Troy Baxley comes to the Vaudeville
Troy Baxley didn’t start calling himself a comedian until that’s how he made his living. It was such a distinct and important moment for him that he remembers the date that it happened: March 29, 1992, the date he quit his day job.
His day jobs weren’t what you might expect. He didn’t follow the stereotypical entertainer story of waiting tables or working retail before hitting a point where his talents and hard work could sustain him.
“After college, the whole thing was just a whirlwind,” he said. He worked on shrimp boats and oil fields, built stainless steel swimming pools and traveled around with his pool shark father on his winnings.
He ended up in Denver at some point in the ’80s and has been based there ever since. Not that moving to L.A. didn’t cross his mind, but moving there would mean higher rent, which he’d have to pay for by touring even more, and at that point the rent wouldn’t be worth the trouble. No, Denver is just fine.
“I just stayed here with my girlfriend, dog, truck and all my projects,” he said. “It’s a very good scene. It’s well-respected around the country and has been since I’ve been here.”
Baxley is making his way to Glenwood on Thursday to perform for the first time at the Vaudeville Revue.
Baxley’s interest in comedy stemmed from using humor as a defense mechanism. He started school young, so he was consistently one of the smallest kids in his class, all the way through high school. His reaction to bullying was to pit bullies against one another or distract from the situation by being funny.
Despite having a good sense of humor his whole life, Baxley said his first time doing stand-up was laughable for all the wrong reasons.
“I’ll still go to open mic nights, but I have never seen anybody on an open mic night who’s as bad as I was on stage,” he said. “I take that back — there was a guy in Tampa who was a tie. He was equally as bad.”
Despite bombing his first attempt on stage, Baxley never doubted he would try it again. He knew his problem was stage fright; he wasn’t used to the lights or the microphone. But he had faith in his talent.
“I knew I was going to do it again because I knew there was something there,” he said. “I just told myself, ‘You just be funny, and the other stuff will start coming along.’”
He wasn’t the only one who had faith in his funniness. In fact, Baxley can remember the one moment that pushed him to try this whole comedian thing.
He, his girlfriend and her brother, who Baxley had never heard utter a sentence without stuttering, went to Comedy Works in Denver one night to watch stand-up. On their way out of the club, the brother said, “You’re funnier than those guys; you should try this.” No stutter.
“I thought, ‘It’s a sign,’” Baxley said. “I’m not that kind of person, but it was just too heavy to ignore.”
Looking back now, it’s a good thing he didn’t.
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