The secret to living life to its fullest starts with communication, comedian Greg Behrendt says.
"You only get one chance at life," said Behrendt during a phone call from his home in Los Angeles. "That's kind of the message that my stand-up addresses. To make a good life, we need to know how to communicate with each other. We need to know how to communicate with each other and when to say certain things.
"Along those lines we need to learn from our mistakes. I mean you only live once. I try to learn from my mistakes. If I goof, I'll look at the situation and vow not to do that same stupid thing again. And I'll do that stupid thing until I get smart enough to actually stop doing it."
Behrendt, who considers himself a more optimistic comedian than a majority of the stand-uppers in the business, said he got into comedy because his music career never got off the ground.
"Although I do play in a punk/ska comedy band at home," he said. "But I had funny parents. My mom and dad were very funny, and I just grew up around it."
When he was in college, Behrendt joined a comedy troupe called "Crash and Burn."
"In that improv group, there was a young woman named Margaret Cho who took me aside and said, 'You're pretty good. You should go for it.'"
With that encouragement, and other pushing from friends and family, Behrendt, who is also a best-selling author, talk-show host and has appeared on various late-night talk shows, ventured into the world of stand-up comedy.
"A lot of things inspire my show," he said. "Lately, I've been thinking about sex. And I've been thinking about the sexual politics that come with sex. And some of the biggest problems happen because people don't communicate.
"I'm one of those people who think marriage isn't for everyone," he said. "We, as a nation, have our priorities mixed up. We are so bent on getting married and having kids, without even trying to date."
And the dating period needs to be at time when people tell each other what they want in a marriage, said Behrendt, who works with various charities that help victims of domestic violence.
"I mean people need to talk about their hang-ups before they get married and not after," he said. "If someone needs to dress up as a donkey to get fulfillment, they need to tell their fiance before the vows. And on the other hand the other party needs to tell that person if they are comfortable with those notions.
"It's OK if the other party isn't comfortable with the whole donkey suit. That's when they can compromise. They can give a go-ahead to wearing a tail.
"I think people are scared to hurt others' feelings," he said. "So they don't tell them the truth. And that just makes the situation worse.
"But there's also the fact that people need to find the right time to tell someone what they are feeling and say it the right way," he said. "I mean, men don't want to hear a disappointed sigh during a date. Women should talk with them before and tell us what they want. Or they should tell us afterward so we can be better next time if there is a next time."As with many stand-up comedians, Behrendt's show can become a bit suggestive.
If you go . . .
What: Greg Behrendt
Where: Wiseguys Comedy Cafe, 269 25th Street, Ogden
When: today and Saturday, 8 and 10 p.m.
How much: $20
Phone: 801-622-5588, 467-8499 or 800-888-8499