Comedian Eddie Ifft: A Mixed Bag of Nuts - page 2

By Jessamyn Cuneo on April 30, 2006

Eddie Ifft, pictures, picture, photos, photo, pics, pic, images, image, stand-up, comedian, comedy, jokes, Comedy CentralIfft's also grateful and conscientious, taking time to speak to people after his shows, sign his CD entitled I Learned the Hard Way, and pose for pictures with his fans. He puts on a very interactive and laid-back performance, transforming the atmosphere of the room into a gathering of friends at a party, with everyone's attention focused on the usual "clown," but in his case, it's an extra-polished clown.

It all began for this comic (who refuses to reveal his age) back in Catholic grade school in western Pennsylvania, where he was accused of pulling a wig off of a nun.

"I collaborated on it, and I got blamed for it completely," Ifft insists. "But to this day, I swear Mark D___ did it!"

The (semi-)wrongfully-accused Ifft went on to assume that if the trouble fits, he might as well go ahead and wear it. Ifft grew up in a house with three sisters, so he had to think up some daring and brash actions to claim enough attention to satisfy his needs.

"Junior high, I got kicked out for just being annoying," he says. "My parents went to the parent-teacher conference, and even the janitor and lunch-lady were there complaining about me. They told my mom they didn't want me back."

Ifft's parents weren't sure how to deal with their overly rambunctious son, so they decided to try and enroll him in military school. Ifft purposely failed the exams, and when the school decided to accept him anyway ("It was that scary, 'Break him in, break him down' [mentality]" he explains), Ifft threatened to go AWOL the first day and disappear from his parent's lives forever. Needless to say, he won that battle and attended Fox Chapel public high school the following fall.

After a rocky beginning to high school, Ifft motivated himself enough to graduate because he wanted to go to college - not so much for the scholastics aspect of continuing education, but more because when all his friends left town, he didn't want to miss out on the wild times.

"All through high school, I was looking forward to college because I was like, 'Wait, college, I get to party?'" Ifft confesses. "I didn't look at college as the opportunity to get educated in the least bit. I looked at it as in, 'Huh? I wonder how many beer bongs I can do in a night?' I didn't learn a thing. I really regret wasting all that money."

However, Ifft managed to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Political Science, because he liked solving problems and speaking in front of an audience.

"Some people say [politics are] 'the poor man's Hollywood,'" Ifft says. "I wanted to do it until I found out a) you don't solve any problems, you probably create more, and b) it's worse than 'the poor man's Hollywood.' I'd rather be the guy who helps people but no one knows he helped them, than the guy who just takes credit for it. I'd rather have the admiration of my peers than the public."

After a brief post-graduate stint in insurance, Ifft walked onstage to an open mic one night, and decided he enjoyed doing stand-up enough to pursue it from then on.