Taylor Ketchum co-hosts new biweekly show Hot Crowd, along with Joe Zimmerman and Jono Zalay, Wednesday at Over the Eight in Williamsburg. From college football star to homeless heroin addict to New York standup, his is a compelling story unlike any other in the comedy industry.
“I am from Los Angeles. I don’t tell people this all the time, ‘cause I’m not some kind of Hollywood fuckface, but I was actually in the movie Trainspotting…for about 11 years. I played Division I college football, and then I became a heroin addict, and then I became this. I’m not really sure what’s more tragic in that chain of events, to be honest. It’s kind of a bizarre trajectory for a life to have. It’s like: college glory, getting laid, varsity, letterman’s jacket, things are going well, hepatitis, death, abscesses, loneliness, ‘Eh, I guess you’re not hurting anybody.’”
I love Los Angeles. My family’s there, all my friends. I went to high school there. But I’ve always wanted to be a New York City comic. I like it here better as a comedian. It’s not always easy here. It’s not always comfortable or fun. But for comedy, it’s the best.
I don’t necessarily tell the whole story because I don’t have time, and not all of it’s funny. The addiction stuff, all you’re going to hear about is the nasty, good, weird stuff about it, not what led up to it. I try to be as honest as possible up there. If I need to edit something and get to the point and not tell the whole thing, then I’ll do that. I don’t make things up. All that addiction stuff is all real. It’s kind of CliffsNoted, but it’s all stuff that actually happened.
I always liked drugs and partying. But I played football, and it kind of babysat me. Whenever things were getting too out of control or too hairy, I always had this football thing to be like, “Oh, okay, I should go not be a scumbag now. I’ve got to play football.” I started playing in fourth or fifth grade. It was just what the kids in my neighborhood were doing. I just moved there, my parents had gotten divorced about two years before. I didn’t have a dad around. They were playing and I was just like, “Oh cool; I’ll try that.” I ended up being pretty good at it.
I smoked pot, and I got really into the rave scene when I was in high school. I was taking ecstasy. But then I would always get re-focused and really get back into football. I got a scholarship, and I went on to play in college [at Ohio University]. The last week, we were supposed to play North Carolina State. It was the last game I was ever playing. I knew it. And I knew that I wasn’t going to have that babysitter anymore.
taylor is a good friend and former roommate. read this, you might learn somethin