Hippieman’s Plan for America
If You Go...
Who: John Novosad, a.k.a. Hippieman, with special guest Chris Charpentier
What: Standup comedy
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: New Ute Events Center in Rifle
How Much: $10
John Novosad was raised by hippies.
“My mom sent me to school every day with a Jimi Hendrix lunch box, and all the kids made fun of me until they tried one of my brownies,” begins one of the Boulder native’s jokes. “Let’s just say I could pretty much trade my lunch for anything after that.”
Novosad, also known as Hippieman, will perform stand-up at Rifle’s New Ute Events Center at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday with special guest Chris Charpentier. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at City Market, http://www.ticketswest.com or by calling 970-243-8497.
This is Novosad’s first time in Rifle, but not on the Western Slope. The comedian, who has toured across the country and appeared on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” said his unique brand of comedy tends to get the best reactions in Colorado.
“I do notice a difference in the audiences, and they definitely are a little more conservative in the Midwest,” he said. “I can get away with more jokes about pot becoming legal because people are more in tune with it in Colorado.”
Novosad grew up in Boulder, which explains a lot about his persona. But he said his friends and family, more than his surroundings, influenced him into becoming a comedian. His father died when he was young, but his mother was always happy to let him goof around with his brother and sister.
“I was a funny kid, but I wasn’t necessarily the class clown,” he said. “I had to feel comfortable. Basically my friends growing up and my family was where I noticed, ‘Wow, I can make these people laugh,’ and that’s how I got interested in it.”
Novosad’s first time performing stand-up went about as well as anyone’s first time usually does. He was in his mid-20s, and a club in Boulder called the Blue Note started hosting open mic nights for comedians on Tuesdays. Each brave soul got about five minutes to try to make the crowd laugh.
“It was bad,” Novosad said. “I didn’t get many laughs, and it was super uncomfortable. I probably did about three and a half of my five minutes.”
But the experience was a good one overall, he said. Especially in retrospect, he realizes now that the crowd was actually extremely supportive despite his poor performance. He said he ran out of things to say about two minutes in, but the audience cheered him on to keep trying. He also met a couple Denver comics who told him he needed to go back the next week and do it again. So he did. And the week after, and the week after.
“To have that once a week on Tuesdays really got me stable and helped me figure it out,” he said.
Novosad has been performing stand-up for almost 30 years, with some day jobs now and then along the way. He’s been a full-time stand-up comedian for the past decade, though, and he’s been Hippieman for about as long.
He said the persona came to him 11 or 12 years ago. He used to go to San Diego pretty frequently, and he would stop by a shop called Dead Headquarters that sold all kinds of tie-dye clothing.
“I thought, ‘Man, I should become a superhero and just wear tie-dye,’” he said.
So for a while, that’s what he did. He bought tearaway clothes that revealed an outrageous tie-dye getup underneath. He doesn’t do the tie-dye anymore, but the name has stuck.
Don’t let the name fool you, though. Hippieman is about a lot more than just weed; he’s got a whole plan for America — one that involves sending prisoners to the Middle East and welcoming undocumented immigrants to the country by giving them citizenship and a good job before outsourcing it to India.
“I have jokes about the economy and voting, I talk about sports, just a wide variety of stuff,” Novosad said, adding that a lot of his humor relies on self-deprecation and hair jokes.
Novosad is based in Denver now, and he’s a favorite at Comedy Works, one of the city’s most well-known comedy clubs. He said it’s crazy to think how far he’s come.
“I really do feel lucky that I found stand-up, or it found me,” he said. “There’s just something about traveling to a part of the country you’ve never been to before, walking into a room full of strangers and making them laugh.”
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