Celebrated comedian Eddie Ifft is setting his sights on Ketchum for a standup performance next week at the Argyros. The joke-smith—hailed by The Onion as one of the most unduly underrated comics in the country—has performed to sold-out crowds in 15 countries, recorded TV specials for Comedy Central and appeared on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” but is perhaps most widely known for his long-running, successful comedy podcast “Talkin’ Sh—.”
Ifft’s humor is rarely what one would venture to call “politically correct,” but that is precisely why he has been so successful. Never reluctant to approach a political powder keg, a social taboo or a moral gray area, Ifft plunges headlong into controversy wherever it conveniently presents itself.
“I think when people try to censor comedy, it’s a disservice to humanity,” he said. “I talk about things that most people can’t because they have jobs and face consequences, but someone needs to do that. It’s OK to be offended—no one says you can’t—but that doesn’t mean these things shouldn’t be said. If we laugh at things, we might find new ways to think about them. I try to make people laugh and try to make people think.”
“Talkin’ Sh—” claims the distinction as the only podcast ever to be banned from iTunes for “offensive content.” The official website displays that banishment as a badge of (dis)honor.
“I think it was three times we got kicked off,” Ifft recalled. “We were kind of early in the podcast game on iTunes, so we thought it’d be fun to keep poking at them. We kept doing things to get kicked off, and then we’d do things to get back on—we’d call and apologize and swear up and down not to do it again—and then we’d keep playing this little game.
“Eventually, of course, they kicked us off and were like, ‘You are never getting back on iTunes.’ One of our guys—a nerdy computer guy we called Luke the Albino—went down to Apple headquarters and actually found the guy in charge of podcasts and convinced him to let us back on, then we more or less played by the rules.”
“Talkin’ Sh—” ran for 499 episodes.
“Anybody can do 500 episodes,” Ifft said, “but I bet not many people could stop at 499.”
Indeed, people often court him to come back and do one final show, but Ifft has fully moved on.
“The show was awesome, and I loved doing it and would love to keep doing it, but I believe that art runs its course—not that it was ‘artistic’ by any means. I didn’t want to beat a dead horse,” he said. “Then I got married and I have kids now. The show was frat boy humor—it was ridiculous. I’m not the person I was then.”
Though his standup style and his comedic philosophy remain the same, Ifft’s material has largely shifted to reflect the considerable changes he has experienced in his own life during the past few years, especially touching upon the inherently comedic aspects of parenthood.
Plus, he has found that even though touring takes its tolls, he has started preferring standup to podcasts.
“I used to like the podcast because it was impromptu and different all the time, you had to prove that you’re funny off the cuff, but I’ve started to like standup more,” he said. “It’s something I’ve worked on and polished for 25 years. Podcasts are lazy and kind of narcissistic—this idea that everyone should listen to me having a conversation. I did it for eight years and I look back and now I wonder why.”
Ifft’s performance at the Argyros will take place upstairs in the Bailey Studio. The versatile space will be set up in the vein of a comedy club. The show will begin at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21.
Tickets are available for $15 and can be purchased online at theargyros.org, by phone at 208-726-7872 or in person at the Argyros at 120 Main St. S. in Ketchum.
Attendees must be 18 or older. Get a taste for Ifft’s material at eddieifft.com or come blind. Either way, be prepared to laugh, think and maybe get a little offended.