Feel Woods has always been a class clown.
Part of that came out of his stutter, which he’s had since he was young. “I had a really bad stutter growing up and I still do now, so growing up in Oakland, a lot of people would tease me.”
So Woods tried to circumvent that.
“I would make people laugh and talk about myself first, and make sure it was funny,” Woods says. That way, it didn’t matter if the bullies came after him with insults. Woods already beat them to the punchline — and he’d be funnier at it too.
“You wouldn’t get a chance to tease me,” Woods says.
Comedy has always been an integral part of Woods’ life. “Growing up, laughter just got me through everything. I don’t care if I was at a funeral, wherever I was at, I would always find something funny in the situation.”
Despite the early affinity for comedy, Woods never thought of it as an actual career until 2010. While celebrating a housewarming in Emeryville, Woods got up and started telling a story about “sleeping with a girl and wetting the bed.”
“I tried to basically put the dog on the bed and blame it on the dog,” Woods says. His story went on for 10 minutes. At one point, he noticed that the music had stopped.
“The whole party shut down, the music cut off, and everybody was listening to me tell this story,” Woods says. “And everybody was laughing, cracking up, and having a good time.”
A friend came up to him and said, “Hey. You know you just did stand-up comedy for 10 minutes, right?”
“I was like, ‘No! I was just telling a story!’” Woods says. But the friend insisted he try out stand-up.
“So I said, ‘You know what? You’re right,’” says Woods, who was a PE teacher at the time. “‘Maybe I will.’”
If you’ve been around the San Francisco comedy scene for even a little bit of time, you’ve probably seen Woods or gone to a Woods-produced show, even if you didn’t know it. He’s performed at Punchline, Cobb’s Comedy Club, and last year’s Sketchfest. This year, he’ll be in two comedy shows: Some People Like Us (hosted by Casey Ley and Kaseem Bentley) and Late Late Breakfast (hosted by Tyler Jackson and Danny Maupin).
In the decade since his origin story, Woods has brought a new level of comedy to the San Francisco Bay Area with #HellaFunny, a comedy series he organizes with fellow comedian Stroy Moyd. #HellaFunny brings weekly comedy shows to Haight Ashbury (Milk Bar on Thursdays), downtown (Bar Fluxus on Saturdays), the Inner Richmond (Neck of the Woods on Sundays), and more. Sometimes you’ll see him working security at the door (that’s his part-time gig). But for #HellaFunny, Woods books shows, produces, hosts, and sometimes gets on the stage himself.
Comedy for Woods is all about making a connection with the audience.
“Once you connect with them, it’s easier to make them laugh,” Woods says. He throws out Donald Trump, Whiteclaws, and the challenges of being able to afford to live in San Francisco as a few examples.
But the most vivid connections Woods can make are actually personal stories that he sources from his own life — “all the things in my life that I thought were embarrassing.”
“I’m starting to open up a bunch,” Woods says.
Some People Like Us, 10:30 p.m., Jan. 10 at Cafe du Nord, 2174 Market St. $18
Late Late Breakfast, 10 p.m., Jan. 11 at PianoFight Mainstage, 144 Taylor St. $24