published Friday, August 17th, 2012

'Reep'-ing the benefits of winning 'Last Comic Standing'

IF YOU GO

What: Comedian Jon Reep.

When: 7:30 and 10 p.m. today and Saturday.

Where: The Comedy Catch, 3224 Brainerd Road.

Admission: $22.

Phone: 622-2233.

Website: www.TheComedyCatch.com.

Before winning the 2007 season of NBC's "Last Comic Standing," Jon Reep would watch the show and wonder where the contestants came from.

"I'd never heard of some of them, and I do remember thinking it was kind of cheesy," he said.

And while he says standing in front of the camera asking people to vote for him was uncomfortable, he has found no negatives to winning the reality show.

"Now, when I walk into a club, people know who I am. It's been great."

Reep, who will walk into The Comedy Catch for two shows each tonight and Saturday, was an established stand-up comic before winning. A working comic since 1998, he had appeared for two years on Rodney Carrington's sitcom, "Rodney." He was also the Hemi guy on the Dodge truck commercials.

These days he performs about every other week, he said, and he is filming an as-yet-untitled movie in Detroit. He and Kyle Davis provide the comedy relief in the action thriller, he said.

Reep said filming continues through Oct. 1 and that he had to cancel his Friday and Sunday shows here to accommodate filming.

"I've done one other film, 'Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay,' but that was a smaller role," he said. "I'm enjoying this because it makes you feel like you are a real working actor. We are isolated, and they pay you well."

He is also hosting a series on the Speed Network set to air in September called "Are You Faster Than a Redneck?" It pits what he calls "the Mullet Mafia" and their American-made old-school muscle cars against younger drivers and their souped up foreign-made cars.

"It's really pretty interesting. The Mullet Mafia take it very seriously."

He's also shot a pilot for Animal Planet called "Redneck Road Trip."

"Do you see a theme here?" he said.

Reep is a clean comic who describes himself as a "Metro Jethro."

"I'm from a small town [Hickory] in North Carolina, but I'm not really a redneck. I live in Hollywood, but I'm not really into that either."

Always the class clown and always prodded by friends to pursue comedy, Reep said he never considered it as a viable career until he attended North Carolina State University. An average student, he declared theater and speech as his major, believing if the jocks could do it, it must be easy.

He liked it, and when he discovered that the comedy club next to campus offered open-mike nights, he did a couple as a lark and then kept doing them.

"It is what I secretly wanted to do but didn't think it was a possibility. Once it seemed real, it scared the crap out of me."

He quit his production job with the local public TV station and hit the road.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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