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Steven Wright comedy show visits Penn's Peak Sunday

Published June 23. 2012 09:01AM

Probably no comedian skirts so many topics as Steven Wright. His one-liners, jokes, paraprosdokians, and deadpan humor can be on anything from the military to ambition to lawyers to, you name it.

Where does he get all his material?

"Just from noticing the world," he said in a telephone interview. "From the minute you wake up to the time you go to bed, you're bombarded by little pieces of information."

He added, "I get it from noticing my surroundings, from reading a book."

As an example of his humor:

"How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?"

"What happens if you get scared half to death twice?"

"I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn't park anywhere near the place."

Wright is bringing his comedy show to Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe tomorrow evening. The event starts at 8 p.m. with tickets at $29 and $24.

His success is well documented by his many major TV appearances, including repeat performances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and starring in one of HBO's longest running comedy specials.

This is a return appearance at Penn's Peak, where he drew a large crowd the first time.

Wright, who has been performing since 1979, said his on-stage presence just seems to have fallen into place naturally.

"I didn't really think of a style," he said. "I like how Woody Allen wrote jokes. I like how he structured jokes. I like how George Burns talked about things."

The combinations of one-liners and jokes flowed naturally.

"They just came out abstract like that," he said. "I was into my abstract past."

When he made his comedy debut, he hadn't intended his act to be one liners. It just happened and the audience loved it.

He enjoys abstract in another form, too - abstract art. His web site has pieces of art work that he has done.

Art has been a passion of his since grade school. "I do it because I enjoy it," he said. "I think it influenced my comedy."

Being funny comes naturally to Wright. He said even when he isn't funny, he makes people laugh.

"Sometimes people will come up to me and say, 'Say something funny.' I will say, 'no,' and then they laugh. Therefore, I was funny to them," he said.

His drawl and straight-faced delivery gives the impression he might be depressed.

"I'm depressed like anyone else is depressed. But they think I'm depressed when I'm not," he explained.

The highlight of his career, he said, was his first appearance on the "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson.

"I watched the show since I was 16," he said. "I watched it every night."

He was 26 when he went on the show and met Carson. Wright made such an impression that he was asked to return a week later.

Wright is a native of Cambridge, Mass.

In 1985, his comedy album "I Have A Pony" was released on Warner Brothers Records and was nominated for a Grammy award for best comedy album.

Four years later, he and fellow producer Dean Parisot won an Academy Award for their 30-minute short film, "The Appointments of Dennis Jennings."

In 2006, Wright starred on Comedy Central with his self-produced special, "Steven Wright: When the Leaves Blow Away."

Four years ago, Wright got another Grammy nomination for his second album, "I Still Have A Pony," which was a CD release from "When the Leaves Blow Away."

Asked for a closing remark, he deadpanned:

"Gravity is still working."

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