Bay Area native Joe Sib never imagined he’d be where he’s at in his career today in the music business.
The guy who “just wanted to be a singer in a band” and to go on tour (and did just that with punk rock acts Wax and 22 Jacks) is co-founder of SideOneDummy Records and has worked with such bands as Flogging Molly, The Gaslight Anthem, and Title Fight.
“When Bill [Armstrong] and I started this company – we’ve been partners for 18 years- all we wanted to do when we started the label was do it so we wouldn’t have to get real jobs. And we’ve managed to do that,” Sib shared with me during a recent interview.
And as it turns out, music wasn’t the first form of performance art to make an impact on him; it was standup comedy. The first comedy record he came across was George Carlin’s Class Clown. Based on Carlin’s long hair, worn jean jacket, and lack of a shirt, Sib assumed what he was about to hear was a regular music record.
“I remember putting it on thinking I was going to hear like some Eagles-esque record or something like that, and instead, it was all jokes and it blew my mind,” he said. “At that point, that was really the gateway record into so many more comedy records that my parents had. From Bill Cosby and other comics in-between, comedy was my first taste of what maybe I thought a rock star was. Whether it was George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, those guys, those personalities in the way that they took the stage was no different than Mick Jagger or Joey Ramone, or Joe Strummer of The Clash. It was bigger than life.”
In 2009, Sib began performing his “broken word” show, California Calling, where he guided his audience through stories and photos that chronicled his life and passion for punk rock music. It was through doing this show that he started to find his footing as a standup comic.
“I was able to really lean on the photographs, because the show had close to 50 photographs in it while I was doing it. But as I kept doing the show more and more, I started leaning more on the jokes and more of the funny bits of the story,” he said. “Ultimately, when I started doing [the show] in comedy clubs, it got to the point where some of the comedy clubs were like, “Hey man, we love your one-man show, but’s it’s an hour long. Is there anyway that you can do what you do in 10 minutes and talk about other topics, not just your love of The Ramones or Black Flag?”
Sib went back to the “laboratory” and began to pull material from things he was was dealing with in his everyday life.
“I’ve been with my wife for 22 years. I’ve got a seven-year-old and an eleven-year-old, and I run SideOneDummy Records. It’s just life at this point is pretty funny,” he said. “I just write about being a parent and being a husband, and all the stuff that comes along with that. And that was the stuff that started to work.”
Tonight Sib returns to the Punchline Comedy Club in San Francisco as part of the 12th Annual SF Sketchfest. Being a part of this year’s lineup and taking the stage at the Punchline clearly means a lot to him.
“I can’t believe that Sketchfest even asked me. There has to be another Joe Sib out there that’s like super funny and they just got me confused with him,” he shared. “To be a part of Sketchfest and go to San Francisco, I love that. But more importantly, I get to do the Punchline.”
He continued, “Growing up in the Bay Area, I just remember hearing about all the shows there with all the great comics coming through, in particular Robin Williams, who I’m a huge fan of. I just love how physical and how crazy he is. So getting to perform there again is amazing.”
Check out Joe Sib at SF Sketchfest tonight at the Punchline Comedy Club at 8 p.m. with Drennon Davis. Tickets are available through Livenation and at the Punchline’s box office, open 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Notable upcoming SideOneDummy releases:
Skinny Lister – Forge and Flagon, January 29
Comedian Erik Griffin – Technical Foul: Volume One, March 12