Having Said That: That Old Story
By Matthew Alvarez
Warning: The audio portion of this story is different than the content on this post. You may find yourself enjoying both.
For the past decade, Lucas Molandes has been doing standup comedy in Austin, Texas. Molandes said it only took one open-mic night to convince him to drop out of the engineering program from the University of Texas at Austin and start his career as a 24-year-old comedian.
While Molandes has experienced a rollercoaster of a career with performing at clubs across the country and as a writer in the Big Apple, he has gravitated back to his roots in Central Texas. So, Molandes squeezed in a little time speak with me about his life, and accomplishments, thus far.
What was writing for MTV like?
It’s a TV station geared towards 13 to 18 year olds, and—in the writer’s room—there was no one under the age of 30. We went to all these demographic meetings where they tell us the demographics between the tweens and the millennial…and they know about teenagers as well as Hannibal Lector knew about—well, it’s very creepy how much they know about these kids because they’re creating what they listen to and what they watch.
Did you feel like a success getting hired to write for television?
It’s hard to say because writing for TV you need to have a television writing credit, but you can’t get a television writing credit unless you’ve written for television. So, it’s this weird ‘how do I get into that world?’ I actually came to this bar where we’re at right now [Mugshots] and I wrote my packet for submission while getting drunk one night. They sent it to me on a Tuesday, and I sent it back on a Tuesday. They said I had a week to work on this, but I was like ‘I don’t want to think about it.’ And I thought I wasn’t going to get this, but low and behold I got the call a week later. As far as being a success, this was something to do for now. My philosophies on things were not changing because of this.
What sparked your interest to write that script that night?
My girlfriend at the time was also submitting one and said I should submit for this too. I thought this would never go through, and so I thought if I was going to do it I was going to do it on my own terms: have a few beers and writing something because I didn’t want to think about it anymore, and I was tiered in feeling disappointed in myself. Sometimes when you finally stop wanting something, it comes true. I don’t what it’s called…
But you came back to Austin, is life as a comic a lot easier in Central Texas? I’ve heard some comics say they would like Austin to be the New York, or Los Angeles of comedy for the center of the country.
Right. It’s so much easier now with the Internet. Anybody could be seen from around the world. It use to be that you would have to go to New York or LA to be seen, now you could have a really successful YouTube account and have management in New York or LA watching that and say ‘OK, he doesn’t live down here but we can see him doing something productive down there. We could sell this to a network.’ A lot of people live in Austin because they have the personality that belongs here, and that may not belong in New York or LA…there’s a certain level of a quality of life here: you want a back yard, or don’t have to go into debt just to have place to call your own. Why not bring it here instead of supporting all of our talent elsewhere? Why not bring it here, and give it a reason to stay here?
The comedy scene, right?
I think it’s really easy to do stuff here. It’s only a matter of time before somebody—at an open-mic level, or a local feature level—does something that pops. If one person here makes it, I imagine they would bring four to five comedy friends from here to work with them. Most people do it because they love it.
As a comic for the past ten years of your life, what are some of the adventures you’ve been on?
I remembered we stayed at a hotel in Dallas one time, and it was I and four other Austin comics. The details are a little fuzzy from that night because we were all in a different place, mentally. I just remember coming back to the hotel room and it was covered in extinguisher dust, like someone had set off the extinguisher in the place. So I wake up at three in the morning and I heard the faucet running, I thought ‘who’s washing something right now?’ I look up and see my friend just naked, and he’s peeing in the corner. I didn’t realize he’s peeing on my friend. My friend, who’s getting peed on, always brought his lucky pillow and he’s had this pillow since childhood—it looks disgusting. We end up hiding his pillow in the freezer because that was the best place to put it. The next morning he asked who dumped water all over me, and we see this 6’5 guy freak out about his pillow. He’s asking, “Where’s my pillow? Where’s my pillow? I love that pillow.” He eventually finds it in the freezer, and says, “That’s also funny. You put my pillow in water and then froze it.”
Lucas Molandes plans on starting the New Year with few shows in some of his favorite places: Portland, Ore. and Philadelphia, Pa. Although, no official dates have been set. To check the dates of his performances—local or state wide—you can go to his blog at lucascomedy.com. Molandes also writes humoring articles on a daily bases for tuvez.com.
Interview has been edited and condensed.