Don't let comedian Pat House's average Joe routine fool you. The 30-year-old funnyman, who got his start at Philly open mics, boasts an impressive list of accomplishments in his 10-year career thus far, which includes sharing the stage with comedic greats like Dave Attell, Greg Girlado, Marc Maron and Andrew Dice Clay — and even taking home second place in Howard Stern’s 2005 “Kill or Be Killed” competition. This weekend, he opens for Sebastian Maniscalco at the Borgata in Atlantic City and chatted with us about awkward fan encounters and the one thing comedy fans should never do.
So how did you get started doing comedy?
I started doing open mics when I was a sophomore at Temple. And I went from bar open mic to bar open mic just trying out material. I started out at the Laff House, which is no more, but Helium has been my comedy home for the last 10 years.
What initially inspired you?
I was a fan of comedy. I watched a lot of it in high school and just got into it — started trying out jokes. It just snowballed from there.
Where do you draw inspiration for your routines?
I like to think my act is relatable to all sorts of people. I talk about dating, jobs, family, interactions with people. Everyday life throws stuff at you. We’ve all had crappy jobs, crazy things in our family that have happened …
Who would you say are your comedy heroes?
David Attell was a big influence in the beginning. Tom Segura, who I tour with a lot, too. I could name a million names. There are so many great comics out there.
How do you measure a successful show?
If the audience laughs at everything I say at the appropriate spots. I like when people approach me after a show and say they liked a particular bit or when they say they can relate to something. You’re forming a bond with strangers and it’s a cool feeling to bring people together like that.
What has been your most awkward fan encounter?
I’ve definitely had a couple. There are some strange people that approach you after a show. One guy in St. Louis asked why I needed a business card and I told him, “In case people think I’m funny and want to keep in touch.” He replies, “Yeah but why does a comedian need a business card?” Then he stands there awkwardly, stares at me and eventually takes one. [Laughs] I’ve had people tell me, "I think you’re OK but I still won’t buy your CD." Then strangers try to critique you. “Have you thought about doing this?” And I’m like, “Nope.”
Have any etiquette tips for someone attending a comedy show for the first time?
Sit down, shut up and don’t look at your cell phone. It’s really rude when I look in the audience and see your face lit up by your cell phone. Why pay for a ticket if you’re not even here?
If you go:
Friday, July 1, 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Saturday, July 2, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.