Welcome in 2013 with reflection, a little political incorrectness, and a whole lot of laughter when comedian Drew Hastings takes the stage for two shows at YES Cinema on Dec. 31 to benefit the Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center.
The comedian, who has performed in Columbus twice before, is known for his sharp-witted, self-deprecating humor, which draws on his own personal experiences.
And unique experiences are something he has in spades.
Born in Morocco to a British mother and an American father, Hastings emigrated back to the United States with his parents as a child and was raised in various parts of the Midwest. In his 20s, Hastings tried several vocational endeavors, including a trucking business and a paper-shredding start-up before trying his hand at stand-up comedy at the age of 31.
If You Go
What: Drew Hastings New Year’s Eve Show
When: 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 31
Where: YES Cinema, 328 Jackson St.
Admission: $20 in advance; $25 at the door. Tickets available at YES Cinema and Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center, 1039 Sycamore St.
His talents landed him spots in a few television pilots, and he wrote and produced several one-man shows, most notably “The Business of Living,” featuring the fictional motivational speaker Jack Freeman.
In an effort to jump-start his creativity, Hastings moved back to Ohio from Los Angeles to become a cattle farmer almost a decade ago. The experience, he said, is “kind of an updated ‘Green Acres’” and inspired his latest CD, “Farmageddon.”
But there’s yet another gig that sets Hastings apart: In January, Hastings was installed as mayor of Hillsboro, Ohio, a town of about 6,600 in the southwestern part of the state.
Though he admits that his constituents know that he is an “outspoken guy,” Hastings said he does his best to balance his weekend comedy gigs with his duties as mayor.
“You don’t really marry the two,” Hastings said. “They live in separate rooms.”
Still, he doesn’t hold back when a microphone is placed in his hands, and some of his mayoral experiences have started to slip into his routines.
“I appreciate the stand-up comedy stage, because it is the last 25 square feet in America where you can tell the truth as you see it,” Hastings said. “Thirty years ago, the stage was the size of our whole country. There are a lot of things I say on stage, that if I wasn’t on stage I would be arrested for.”
And while he is a regular on “The Bob and Tom Show” and has appeared in a couple of Comedy Central shows, Hastings said he enjoys the spontaneity of the stage where you never know what will happen.
“When you engage the audience, something fleeting is created that can’t be reproduced,” he said.
Randy Allman, executive director of the LCNFC, describes Hastings as a top-notch, gifted comic with a unique style.
“He does a great job of bringing in a crowd,” Allman said. “He talks on relevant subjects people aren’t afraid to laugh at. But he can be blunt.”
Allman said Hastings’ performance is R-rated, but that if your teenagers have seen Hastings on Comedy Central or HBO, the performance should be fine for them.
Following Hastings’ second performance at 9:30 p.m., the drapes will be pulled and guests can watch the annual ball drop on the big screen. Concessions and alcohol will be available for purchase, Allman said. Party favors will be complimentary.
“It’s a great way to spend New Year’s Eve,” Allman said. “We want people to come and have a good time.”