I had a nice chat with Brandon Wardell, a local D.C. comic who is throwing the comedy showcase, Brandon Wardell and Friends, that is happening Friday, Sep. 16 over at the Velvet Lounge. If you see him there you may notice that he will have black X’s on his hands, because he is not 21. In fact, he recently turned 19.
Brandon was born in Nebraska, but did not stay there for long. “I was there for about a week.” His father is in the Air Force, so he’s lived all over the country, but the DMV is the place where he went to high school at Robinson High. He graduated from there in June this year and is now attending the Northern Virginia Community College. “I don’t want to brag.” His aspirations are to go to college in a city where he can perform comedy. He is pondering the notion of going to New York, but for now he will be near the Nation’s Capital where he steps out on the comedy scene about five times a week. Brandon shared that he has always been a comedy fan “to the point of snobbery, because of that I kind of wanted to get into it.”
Eventually, seeing enough comedy shows inspired him to step on stage and try it for himself. Brandon and one of his friends went to check out an open mic one evening, but they had to tell a lie about where they were going. “We went to Ballston and it was the night of a school play and we told our parents that we were going to the play. Instead we went to this mic and it went fairly well.” Later that night he sat his parents down and let them know what was really going on. I can imagine the math that his parents were calculating. Two guys just went to a play together and now he’s giving them the “We need to talk,” something is going on. Then he admitted that he was…a comic. “They are ok with it, but not enthusiastic.” Brandon added further, “My parents are at peace with what I am doing.”
Brandon was seventeen when he started going to open mics and was having a difficult time being allowed to perform, because of his age. “At the Arlington Draft House I would wait in the lobby, go perform, and then go straight back to the lobby.” His age is not an issue anymore as he is well known in the area and is able to go and perform at all the popular bars that offer comedy nights. Brandon’s favorite moment in his carreer in comedy so far happened about a year into being a comic. In April this year he was in Portland, Oregon, performing at the comedy festival Bridgetown there. “I just submitted a tape and I guess some people must have vouched for me. That was super exciting, because all of the comics on the lineup were huge. Guys I really admired. It was really exciting being around them. It made me feel legitimate.”
Wardell went down to Portland by himself and roomed with Mike Lawrence, “I guess it’s a weird rooming situation. Him looking like he does and me looking like I do.” Brandon also had an interesting run in with a comic more known for his antics than his stand up. Brandon met Andy Dick at a free food place for the comics. They got to talking and shared a car that was part of a shuttle service for the comics to go to the multiple venues that were part of the festival. Whilst on the ride, Andy asked him to do a bit with him on stage. “He wanted me to come on in an Andy Dick wig during the show, but he didn’t tell me when to come out. That was a terrible idea. The bit bombed.” The bit may have bombed, but it did serve as an interesting experience. You can check out Brandon’s show that will feature Andy Haynes, who recently performed on Jimmy Fallon’s show, as well as other DC comics. The show starts at 7 and only costs $5, which is a cheap price for some quality comedy. Brandon does not have a website up yet, but you can follow him on his Twitter.