To get a sense of the standup stylings of comedian Ben Roy, who will be appearing tonight at The Temporary in Basalt at 8 p.m., you should know that long before he became a comedian (and continuing to this day) the 39-year-old Roy was and is a singer in a punk rock band. In fact, if you want to hear him croon, check out the EP “Double Cassingle,” which he recorded with his band Spells in 2014. It’s available on iTunes, and it provides an interesting look into Roy’s psyche.
The music is true thrash punk that sounds angry until you actually listen to it and realize that on songs like “S-P-E-L-L-S Spells Spells (Spells Rules)” Roy and his mates seem more interested in making listeners laugh than in riling them up. It’s a dichotomy that mirrors the comedian’s own transformation as he closes in on his 40th birthday.
“I’d say I was definitely more aggressive and angrier even seven or eight years ago,” said Roy, who lives in Denver with his wife and son. “I feel like you kind of figure out who you are in standup, and it becomes closer and closer to who you are in real life. The more you do it, the less you’re doing an impression of what you think standup is, and the more you become just yourself on stage.”
So who is Roy in real life?
“I’m more of a goofy person,” he said. “I’m awkward and kind of nervous, so that is closer to my newer album and how I am now. I think I’m getting less angry as I get older, which I think is supposed to happen.”
That may be, but don’t expect any less energy during Roy’s sets. He’s still a punk rocker at heart and draws more influence from the likes of Henry Rollins and Fat Mike than he does from Jerry Seinfeld or Jay Leno.
“The part of my standup that’s informed by playing in bands is, like, getting in people’s faces and standing on their chairs, and sometimes I tend to just walk into the middle of the audience,” said Roy. “I like taking the show to them.”
Speaking of shows, you may recognize Roy from the TruTV sitcom “Those Who Can’t,” in which he and fellow comedians Adam Cayton-Holland and Andrew Orvedahl play incompetent teachers at a dysfunctional high school. It’s just one of many projects the Denver-based trio, collectively known as “The Grawlix,” have going on right now, including having all appeared individually for standup sets at The Temporary. Given all of that – band, standup, TV show, etc. – it’s evident that Roy attacks his career with all his old punk-rock fervor. So what’s up with song 3 on “Double Cassingle,” a track entitled “80% Is Good Enough”?
“That’s a mantra for the band internally,” said Roy, laughing. “Often what’s ruined bands is that everybody takes it too f-ing seriously. Rather than getting stressed out, it’s like, eh, 80 percent is good enough. We tried. Let’s just have fun with it. But it’s more of a band mantra. With my own personal life – I mean, you can hear my voice; I’ve just been going nonstop – I don’t practice that as much.”
So expect Roy to keep on rocking as hard as ever – just not quite so angrily as he once did.