Steven Wright tells jokes in a voice as flat as a two-liter of Pepsi left open for a week. That monotone delivery only emphasizes his twists in logic.
"I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize," Wright once remarked.
He'll settle for telling jokes tonight in Monroe County Community College's La-Z-Boy Center.
Scraggly-haired and deadpan to the point of appearing near comatose, Wright would seem an unlikely Oscar winner. Yet he captured a statue in 1988 for the best live action short film, The Appointments of Dennis Jennings. No word on what he wore on the red carpet.
Wright is a surprising Renaissance man. He also paints and writes songs. The paintings are flowers composed like a Rorschach blot and supernovas shot with an out-of-focus lens.
And while most comics joke about sex, he strums a guitar and sings about love.
"When I sleep, I sleep face down," Wright explains in "Run to You (So Goes)." "When I weep, I weep face down. When I run, I run to you. When I smile, you smile too."
Much like his jokes, Wright's life wallows in irony. Born in New York City, he roots for the Boston Red Sox.
Wright, 50, graduated from Emerson College in Massachusetts, also the alma mater of comic Denis Leary. An open-mic audition nabbed him a spot at Ding Ho's Comedy Club and Chinese Restaurant in Cambridge, Mass.
From there, he landed appearances throughout the 1980s on Saturday Night Live, Late Night with David Letterman, and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Wright also appeared in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers and Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.
Comedy Central will broadcast a stand-up special, Steven Wright: When the Leaves Blow Away, at 9 p.m. on Oct. 21.
Steven Wright performs at 7:30 tonight in the La-Z-Boy Center, 1555 South Raisinville Rd. in Monroe. Tickets, $25-$35, are available at the Monroe County Community College cashier's office, located in the Warrick Student Services/Administration Building, or by calling 734-384-4272.