Matt Davis says he always knew he would become a comedian. While growing up in Alabama during the early '90s, he was weaned on Bill Cosby records.
"I was just 12 and I couldn't get enough of Bill," Davis said. "Then I would slip down at night and watch comedians with my parents on late-night television."
At 14, Davis caught George Carlin live. "I was blown away by Carlin and I still am," he said. "He was so incredible. He wasn't just a comic. He was a prophet."
When Davis was 17, he caught the legendary Richard Pryor concert film, "Live at the Sunset Strip."
"That was it for me," Davis said. "I knew that's what I wanted to do."
After graduating from high school, Davis hit the stand-up trail.
"My buddies gave me a choice," Davis said. "Either I could go do stand-up or stop talking about it. So I went and did an open-mic night at a Birmingham club and that's all I've done since."
Davis, 30, is a regular on XM Radio's Comedy 150. He'll perform Friday through Sunday at the Loony Bin in Wichita. His act can be both cerebral, like Carlin's, and unpredictable, like Pryor's.
"The thing I like about both of those guys is that they each spoke about everything," Davis said. "That's what I do with my comedy."
Davis loves to joke about hypocrisy and racism.
"I'm confused about those who are racist but they own every Tupac (Shakur) record and their ring tone is by Jay Z. Yet they have a Confederate flag tattooed on their arm. Someone explain that to me."
But it's not as if Davis is always serious. He throws in his share of silly material.
"Everything doesn't have to be heavy," he said. "I just like to have fun up there. I have as much fun as a young curmudgeon can have when I perform."
But he says that he likes to make people think when he performs, and will often hang around after a show for a drink with those in the audience.
"I'm a bon vivant," he said. "I like to have a cocktail and relax, especially if it's a punk bar. I like shady places. The problem in these places is that I have a hard time telling the difference between neo-Nazis and guys who are just bald. Hey, it's interesting. It gives me something to talk about on stage."
If you go>
Where: Loony Bin Comedy Club, 6140 E. 21st St.
When: 8 and 10:30 p.m. Fri-Sat.; 8 p.m. Sun.
How much: Tickets $10 today-Sat. and $7 Sun. For more information, call 316-618-4242.