JR Brow is marking his 20th anniversary in comedy by looking back at his early days. The Austin-based stand-up comic, who will perform through Sunday at the Loony Bin, is examining his pre-comic life from the stage.
"I'm digging deep with my new batch of stand-up," Brow said while calling en route to Wichita from Texas. "I'm looking at my old jobs."
Before hitting the stage professionally, Brow, 45, worked as a pawn shop broker and a landscaper.
"I always wanted to open my own pawn shop and call it 'Other People's Stuff,' " Brow cracked. "That might sound funny but it's true. That's all those shops are. What those stores are about are capitalizing on other people's misery. I also clipped trees for Lady Bird Johnson and I got to meet her once."
Brow says he's getting personal on stage because he wants his audiences to get to know him.
"I don't want to do 'jokey' jokes," he said. "I have a deep history."
About 45 minutes of Brow's set will be composed of biographical material, and the last quarter of the night will feature the quirky performer delivering his "guitar-comic" bits.
"Unlike a lot of comics, I play electric guitar," Brow said. "I rip on rock and say how it's just three chords. I have a little brother who slams the '70s and '80s and thinks Green Day is the greatest thing. I told him that all they are is the Cars, Pat Benatar and Chicago. I demonstrate that on the guitar."
Brow also jokes about his second wife, who is 11 years younger. "She loves the band Plain White T's, and I showed her how much they owe (the band) Kansas," Brow said.
Occasionally, Brow will get topical. "I think (former 'Tonight Show' host) Conan (O'Brien) should marry Tiger Woods," Brow said. "At least he'll get more from Tiger if they get divorced than he got from NBC."
Brow has appeared on "The Late Show With Craig Ferguson" but he's also hoping to showcase 30 minutes of his material on Comedy Central.
"I want a special there," Brow said. "Doing five minutes is nice. I was like a hero with my family and friends in Austin after I did Ferguson, but late-night television isn't what it once was. Now to make an impact you need to get on Comedy Central and do 30 minutes. That's all I want."
Brow is working on a DVD to mark his two decades in comedy.
"It's a fun look back at my bad haircuts from the '90s and the jokes from that period on up until now," Brow said. "Hopefully, I'll be making another DVD like this one 20 years from now."
If you go
What: Stand-up comic
Where: Loony Bin, 6140 E. 21st St.
When: 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday