City Pages Standup Spotlight: Who the F is Corey Adam?
By Patrick Strait
Corey Adam's success in the local comedy scene can be attributed to one thing: criticism.
"The biggest mistake a lot of comics make is that they have no way to review themselves," he says. "They get on stage, suck, and then walk off thinking that they killed."
Once a blissfully naïve comic himself, Adam was convinced of his own greatness and believed himself to be the next big thing. Several frustrating years later--including a failed trip to Vegas and a break-up from his fiancé--he took a step back and faced his biggest critic: himself. Today, he's a mainstay on the local standup scene, and is helping other comics to learn from his mistakes while keeping his eyes on his bigger comedy goals.
Who the F is Corey Adam?
The 30-year-old Hibbing native was attracted to comedy early on, and has worked it from all angles over the years.
"I always knew that I wanted to make people laugh," he says.
In college, Adam began training at Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis. He soon found that the "team" aspect of comedy wasn't working out.
"It was like being in a band," he says. "We would make plans to get together and practice, but then people's schedules would change and we couldn't get it together. At that point I decided that it was going to be up to me and me alone if I was going to make it in comedy."
At that point he decided to try his hand as a standup. After just a few times onstage, Adam set his sights on Las Vegas where he intended to make it big in comedy.
"I was 19 or 20 year old, did a few open mics, and thought I was doing well even though I really wasn't," he explains. "I moved out to Vegas mostly because I had a friend who lived there and I figured it was such a big market that making a living doing comedy would be easy."
Unfortunately for Adam, things didn't exactly go as planned.
"Honestly, Las Vegas is one of the worst towns for comedy," he says. "If you don't have a TV show, no one cares about you. They've got Jerry Seinfeld playing up the strip, so why are people going to choose to come see you?"
After two years out West, Adam decided he had had enough of Sin City and comedy as a whole.
"I came back to Minnesota with my tail between my legs because my family lived here," he says. "I just kind of thought that comedy was something I had tried and it didn't work out so I was done with it."
However, an unexpected turn of events would bring him back to the stage. "I broke up with my fiancé, and decided at that point that I needed to try something new. And all my life, anytime anything goes wrong for me I've always been drawn back to comedy, so that's what I did."
Who the F cares about Corey Adam?
Once he dove back into the local standup scene, Adam came to the realization that he may not have been quite as good as he had believed. To work out the kinks in his act he sought out John Conroy, a well-respected local comic.
"I came up with this rating sheet that had one column for strengths and one column for weaknesses," he explains. "I thought John was really funny, and someone who's opinion really mattered to me. So, I stalked him at all of the open mics I went to until he finally agreed to watch my set and fill it out for me."
After a few rounds of feedback ("I really like Sam Kinison, so the first thing he told me was to stop screaming"), Conroy gave the most important feedback and the push Adam needed. "One night after the show, he said that he wasn't really sure what to tell me anymore, because I was one of 'them'," Adam says. "That was the greatest thing he could have said, but also the saddest because I wasn't sure how I was going to get more feedback and get better."
Where the F is Corey Adam going?
Today, Adam has established himself as a mainstay of the local standup circuit, and plays an integral role in helping to develop new comics with a regular gig at the Comedy Corner Underground called, "The New Kids on the Corner."
"I host the event once a month. It's really cool because we give a bunch of new comics 10 minutes, which is huge since most clubs will give you 3 to 5 minutes tops," he explains. "It's a cool atmosphere and it helps new comics to get the same kind of feedback I was looking for a few years ago when I got back into comedy."
When he's not helping new comics grow, Adam is living the life of many up-and-coming comedians who are still looking to hit it big.
"I'm a feature comic, which means traveling to a lot of shitty little towns for almost no money," he laughs. While he's paying his dues now, however, Adam has set his sights on much bigger goals in the future.
"I'm looking to accomplish everything. I did some acting in high school and college, I've done improv, and of course there's my standup. I'm hoping that I can work on my material and get better locally for another year or two and then head out to a bigger market like New York or Los Angeles."
No matter where he ends up, Adam insists that this time he's sticking with comedy for the long-haul.
"I've finally come to realize that comedy is a part of me, and I'm never going to stop doing it."
Where the F can you see Corey Adam next?
Adam will be hosting "The New Kids on the Corner" this coming Thursday, July 14 at the Comedy Corner Underground, and will also be performing at Willy's in Coon Rapids all throughout the month of August. To get more Corey Adam action, visit www.youtube.com/coreyadamcomedy or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.