CHELAN — Comedian Derek Sheen realized in his 50s that he is a very “unrelatable person.”
He performs a stand-up comedy set at Sigillo Cellars, 2037 W. Woodin Ave., Chelan, at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $29.50-$64.50 online at rottenapplepresents.com.
Sheen’s latest show in Los Angeles was with Patton Oswalt and Friends at Largo at the Coronet. He said the 300-seat black box venue was “a hothouse for comics” where he “had the set of his life” with celebrity comedians Zach Galifianakis and Adam Sandler.
Sheen, 53, of Seattle, said in a phone interview one joke about being “unrelatable” was: “I have come upon seven dead bodies in my life in various states of decomposition, but I’ve never had a threesome.”
After recording four albums with Stand Up! Records, he said his new hour of material became more autobiographical.
“Either evolve or die in stand-up,” Sheen said about his “very young” first album in 2017, “Holy Drivel.” He told more stories about himself on the next album, “Tiny Idiot.”
He attempted to be a dark comic with 2017’s “Disasterbation,” which he said is “fun and weird, obscure surrealism.” With “Macho Caballero” in 2020, he said, “I started to hit my stride and became fun, light and genuine.”
Going into the pandemic at a career high, Sheen said he bought new tires for a two-month tour filled with shows, auditions and showcases. While packing his bags, he canceled everything after finding out that his mother died. He said he was devastated. His mother loved stand-up and played comedy albums instead of music when Sheen was a boy, including Bill Cosby, Lenny Bruce, Joan Rivers and George Carlin.
Soon after, while the pandemic-related lockdowns were taking place, he said he began caring for his grandfather who had dementia.
“... so comedy became a backseat to the daily rigors of caring for someone who is disappearing everyday,” he said. He continued writing materials he said are “very caring and loving, but also funny because I knew I wasn’t alone.”
While a year of therapy helped Sheen immensely, he said, “life went on the back burner. My wife and I are still recovering from all of the family stuff, still dealing with estate stuff. We moved five times over the pandemic.”
Claiming to be “unrelatable” was “a great tool that lets people trust and relax,” Sheen said. He added it was an excuse “to just go with me, not to relate but to enjoy. By the end it turns out I’m not so unrelatable.”
For the Sigillo show, Sheen picked Tibetan comedian Dewa Dorje for the opening act. Choosing who to work with was “a comic’s dream,” he said, “especially non-white/male comics on the show because of the perspective and experience. And also because you are going to hear a white-bearded comic in an hour.”
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