Bret Ernst and his eyebrows are headlining Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy tonight. We asked the “Comedy Central” and “Chelsea Lately” comedian about his most triumphant — and less so — moments on stage, what he never hits the road without and what he did the last time he was in Greater Phoenix. See him Friday, Jan. 23, through Sunday, Jan. 25 for $15 to $20. Times vary. Tickets here.
When was the moment you realized you wanted to be a comedian?
The first time I saw Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious” on HBO as a kid. I wasn’t supposed to be watching it, but it changed my life. Sometimes not obeying your mom can be a good thing.
What was your best (or most embarrassing) moment on stage?
Best moment was my first standing ovation in LA, after closing a three-hour show at a place called Dublin’s on Sunset. It was the hottest room in LA at the time, and the whole line-up was A-list comedians. Everyone on the show was famous,except for me. I had to go last because I got bumped all the way to the end, so I channelled my frustration into my set. I did almost 30 [minutes], and the crowd stood up at the end. There were celebrities in the audience as well. It let me know I had arrived in stand-up… The worst was two weeks later, I lost my temper and made the whole room uncomfortable at The Comedy Store on Sunset. The audience (all nine of them) hated me and clapped when I said I had to go. It let me know that stand-up isn’t going to be easy and is a roller coaster of success and failure.
What’s one thing you want people to know about doing stand-up that nobody has ever asked you?
It’s always a work in progress.
Who is your comedic inspiration?
Like most comics my age, Eddie Murphy, Sam Kinnison and Andrew Dice Clay.
What’s one thing you wished someone had told you about stand-up?
Doesn’t matter, I wouldn’t have listened anyway.
What’s one item you never hit the road without?
My crucifix necklace.
What is your favorite city to perform in and why?
Chicago in the summer, Ft. Lauderdale in the winter, and New York City all year round! (sprinkle in some Nashville, Austin, Portland, San Fran and Scottsdale.) I love the audiences, the local scene, and the food.
Describe yourself in three words:
Loyal, sincere and aggressive.
If you had one day left to live, how would you spend it?
Hanging with all my family and friends at the pool, head inside for a nice Sunday dinner (pasta and gravy/sauce,) and then we all go to church together and wait it out
What did you do the last time you were in Phoenix?
I was in Scottsdale and single, lets just say I “drank” my face off.