Live With The Artist Formerly Known as Hippieman

INJ 35 | Hippieman


Live episode: A Boulder Colorado native, Hippieman first tried standup in 1980 at the Blue Note where the Pearl Street Pub now stands. Laid off in 2001, he turned to comedy full time. His festival credits include Sketchfest, Limestone, Bridgetown and Denver’s High Plains Comedy Festival. He was the winner of the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival in 2016 and the Laughlin Laugh Festival in 2015. He has appeared on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. He joins Pete in a special live taping as he retires the name Hippieman.

Listen to Episode #35 here

Live With The Artist Formerly Known as Hippieman

Our guest is the Hippieman. A Boulder, Colorado native, the Hippieman first tried stand-up in 1980 at the Blue Note, the location of the Pearl Street Pub nowadays. Laid off in 2001, he turned to comedy full-time. His festival credits include Sketchfest, Limestone, Bridgetown and Denver’s High Plains Comedy Festival. He was the winner of the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival in 2016 and the Laughlin Laugh Festival in 2015. He’s appeared on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and he joins us now as he retires the name Hippieman. Welcome, Hippieman or rather, John Novosad.

Thank you, Peter. I’m very happy to be here. Thanks a lot.

We’re going to talk about retiring. I want to ask you, if you weren’t working as a comedian, what would you be doing?

I would be doing warehouse work because that’s what I did. It sounds like such a weird answer but that’s what I did before I did comedy. I worked in warehouses. After high school, I worked for a magazine wholesaler. If you went into the grocery store and you see that rack of magazines, I was the guy in the warehouse that pulled together the order that the route man took to that place. Inventory control stuff, that’s what I would be doing.

How do you think you would be like going back interviewing for those jobs?

I would be worried about the UA test for sure. I have a lot of experience so I think I would be okay. Although now maybe with my age a little bit but I would probably be good. The UA test is a big thing.

Were you the funny guy in the warehouse?

I was but I was the funny guy when I felt comfortable around people. If I was in a big group which is weird now because I’m doing improv shows but it’s a different thing. If I was in a big group, it took me a while before I felt comfortable enough to start cracking some jokes.

In 1980, you tried stand-up for the first time but it was twenty years later before you turned this into a profession.

I had a period where I was working the road in ‘86 to the early ‘90s. I was doing the road and then I came off in 1994 or whatever. That’s when I started having trouble with my marriage is when I came off the road and then I got divorced. I worked a day job for about eight or ten years. I had a period where I was doing it and then I was doing maybe one show a week for a year. It was totally a hobby comic. It’s funny because people talk smack about hobby comics. I have nothing against hobby comics but if you’re a full-time comic and you can’t get past a hobby comic, then maybe you shouldn’t be bitching about it because there’s room for everybody.

I don’t understand it, professionals complain about hobby comics?

Sometimes they do or people who are trying to be professionals and not quite there yet complained about hobby comics taking the stage time away from them. That’s where I’m like, “You can get past a hobby comic. If you can’t, then go back and write.”

Speaking of writing, I ran into you at a coffee shop and you had your notebook with you and you had your phone and you were listening to a set that you had done. Is that a typical day for you, start early and work on that?

It varies, there are times when I’m engaged in what I’m doing. I did a festival in Bloomington, Indiana, which was a pretty big festival called Limestone. I was writing a lot but I wasn’t writing new stuff, I was reviewing sets. When you saw me, I was reviewing a set that I did. It was on a Monday and I did a set on Sunday at the Bohemian Beer Garden and I was reviewing that set and writing notes but I was getting ready for this festival. I’m not writing a whole bunch of new material right then because these festival sets are ten minutes. I was there for three days. I did two nights where I did ten minutes in two different venues but there are a lot of industry people there. That’s not the time that you want to be screwing around like, “I’m going to try out this new three-minute thing on water bottles.” I’m going with tried and true stuff. That’s what I was working on when you saw me. I was trying to get these sets together.

[bctt tweet=”Well, I would worry about the UA test for sure.” username=””]

What else do you do with ten minutes? You work for ten minutes in the evening. You said you were down in Denver up to five, six nights a week practicing, working on your stuff. What else are you doing all day?

That’s a good question. I’ve asked myself that question a lot.

These are the hard-hitting questions we ask in I’m Not Joking.

My eyes straightened out when you asked me that question. I’m being honest here. I don’t mean this when I say I’m motivated to write because I give myself credit. Even when I’m down on myself, I go, “Look at what you are doing.” I’m on stage. I go on the road and I’ll do five shows over three nights or six shows over four nights and then I come home. I go down to Denver or around Boulder or whatever and get on stage five nights a week and some of those sets are five-minute sets or ten-minute sets. When I’m out there and that’s what tells me that it’s important to me to keep doing this. That’s why I want to do it because I’m out there and I’ll go do a set for free or a little bit of money or whatever just to get that set.

The question about writing and stuff is there are periods where I write way more than other times. The times when I’m not writing, it’s easy for me to get down on myself. There’s one part of me that goes, “What’s the point of getting down on myself?” Sometimes you do have to get down on yourself and go, “I need to work harder.” If I’m doing a lot of showcase sets and I’m going to festivals and stuff and then when I’m home I’m still on stage five or six nights a week, I have to stop for a second and go, “Look what you are doing.” With that said, what I tell myself is, “Work harder.” I pick 8%. If I work 8% harder on the writing, I get one new minute every two weeks or one new minute a week, whatever that turns out to be. It’s this weird dance that you do.

How many jokes do you think you’ve written in your life and how many are good?

I’ll pick a number and say I’ve written 10,000 jokes and four of them are good, the ones that I like. It’s funny because I’m on stage. If I’m in an open mic and I’m only doing five minutes, I’m going to take some big risks. If I’m headlining a room somewhere like Des Moines, Iowa or someplace and I’m headlining that room, then I’m going to play close to the vest. There is a lot of repetition in this business. I’ll be telling a joke and in my head, it’s like that shoes on the bus joke. Let’s take off our shoes and do a little boxing. I don’t even know if I did that joke but that doesn’t matter. What I’m saying is I’ll be telling that joke and I know it’s going to get a big laugh but there’s a part of me that’s like, “My God, if I tell this joke one more time.” I don’t mean to downplay it but there’s repetition for sure.

It’s like the band U2. They released a new album and they want to do the new songs but their fans are going to appreciate old stuff.

They want to hear, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, or whatever it is.

You actually did some stand-up prior to this. The crowd could get a little bit of a feel of your style. How much did you keep that tight and how much are you trying new stuff?

I don’t want to come up here like I did about eight minutes or nine minutes and take a whole bunch of chances because I want you to laugh at me. At this part, if you don’t laugh when I’m out there telling jokes then you’re like, “What the hell do I want to hear from this guy for? Let’s hear about your warehouse career.”

Do you have a joke that you like but the audience doesn’t so much?

I do and I’ve had this joke for a long time. I tried it a bunch of different ways and then every once in a while, when I’m on a roll I’ll throw it out there. The joke is, “I can’t party like I used to. Nowadays, I go to a party, take a swing at the piñata and get the hell out of there.” That’s the biggest laugh it’s ever gotten. I’ve tried it a million times in a bunch of different ways.

You do a lot of self-deprecating comedy. You make fun of yourself a lot. You do it well but I find myself sometimes a little uncomfortable when people are hitting themselves a lot. My question is do you think that audiences are a little more sensitive? There’s a sensitivity in general around comedy these days. There are a lot of comics who complain about it. Have you noticed a difference?

I think about it a lot, I really do. Here’s a good example. I don’t like to brag but I was in Dayton, Ohio doing some shows.

When’s the bragging going to start?

Show business is luxurious and exciting. What I found in Dayton, Ohio is if I made an eye joke, I won them over like that. I did more eye jokes there. I think about it a lot because there’s a part of me that’s like, “I don’t need that.” I don’t want to say it’s a crutch but it’s something that I’ll go to when I need a laugh and I do think about it. That’s the other thing that’s interesting to me about stand-up is there’s always something to work on. If I challenge myself and go, “I’m putting all these showcase sets together for festivals or festival auditions or whatever. Make a five-minute set that doesn’t have an eye reference, do a ten-minute set that doesn’t have an eye reference. I don’t want to say it’s my safe zone but it’s the go-to and especially if they laugh on the first one, I’m going to trot out some eye jokes.

INJ 35 | Hippieman
Hippieman: Sometimes you do have to get down on yourself and go, “I need to work harder.”


You’re the second person who I’ve interviewed who tells eye jokes. I had Nancy Norton, who’s a local Boulder comic and a nurse. How do you describe your eyes?

I describe it as a weird ass wandering eye. I’ve got the eye that goes way off to the right, which is weird because I can still see out of this eye. It’s way off to the right but I’m left-eye dominant. I’m not good with depth perception. I think it’s hysterical that there’s another comic in Boulder with a wandering eye.

It’s competition.

I’m also like, “What the fuck is going on in Boulder that’s causing people’s eyes to wander? I’m guessing there are non-comics with wandering eyes.” I’m starting a Facebook group, WanderingEye.

The other thing I noticed and this is something that you do rather well, although it’s not limited to you as a comic. When you try something out and it doesn’t work so well, you often have a comeback, a tag, something that does get a laugh but acknowledges the challenge. It was the left side of the room found you funnier than the right side of the room.

I do and we call them saver lines. I do have a lot of them and I will say this too because it’s like my moth to a flame. I have some good saver lines to acknowledge when a joke doesn’t work the way that I expect the audience response to be. I’m hard on myself as a comic, not just when I’m on stage but when I’m listening to the tape and reviewing. I would much rather be hard on myself than someone who doesn’t hear what the hell’s going on. What I’m saying is that sometimes I’ll go into those saver lines too early and I can convince a crowd that they’re like, “This guy doesn’t think we’re laughing enough at him then why the hell should we be laughing?”

I like this idea of you creating a constraint on your writing or even a constraint in terms of, “I’m going to hold off on saver lines.” There’s research on the value of constraints and creativity that they actually make people work harder, to think more divergently. Oftentimes, when the constraint is well placed, it stops the thing that is most obvious. Do you create any other constraints either on your writing or your performing?

I do. The thing that I’ve found is when I’m doing new material, I would use profanity much more because I’m not sure of the material. I challenge myself to watch my language and to try to keep from using the F-word. That’s what the value of watching or listening to the tape is. It’s because I hear bad habits and that’s where I put constraints on myself. I hate to put it in negative terms. An example is I did a seven-minute set or eight minutes. I thought it was a great set and I was going to use it to submit someplace and I said “you know” fifteen times and I didn’t know that I said that. I hate to put it into a negative but I will say to myself, “Don’t say ‘you know.’”

I have one of those. I say “right.” I think it’s me trying to assuage or comfort myself. I have an ex-girlfriend who liked it because she would be talking and I said, “Right, right.” She said occasionally I got, “That’s right.” She was always very excited about the, “That’s right.” When I’m lecturing and so on, it’s hard to watch tape of yourself but yet so valuable.

I have gotten to the point where I’m used to watching myself. Listening to audio tape may not be as valuable but almost. I try to tape everything but I’m sure as hell don’t listen to everything. I think if I listen to everything, I’d be on top of a tower right now. It is a clerical thing. I write notes in my book and say, “Listen to the June 16th set at the Dairy Center. The part about taking off the shoes,” and go find that spot. That’s how I get a lot of callbacks and tags.

[bctt tweet=”The thing that’s interesting about stand-up is there’s always something to work on.” username=””]

I hate to break it to you John, but you didn’t tell that joke.

There were people on the bus and this guy stands up on a rolling bus like 2:00 in the morning and says to me, “Do you have a dollar?” I said I don’t have a dollar and he goes, “Why don’t we take our shoes off and do a little boxing?” I’m like, “That is a weird request but all right. I’m on this bus for another 40 minutes, let’s box. I think we can get in three rounds if we hurry.” As he was taking his shoes off, I beat the hell out of him.” I thought I told that joke.

I want to ask one more question about jokes and then we’ll move on to some other topic. You went light on the weed jokes with your set. One thing that I’ve noticed especially being a resident of Boulder and going to the beer garden on Sunday nights, you get a lot of traveling comics telling a lot of jokes about marijuana. Did you feel like they’re moving in on your territory? What’s your feeling about that now that it’s legal?

I don’t feel like they’re moving in on my territory. What it comes down to is I remember years ago, I used to have a bunch of weed jokes and I got a good piece of advisers. There is this guy named George McKelvey who had a comedy club on Hampden in Denver. He was one of the founding fathers of comedy in Denver and he passed away years ago. He always gave great advice and he told me, “You have enough weed jokes.” He didn’t tell me to quit writing them but what he told me was, “Keep writing them but when you write one that you want, take one out.” That’s always the way that I’ve been. Now, I’m trying to remember my set but I think I did do.

You did one about being a fan of medicinal.

That was an old joke that I had a long time ago and reworked it when I was in Ohio. I saw that they had medicinal marijuana and that came to me to set it up a different way. That was good advice. If I’m headlining and I’m doing 45 or fifteen minutes, there are three or four minutes of weed jokes and I try to keep it there.

That one in one out is a constraint. That’s in a different way to credit constraint. Your bio says that you weigh 189 pounds. Is that important to you? Is 190 a problem?

No, but it is interesting to me because here’s the thing that I think about. I don’t know if this is too inside baseball or not but as a performer in nightclubs, I’m always drinking. I’m never getting drunk but I’m always drinking. That’s what I say. The weight is important to me because I drink two or three beers a night. At the end of the week, I think to myself, “I’ve had fifteen pints of beer.” The thing that’s surprising to me is how difficult it is for me. I guess I’m weak or whatever you want to say but it’s Pavlovian for me. I get to a club. I want to have a beer. I never want to get drunk but I like to have a beer before my show.

INJ 35 | Hippieman
Hippieman: When the constraints are well placed, it stops the thing that is most obvious.


Having been working in a warehouse, you probably were fit. You’re burning a lot of calories and moving around.

I don’t know if fit has ever been on the top of my bio but sure I’d been in better shape working at the warehouse.

I had a friend who did the math on his beer drinking and he basically started to say that if he went out and had three or four pints, it was the equivalent of eating a loaf of bread. That’s how he stopped doing that.

I don’t even know that I want to stop. I do want to cut down though and it’s interesting to me that, I don’t want to say it’s disappointing but it’s surprising to me that I’m having the difficulty cutting back.

I think this is common. It comes up a lot with comics. A surprising number of sober comics that I’ve met. It’s an environment that the drinks are often free. It’s social but yet, you want to be sharp. You’re in a world where you want to be on loose but also smart, and too much alcohol can be a problem.

I’m a three-beer a night guy. If I have two beers before, I’m good. If I drink a little bit more than that then I’m questioning it.

I’m saying with my teaching. In case my dean is listening, I’m kidding about that. I asked some people on Facebook what questions should they ask. Janae Burris who is my third guest asked, “Who inspired you to try comedy?”

A couple of different people but George Carlin for sure. This is a Boulder story but I saw George Carlin at Macky Auditorium in 1978. He came out with a spiral notebook and goes, “You are like this, you’re like this.” It was bits that I’ve heard before but not all of it. The way he did it was great and that’s where I was like, “I want to try this.”

A lot of people point to Carlin as an inspiration. I was wondering if you were going to say Rodney Dangerfield. Do you know why I asked about Rodney Dangerfield? Rodney got into comedy late in life. He was a salesman and he got into it in his 40s. In his mid-40s, he started doing comedy in that way. I thought that would be an inspirational story.

It is inspirational but even though it was George Carlin, I have to say my all-time favorite comic is Richard Pryor, Live in Concert which was in Long Beach. He did a concert video that’s my favorite concert video.

You’ve been on the Craig Ferguson show a couple of times. The comedy booker for that show must like you. Who was the comedy booker for Craig Ferguson?

Initially, it was Celia Joseph. I opened for Craig Ferguson at the Comedy Works in Denver on one show. They liked me so the club was like, “They’re going to call you.” I’m like, “Yeah, right.” Then Celia Joseph reached out to me and said, “We like to have you on the show. Here’s what you need to do.” I put together a six-minute set and sent them the video. They gave me notes back. That’s what was the most valuable is learning how to deal with standards and practices from CBS because I had to make changes on the set. You have to decide where you’re going to draw lines in the sand. I want to do the shows so you make changes.

[bctt tweet=”In comedy, you have to decide where you’re going to draw lines in the sand.” username=””]

I got a glimpse into the world of these comedy bookers. It seems like a great job. There’s only maybe a dozen of them in the United States. For those of you who don’t know what these folks do is their job is to find the talent who does the stand-up on Fallon or the Tonight Show and so on. Their job is not just to identify the talent but then to direct the comic. They serve as a director where they give feedback. They help guide the set in that way.

Basically, what they’re saying isn’t in a nice way is you need to make these changes. For me, it was brand names. I can’t remember the specific jokes but I have jokes that had brand names in them. You don’t have to send them another video but send them a Word document with the changes.

One of your highlights regarding the Craig Ferguson thing was a story about your mom and you performing. What was that?

I did it twice. I did it in December of 2006. I taped it on a Monday, it aired on a Friday, I came back. It’s one of those times in life where you make the right decision.

How old were you at the time?

I had to be 50 or something like that. What was amazing was I went out and taped it. I came back and I had three, four days. I had a friend who owns this bar in Denver and he’s like, “We’ll have a watch party,” or whatever. I decided I wanted to watch that set with my mom.

Had she been supportive of your comedy career?

She was super supportive. My mom on a side note, she saw me have the worst set that I ever had in my life. It was at this place called Looneys, which is a hell of a name for a comedy club but it’s still there in Colorado, Springs. I was there with my wife, my brother, his wife, her mother and this crowd hated me. I’d been on stage. I was closing, I was supposed to go to whatever. It was 9:35 and this crowd hated me. This woman called me wall-eyed from the stage, which pissed me off. This is the worst thing you can do is get mad but I did, I got mad. I said, “If you guys don’t like me. I fucking hate you.” You could hear pin drop and I still had seven minutes to go. I’m a trooper. I did the seven minutes but they hated me. I saw my mom afterwards and I said, “You’ve got to give me points for being honest.”

Here’s the thing. I know that was a weird sidetrack but that was the worst set I ever had. That gave me a lot of freedom like when I have a bad set, I tell them I fucking hate them so it wasn’t that bad. I bring it up because I watched that. It was my network television debut in a house that I grew up in. My mom was like, “What if we fall asleep?” I’m like, “Mom, if you want to take a nap, I’m not falling asleep. I’ll wake you up.” It’s very emotional for me because it’s my favorite showbiz moment. I watched my national television debut with my mom and she was like 88 at that time. She’s like the one person that you don’t have anything to prove anything to. I watched it with her. That was amazing. I slept on the couch because I had a few beers. My mom is like, “Boy, you’re drinking some beers?” I’m like, “It’s my national television debut, mom.” That was amazing to watch. Then she passed away July 2007. That was amazing.

INJ 35 | Hippieman
Hippieman: Comedy is being in a world where you want to be loose but smart.


It’s interesting how you think about fame and all these things and yet the most meaningful thing is sitting on your couch with your mom watching.

The one person that I didn’t have anything to prove to was the person that I wanted to watch it with. I’m glad that I was able to do that.

Before we talk about retiring Hippieman, we should probably talk about the origins of Hippieman. How did he come about? How did he get created?

When I was married, I’m going to say in 1993, I did this club in San Diego called the Comedy Aisle. There was a place a couple of blocks away called Dye Headquarters, which was like a head shop. They sold all kinds of tie-dye stuff. I bought a bunch of that and I came back home and I told my wife, “I want to dress up like a tie-dye superhero.”

The irony of you buying tie-dye stuff in another state and bringing it back to Colorado.

There were restrictions back then, I guess. I told her I want to dress up as a tie-dye superhero and have tear-away clothes and do that as a big closer. She was like, “You’ll never do it,” which inspired me. I’m not trying to talk smack about her but it did inspire me to do it. I found a seamstress, got Velcro tear-away, stripper pants. My closer was I had a cape. I had somebody make me a cape and had it stashed away in a sack. Then I would turn into a Hippieman at the end and tear away the clothes, wear the superhero tie-dye outfit, lay down on the stool and pretend like I was flying.

How was that received?

It was good. It was fine. It was a big closer. I had music and I did it for years. I did it forever and then that evolved into this thing called Hippieman’s plan for America. There was a joke solution to the problems of the world and I had index cards with topics on it like a joke was the economy is still really tough. I’ve been a comic forever but I have a paper out now once a week I deliver to all my friends. A bunch of jokes like that and I turn into a Hippieman at the end.

You started out as John, then you became Hippieman. I’m fascinated by this decision because as a marketing professor, I’m urging companies to build brands. They’re beneficial. They cut through the clutter, they are memorable, they’re differentiated and they’re emotional. You have that with Hippieman. That stands out. There are lots of white male comics with normal names especially John. Part of me finds that puzzling. On the other hand, I also believe that people should live the life they want to live. That this is not all business and I am cautious about over applying that advice to people because being a Hippieman could be a burden. It can be tiresome. Why? What’s going on? Tell me your thought process.

I’m tired of Hippieman. He’s killing me. I’ll tell you what my thought process is and then I’ll tell you also that I still would be Hippieman in certain circumstances. I’m no longer doing the big closer with the tie-dye thing, tearing away the pants and the shirt, and turning into a Hippieman. On a headliners set I have three, maybe four minutes of weed jokes. I’m not doing Hippieman’s Plan for America with the cards. I maybe do that once out of every fifteen or twenty shows. It comes down to why am I calling myself Hippieman? I also think about what the connotation is of Hippieman. For some people it’s positive, for some people it’s negative. Someone described it to me like if I was in the green room the whole night and no one ever saw what I look like and they introduced me as Hippieman, there’s that split second where people have a vision in their head of the time that I’m walking on stage what Hippieman is.

[bctt tweet=”People should live the life they want to live. Comedy is not all business.” username=””]

They introduced me as John Novosad, I walk out and then they see me. It’s like I’m giving away the surprise. You’re going to see me. I don’t know if you’re going to think I’m a hippie, but you’re going to think, “What’s up with this dude?” That’s what the process is. That said, I put it this way, I’m a vegetarian. I’m not a vegan so I eat dairy but I don’t eat meat. If McDonald’s came to me and said, “We want to feature you in a late night commercial where you’re Hippie but you’ve got to take a bite of the hamburger.” You can call me a whore but I’m like, “Show me that hamburger.” I’ve traveled across the country for $700. If they said to me, “We want to bring back the Hippieman character,” I would do it. I’m not saying it’s strictly money but to me, it feels true to what I’m doing now.

You feel more like John than Hippieman.

For sure and I like the idea that I can go up and be John and not have to feel like how am I Hippieman?

As it’s opening up, do you find yourself writing different jokes? Do you find yourself behaving differently?

I’m behaving in the same way, honestly. I am writing different jokes. I did Hippieman’s plan for America and that wasn’t a one-person show. I had a cast and guitar players stuff but I am writing differently and I don’t write for Hippieman’s plan for America right now.

I bet a lot of people listening to this are thinking, “I would love to try that. I would love to get up and do that.” Do you have any idea on how somebody who is thinking that, like you thought after that George Carlin show? Any ideas on how they might get started?

Geographically, it depends on where you are. If you’re in a town where there are some opportunities, open mics and that kind of stuff, then that makes it way easier. If you’re not, then you have to maybe go to a music open mic and see if you can get on there. Assuming you get on stage somewhere, there are a couple of things that are important. It’s clerical, tape yourself and then if you want to listen to it right afterwards, I guess you can. I always give myself a day or two and then go get a cup of coffee, listen to it, write the things that you liked about it. Write things you didn’t like about it. Figure out what’s not working. Try to make it better. That kind of stuff is important. The other thing is honoring the time. If you want to do it, you’ve got to go to the mic, you have to do all that.

I want to add a couple of things having done that once and failing spectacularly. The first thing I would say is that you want some prep. In my case, I wrote some jokes the day before I went up on stage, which was a huge mistake. You were saying you have four good jokes out of 10,000. Comedians will regularly say they might write a hundred jokes for every one that they find good. It’s working through those premises and preparing for it. The other one is I say keep it short, a minute, two minutes can be a long time. Let me tell you a quick story. It is useful for practicing holding a mic. I did this at the Squire Lounge down in Denver on Colfax. The emcee introduces me. He makes a lot of bad jokes about me and making fun of me. I bound up on stage with lots of enthusiasm, and I go to remove the mic from the mic stand and I pull the mic out of the wire. This is a simple thing but I had never done that before. Even knowing how to take a mic out and move it aside and in that way, I think is useful. I want to add one other thing is to consider taking an improv class. The reason for that is it will help with the comfort associated with the performance. It’s very different skills except for that it helps with that theatrics of the standard.

One of the things about this is that when I’m out there doing a show, I am putting this out and then I’m getting instant feedback. Part of the thing is it’s my job to try to sort through and figure out what you guys like, what are the jokes I have. It’s an interesting process. Improv helps with that because it helps you think on your feet.

John, you said that you are retiring Hippieman and your stand-up now is John still revolves all around you and physical features in your presentation. How do you balance now being John that changes and all of these jokes that also involve John and have to do with mannerisms or appearance?

A lot of it is the same, honestly. Hippieman is an exaggeration of John, I guess. John Novosad, the comic is an exaggeration of me. The part that’s weird about it all is the branding of it because I have Hippieman.com. Now, I’m trying to work through all of that. I’m trying to figure out how to do that. As far as now, I write what I think is funny and then if it works into my act, that’s great. I did that as Hippieman also but I would be more focused and think to myself, “How does this fit with Hippieman’s plan for America?”

I always ask this question of my guest. Can you tell us the secret to success that everybody knows but can’t seem to do?

The secret to success is to do what it is you want to do and to be able to figure out a way to do it and then continue to do it and that’s the secret. When I’m down on myself, I stop and go, “Look what I have accomplished.” I want more but I’m willing to accept that. That’s what I call the secret to success.

According to that standard to me, John, it seems like you’re living a successful life. I congratulate you for that and I thank you for coming and doing this special taping of I’m Not Joking. I want to thank you, the audience. Thank you, everyone.

Thank you.

Resources mentioned:

About John Novosad

INJ 35 | HippiemanA Boulder Colorado native, Hippieman first tried standup in 1980 at the Blue Note—where the Pearl Street Pub now stands. Laid off in 2001, he turned to comedy full-time. His festival credits include Sketchfest, Limestone, Bridgetown and Denver’s High Plains Comedy Festival. He was the winner of the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival in 2016 and the Laughlin Laugh Festival in 2015. He has appeared on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. He joins us today as he retires the name Hippieman.


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