It’s usually not difficult to compare comics. Surreal comic Demetri Martin is reminiscent of the eccentric Steven Wright. Brian Regan and Jeff Foxworthy are both clean comedians, who crack wise about their family.
And then there’s Pete George. The veteran comic is dubbed “The Rock Star of Comedy.” George isn’t a star but he rocks while delivering his unpredictable humor.
“I’ll get up there and play (the classic Van Halen instrumental) ‘Eruption’ and make it funny,” George said by phone from his Los Angeles home. “I don’t draw from anyone. I can’t think of any other comic that’s like me — and that’s good. When people see me, they know I’m different and they remember. There are two things people love and that’s to laugh and to listen to music. I have all of that covered.”
The Cleveland native was bitten by the musical bug as a teenager. His uncle, a concert promoter, introduced him to KISS bassist Gene Simmons 40 years ago.
“I thought that entertainment was pretty cool,” George said. “I wanted to get into it.”
A few years later, he formed Separate Checks, a Cleveland-based band that enjoyed some regional success.
“I loved being in that band but I knew there had to be something more out there,” he said.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
His vocation became evident when he checked out a comedy show during the dawn of the ’80s in Cleveland.
“I thought that I could do what the comedians were doing onstage,” he said.
He was right. George won $50 each of the first three times he competed in his hometown club.
“I decided to give it a try and look at me all of these years later,” he said. “I never dreamed of anything like this when I was a kid. Look at what I’ve accomplished.”
Some 8,500 shows later, George’s comedy odometer rolls on as he tours around the country, including performances Friday (12/14) and Saturday (12/15) at Penguins Comedy Club in downtown Cedar Rapids.
“My comedy has led to some pretty cool opportunities,” he said. “The Majestic” and “The Shawshank Redemption” films are some of his acting credits.
He also teaches guitar lessons, to some famous clients, and he is combining comedy and music for a sitcom, but can’t reveal details.
“Hopefully things will go well,” he said. “I’m confident. Whatever happens, happens. It’s been a good run so far. I have the greatest job in the world.”
WHAT: Pete George
WHERE: Penguins, 208 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday (12/14) and Saturday (12/5)
TICKETS: $15 advance, $17 show day; (319) 362-8133 or Penguinscomedyclub.com
ARTIST’S WEBSITE: Therockstarofcomedy.com