16 Nov

Chicago’s Comic: Bill Bunker

Q: What inspired you to start stand-up comedy?

A: I used to listen to all my father’s comedy albums growing up (albums were these round black vinyl things that played recorded music or spoken word). Included in these were people like Bob Newhart (guy from the movie Elf) and Bill Cosby (guy now in Jail).

Q: Describe your first performance.

A: I was in a class at Zanies in 1999, taught by the great Chicago comedian Dobie Maxwell. It was six weeks long, with a graduation show. Come the night of our show, I was the only person who showed up. I got put between the MC and feature. Was never so scared in my life.

Q: Do you have “pre-show” rituals? If so, what are they?

A: Nothing specific. I used to get so nervous I could barely drive myself to the club, but I have come to terms with that. I still get nervous, but in a good, productive way.

Q: Where in the world is your favorite place to perform stand-up? Why is this your favorite place?

A: Having been in Chicago since I started, the clubs here have great meaning for me—Zanies, Improv, Laugh Factory. I love the people here. I was in a comedy festival in San Luis Obispo, CA earlier this year. That was probably the most fun I ever had doing stand-up, it was like summer camp.

Q: What shows, podcasts, blogs do you produce or co-produce?

A: Nothing at the moment. Between performing and raising my family I don’t have time right now. I want to do something in the near future, though. I love crime novels and thought of writing one in a comedy club setting.

Q: What are three of your favorite things?

A: My family, for one. It’s amazing to watch my kids grow up. I love Chicago in the Summer and all the music festivals.

Q: What is your favorite sammich?

A: There’s a food truck I go to that serves nothing but grilled cheese. I love grilled cheese.

Q: What’s one thing people assume about you, that is or isn’t true?

A: I’m not sure people assume anything about me, but I am as insecure as anyone out there.

Q: If you weren’t a comic, what other job would you love to do?

A: I have done, and am currently doing, so many jobs that I don’t know if I consider myself a comic first. This isn’t a bad thing, just makes me love it more.

Q: What are some comedy goals/dreams you have on your To Do List?

A: I would love to get on a major late night show, just to say I did it, but that really wouldn’t change my life. I really just want to keep getting better.

Q: What quality, trait and/or body part do you really like about yourself?

A: I have nice shins.

Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about you? [or anything else you’d like mentioned, i.e. your education, personal life or mission statement]

A: It’s a cliche, but comics should really just focus on having fun. In the end, that’s all there is. I used to think I wanted to be a major headliner traveling from theater to theater. But, I am happy to just have fun doing comedy. It’s more than enough.

Q: How will you know you “Made It?”

A: I am pretty lucky to have been doing comedy for so long and to still be really into it. Twenty years this coming March. That alone is making it.


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