Comedy bears the charm of making the brightest moments memorable, and the darkest ones tolerable, and for those straddling the interim, laughter leads the excursion. Tim Warner could be considered one of those folks, a comedian who rides the highs and lows with the guard of wit, and one who walks with nothing in his pocket except for a good joke about what lies before him.
“I’m one of those people that always wanted more out of life, but I always coasted through,” the New York-based stand-up comic tells BTR. “If I were to advertise myself… there’s no shtick, this is me, my view of the world – honest. I think we’re here to find ways to show who and what we exactly are.”
Born and raised in Syracuse, Warner decided it was time to commit to comedy on one particularly spontaneous night at the age of 24, when he left his father’s marriage reception and everything else behind, and made his way to the city. No connections, no plan and no money, the bright lights of the metropolis gave way to years of a heightened reality – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and the guy looking for laughs rode it out to a dead end.
“I put a bunch of belongings in an eight-foot duffle bug, and just threw it in the backseat of my roommate’s car…He dropped me off in Bushwick at like three o’clock in the morning,” he recalls. “I did a lot of drugs; I did a lot of drinking; I did a lot of going out. I hung out a little around comedy, but for a good three years, I got fucked up a lot. I had a blast. I took in every ounce that this city has to offer.”
Without a source of income or stable home, Warner lived on the streets, couch surfacing, riding the N train from Astoria to Coney Island and back, and taking perch by the Hudson in Tribeca to keep cool during the ultra-humid days of New York summers.
Living off a loaf of bread and condiments, he began more fervently seeking work, first answering phones at a comedy store, and later hustling fliers for shows in Times Square. Yeah, he was that guy.
But he eventually made it to a steady gig, got off the street, and cleaned up his act.
“I do take a lot of pride out of it, for whatever reasons I got involved in that situation, so be it,” Warner explains. “The percentages of people that get into those situations and turn it around are not as high… If I can do that, there’s almost nothing I can’t do, but it was a long battle.”
To quote the most sophisticated predicator of theatrics, “all’s well that end’s well” and “all the world’s a stage,” thus, for Warner, life and art have intertwined, and his brush with poverty led to a wealth of good material. The 34-year-old now has stand-up gigs lined up several nights a week – every week – in every borough of the city. He also does his stint in festivals around the country, and was finalist in the New York Underground Comedy Festival in 2010. By day, he works as a shipping manager for a “mom and pop” internet company; by night he takes to the stage.
In his work, the Warner tells the story of existence, of walking through life both boldly and blindly, accepting the role he’s been given and hoping to find some pragmatic take on it in the end. Part enlightened existentialist, part self-deprecating realist, his jokes are observations on topics varying from the addictive nature of the internet to self-reflective conundrums.
“We’re definitely some type of energy, some frequency,” he notes. “I find it amazing that we have this same universe and both of us take it in with our own viewpoints and perspectives, yet we both see it completely differently. I think our minds control more than we’ll every give it credit for… Your mind can make anything in your body.
On the rise and introspectively extroverted, Warner continues taking great leaps in comedy, knowing full well “it takes ten years to make it overnight,” but still shooting for the stars.
“If I have my way, by the time I’m said and done in this world, I would love to have Tim Warner’s name said in the same breath as Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks,” he adds. “I’m just beginning.”
Check out Tim Warner’s website by clicking here.