COURTESY JAMES JOHANN
The Slackers are, from left, James Johann, Reno Collier and Pat Dixon.
A trio of comedians find that goofing off really pays off, too
Don't tell anyone, but Reno Collier, Pat Dixon and James Johann take joking around very seriously. They might try and tell you they sleep 'til noon, drink liquid refreshment for breakfast, then settle back onto their sofas 'til nightfall, but don't believe such stories of easy-livin'.
The Slackers Tour
With Pat Dixon, Reno Collier and James Johann
» Place: Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.
» Time: 7:30 p.m. Friday, and 6 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday
» Tickets: $26; limited VIP section $60; 18 and over only
» Call: 926-3000 or (877) 750-4400 or visit ticketmaster.com
Though most people wouldn't consider the tag "slacker" a compliment, the three comedians are hard at work polishing their act as underachievers united in pursuit of the casual lifestyle. Together, they are touring the country under the banner of the Slackers Tour well into 2007.
Individually, Collier has appeared on "Politically Incorrect," Dixon on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and Johann on Comedy Central's "Premium Blend." But in e-mail conversations it became clear that the comedians have mastered the art of doing nothing and doing it well. Previous jobs, failed relationships and all manners of 9-to-5 life factor into their routines.
"There is a whole different breed of American out there, and we are hoping to appeal to people who tend to think that 'work' is a four-letter word," said Johann. "If you think multi-tasking is holding a beer in one hand and you'd rather hit the snooze alarm than punch a time clock, this show will definitely appeal to you. We are less 'Git-R-Done' and more 'Sleep-It-Off.' "
"I never had a job that I cared much about losing," seconded Dixon. "I never had a job with benefits. I never did anything other than restaurant work. My last job before doing comedy full time was as a dishwasher. My chief motivation to be successful in comedy is my utter lack of any plausible back-up plan."
Dixon has a dry wit; Johann plays off his boyish looks and humor; Collier is a frank-talking sort who turned to comedy after moonlighting as a bartender at a comedy club in Atlanta. Their common platform is that anything that smacks of pretentiousness is ripe for parody.
"Hipsters are always a good target," said Dixon. "I think humor lives in everything, but you have to be respectful. It's possible to do offensive material about topics you wouldn't think of as sensitive ... I do share my personal observations, but not all of them."
Or as Collier said, "James and I love beer and Pat loves big girls."
COLLIER, DIXON and Johann previously worked together on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, opening for the likes of Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White and Larry the Cable Guy. After that successful tour, the three banded together, with the backing of Blue Collar's producers.
Dixon and Collier said they developed a reputation for being late -- and that bad habit inadvertently worked in their favor.
"James, Reno and myself were the most popular of the openers for these guys, but each of us also had a tendency to screw up and be late for shows or not be in the right place at the right time," said Dixon.
"They decided to put us together, hoping that together we could figure out what time it is," said Collier.
"To me, the Slackers Tour is the obvious flip-side of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, in which you had a bunch of guys who appeal to the hard-working, 9 to 5, blue-collar folks," opined Johann. "And while those kinds of people can still relate to much of our show, the Slackers Tour is geared a bit more towards people who don't fully subscribe to that lifestyle.'
Said Dixon, the most careful and introspective of the three: "In a sense I'm an extreme slacker in that I'm in my 30s and have no marketable skills, no health insurance, no house, no family of my own, can't make a relationship work, have been divorced twice and can barely iron a shirt ... (but) I've supported myself doing stand-up for the last seven years, and if people are paying me, there must be some work involved somewhere, though I'm hard-pressed to say what it would be. Or maybe these are just the rewards for goofing off."