Comedian Eddie Ifft: A Mixed Bag of Nuts - page 3

By Jessamyn Cuneo on April 30, 2006

Eddie Ifft, pictures, picture, photos, photo, pics, pic, images, image, stand-up, comedian, comedy, jokes, Comedy CentralThe first time Ifft stepped onstage, he'd just downed two double-black coffees with heaps of sugar. "I thought that hyper-manic energy was what made me funny," he says.

Then he started to get heart palpitations.

"I went back to the bartender who'd asked me if I was crazy when I ordered the coffee," continues Ifft, "and I ordered a gin and tonic. He said, 'Now that's more like it.' As he was handing it to me, I remember thinking; this is how it all starts. This is the beginning of my True Hollywood Story. I'm going to end up in the Betty Ford Clinic."

Ifft was initially attracted to stand-up comedy because he suddenly found himself getting paid for saying all the things that had previously caused problems in his life.

"I realized that all the drama in my life that got me in trouble, people would pay money for that," Ifft says. "That I could get really drunk, and go onstage, and get paid for it, was just unbelievable."

But Ifft didn't let the intoxication with his newfound freedom obliterate everything in his life from then on. With time, he's learned the art of moderation.

"I've just started to settle down a bit, grow up," he says, "which I never wanted to do. I have a lot of really good things going on in my life right now, and I don't want anything interfering. I think drinking can do that. I've never had a drinking problem. Like I say onstage, I was a problem. Drinking just caught a free ride on me."

Times have certainly been tougher than they are now for Ifft. In 2001, he was living in New York City, performing 7-8 times a night, as well as shooting pilots and auditioning for movies. It seemed like everything was falling into place.

Then, it all fell apart.

"There was this thing called 9/11," Ifft says dryly, "and everything started falling through, one after another, after another. Everything collapsed until the point where I had nothing."

Desperate to keep his profession, Ifft spoke with an agent who recommended that he move to England for the time being, until things evened out in America. Ifft figured he had nothing to lose, so he headed over and discovered, as described in his own words (and crooned to the tune from Aladdin), "a whole new world."

"My first night [in England], I got booed off the stage," Ifft recalls. "My second night, I got a standing ovation. My attitude was the only thing that changed."

"The first night, I was really tentative and docile," he explains, "and the second night I was like, you know what? I have nothing to lose. These people judged me so harshly last night, that I'm gonna throw it in their face. I guess I became the arrogant American they thought I was. I was like, 'I'm going to play up to the character.' And it worked."