Growing Haynes

Growing older for Andy Haynes means no more drunken trips to Central America, but the stand-up comic still relies on his proclivity for depravity.

From comedian Andy Hayness set on Conan: Im pretty broke which is hard to believe because I look like a senators nephew.

Image by Mandee Johnson

From comedian Andy Haynes’s set on “Conan”: “I’m pretty broke which is hard to believe because I look like a senator’s nephew.”

by Joseph Kleinschmidt

Andy Haynes no longer sleeps on an inflatable bed—now he’s making enough money to afford an actual mattress. When the stand-up used to live with fellow comic Rory Scovel in L.A., he slept on the crude blow-up mattress with his wife.

“That is a canary in the coalmine for your financial status,” he joked during his debut on TBS’s “Conan” last year.

Haynes trades in self-deprecation and absurdity, making his more biting remarks completely casual. Though his act mostly centers on his former slovenly lifestyle, he also finds a satiric edge, possibly stemming from his former aspirations.  He initially found comedy after considering a career as a political activist.

“Then I realized that everyone in activism was so serious,” he said. “It just wasn’t that fun. I kind of wanted to cause trouble.”

The Seattle native comes from a family of politically minded campaign supporters. Haynes might not give fiery monologues a la Bill Hicks, but it’s still embedded in his comedy DNA.

“I grew up around a bunch of lefties,” he said. “We’d picket—my mom’s like a union person, and then my sister’s a gay rights activist.”

Haynes never joined Greenpeace, settling on a less serious path towards the national spotlight. His career eventually landed him on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” in 2008 when he nearly advanced in the contest before being cut.

“For a lot of those reality television shows, they want this big personality to come along with whatever this competition is,” he said. “I was just so happy to be there. I guess that’s not what keeps people watching.”

Since his exit from “Last Comic Standing,” he’s considering skewering the reality show genre for a show he’s work shopping in his head. Haynes dreams of upping the ante of “No Reservations,” a travel show hosted by the outspoken chef—and former addict—Anthony Bourdain.

“It would be like if Anthony Bourdain was still on heroin,” he said. “He’d still be trying to score on all these trips. He’s into the food, but he’s also in to the bad parts of town.”

Haynes’s proposed satire actually draws from his own misadventures in Central America. Throughout his 20s, he made frequent trips to Colombia, Mexico and every country in between. Although he claims he wasn’t scoring drugs—aside from weed—he recounted a run-in with a one-armed man who robbed him, an instance he attributes to his drunken debauchery.

“Most of the time when I was travelling, I was drinking,” he said. “I got into some close calls with guys who were unsavory types. That’s always something I can draw on—that experience.”

The recovering alcoholic decided to focus on his comedy rather than finding the cheapest plane tickets to the closest Spanish-speaking country in 2008. Haynes won’t be revisiting Central America to relive his old ways any time soon, but the trips show his sardonic side. Even if he’s grown up since then, his sense of humor hasn’t.

“I got it out of my system,” he said. “I survived.”


What: Andy Haynes

Where: Acme Comedy Club, 708 N. First St., Minneapolis

When: 8 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday

Cost: $15