Honing material for a new album, comedian Brooks Wheelan makes Lafayette a test kitchen on Nov. 13 at Nite Town.
Brooks Wheelan is a smart guy. He has a degree in biomedical engineering. But his life goal is more geared toward smartass than smart scientist.
“I hope I do standup until I die. It’s the most favorite thing I’ve ever done, so I hope I end up doing it until, in my opinion, for 100 years, and then I’ll peacefully die in my sleep when I’m 130,” Wheelan says by phone from a tour stop in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Before his big break a couple years ago when he landed a short-lived role as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, Wheelan worked in biomed in California. But he did standup on the side and says it’s been his real passion for years.
“I did science until I didn’t have to do it anymore. I would say I was doing biomedical engineering on the side,” he says. “I like standup comedy infinitely more than science. I watch the Discovery Channel now to get my [science] fi x.”
The 29-year-old Iowa native will make a swing through Lafayette Nov. 13 at Nite Town as he sharpens material for his next comedy album.
“That’s what the tour is for: I have 90 minutes of material, but I bet I can really cut it down to 60 and still keep all the good stuff,” he says.
Yet Wheelan isn’t scientific about his material, admitting that “whatever happens, I talk about.”
As we spoke, in fact, he interjects an observation from his hotel room in the Hoosier State: “I’m looking out my window and just saw a bike bite a car. I’m like, ‘What the f**k, you lose, bike — what are you doing?’” That random encounter between bicycle and automobile, he says, will end up in his act that night.
Wheelan’s tour has taken him through the Midwest and brings him to the West Coast before a swing through the Deep South. He’s intentionally not performing in Iowa, the home state that used to be a primary source of material.
“The whole point of this tour was to do places I haven’t been so I intentionally didn’t do Iowa,” he notes. “I do best in like smart college towns, like Bloomington, Ind., Minneapolis and Madison, Wisc. — those are just really great comedy towns. I don’t think there’s a lot to do, but there’s a lot of people who are really into comedy there. So that’s where I love playing.”
Although there’s a lot to do here in Lafayette, it’s a pretty smart college town, too, so Wheelan should find a welcome audience.
Wheelan’s turn on SNL was brief — for the 2013-14 season and mainly as a recurring guest on “Weekend Update.” But his confessional and often absurd observations helped fledge the independent standup career he’s currently embarked on. When his SNL contract wasn’t renewed, he tweeted, “FIRED FROM NEW YORK IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT!” Clearly Wheelan can make fun of himself, although he shies from talking about his year on SNL. “It’s just a thing that happened,” he says. “I kind of want to distance myself from it, so I’m not just the dude who talks about his old job.”
Wheelan’s swing through Lafayette will be his first visit to the Hub City and Cajun Country, although he’s been to Louisiana before.
“I went to New Orleans when I was in college,” he recalls. “I’m not mature enough to handle New Orleans.”
Go to theind.com/INDComedy for tickets.