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But Seriously: Harford comic stays away from the lighter side

Photo Credit: Shannon Cimino, The Aegis

The Aegis

by Katie Bennett

Published: November 8, 2006, pp. AA1, AA12

What do you get when you mix a political stand-up comedian and a 7-Eleven clerk?

Give up?

You get local comedian Tom Myers, 23, who works behind the counter at the 7-Eleven in Fallston by day and does stand up comedy by night.

"I try to keep those two separate," he said of his two professions.

Myers, a Fallston resident and Fallston High grad, said he works at 7-Eleven between 32 and 34 hours a week for a paycheck, but his passion is in his comedy.

"I think of myself first and foremost as a comedian," Myers said. "If I want to become big as a comedian I have to have that mindset."

Myers recently released a self-produced CD of his work titled "Words of Mass Destruction." A few of the tracks are called "The Politics of Pornography," "George W. Bush" and "My Name is Al, Al Gore." Myers said he does a lot of political comedy that sometimes people don't understand.

"I give the audience more credit for being smart than other comedians are willing to do," he said.

The comedy Myers presents to audiences is not the typical lighthearted comedy people are used to and he said sometimes it is not well received.

Sarah Myers, Tom's mother, said as a family they have always been very political and have discussed and joked about politics around the dinner table forever.

"Our family is very politically aware," she said.

Myers said he does not use cliche jokes about things like airline food, reality television and stays away from raunchy comedy.

Justin Schlegel, who is a good friend of Myers' and a local comedian, said Myers is very funny and also very edgy, which sometimes causes him to "ruffle some feathers."

"He's very quick-witted and he has original views on things," Schlegel said. "He believes dearly in his views."

Schlegel said Myers approaches political comedy in an original way. He said Myers is passionate about his comedy and is very persistent.

"As far as local comedians are concerned you'd be hard-pressed to find someone as tenacious as he is," Schlegel said of Myers.

Photo Credit: Shannon Cimino, The Aegis

Myers said he first decided he wanted to be a comedian after watching Jerry Seinfeld and seeing his stand up at the beginning and end of his show. He said it was then he realized that life and comedy can coexist together.

"I've always known I've wanted to do something different," he said.

Sarah Myers said her son has been unique since the time he was a very young child.

"Tom was never conventional," she said. "He was always very different, even when he was two days old."

"I grew up knowing I was different from everyone else," he said. "She knows this, I know this."

Sarah said they had a family discussion about Tom's career path and he told them he needs to try comedy now to see if he can make it instead of waiting until later in life.

"If you're going to transform the world by being a funny guy that's fine with me," she said.

The only problem Tom's mother has with his comedy career path is the profanity he sometimes uses in his jokes. She said something to Tom about his bad language one time and the next time he performed he said, "I can't use those words anymore because my mom is mad at me."

The only problem Tom's mother has with his comedy career path is the profanity he sometimes uses in his jokes. She said something to Tom about his bad language one time and the next time he performed he said, "I can't use those words anymore because my mom is mad at me."

Myers lives in Fallston with his mom and his dad lives in Timonium. He said both are very supportive of his comedy. And even before he considers himself a comedian, Myers said he is the son of his parents.

He said he has a 9-year-old niece named Grace who knows her "Uncle Tom goes up on stage and makes people laugh," which is exactly what he aims to do.

Myers said he started writing jokes about eight years ago and has been performing for about five years. He began his stand up career performing at open mic nights at Goucher College, which is where he graduated from in May 2005. Myers was a history major in college and uses historical references in some of his comedy.

Since he graduated from Goucher, Myers has been performing in Baltimore, Washington DC, and Virginia, but finding gigs has been kind of difficult for him.

"Yeah it's hard and it's frustrating," he said. "Sometimes I'm busy and other times I'm sitting at home twiddling my thumbs."

Myers said he would like to perform in Harford County, but he has not found any opportunities in the area. He thinks his comedy could open up the county to something different besides bands and live music.

Myers said he might even be able to incorporate some Harford County history in his jokes.

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