Robert Wilson is a man of few words… that aren’t funny. As an actor and comedian, Wilson has an affinity for the stage and performance. Having done much in the realm of improvisational comedy, he has now turned an eye toward the “great and powerful monologue” as a stand-up comedian.
A former theater student at Old Dominion University, Wilson worked in the Hampton Roads area with comedy troupes Plan B and The Pushers, as well as with the Virginia Stage Comedy. Since, Wilson has taken his talents to the Windy City where he was given the opportunity to train for free at The Annoyance, honing his comedic skills with some of the cities most talented comedic performers.
Wilson said he made the move not only for the opportunity to train with some of the city’s finest comedians, but because of the advice from fellow comedian Beatty Barnes. Barnes told Wilson “Tidewater is a great place to hone your craft, but you eventually you have to go and show the world what you’ve been working on.”
Wilson prefers improvisational comedy because “the idea of coming up with stuff on the spot is pretty fun,” and “kind of dangerous.”
“It could always go wrong,” Wilson said. “You could not come up with stuff, freeze, but it’s an awesome achievement when you come through.”
He said what is great about stand-up is the fact that he is sharing something he put a lot of work into. “As a stand up you do everything. You think up the jokes, perform them… when the people laugh that is all your accomplishment. No one can say ‘I helped him.’ You achieved it all by yourself,” Wilson said.
His biggest influences are Richard Pyror, Bill Cosby and Whoopi Goldberg. Currently, he’s been listening to a lot of Dick Gregory.
Not everyone finds every comedian funny. Wilson uses the stiff audience members as motivation. “I believe that I can win any crowd. If they aren’t laughing then I just need to work harder,” Wilson said.
For Wilson, comedy thrives on truth. A comedian interested in a subject has to work like a detective or journalist and expose every angle and be able to ask the interesting questions.
Wilson said, “That’s what makes people laugh. That face you make when you’re falling, the stupid messages you leave when you just broke up, the lies you tell when calling out sick. These are the things that everyone knows are true but thought were secrets they kept from the world. Comedy for me is all about the journey to find that truth.”
By: Derek Page