No, he doesn’t like Dane Cook – 3/7/2008

Jim Panetta is a 20-year-old stand-up comedian from Campbell who’s risen from having next to nothing to establishing an independent production company with a major show premiering.

Armed with only a G.E.D. and one night school class at De Anza College, Jim Panetta has established his own production company, Clownshoe Entertainment, which has a major show titled “Stand Up for Humanity” scheduled to debut March 7 at the Campbell Heritage Theater.

Panetta has performed stand-up in most major clubs in the Bay Area. In this interview, Panetta tells about his rise to fame and, of course, plugs his latest show.

Soheil Rezaee: What inspired you to be a stand-up comedian?

Jim Panetta: I was a talker in school and I would always get kicked out of class for it.

SR: When did you first perform on stage and how was it?

JP: My first show was at the Gaslighter Theater. My friend Nick Greenwell signed me up for open mike without my knowledge and so I performed in front of the biggest crowd that attended the Gaslighter for open mic night. Surprisingly, I did so good that they asked me to come back.

SR: Who in your life has inspired you?

JP: Both my father and grandfather inspired me. My dad always supported me. He introduced me to the works of Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor. After he passed away I stopped touring for a while. My grandfather was a real influence. We would watch cartoons and stand-up together.

SR: Which comedians have influenced you?

JP: The five great comedians of all time: Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, and Chris Rock.

SR: What is your theory on telling jokes?

JP: It needs to offend people. It’s like my life motto, “the truth is said in jest.”

SR: How did you establish your production company, Clownshoe Entertainment?

JP: My associates and I have been planning this for many years and Matt inherited some money from his great grandmother. We rented an apartment complex on Winchester close to where I used to live and where I came up with most of my ideas. It’s like the hip hop industry and how it tries to stay connected with its roots.

SR: What is the theme of your up coming show, “Stand-Up for Humanity”?

JP: It’s a comedy show where the audience sits back and laughs at what hasn’t changed in America. We’re also going to be filming it as a documentary. It all started as a project to see the creation of the company and now it has taken a life of its own where words can’t explain it.

SR: Tell me about your co-stars.

JP: Our national headliner is Mark Lundholm, who’s had several Showtime specials. There’s Justin McClure who’s the emcee at the San Jose Improv and has become a growing Myspace comedian. Finally, there’s Andrew Norelli, who wrote several jokes for the Oscars.

SR: How have ticket sales and advertising been going for the show?

JP: We only need to sell $200 worth of tickets to break even. We’ve embraced a guerrilla marketing campaign to spread the word about the show. Our target has been the Campbell area since the majority of our audience is in that area. We have received support from the local businesses who have allowed us to post flyers on their front windows.

SR: What do you see as the biggest threat to comedy?

JP: There are a lot of threats to comedy. (For) clubs like the Improv, if you don’t fit their image, they could blacklist you. There is also Comedy Central promoting talentless people like Larry the Cable Guy and Dane Cook. If Comedy Central is really about comedy, why did they give Carlos Mencia four seasons? Finally, there are those who see comedy as a business. There are no business grounds; comedy is like Jerusalem. It’s sacred ground, and stop hiring Dane Cook. I would rather pay $30,000 to have the ashes of Bill Hicks on stage than Dane Cook.

Published for La Voz Weekly
3/7/2008
Original Link: No, he doesn’t like Dane Cook

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About Stan Rezaee
I'm a writer from San Jose who has contributed to several online and print publications.

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