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Communications Major Pursues Stand-Up Comedy

This article appeared in a July 2016 issue of the student newsletter.  

By Justin Livingston
North Lake News-​Register Staff Writer/Designer

Connor Posey is a man of action. As a kid, he taught himself to play the guitar. At 18, he moved to Austin to break into the music scene. Now he is planning to move to New York to pursue a career in comedy.

A self-admitted class clown, Posey remembers most of his friends and family telling him he should be a stand-up comedian. When he was 12, he received a copy of the book "Brain Droppings"​ by the legendary comedian George Carlin.

“What blew my mind about it was these incredibly immature jokes that were told in the most intelligent way,” Posey said.

Soon thereafter, Posey got his hands on a George Carlin DVD and was astounded to learn that people got paid for telling jokes. This led Posey to see that there might be a constructive and acceptable use for the silly ideas that have always lived in his head.

Posey started jotting down jokes when he was 13 but never did anything with the material. It actually took much longer for him to start pursuing a career seriously.

His path to becoming a comedian hit a divergence when he got into music at 14, when he taught himself to play guitar and write lyrics. Despite putting a lot of effort and resources into a purely musical pursuit, Posey was aware of his comedic voice’s struggle for attention, as he found himself inserting humor into his heavy metal style of music.

At 18, Posey took action and moved to Austin to jump into the always-bustling music scene. While he was cutting albums, learning how to play different instruments and writing lyrics, he found that the lifestyle of his fellow musicians was unfocused. He quickly outpaced the work ethic of most musicians around him.

He remembers playing multiple instruments in many recordings and, at times, even playing them all himself. His frustrations with the music scene developed into a realization that his motivated lifestyle was incompatible with it, and he moved back home to Irving.

He learned from what he witnessed in Austin that an organized effort goes further than raw talent in a professional setting.

He found work and enrolled at North Lake College, and then last year he went to the Dallas Comedy House for open mic night. He had never taken his comedy onstage before and had no idea what to do. He was terrified, and bombed. Hard.

“It was brutal,” Posey said, “Silence. You could hear crickets in the background. No one cared.”

Despite his failure on the Dallas stage, he found a flier for an improvisational class the same night. Because he is a man of action, he signed up and was instantly sucked in, eventually becoming obsessed with it. He quickly made friends and became a regular fixture at the Dallas Comedy House.

After taking the nine-month class, he landed an internship and started a comedy troupe that is currently getting regularly scheduled shows. He began to understand the art of making people laugh and the more subtle nuances of communicating with an audience.

He returned to open mic events, and his material began to stick. It was getting the intended laughs he had hoped for. Posey was introduced to the Dallas circuit, a surprisingly robust comedy scene where a comedian can find an open mic four to five days a week. That’s not including special showcases, block parties and festivals.

Posey was surprised to find out that although he was alone onstage, stand-up comedy is a very collaborative craft. Comedians have a tightly knit community and often assist one another with jokes.

The process of writing jokes and practicing the craft involves bouncing ideas off other comedians and riffing on one another until comedic material appears.

Posey describes his comedic style as confessional, meaning he gets in front of a room full of strangers and tells them his deepest, darkest secrets; secrets that he wouldn’t even be able to tell a close friend in a private conversation. Most of his jokes come from a place of pain and often address coping with life in funny ways.

“Posey has a natural talent to make people laugh, and his work ethic should take him as far as he wants to go,” said Alvin Newsome, host at the Back Door Comedy Club.

Posey is seriously considering a move to New York. With New York and Los Angeles being the meccas of the comedy world, the move would provide an opportunity to get on as many stages as possible and get the most experience in the shortest amount of time. It would allow Posey to become fully immersed in comedy.

For a while, every conversation with his comedy troupe members was bringing him closer and closer to that actuality. Recently, however, doors have been opening up for Posey right here in Dallas.

“They say the average is seven years before the first paid gig,” Posey said, in reference to an online algorithm about comedy success, “and 15 years before you can eat off of it.”

Posey is not deter​red by these statistics, showing a strong belief in his talent and work ethic. He just recently earned his communications degree from NLC and is in hot pursuit of his comedy career.