Chris Schlichting was a winner from his very first time on the stand-up stage.
It was 2003 when Schlicting was a college sophomore. He won the first round of a comedy contest at Penguin’s Comedy Club in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
With his head full of success and memories of laughs from that first show, he told his mother he was quitting college. But the inevitable crash-and-burn of stand-up happened his second time on stage, when his set was met with complete silence. It was within the silence of that second set, however, that his obsession with stand-up was born.
Schlichting is married with three children and still teaches high school speech and theater.
“Most of my followers on Twitter are my students,” he said. “It’s because that’s always assignment No. 1 every year.”
“My stand-up is clean because that’s just who I am,” he said. “It’s better to be clean since I’m a teacher, too.”
Schlichting was born and raised in Iowa and was into sports at an early age.
“When I was in the third grade, my mom — she didn’t know any better — on the soccer application form she checked the wrong box. So for a month I played on a Junior Special Olympic soccer team. For a whole month. And nobody was even suspicious.”
Jon Wilson was a practicing lawyer when he did his first open mic.
“I was so terrified my wife said I looked like a zombie,” he said. “But at the same time, when I got off stage all I wanted to do is stand-up. And that’s all I want to do now.”
Wilson was noticed by Louie Anderson early on in his stand-up career and has opened for Anderson and appeared on “Louie Anderson Presents” on Showtime.
Stand-up comedy can be rough going at times, and Wilson has found this philosophy helpful: “Focus on the process and not the destination and the rest will take care of itself.”
Wilson has been known to ask the audience if anyone has hand lotion.
“I have psoriasis on my hands. So my parents took me to the doctor when I was in the third grade and he said ‘your son has psoriasis,'” he said. “What my parents heard was ‘your son has cirrhosis.’ Cirrhosis is something a third grader could get if that third grader also happened to be a heavy drinker. So I got spanked for that. Like that’s going to cure my alcoholism.”