Meet the star of Before Hightail

Liana

January 24, 2014

Butch Escobar, stand-up comic and star of the Before Hightail TV commercial, talks about being a funny big guy, swallowing USB drives and working a baby shower.Butch actor in Hightail Commercial

People don’t think that I’ll be funny
When I walk on stage at comedy clubs, audiences think that someone who looks like me won’t be funny. I like to talk about it straight off, say something like “what’s the security guard doing up here?” That usually chills them out.

I started doing comedy as a dare
My first show was about nine years ago in San Jose. Friends had been telling me I should do comedy, so I got a slot at an improv night. I was throwing up backstage beforehand. The guy was telling me that I was on, but for me it was like the teacher in Charlie Brown—all I heard was “WAH-WAH WAH WAH-WAH”.

For the first four years I was awful
I was writing jokes that I thought were funny but none of it was from the heart. One day I realized that talking about my own life could be even funnier and since then it’s really clicked. Now people get a kick from seeing this big scary-looking dude talking about being lazy or telling funny stories about his five-year old son.

I’m a different monster on stage
Though I’ve played big clubs with big names in comedy like Doug Stanhope, Joe Rogan and Felipe Esparza, I still get nervous before every show. But once I get onstage, I turn that anxiety into positive energy and become a different person.

I love pretending to be other people
15 years ago, a friend dragged me along to be an extra on a Disney movie. I saw all the union actors sitting around eating omelets and thought, that’s what I want to do with my life. I got a part in a Slim Jim commercial that took off and now I love being in front of a camera.

I’m not afraid of being typecast
People always want me to play the tough guy or the drug dealer. I’m cool with that but I also want to do comedy or dramatic roles. I’d love to play a dad. People wouldn’t expect to see someone like me on screen as a regular family guy but I think it would work because that’s what I am.

Stand-up is good preparation for being on set
As a comic I’m used to going in and out of character all the time while on stage. On the set of the Hightail commercial I really enjoyed goofing around with the crew in between takes, making everyone laugh. But as soon as the camera was rolling, I could get straight into the tough guy character.

Swallowing all those USB drives was hard work
The prop crew had made candy USB drives that I could actually eat. But the problem was swallowing it whole and then delivering the line. Luckily one of my hobbies is magic, so sometimes I was able to just palm the drive without anyone noticing. But I did end up eating quite a lot of them. I was full up by the end of the shoot.

Watch Butch downing candy flash drives in this hilarious blooper reel.

It’s still not the weirdest job I’ve had
I recently got asked to do a baby shower. Some guy had seen my stand-up show and wanted me to just go around the room at the party and make people laugh. I was super nervous before it, as I had no idea how it would go. But it actually worked and everyone had a really fun day.

Follow Butch on Twitter and check out his weekly podcast, Gravel Pit.

The Before Hightail commercial is currently running on BBC America, Comedy Central, E!, Esquire, Science, SyFy and TBS, or you can watch it on YouTube.