Ian Fidance’s soundtrack to comedy and life is ever-changing


Whether he was drunk on a Fung Wah bus, or cozily posted up on an Amtrak with Steely Dan grooving through his headphones, some of Ian Fidance‘s favorite trips back in the day were coming to Boston to visit a close friend at Northeastern.

Now, as he rides the rail at least one more time to make his way back to the city this week for a show at Laugh Boston tonight (August 11), he’s happily sober, and the soundtrack is a little different these days, but the feeling of comfort and nostalgia stays the same. This time, he’s thinking he’ll throw on his hype song, “Trapped Like Rats in Myers Flat” by Slow Gherkin, or perhaps some Bad Brains, Blacklisted, Catbite, or even some Nirvana or Metallica to pass the time, but given his eclectic music taste heavily entrenched in ska, hardcore and punk, there’s no telling where the needle will drop on Fidance’s playlist — which, if you’re familiar with his frantic stage presence and approach to stand-up — makes complete sense as to where he gets his inspiration from once he gets behind the mic.

“I think a lot of comics want to be a certain comic on stage, but I want to be the singer of a hardcore band on stage,” Fidance tells Vanyaland. “I want my comedy to be an experience like a delicious cup of tea best served live. I’m kind of a maniac on stage, I have a lot of energy, and I like to just come out, and having grown up in the punk scene where bands started with all of their fastest and hardest stuff to get the people going, just hit the stage running in the same way.”

Getting in the right headspace before a show is a big deal for Fidance, and while he does love to watch Bernie Mac’s legendary “I Ain’t Afraid of You” Def Jam bit to help that along, his pull to how music gets him psyched up is equally stronger. Aside from Bernie, something like videos of Tom Waits in a small jazz club or an old Bad Brains CBGB recording is much more in line with the energy he’s looking for.

Whatever is blaring through the pre-show stereo remains in constant flux, but Fidance’s green room ritual is much more of a warm, welcoming and fun dance party with his colleagues, as opposed to him sitting alone and looking over notes. For Fidance, it’s more about making an impression and living his truth through the mic than anything, and he’s starting to see that dedication show outside of the comedy club spotlight.

“As I grow a profile in comedy, I’m getting recognized more, and I just love it so much when I go to hardcore, punk, or ska shows, and I’ll be two-stepping in the pit, and someone turns around and tells me how much they love my comedy before we put our arms around each other and sing gang vocals. It’s just so awesome,” says Fidance. “Personal issues aside and without relating to how dark and twisted he was, I love the stage presence of Nick Traina from Link 80. I want people to feel my punchlines, and sometimes I just scream in someone’s face in the front row and they have this look of ‘what the fuck?’ but I’m just like ‘dude, I don’t even know either.”

Fidance knows how important it is to find his voice as a comedian, and inquired about it profusely for a long time with his veteran peers. And after carving out his own niche approach to the stage, he’s happy that he feels comfortable as himself now while he takes his audience on a ride that could go, and does go in all different directions.

“I feel like now, really more than ever before, I really know who I am on stage, I know what I want to say, and I know my voice,” says Fidance. “My material is very improvisational, and still also really personal, but when I get on stage, I literally don’t know where I’m gonna go with it, and I love that feeling of no safety net and even having jokes that still lead to a place where I’m even surprised we found a punchline. That’s what is so fun for me with this. I’m digging into deeper things about my life, but I feel like I’m way more polished and put together now than the last time I was in Boston.”

Talking shop when it comes to comedy isn’t as enticing for Fidance as it would be to talk about the last concert you saw, or what records you’re into right now. And when it comes to Boston, he can absolutely praise the pillars of comedic force that have come out of the city like Patrice O’Neal and Bill Burr, but he’s also quick to show his admiration for legendary hardcore bands in the local scene like Colin Of Arabia, Have Heart and Bane.

The music in Fidance’s life certainly drives him both on and off the stage, and he’s excited for whatever figurative track drops next. But regardless of where his inspiration comes from on any given night, he’s got the mantra of the Bad Brains deep in his creative fibers as he continues to live a life that exudes PMA.

“I just feel like I’m on the right path, and it doesn’t stop now. It’s just getting started,” says Fidance. “I’m pedal to the metal driving down the road, and I don’t know where it’s going, but I’m in the car, I’m all juiced up and I’m gonna get there no matter what.”

IAN FIDANCE :: Thursday, August 11 at Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St. in Boston, MA :: 8 pm :: Tickets are $25

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