For many, comedy offers the opportunity to laugh at life’s problems, so it makes sense that Andrew Williams, a local stand-up comedian, builds his act from a dedication to honesty. “I want you to feel like I’m your best friend that’s trash-talking for you,” says Andrew. “We’re all thinking it, but I’m going to stand up and scream it at the top of my lungs.” With a set packed with observational humor and crowd-work, Andrew includes the entire audience in his jokes. “I’m an equal opportunity offender,” he says. “You can expect commentary on the terrible habits of people who don’t realize how ridiculous they are.”
Andrew’s love of comedy started at an early age with character sketches he performed in his father’s clothing and crazy wigs. “As I got older and was coming to terms with my sexuality, I knew I wanted to do stand-up,” he says. “It was actually a big push for me to come out. It allowed me the opportunity to go out and be unlike anyone else.” In his career, Andrew has had a few awkward encounters with audience members who might find him shocking, but he sees these moments as opportunities. “If I can make one person laugh who might’ve never thought they were going to laugh at a gay man shouting on stage, that’s a victory in itself,” he says.
Now, seven years into his career, Andrew has toured the country and opened for performers like Girl Code’s Jessimae Peluso and Dave Coulier from Full House. Aside from these landmark events, Andrew points to local platforms like The Rhode Show and the Comedy Connection for their support. Eight years ago, when he was just starting out, he auditioned for The Rhode Show and made it to their top 20. Even though he didn’t get the gig, producer Ashley Erling, invited him back as part of the “Rhody Round-Up,” a show featuring hot topics and news stories. “I owe a lot to The Rhode Show and Ashley,” he says. “They have given me this amazing opportunity to have a regular TV credit and reach so many people.”
As for the Comedy Connection, Andrew fondly remembers his first open mic. “It was a ‘bringer’ show, meaning that you can be in it if you promise to bring five people,” he explains. “It gives new comics the opportunity to perform in front of an audience.” After his set, the owner of the club, Cory, asked him to come back. “They never made me bring five people ever again,” he says, laughing. Even now, the Comedy Connection remains one of his favorite performance spots, and he’s there every month for the Hardcore Comedy Show. “That room is magical for me,” he says. “Something happens on stage and I feel unstoppable.”
April 7 at The Comedy Connection
39 Warren Avenue, East Providence