WATERLOO — When I got her on the phone, Logan Guntzelman was currently at a secondhand shop in her hometown of Los Angeles, trying to sell her roommate’s unwanted Air Jordans and make a little money before leaving on tour.
Guntzelman may not be at the point in her comedy career where she’s giving away expensive sneakers, but she’s no slouch: She’s participated in Ventura and Hoboken comedy festivals and was recently showcased on Comedy Central as a “comic to watch.”
“It’s definitely becoming more and more of a possibility,” she said of her comedy. “My logic was, it takes a doctor seven years. I’m at four and a half now. You have ‘til year seven to really panic.”
The tour, which began last Tuesday, will travel through parts of the Midwest and South, and one of its first stops is at The Times in downtown Waterloo for The Half-Cracked Comedy Showcase on Thursday.
Three local comics — Matty J, Andy Hartley and Ed Burroughs — will open for Guntzelman and lead into Grant Lyon, who can be heard on Sirius XM and won the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival in 2014. The show is $5.
This interview has been edited for length.
COURIER: Tell me about the tour
GUNTZELMAN: I’ve never gone on a long tour. I started comedy in LA because I grew up there. ... You guys (Waterloo) are in the beginning. We’re (started) the 18th of July and going to Iowa, Indiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Atlanta, then curve around and end back up in Cincinatti — my dad is from there. ... We leave from here and start driving, then make our way.
COURIER: You mentioned you were named a Comedy Central comic to watch. How’d you score that, and has that opened some doors for you?
GUNTZELMAN: I’ve been doing stand-up now for about four years. I waitress at The Improv, a chain of comedy clubs — that’s one of their flagship locations in Hollywood. So I work there, and it’s all kind of a combination of, I’ve been doing it for a while, then the manager’s assistant saw me, helped me get opportunities to get on bigger shows. Working there, I meet people I otherwise wouldn’t interact with. Comedy Central constantly gets lists of people — they have about three showcases a year, in multiple locations.
COURIER: How’d you hone your comedic style? Did you do any stand-up in college?
GUNTZELMAN: I went to Columbia (University in New York City), and no, actually. I studied psychology in college. I joke about how comedy is the best and worst thing that happened to me. When I started comedy, I had a full-time job, I was still dating the guy I dated in college. And then I started comedy. Ever since then, I’ve had part-time jobs to support my quote-unquote “comedy habit.” But I can only describe it as positive.
I moved back home to LA. When I grew up, both my parents were writers. It sounds like a weird thing, but every kid I knew, their parents were in entertainment — wardrobe, lighting or whatever. It’s a weird mob-like thing where everyone joins the family business. You just get a job on a studio lot as soon as you can get a job, and go from there. It never was mysterious or glamorous — everybody works on a studio lot, and that’s what I thought. So I came home and started working as a production assistant on a studio lot. But the hours were like 14-hour days. I was just like, “Why am I doing this when I don’t even want to be in production?” So I quit that job.
I had been doing comedy in my free time ... but I wanted a decent-enough job where I could do it more. The blessing and curse of having a college degree is anyone will hire you, pretty much. I’ve worked at the Apple Store, as a trampoline instructor, at an auction house, as a waitress, I’ve temped at a lot of places, sold real estate, HR — just sort of any part-time job they gave me so I could have evenings open so I could do comedy. I’ve been in a couple festivals and won a couple things. The hope is you sort of progress.
COURIER: Even though I hadn’t been aware of it before, now that I’ve read some of it, I’m slightly disappointed that your cheese blog hasn’t been updated in four years. Any plans to get back to that?
GUNTZELMAN: I was texting a friend about it yesterday. ... We got in a big debate about provolone. I don’t feel passionate for provolone. That’s definitely something I would like to do again. And also I love pranking places — I did a prank on Yogurtland, they’re a frozen yogurt, self-serve chain, they’re kind of all over the place here. I made a bunch of fake flavors and hung them over their real flavors at a bunch of locations ... and put like “Drunk Texting” or “Doritos Locos Tacos.” Honestly, every guy who came in was excited.