"Once I started comedy, I kind of had to look back on what my biggest influence was to see what my sense of humor would be. And my favorite thing - the absolute funniest thing in the world to me - was "Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey. Then I developed my own style, which is kind of a "Deep Thoughts" but only really mean."

Age: 31

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Years in comedy: 7

You're a regular at the Comedy Cellar in New York City. Is there something appealing about having a home base?

I think having a home base is ideal for every single comic. The Comedy Cellar's like the best one you could have. They treat the comics so well. The crowds are always great - and they kind of know what to expect. They'll be a little more patient if you're trying out new material.

For me personally as a stand-up, it's just to sit upstairs in the restaurant before your set and talk to Colin Quinn, Jim Norton, Dave Attell. That's the greatest part. It's like you're in church.

You have a very direct, deadpan delivery. Who are your biggest comedy influences?

The biggest influence would have to be Steven Wright. That's the guy I grew up with. Whenever I would see him do stand-up, I was just blown away at how great he was.

It never occurred to me to be a comedian until much later on in life. I was out of college for a couple years before I decided to give it a try. Once I started comedy, I kind of had to look back on what my biggest influence was to see what my sense of humor would be.

And my favorite thing - the absolute funniest thing in the world to me - was "Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey. Then I developed my own style, which is kind of a "Deep Thoughts" but only really mean.

What got you into comedy? Did someone just tell you that you were funny?

I was always funny. It was in college especially where I became the guy who kind of stepped it up - not just being funny but inappropriate.

I always wanted to be a writer. Stand-up comedy seemed kind of cheesy to me. After a couple of years in L.A., I thought the greatest job I could think of would be to just sit around a table with a bunch of other writers throwing out jokes in a late-night setting or whatever. The best way to do that was to become a stand-up.

What's the secret to success on stage?

It's really just being calm and confident. The audience is willing to go with you wherever you'll take them, as long as you look like you know what you're doing. As soon as you falter a little bit - like if a joke goes wrong and you start to react as if you're doing poorly - the audience just wants you gone.