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Green brings his ‘idiot’ back to Austin

By Christina Killion Valdez

ckillion@postbulletin.com

A funny thing happens to Damien Green on his way home from the club — the up-and-coming comedian relives his performances.

"The first 20 minutes are spent thinking, ‘I’m never going to do it again,’" Green said, describing his almost weekly drive from Goonies Comedy Club in Rochester to his home in Austin. "Then I think, ‘Oh yeah, that didn’t work because it really wasn’t that funny.’ Or ‘That is still funny. I will try it again next week and see how the crowd reacts.’"

Months of deconstructing, reworking, dumping and adding jokes along the stretch of Interstate 90 between Rochester and Austin got Green to where he is now. He’s signed with a booking agent, emceed shows at Goonies, performed corporate gigs in Rochester and shows in New York, Chicago, St. Louis and the Twin Cities. Now, he’s taking it full-circle.

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Green will headline a stand-up comedy show Saturday at the Paramount Theatre, where he got his start.

Last year, after the death of his stepfather, Green wrote and performed a one-man show at the Paramount about growing up, life and death. The performance, Green said, made him think about what he wants to do in his lifetime.

At least part of that, he said, is to "get out of my idiot," or just get out of his mind and make people laugh.

In college, Green did open mic and standup. He later became a father of three, returned to Austin, where he works in communications for Gerard Academy, and began writing.

Still, the stage called.

After doing the one-man show in Austin, Green became a regular at the open mic night at Goonies, where he’s been able to work out material and build up contacts in the industry.

Among them is the club’s owner Mark Klampe, who keeps an eye on the open-mic performers, often offering them opportunities to advance. Over the past three years, Klampe has helped about a dozen comedians, including Green, get signed with his booking agency and meet comedians who are out on the road.

"I want it to be a learning experience," Klampe said.

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Klampe said in Green he saw someone who he knew could advance.

"He tries something new all the time," Klampe said. "A lot of people do the same stuff every week. He really uses open mic like it’s supposed to be: stage time to perfect little things. He’s changed his whole persona on stage."

His first few times at Goonies, Green said Klampe thanked him saying, "Woody Allen, ladies and gentlemen."

Green later came into his own, inspired by his favorite comedian and from his own successes and failures.

After rehashing it all on his way home, he said, "It’s like this part of me thinks, ‘You’re an idiot to do that.’ I draw on that."

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