom recently collaborated on the hilarious and highly lauded web series, Labor Days, a laughable look at day labor. (Haven't watched it yet? Do it now.)
Unfortunately, one of the series' stars is taking leave for Los Angeles -- but not without a farewell performance. Comedian Forrest Shaw (who recently won Miami's Ultimate Comedian competition at Magic City Casino) and the rest of the Labor Days crew are appearing at the Miami Improv next Tuesday, where they'll dole out DVDs and incite an audience laugh riot. We spoke to Shaw on 305 nostalgia, his cats, and why manual labor reminds him of STDs.
Cultist: You've been a marine biologist, a stand-up comedian -- ever done manual labor?
Forrest Shaw:Yeah I did, I worked as a roofer for a summer underneath a guy that had a roofing company. It was the summer after Hurricane Andrew and there was a lot of roof work. Every morning we'd go and pick up a bunch of people, they'd jump in the back of the truck and we'd go and tear off roofs. It was a whole day affair.
I worked at jobs very similar [to Labor Days]. But even though I was underneath the guy in charge, I wasn't nearly as mean as I am on the show. I would have these very awkward conversations on the roof with the guys as we were working. One was trying to tell me that he had an STD but it took me like 15 minutes to figure it out. I don't know if he thought I was going to have medicine ... he was describing some sort of burning sensation. So yeah, I had a job like that.
So you're leaving Miami? Why are you abandoning us?
On June 27th I'm driving away with my cats and my car. I'm going to LA. I don't feel like I'm abandoning the city, I don't think it's going to notice except maybe my mom.
I've been doing comedy for almost nine years now and I've gone through various stages trying to get better. Now I feel like I need to kind of accelerate and I feel the best place to do that would be LA. But I'm not abandoning Miami -- I actually have some gigs later in the year and my family is still there -- if anyone is worried!
Is a season two on tap for Labor Days?
We'd like to do a second season but we're trying to work that out. With scheduling I'm obviously going to be in a different place, and money. If anyone wants to invest money you can put my P.O. Box! We'd love to get a second season. We've also been in some festivals and got some recognition and we'd like to do more of that and get a lot more people in other parts of the country to see it too.
What do you have planned for the performance next week?
Well we're all stand-ups -- almost every character on the show is with the exception of two, so we've always thought about having a show. Everyone gets a DVD with price of admission and it's got all the episodes on it, plus a gag reel and commentary. We tried to do it like, it's our first season here's the completion of the DVD -- if you're a fan come out and support it.
What are you going to miss most about Miami?
I was born and raised here. I'm going to miss the water, the bay and stuff like that. I mean, it's not overlooked because people are always out on the water, but if you go to any other big city, you don't even want to get into the water in some areas.
And all the different cultures and stuff like that. When I go to lighter areas of the country, it's very unsettling to me. I'll be in Indiana and it seems like there's no diversity there whatsoever. It affects everything -- the food, the nightlife, the people, the culture. I think that sometimes people get uncomfortable in Miami, when people come to visit me that kind of scares them. But I kind of feel comfortable that way. I'll miss that.
I am going to a city where I have some friends, but I'm older so it's kind of scary to think about that. I'm very comfortable in Miami, I know the good places to eat, how to get around traffic, what to do. There's a comfort factor since it's the place where I've spent most of my life. I kind of like that from a comedy aspect it's a really good place compared to other cities. Even smaller cities like Austin, Minneapolis. It can be really cliquey and you can get pigeonholed into doing a style of comedy that everyone else is doing, but in Miami there was none of that. The comics that come from here have very different styles. It's a good place to be. I'll miss that whole aspect of it -- kind of doing whatever you want to do. There's no real collective you fall into.
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What's the hardest working marine animal?
Well they don't really need to work since they don't have monetary issues. But I can tell you what the least hard working is -- the manatee. They're very lazy. Basically they sleep for most of the day and then they eat something that's very close to them, some sort of vegetation. Then they sleep again, then fart a lot. As far as the hardest working ... a remora. Those seem like they're really hard-working. They're the fish that have to attach themselves to a shark. They have to keep attached with their mouth to another animal to eat. That seems like a tough job -- they have to wait for someone to come along. They're the manual laborer of the sea.
You can watch Labor Days online, and you can catch Shaw and the other stars on stage at the Miami Improv on June 25. Tickets cost $15 and you score a free DVD of season one. The show starts at 8 p.m. and it's a two-drink minimum.