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Pat Monaghan: Looking at the sillier side of life

This Friday, comedian Pat Monaghan will headline an evening of stand-up comedy starting at 8 p.m. at the Idiot Box Comedy Club, 503 N. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets are $15 and are available by calling 336-274-2699.

“I think you need to laugh all days,” Monaghan observed. “Funny things are always happening even in the darkest of times. Part of my act is exploring the silly parts of things people normally wouldn’t think there’s silliness in, and also silly things we all know are silly.”

Monaghan has great memories of the Piedmont Triad, having graduated from the UNCSA School of Drama with a BFA in Acting in 2020, which he said was an amazing experience. “[I] loved it! I had awesome teachers throughout my time there,” he said. “I went to the acting school, but they teach you a lot more than just how to act in a scene. I actually feel I mostly learned how to structure a piece of storytelling and also gave me the stamina to keep working on something even when you suck at the thing you’re working on!”

It was during his UNCSA days that he found more opportunities to hone his stand-up skills. “There weren’t a lot of comedy clubs or open mics in the New Jersey area where I grew up, but I’ve been writing stand-up since I was 14, and any chance I had to do it, I would. [At UNCSA] I would do weekly stand-up and improv nights which is where I first met local North Carolina comics.”

“We’re so excited to have Pat back and super happy to see him headlining clubs,” said Jennie Stencel, co-owner and creative director of the Idiot Box. “We feel lucky to have him in our small club as it won’t be long before he’s performing and selling out large, large venues! We met Pat at the North Carolina Comedy Festival and we are looking forward not only to having Pat here as a headliner but also to this year’s festival [Sept. 18th-22nd].”

Dusty Cagle, a former Ultimate Comic Challenge winner, opens for Monaghan this Friday, which pleases him no end. “Awesome, I love Dusty — and he’s such a nice guy, too! Greensboro has a treasure trove of hilarious local comics, so it will be a lineup of club favorites, then myself. I’ve been coming down to the North Carolina Comedy Festival for two years, so I’ve been working with and around the club and Idiot Box regulars for a while now.”

In terms of inspiration, “I’m most inspired by the comics I see at clubs every night,” Monaghan said. “At the Idiot Box, I look up to comics like J.D. Etheridge, E.J. Masicampo, and, of course, Jennie and Steve [Lesser], who own and run the club. They’re hilarious and two of the nicest people in comedy.”

A veteran of Asylum Mainstage Presents, the North Carolina Comedy Festival, the RISE Comedy Festival (in Denver, Colo.), the Laughing Buddha Comedy Festival (New York City), and a Jersey Shore Top Comic Finalist last year, Monaghan has also been seen in ads for Butterfinger candy bars and Outbeak Steakhouse, as well as appearing on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah and The Rich Eisen Show.

The commercials are fun, he said, “but the nice thing about stand-up is the audience can’t ‘skip ad’ after five seconds!”