Jimmie Roulette: Hitting the jackpot, playing the Palace
Austin comic Jimmie Roulette will hit Vegas this week as part of an exclusive stand-up showcase in HBO's the Comedy Festival
Roulette in Vegas might sound like old news, but it's stop-the-presses material for one fortunate local comic. Jimmie Roulette, who's appeared on Comedy Central's Premium Blend and been a perennial finalist in the Funniest Person in Austin Contest, will hit the Rat Pack's old stomping grounds this week as part of an exclusive stand-up showcase in HBO's The Comedy Festival. Twenty-one comedy clubs across the nation were invited to send their best local talent to perform in The Lucky 21, Nov. 14-18 at Caesar's Palace. Cap City Comedy Club was among those clubs, and it nominated Roulette for the honor. The audience favorite will go to HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo., next year. The Chronicle caught up with Roulette in Reno, Nev., where he'd just finished a week at the Funny Bone.
Austin Chronicle: Are you on the road most of the time these days?
Jimmie Roulette: Yes. Oh my goodness, yes! [Laughs] It's one of those things where I didn't see it coming, and I'm like, "Man, I can't believe I'm out here." But I'm enjoying it.
AC: Speaking of things you didn't see coming. Were you surprised that Cap City chose you to be in The Lucky 21?
JR: I was totally surprised. Matter of fact, I was booked. I was supposed to be in Shreveport that week. I had to shake out on a gig to be a part of the festival, but you don't turn that down.
AC: So let's see: Vegas, Shreveport. Vegas, Shreveport
JR: It was a toss-up.
AC: How long have you been doing stand-up?
JR: I've been at it eight years. Here's the thing: When I first did it, it was an addicting experience. People laughed, and I got that buzz going. But I didn't really expect to do it as a full-time career. I would just go up onstage and goof off, and people would laugh. And then a couple years later, people started taking notice, and I started getting bookings, and then I picked up management, and I was like, "Okay, let's see if we can really make something happen."
AC: Has Austin been a good place to hone your craft?
JR: Austin is so exceptional. Matter of fact, when I hit the road, I compare other cities to the one I developed in. As far as understanding the subtle humor, people in Austin get it. Some places I just gotta goof it up, and it's like, "This is no Austin. I can't wait to get back home." It's such a great place to polish material and work out new jokes.
AC: If you win this thing, who's the first person you're gonna call?
JR: Well, my wife will be there, and you know, parents, but probably Margie Coyle (Cap City Comedy Club co-owner and manager) and Sam Cox. I started out doing the Comedy Gym in Austin with him, and I'd definitely have to let him know that I'm out there now.
Jimmie Roulette headlines Nov. 21-25, Tuesday-Saturday, at Cap City Comedy Club, 8120 Research. For more information, call 467-2333, or visit www.capcitycomedy.com.