By Lynn Venhaus
Describing himself as “the ultimate middle child,” nationally touring comedian Rafe Williams, who now lives in St. Louis, will step out of the studio to headline three nights at The Funny Bone in Westport Plaza this week, Sept. 28-30. He can be seen on a new comedy special launching on You Tube Sept. 27.
The comedy club’s Westport location has shows set for Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and Saturday at 9:30 p.m. — the 7 p.m. show is sold out.
Originally from DuQuoin, Ill., where he said his first job was “Picking beans, raisin’ Hell, and bailin’ hay,” he is now part of The Rizzuto Show on The Point (105.7 FM),.the no. 1 morning radio program in St. Louis. He joined Ruzzuto, Moon Valjean, King Scott and Lern weekday mornings from 6 to 10 a.m. last year, They dish on pop culture, sports, current events and celebrities with their distinct viewpoints.
He has appeared on “Live from Zanies” for Circle TV on NBC’s Peacock as well as the breakout Youtube series “Stand Up on the Spot” with Jeremiah Watkins. His appearance on Netflix is a Joke Radio’s “Are You Still Listening” and his album “Young Grandpa” by 800 Pound Gorilla Records have been featured on multiple Sirius XM channels.
Among his festival invites: Netflix is a Joke Festival, High Plains Comedy Festival, Asheville Comedy Festival, the Del Close Marathon 21 in Los Angeles, Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, as well as headlining the 2021 Flyover Comedy Festival.
An accomplished sketch performer and improviser, he has performed several times on the popular Improv4Humans podcast with Matt Besser and was invited to perform in the Del Close Marathon in NYC and LA. He is also a guest host who can be heard regularly on the Slop City podcast.
He has toured with a diverse lineup of today’s top comics like Gary Gulman, Beth Stelling, Dan Soder, Kyle Kinane, and Chelcie Lynn (AKA Trailer Trash Tammy).
1. What is special about your latest project?
It is my debut comedy special and it is lining up nicely with a new foray into morning radio and launching of sister You Tube series.
2. Why did you choose your profession?
Making people laugh and giving a joyous reprieve from the slog of everyday life seemed as noble an endeavor as any. Also, I am an attention whore.
3. How would your friends describe you?
Extremely sweet and easy-going in nature and a brutal taskmaster somehow simultaneously.
4. How do you like to spend your spare time?
What SPARE time!???? I enjoy exploring National Parks and having adventures when I can.
5. What is your current obsession?
Bringing a Taco John’s to St. Louis and writing a movie about professional bull riding.
6. What would people be surprised to find out about you?
I posed for Playgirl.
7. Can you share one of your most defining moments in life?
7/11/11 – Gave up addictions and pulled head out of ass and got sober.
8. Who do you admire most?
Father, son and the holy ghost. Wait no, that ain’t me that’s Don McLean. Mark Twain. The original stand-up comic. Also Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt.
9. What is at the top of your bucket list?
3-way tie between getting on Willie Nelson’s Tour bus, Sliding across the hood of the General Lee, climbing thru window and peeling out, and writing a Country Music Power Anthem to get played on radio.
10. What is your favorite thing to do in your hometown?
Drive around and find nostalgia, joy and forgiveness for a place I couldn’t wait to leave when I was a kid.
11. What’s next?
Hopefully touring and growing stand-up audience, having a blast on the radio, and building an audience that enjoys what I do.
12 Favorite jobs/roles/plays or work in your medium?
The “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” model intrigues me — “Make cool stuff with your friends and let audience find you.”
13. Dream job or role?
Plus-sized Scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz”
14. Favorite quote/words to live by?
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightning and lightning bugs. – Mark Twain
“Sing like you don’t need the money, love like you’ll never get hurt.” – Guy Clark
“Treat life like a Harley, Lay your nuts up on the tank and ride.” – Very drunk guy I met in an alley one time
15. A song that makes you happy?:
“You’re Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher” – Jackie Wilson
For more information, visit his website: https://www.rafewilliams.com/
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.