INSIDE THE SOLO FEST… INTERVIEW WITH MALCOLM GRISSOM

Inside the Solo Fest provides behind-the-scenes interviews with each of our featured artists in the 2nd annual PlayGround Solo Performance Festival, running through February 10 at Potrero Stage. In this issue, we introduce Malcolm Grissom, who returns with his one-person show, STOP HAVING ZOMBIE SEX, this Thursday, February 7 at 8pm.

Malcolm Grissom’s life started in the back seat of a sports car, in front of his entire neighborhood. So, it’s no surprise that he has spent most of his life onstage. Former stand-up comedian turned monologist, Grissom performs around the country in various festivals and introduces his latest venture.

What’s your show about?

“Stop Having Zombie Sex” is a sex-positive love story between a man and his addiction. It’s a sequel to my last show, “Me, My Song, and I”. That show was an autobiographical revisiting of my struggles with a deadly childhood virus that took away my abilities to walk and talk, and tracking my journey to becoming a professional stand-up comedian. In that show, I explored the concept of identity. This show is an autobiographical account of my struggles with love and sexual addiction and intimacy. This is the first show that I experiment with both singing and multimedia presentations.

How would you describe your performance style?

Very personal and interactive.

What can audiences expect with your show?

When audiences see “Stop Having Zombie Sex”, I want people to have a sympathetic understanding of addiction. I want people to know that it is something that can happen to any of us. One of my motivations for writing and performing stories is to share love and introduce concepts and/or people that may be foreign to some. Bottom line, though, is audiences can expect to have fun and laugh.

Why solo performance? What’s special about this art form and how does it serve the work you do?

I was performing stand-up comedy for about 10 years before growing bored of simply entertaining people and getting laughs. Don’t get me wrong, I love laughing and making others laugh. It’s a great way to connect with people. However, I wanted more. I wanted to make audiences laugh and leave them with a message. Or at least give them a chance to explore emotions and concepts that aren’t often explored. That’s why I started solo performing. But comedy will always be a big part of my storytelling.

I chose solo performing because I don’t need to mold myself to fit anyone else’s stereotypes or visions. I stopped pursuing traditional ensemble theater because I was tired of being cast as the butler or the homeless guy or the chauffeur, either because of racism or prejudice against my disability. In my shows, I have directors and coaches, but, ultimately, I have the final say.

If you weren’t doing solo performance, you’d be…

Writing for others then directing and producing.

Catch Malcolm Grissom in STOP HAVING ZOMBIE SEX, February 7 at 8pm. For more information and tickets, visit http://playground-sf.org/solofest.