Rory Scovel knows funny. We say that, because, one, it’s true. And two, that’s the catchphrase of TBS, the channel that broadcasts his new show Ground Floor. The 30-minute sitcom may be a bit of a fish-out-of-water experience for the seasoned comic, but he’s embracing the new job description nonetheless.
“I really love it,” Scovel says. His breakout role as Harvard, the IT guy, is allowing him to approach comedy in a new, refreshing way. “It’s interesting to me to be given a joke someone else wrote for you and figure out how they and myself envision the delivery.”
Initially, as every good comedian must, Scovel made ripples with appearances on late-night talk shows like Conan and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. In one of Scovel’s most well-known Conan routines, he cracks wise about the pains of grocery store shopping while high as he wears a tuxedo and is accompanied by a piano player. The clip has generated serious traffic on YouTube, perhaps helping him garner a spot in a Top 10 Comics to Watch list by Variety. He’s also opened for Louis C.K. and toured the country. He even appeared at the Charleston Comedy Festival in 2013, where he spent nearly the first 10 minutes of his set talking in a weird German accent, hiding the fact that he’s a native South Carolinian.
The Greenville native’s latest routine is the appropriately titled Religion. Politics. Drugs. He’ll be taping this show while in town performing two nights at Woolfe Street Playhouse.
This won’t be the the first time Scovel has recorded a show; in 2011, he released the comedy album Dilation. But Religion. Politics. Drugs will have a different vibe. “I really want every show to feel like it is its own show,” he says. “I think I’ve gotten better at doing that by being a more confident performer, willing to play in the moment.”
It was in South Carolina that Scovel first discovered he might be good at comedy. Growing up as a self-proclaimed “attention-craved pain in the ass,” Scovel was “always trying to get a laugh from kids in school or at soccer practice.” After graduating from University of South Carolina Upstate, he took the stage at a Spartanburg open mic night and caught the comedy bug. “It went well enough to convince me that I wanted to try and see how far this career would go, so I moved to D.C. and that was the start of everything,” Scovel tells us.
The comic now calls Los Angeles home. He enjoys the laid-back vibe of L.A., but he’s fond of his Southern roots and even attributes it to the formation of his comedic style.
“I sometimes draw on the social or political mentality of the South in my material,” he says. His Greenville childhood has also inspired a cast of characters in his stand-up routine. “I love doing a certain preacher character in my act who completely comes from mixing up a lot of people I grew up with and adults I’ve been around.”
Scovel chose Charleston to record his latest show simply because he likes it here. “I love playing Charleston, and I love it as a city. It’s my favorite city in South Carolina.” Additionally, he thinks the Woolfe Street Playhouse will do his routine justice. “Since I really love the audiences that come out to see the shows, I want to make sure they are seeing what I do in the right setting.”