Rising comedian simultaneously pursues education
By: KATIE HAYES
Comedian and student Max Price got his start in St. Louis, but now performs across the Midwest. In addition to doing stand up in fellow comedians’ shows, Price is set to host his own show Nov. 3.
“It’s an art form that you never really perfect,” Price said when asked about his comedy career. “My end goal is just to be able to do what I love for a living.”
Although the comedy scene in St. Louis is not well- known, there is a show nearly every night. Many of these shows are inexpensive or free.
“He goes to comedy shows and open mics any time he can,” Price’s roommate Brian Baumgarner said.
Price, 22, moved to St. Louis from San Diego in 8th grade. He began attending Meramec in 2012 where he studies physical therapy assistance while pursuing his passion for comedy.
“I always loved any form of comedy — stand up, sketch and improv. I was always watching Comedy Central as a kid, and watching stand up,” Price said. “I always thought that was the most amazing art form because it’s an instant reaction. You instantly know if it’s good or not.”
The comedian performed on stage for the past two years, but worked on his craft for four. “I had so much respect for people who did it, so I started writing my own stuff. Then I practiced little things, like practicing in front of family, friends, went to a bar or something. Then I decided I would try it out at an actual comedy club,” Price said.
His first routine was performed at the Funny Bone in West Port Plaza.
“It was the greatest thing I ever felt and I just instantly became addicted. From there, I spent all my time writing new material, practicing, then going up and doing it. It just kind of took off from there,” Price said.
The Funny Bone hosts a comedy competition every year with 75 performers. Price placed ninth his first year and fourth his second.
“It gets you a lot of work. It kind of got my name out there and a lot of people asked me to do shows. That introduced me to other people, so now I do a lot of shows out of town also,” Price said.
He has performed not only in St. Louis, but Kansas City and Chicago as well.
According to the comedian, his first routine was nerve- racking. Although there are typically 20-30 people at an open mic night, there were close to 100.
“I was super nervous, naturally. I mean, I was totally freaking out and my heart was beating super fast. Whenever I was about to go up, I started to completely blank and forget what I was gonna say,” Price said.
According to the comedian, his first joke only received a few laughs. However, the next joke was when he captured the audience.
“What helped a lot was that the spotlight that’s on you, it’s so bright that you can only see the first row of people and then onward, it’s completely dark. So that calms my nerves,” Price said.
One of the questions Price is asked most often is what he does if no one laughs.
“Sometimes, I’d have awesome sets. Sometimes, I’d have sets where not a single person laughed once at any joke, you know, that’s just how it is,” Price said.
Price said the subjectivity of comedy. Even if a crowd finds humor in your set, you could tell the same set to a different crowd and get crickets.
“Even if you have a terrible set, it’s worth it to come back and have that awesome set because it brings you way up. Luckily, my first set was good enough to make me want to come back. It was nerve racking, but I got through it and still loved it,” Price said.
Some comedians quit if their first set goes awry, but Price has a different view.
“When people don’t laugh, it’s not a career ending thing — it’s just a part of it. It’s just a part of figuring out what works and what doesn’t. It’s not really failing, it’s just finding out what not to use,” Price said.
Price’s style of comedy mostly consists of storytelling, where he draws from his childhood.
Max Price doing a stand up at The Funny Bone.
“My end goal is just to be able to do what I love for a living.”
His favorite style to listen to are one-liners, but he doubted his own ability in the form.
“I try to get laughter out of my actual material and my dialogue,” Price said.
Price seeks advice from professional comedians who visit the open mic nights as well by asking them to watch his set.
“You can’t ever feel attacked if it’s not all good, because there’s so many things to perfect. You just always have to be working on it. I just always want to be growing,” Price said.
Although the comedian is not currently living off the money made from shows, he plans to make comedy his career.
“I have only been in comedy two years. I don’t plan to be able to live off this for another 10 years. Comedy takes a really long time to perfect,” Price said.
In the meantime, however, Price continues to pursue his craft while making a name for himself in the Midwest.