When Matt Storrs was asked in middle school about what he wanted to be when he grew up, the teacher probably didn't expect him to answer "comedian."
Growing up, Storrs watched stand-up specials on channels like Comedy Central while other kids were watching cartoons. As a teenager, he'd take drama classes to further his comedic skill set. Early on in college, he was given a chance to take his comedy routine to the next level.
"I was at ASU when Last Comic Standing came to the Tempe Improv," Storrs says. "I'd performed roughly twice before that, so obviously I didn't get on the show."
Now 27, Storrs has performed at every comedy club in Arizona and several prominent venues across the continent, including Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco and Rumor's Comedy Club in Winnipeg. Storrs has opened and hosted several notable comedy events in the Valley, including Michael Yo's Hot Mess Comedy Tour at Stand Up Live and the opening weekend at the House of Comedy.
Unlike a lot of local comedians you might see opening for other acts around the Valley, you shouldn't expect to hear corny punch lines or cheap jokes about bodily functions.
"It's more of a dry, British style of comedy," Storrs says. "It's very intelligent and mindful of phrasing. I try to maintain a consistent voice and comedic style. It takes a long time to learn to stay in character all of the time, but I think I can say any possible joke through the one voice and it would work."
As for the jokes themselves, Storrs admits that a lot of them come from things that weren't so funny to him at the time, but in hindsight they had to be laughed at.
"The basis for a lot of my material comes from a history of bad life choices," Storrs says. "They come through the embarrassing life experiences I've had. I might be embarrassed or unhappy about it at the time, but they're things that are objectively funny."
Storrs, who practiced as an attorney until recently and is now a self-described "househusband," believes that comedy has helped him break out of his comfort zone and explore life in different ways.
"I'm really introverted. People see the show and don't realize how introverted I can be," Storrs says. "Comedy has made me more willing to get into situations that I wouldn't normally have gotten into. I have conversations with people that I know might make me uncomfortable now, and it's made me more welcoming of frustration. I know that not everything will be clear early on."
Ideally, Storrs believes he's better suited to be a writer for television shows and movies instead of being in front of the camera, but that's not to say he doesn't dream of performing for a bigger audience.
"Maybe it's a little less exciting than some people would say, but I would love to be a touring comedian and write for a comedy show," Storrs says. "I think that would be a good fit for my skill set."
Storrs currently produces Copper Comedy at Copper Blues, which is a free weekly show every Tuesday evening. Aside from the $3 local craft beers and comedians, Storrs also taps into his culinary skills to bring in a batch of cookies or other baked goods from time to time.
For now, Storrs realizes that not everyone will be familiar with his style of comedy the first time they see him. He's just hopeful that his performances will help teach people something and make them more aware of his subtle form of comedy.
"People shouldn't take things at face value. Realize that there's subtext and detail to everything, and they'll come out learning something or have a newfound appreciation of comedic phrasing," Storrs says. "Some comedy you have to be engaged in to understand, but it can make it exponentially better."
For more info on Storrs and his show at Copper Blues, he can be reached at [email protected]