Comedian Spotlight: Raab Russell

Photo by: Danielle Thralow

The staff of Set Life Pro thoroughly enjoys and actively looks for unique, creative individuals in the SWFL community to showcase. This week, we caught up with Raab Russell, a local stand up comedian, host, actor and musician to name a few of the creative hats he wears. From cracking jokes to slapping the bass in Simon Says Nothing, you can find him and his luscious mullet at venues across town.

Raab started comedy in late summer of 2012 in Los Angeles. “I was with my roommate at an eatery when someone he knew was there and told us about this open mic she was going to, just down the street. So we followed her to the mic and as I was sitting there watching these comics, I thought to myself “man, I can be funnier than these people” so we both signed up. I went up, told a story and some ‘jokes’ and got some laughs. When I stepped off stage, I got the biggest rush of my life. Better than a heroine high. And I’ve been chasing that rush ever since. There’s been some small hiatus’ from comedy throughout the years due to job scheduling and depression, but I would say I’ve been doing this for about 6 and a half years and will continue until I die on stage or from a heroine relapse”

LA was becoming a toxic environment for our friend Raab, so when he decided it was time to change his environment, he followed his mother to SWFL to see what there was to offer him here. When asked how he got involved with our local scene, he credited a simple Google search and asking around. If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet Raab, he hosts his own comedy open mic, every week, called the Sunday Night Service in Cape Coral at Ollie’s Pub Records & Beer and a monthly comedy showcase featuring some of the best acts that come through the open mic circuit. This isn’t his first rodeo with the hosting of mic night or showcases and the headaches that come along with it. “From finding a venue to organizing the comics and promoting but in the end it’s an amazing payoff. Plus you’re creating your own stage time and giving stage time to others in need. It warms my dark heart.”

Besides your own mic night, do you have a favorite open mic to perform at in town?
“Easily my favorite open mic, HOWL! The group of people are literally my people. My style. Also, the support and love there is amazing. It’s helped me grow tremendously and allowed me to make some new lifelong friends”

With Raab having his hands involved in comedy and music, we were curious on his opinion of the difference between being on stage as a musician compared to doing comedy. “Well, first major difference is being a comic, you’re solo. You do all the work. Having a band behind you takes away some of that stress. Working with other band mates can be arduous and can either make for magic or for a travesty. Doing comedy, you can only blame yourself but also having all the control is comforting. But regardless, I love doing both whenever I can! Making art with people or by myself for the people is the best part of life.”

Our team also noticed you occasionally do some funny shorts. Is this a thing we can expect more of? Do you have interest in video production or plans that would involve them. “I used to be really active in creating Instagram video and vines and what not. I’ve been off that game a minute now, but I write my ideas for them down and try to create a video every now and then. It’s tough to do solo and even tougher to gather friends to get together and create. But when it comes together, it’s magic. I’m always interested and down to create internet content. Making funny videos will always be a passion of mine. I love being behind the camera, I love directing, I love the acting…all of it.”

The Set Life team also gathered some reader’s questions as well for this article to help engage our audience more.

A couple readers asked how Raab deals with hecklers:
“Growing up, I was a “class clown” and didn’t realize until I got into stand up, that I wasn’t a class clown, I was just a fucking heckler. So I have major respect for the teacher who dealt with me. First thing about dealing with a heckler, is you gotta hear what they say, if you didn’t, ask them to repeat. Take it in and let your brain figure out how to turn it either against them or better your set by sparking new ideas. There’s good heckles and awful heckles. All in all, you have the microphone and power, so you shouldn’t let a heckler own you or your time. If you’re reading this, don’t be a heckler. It’s rude regardless.”

Another reader was curious as to his opinions on the difference between making a joke and being straight-up offensive.
“I write what I know. What I think is funny. I usually tend to write more material that pushes the line. I tend to get a little dark. But I always have respect for the topic at large. I’m not out to offend anyone who is oppressed. Comics need to learn quickly how to be funny offensive and not just straight up rude. Sometimes there’s a weird blurred line between that. Do the research of your topic to get a better understanding about what you’re about to shit on.”

While we were gathering information for this article, we noticed Raab’s instagram and twitter handles are @A1Raab and we were told he also has a tattoo of “A1”. Solie from HOWL was dying to know what’s up with that.
“A1 isn’t just the best steak sauce, but it’s also the best sauce for many of your dipping needs. Also, it’s a lifestyle: A is first alphabetically and 1 is first numerically. To me A1 is the first or best. To live an A1 lifestyle means you take control in putting yourself first and making sure your life is appropriate and happy. Everyone needs more self care. We need to fix ourselves before we can fix others that we have no control over. Be selfish and make sure you’re happy. Live A1.”

How has recovery impacted your sense of humor?
“During the drug doing, I was a piece of shit with not much creativity or drive/ambition. Now that I’m sober and more alert, I’m back to being creative and active. It’s tough to realize when you’re in it deep, but once you do and make the change, you can grow so much taller and smarter. It makes for great material too.”

Tell me your most embarrassing poop related story in only three words or phrases.

ER…severely constipated…full of shit…TWICE! So I try and work on my fiber intake.

Advice for the ones aspiring to do this.
“Just do it. Write write write, and find a stage and just get up there and try it out. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failing helps us rebuild to be better. This is a very tough art/dream to pursue but if you love making people laugh, it’s the best damn dream to pursue.”

You can meet Raab for yourself by stopping by one of his upcoming events or following him on all of his social medias (linked below) to see what he’s up to after the new year. Meeting people like Raab gives our staff encouragement and inspiration knowing we live in a community filled with motivated individuals looking to better themselves and this town. We look forward to future opportunities to brag about him.
Website Coming Soon!

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