01 Feb

Chicago’s Comic: Keegan Buckingham

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

A: My senior year in college I took a storytelling class. They’d tell you what the topic would be and everybody had to do like a 15 minute story on the topic. “What was a tough decision you had to make?” and so on. I noticed I would get big laughs throughout my stories, more than anybody else in the class, even though a lot of them had funnier stories and even though I was super introverted. It was cool, but I didn’t think much of it. A couple years later I watched The Aristocrats and made the storytelling-comedy connection. There was one local comedy club and they had one open mic every month. I went and signed up assuming it would likely be a one-time thing.

Q: Describe your first performance.

A: I was second on the list. The format there was to announce who was “on deck” before they bring on the next comic. The emcee said, “On deck, Keegan Buckingham.” This got a little chuckle because it’s an unusual name. The comic before me was a drag queen (Paris Knight RIP). So when I got up I said, “Hi, I’m Keegan Buckingham. I know it’s an unusual name, but I guess if you want to know about that you can ask my mother. She’s here tonight. She went on right before me.” First joke I ever told on stage and it got a decent laugh. I remember also talking about how when customers call the pizza place, the person on the phone is never the one with any of the information. I closed on, “Do you want to hear a song? Sorry, I don’t have any.” I got a good response for a first set. I went back the next month, bombed, and didn’t do it again for over a year after that.

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

A: Not really. I try not to have any superstitions about it because I think it means you’re giving up a little bit of control. If I need to do a pre-show ritual, I am placing some of the responsibility for the set on the ritual when really, it’s all on me.

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

A: I really don’t have a favorite. Wherever I had a good set last.

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

A: Book and host Phyllis’ Musical Inn second Tuesday and second Thursday every month. I cohost Flabby Hoffman’s Radio Extravagonzo every Saturday 1-4:30 pm on Que4 Radio. Lots of other random stuff. If you follow me on social media, you know I plug my shows ad nauseam.

Q: What are three of your favorite things?

A: Comics by Julia Wertz, music by Los Marauders, Young’s Chinese on Ashland.

Q: What is your favorite sammich?

A: Toasted wheat bread, turkey, jack or cheddar cheese, lettuce, mayo, sometimes mustard, sometimes giardiniera, occasionally BBQ sauce. This is by far the meal I have most often made myself as an adult.

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

A: Directness isn’t the same thing as rudeness.

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

A: Cartoonist. I have notebooks 90 percent filled with doodles.

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

A: Go on a real tour, host an awards show, perform at Surf Ballroom (the venue Buddy Holly played at before the plane crash), manage a comedy club, finally get a podcast, get booked on all the showcases I haven’t done.

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

A: Still not balding even though it runs in the family.

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: I don’t think people realize how much stuff I’ve done in Chi. Produced 4 or 5 different showcases, started and hosted 2 popular open mics, wrote and acted on a long-running sketch show, cohosted a talk show, wrote monologue jokes for 4 other talk shows, ran lights and sound for a theater, cohost and board op a radio show, do most of my own graphics, ran a comedy competition, worked on a live game show. Work begets more work so I take whatever I can.

Q: How will you know you “Made It?”

A: I’ll probably never think I have. I’ll be going home from the Tonight Show thinking about all the stuff I should have done different.


  • 2nd Tuesdays & Thursdays – 20:00 @ Phyllis’ Musical Inn
    (1800 W. Division St.)
  • Saturdays – 13:00 @ Flabby Hoffman’s Radio Extravagonzo on Que4 Radio


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