Hailing from beautiful Covington, Kentucky Jay Armstrong is America's Funniest Scumbag. His style of comedy delights degenerates and high society alike. From observations of the world he has a general distaste for to accounts from his personal experiences there is a little something for everyone.
Jay was a child who was always told he had a lot of "potential" and spent most of his early years in school in gifted programs for genius kids. At 16 he discovered heroin and spent the next 9 years struggling with addiction, homelessness, and even served a little time in prison on drug charges. In 2005 he went to rehab and since has been the quintessential story of redemption and recovery.
Once Jay worked up the courage to follow his dreams of comedy he was hooked and comedy quickly became his new addiction. Jay has won several comedy contests in the Cincinnati area including the Funny Bone Clash of the comics as well as Funniest person in Northern Kentucky 2010. Jay is now a husband and a father in addition to being a comedian.
Recovery Comedy: What were you like as a kid?
Jay Armstrong: I was a fat, nerdy, poor kid who got picked on a lot, but excelled in school. I read a lot of books and played a lot of video games.
Recovery Comedy: What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian and how long have you been performing?
Jay Armstrong: I've wanted to do stand-up ever since I saw Fozzy Bear on the Muppet Babies. I've been performing for about 3 years.
Recovery Comedy: Were you performing stand-up comedy before you got into recovery?
Jay Armstrong: I was not. I didn't get the courage to give it a shot until I was 5 years sober.
Recovery Comedy: Does your comedy have a message and if so what is it?
Jay Armstrong: I don't know that it has a message. If it has any message it’s that there's a lot of stupidity in the world and it’s better to acknowledge it and laugh at it rather than develop resentment towards it.
Recovery Comedy: Who are your comedy idols?
Jay Armstrong: Bill Burr, Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, Sam Kinison, John Morgan
Recovery Comedy: Where does your inspiration for material come from?
Jay Armstrong: Some of it comes from my personal experiences, but most of it currently comes from stuff that I see and think "why is this happening? Why does this exist? How is it possible that people are this stupid/weird?"
Recovery Comedy: What is your joke writing process?
Jay Armstrong: It varies depending on where the inspiration comes from. If it’s a story from my past that I think is really funny I will write down the main points, then try to make the story a series of jokes so there's not long periods that aren't funny. If it’s something observational I will come up with a list of what is weird or stupid about the thing I'm writing about. Basically why I think something is ridiculous. Not all of it makes it into the bit, but I think so much of the world is ridiculous that I often wonder why we keep deciding to continue on as a species.
Recovery Comedy: What is your kryptonite?
Jay Armstrong: Chocolate milk and sour fruit candy
Recovery Comedy: Is your family supportive of your comedy career?
Jay Armstrong: For the most part they are. Most of them don't really believe it will ever be able to provide a living for me. None of them have ever told me to stop though.
Recovery Comedy: Is comedy part of your healing process?
Jay Armstrong: I would say yes. I've done so much personal inventory that I should know myself pretty well but I continue to learn things about myself through the writing process. That helps me a lot.
Recovery Comedy: What was your worst experience performing comedy?
Jay Armstrong: Probably walking a mile in a level 3 snow emergency to perform for 3 hardcore drunks that didn't want anything to do with comedy. I was the only performer who made it to the show and the audience was just those three guys willing to risk their lives in a blizzard to get drunk.
Recovery Comedy: What was your best experience performing comedy?
Jay Armstrong: It’s been such a fun ride it’s hard to pin one experience down. I once got a 24 second applause break doing a joke about prison. That was pretty cool.
Recovery Comedy: What is your favorite joke?
Jay Armstrong: My favorite joke to perform is probably the one where I say "I don't do any drugs, but I did try heroin once..........for like 9 and a half years"
Recovery Comedy: What is your comedy dream?
Jay Armstrong: To fill stadiums. To become a household name while not compromising myself as an artist. I know that sounds pretentious, but it is what it is.
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