Rory Scovel isn’t doing it to be mean

Rory Scovel tying a tie
Photo by Mandee Johnson

Rory Scovel has never been to Lafayette. 

“I’ve had Cajun food here and there from New Orleans, or something, That’s it,” says the actor and comedian ahead of his April 8 performance at Club 337.  

Lafayette Comedy has brought in a long line of national talent like Scovel, whose credits include a co-starring role in Physical on Apple+ and appearances in blockbuster features like Babylon, starring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. 

Scovel is stopping in Lafayette on a national tour with stops in much larger markets. From his vantage, there’s a boom of comedy stops in smaller markets across the country. 

He spoke with contributor Miranda Davis this week. 

In Lafayette, it seems we’re having quite the boom in the stand-up scene. Do you notice this in a lot of smaller cities on tour?

Scovel: Absolutely. I feel like there’s a different sort of space with standup right now. It’s a pretty special time in comedy.There’s plenty of comics — myself included — that have started to plan a tour since the pandemic. This one feels extra special. Everyone has been waiting to just get out there.

I know you grew up in South Carolina. Do you think that shapes your humor and comedic style?

Not really. Any good audience doesn’t need to relate or agree with you. They can respect that it’s your own interpretation of something. Over the years you become more vulnerable as an artist, and you realize there’s no world that everyone is gonna relate to everything 100%.

A few years back, Tom Segura received backlash for a joke about Lafayette on his Netflix special. Do you ever feel pressure to adjust your jokes according to the city?

Usually there’s stuff locally that you can make jokes about that you can have in your back pocket. People like getting the vibe that you’re local.

I feel like since the beginning, I’ve always hit on topics that were related to religion, politics, drugs or sex. I’ve never changed it. I’ve always done the act as it is. I’ve never done anything to be mean about it.

If any place or region decides that they’re off put, I’m always fine with it. I’m not doing it to be mean. Some people like humor to go over the edge, some people get offended — those people are always at the same show.

There’s a local bar, Freetown Boom Boom Room, that recently had a comedy show. I have friends in the metal scene who aren’t that discouraged by slow crowds, but many of my comedian friends are. What advice do you have for younger comedians in the community facing discouragement? 

You’re just gonna do shows that don’t have a lot of people there. It’s less about getting a reaction and more about learning how to present. All of that takes repetition. Usually in that repetition, you learn how to talk and perform for people and not care as much about opinions. 

If you get on stage, you’ll naturally find yourself at shows with people who think like you and people who don’t. Just the way the industry is. 

Rory Scovel appears at Club 337 on April 8. Tickets are available via Lafayette Comedy.