In a time where the news from Washington seems to dominate the conversation, comedian Josh Wolf promises to offer audiences a few hours of politics-free fun when he returns to Buffalo for five shows at Helium Comedy Club from Jan. 11 to 13. That doesn’t mean he isn’t nervous though.
“I heard it was really cold,” Wolf said in a phone interview from his home in Los Angeles. “I’m a bit of a weather puss. I don’t know if I own a jacket that is ready for Buffalo. Let me tell you where I am: It was 52 (here) last night, and my wife and I turned on the heat.”
Wolf has had a varied career as a comedian. In addition to his stand-up, he worked as a sitcom writer, regular appearances on “Chelsea Lately,” authored a book and hosted several podcasts, including his two current shows “Fairly Normal” and “The Prinze and the Wolf” that he co-hosts with actor Freddy Prinze Jr.
“I enjoy podcasting with somebody else, especially with somebody as interesting and led as full of a life as Freddy has,” Wolf said. “We have similar, but opposite, lives. We’re both parents, but he has young kids, I have older kids. Our backgrounds are coming from different spots, but we end in a similar space, and it’s interesting how we get there.”
His stand-up career is going well, too. Wolf just recorded his latest stand-up special himself and is looking to shop it around to outlets instead of having those companies running the show completely. It allows Wolf to have complete control over the production, just as he has complete control over his material and presentation onstage.
“I was not happy with the offers and responses that the powers-that-be were giving me,” he said. “I don’t like what they’ve done with other people’s stuff. Your stand-up is just you, and who knows better than you what you want it to look like, what you want it to come across as and what your point of view is. It always seemed weird to me to ship it off to somebody else to have them shape their view of who you are.”
Wolf is ready to give audiences a great live comedy show, a key selling point when crowds can easily stay home during a Buffalo winter and pick between a dozen recent stand-up specials on Netflix. While Wolf is happy that the business is booming for top comics, he is worried that some of them are delivering watered-down material in the rush to release another special.
“I’ll say this: There’s never been more good comedy,” Wolf said. “It’s good and bad for comedy, because if you go to a club, you’re going to laugh. But it’s bad … because if you have to choose (between) four good comics at Helium, you’re really spreading it out a little.”
Wolf doesn’t talk politics onstage, not only to avoid a negative reaction from members of the audience, but also because he feels a comic has to offer a unique insight that isn’t already being delivered by a number of political comedians.
“I always open with, ‘I hope nobody came here to learn anything tonight, because that’s not what this show is,’” he said. “It’s not stupid, but this is a show about coming in, turning our brains off, drinking a couple of cocktails and having a good time.”
8 p.m. Jan. 11, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Jan. 12 and 13 at Helium Comedy Club, 30 Mississippi St. Tickets are $17-$32. Info: buffalo.heliumcomedy.com