Erik Griffin knew that being a successful comedian was a difficult task.
He made one attempt in his 20s, and then put that aside to become a teacher and basketball coach. What could have been bothered him, so in 2003 he abandoned education in favor of auditioning for roles in commercials, TV and film and performing his standup routines in clubs until his talent and good fortune merged.
"I just didn't want to wake up at 50 and be like, 'I didn't follow my dreams.' I didn't want to have doubt." His only regret is that he didn't have a focused approach originally in his bid to make an impression in entertainment as he does the second time around.
Right now, it's all coming together for Griffin, who comes to the Funny Farm this weekend as part of his nationwide standup tour.
In the past two weeks, he's appeared as the recurring character Montez Walker on the hit Comedy Central series "Workaholics," recorded a special in Boston for broadcast later this year and released his debut comedy album last Tuesday.
"I'm happy with what's happening," said Griffin during a recent phone interview. "I don't have to dig a ditch. I can wake up at 12 if I want to, if I wasn't on the road. I'm enjoying life. I just want to increase my profile so I can get the recognition."
When You Go
WHO: Erik Griffin
WHEN: 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
WHERE: Funny Farm Comedy Club at Mojo's Pub-N-Grill, 6292 Mahoning Ave., Austintown
HOW MUCH: $25
He added, "Now, I feel like my foundation is set and I just want to keep moving forward."
He credits the popularity of "Workaholics" and his portrayal of temperamental office co-worker Montez for giving a boost to his standup career.
The show comes from the braintrust of Mail Order Comedy, who write, direct and star in the half-hour program about former college roommates working at a telemarketing office and ever so slowly making their way into adulthood. The troupe got its network deal after gaining attention through its internet clips. Brief sketches posted online have become an easily accessible portfolio for comedians to attract fans and generate interest in the entertainment industry.
Griffin's website, www.erikgriffin.com, also makes good use of the opportunity available through the internet by presenting interview videos as well as short scripted works such as "Bee in a Jar."
"You want to have as much content as you can. If you can put it out there, then put it out there, the more you can reach your fans. It's not always just for business. You have funny ideas, and if the powers that be aren't going to give you a chance then you have a medium that you can put your own content out there."
Combining "Workaholics" with his material, Griffin wrote and recorded "My Queen," a not-safe-for-work ode to the deep love and intense desire Montez has towards his wife. The video appeared in the show, while the song is the final track on his comedy album, "Technical Foul: Volume One."
He views its release as another step in the fulfillment of his dreams. "It means the world because it's one of those things that I always wanted to do. When I was a kid I listened to comedy albums. That was a thing that I did. And I always thought, 'Can I ever do an album?' Then, all the pieces came into play."
Approached by punk rock label Side One Dummy to be its initial foray into standup comedy releases, the album chronicles his observations on life, love and self-evaluation. "I hope people listen to it and get a feel that they're at a show. I tried to capture a moment, not necessarily material, but capture an experience."
As proud as Griffin is of the final result, he sees it as one part of the overall package of his development as a performer in front of a camera or in front of a crowd.
"Comedy is the one thing I feel so comfortable doing. I feel comfortable and invulnerable onstage so I always want to do that. When you have TV roles and other avenues in the entertainment business, it only enhances your standup profile."