Comedian Dave Ugly has wrapped up his Not So Pretty tour just in time to come to town for a Savannah Comedy Revue appearance July 5, along with fellow comic and friend Brian T. Shirley.
"I worked my way up through the years with the best comics in the business," said Ugly, whose real name is Dave Evans.
"I do a real show, inspired by what real people are talking about."
Currently, Ugly is recording his first comedy CD in 25 years.
"I've filmed half a reality show I'm working on and I have my own radio show," he said. "I'm building a new studio and have a podcast called 'Ugly Nation.'"
An avowed people watcher, Ugly agrees his humor is of the blue collar sort.
"When I was younger, people used to walk up to me and say I ought to do standup," he said.
"I'm the youngest of eight kids," Ugly said. "I always got lost in a crowd. Laughter is what kept me alive."
Ugly first tried his hand at standup at an open mic night.
"I went to a club in Mount Pleasant, S.C., where I live," he said. "I sat in the audience.
"The guy I went there with got up on stage. I never knew he did standup. I asked him how he got started."
From that, Ugly learned about a comedy workshop and enrolled.
"The first time I actually went up, I did a great job and the owner said I did a great job," he said.
"I went up the second time and walked onstage, and see these are the same 12 people who were there the first time I went onstage," Ugly said. "They looked at me like I was a wall with paint drying."
Twenty-five years later, it's gotten easier.
"I incorporate regular life into my show," Ugly said. "A lot of people don't realize standup is really your own ego."
Along the way, Ugly met Shirley, who also will perform at the Savannah Comedy Revue.
"You fall in with different cliques," Ugly said. "Me and Brian clicked and hit it off right away.
"We started writing together every Tuesday. I'd get a six-pack of beer and go to his house or my house and work on our jokes.
"I got my radio show and then Brian got his radio show," Ugly said. "It's like we were following in each other's footsteps. He's one of my best friends in the world, a super, super guy and truly funny. I can't wait to work with him again."
Ugly describes his performance as "very fast and very open."
"I do a lot of improv," he said. "I blend my environment into my show and talk about who's there.
"I'll milk everything. I'm an observational guy. As the show is filling, I watch people coming in. I will blend part of my show with everybody in the audience."
After being able to work in comedy for so many years, Ugly can call his own shots. "A lot of people say it's a dying business," he said.
"When we first went out, nobody wanted us, so we made a circuit and started working clubs and bars. It got to the point we were working on our own, then the clubs started calling us."
And the name Dave Ugly? "I was looking for something to draw attention," he said. "It's not a gimmick, because I am who I am.
"I was looking for something extra special. I tell the ugly truth about something.
"I do my best when I do shows where I don't touch things other comics have ever touched," Ugly said. "I also got to add my Team Ugly and the Ugly Nation that I do now."
Ugly calls his radio program "The Ugly Nation Station" and has the Big Ugly Internet Radio Page on Facebook.
When he isn't doing comedy, he's a chef.
"I do all kinds of food," Ugly said. "I'm from a food and beverage kind of family. I needed to get back into reality, so I started cooking again."
Shirley said he's excited to get to work with Ugly in Savannah. "I've got a lot of stuff that's happened since the last time I've been there," he said.
The BTS Radio Show airs from 4-6 p.m. every Wednesday.
"I put the show together myself," he every Wednesday. "I do music and comedy clips. The music I play is well-known groups, but the B sides that you don't hear on the radio."
In addition, Shirley is playing a gun-for-hire in a 3D western film called "Forgiven" slated for release in 2014.
"I play a guy called Brother Hope, a crooked preacher," he said. "It's a speaking part.
"I've been in independent films," Shirley said. "One had Keanu Reeves in a cameo. Another had Shirley Jones and her husband, Marty Ingalls."
Stories from Shirley's third book, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Club," have become a big part of his radio shows.
"Slowly, I've been working them into the act," he said. "I did 30 minutes the other night."
In Savannah, Shirley is going to do several things. "I'm going to do standup, but they will also hear stories from the book and see a clip," he said.
"The clip got 900 something views for two weeks. This is a story I do live, and I've added some more stuff."
In addition, Shirley is a syndicated columnist for the Will Rogers Weekly Telegram and a Will Rogers tribute artist. He considers Ugly a good friend and is looking forward to working with him in Savannah.
"Three of the stories in 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Club' are about Dave Ugly," Shirley said. "Dave doesn't drink anymore, so now there will be no more stories on Dave."
The two both started out at the same workshop at The Comedy Zone in Charleston. They still often find themselves doing the same things.
"I took Dave on the road with me to do shows in Sioux City, Iowa," Shirley said. "We've done Mississippi.
"It's not about ego. We're both equals on this show. You get two headliners for the price of one."
IF YOU GO
What: Savannah Comedy Revue presents Brian T. Shirley and Dave Ugly
When: 8 p.m. July 5
Where: Bay Street Theatre, 1 Jefferson St.
Cost: $9 general admission, $15 VIP seating