Don't ever say you can't teach an old dog new tricks — or new jokes.
When 89-year-old Chuck Esterly made his stand-up comedy debut at the Go Bananas Comedy Club in Cincinnati in mid-October, you could hear the hesitation in the club's audience, a ripple of awkward whispering and a few polite giggles. Who is this old guy? Why is he up here on stage? Is this going to be a one-man rendition of 'Who's On First?'
Esterly killed it.
Obviously, this routine is nowhere near as bawdy as Gabriel Iglesias, or sullen as Louis C.K., or outright raunchy as Amy Schumer. But that actually works to Esterly's benefit. Rather than pretend the audience will ignore his age, he plays into it, owning the role of genial, slightly-confused but remarkably adorable grandfather.
"Everybody here at the comedy club has been nice to me. They could say 'oh, the new guy!,'" Esterly quipped at the beginning of his set. "The manager wish me well. He said: Don't die up there. I think he was talking about my jokes."
It's not just cute — it's a pretty damn solid routine, too. Esterly vacillates from the corny ("break a hip!") to the explicit (fantasizing about his hot younger neighbor), delivered with the smoothness of the dad jokes we know and hate and earning a few big laughs from the crowd. And Esterly sounds like he's in it for the long haul.
"I guess you're wondering why a guy would get up here at my age and make a fool of himself," he said, "but I think it's because I want to prove to you, and myself, that just because you get old, you don't have stop having fun and surprising things happen every day."
Damn straight, Esterly. You can come by the office any day.
Photos by YouTube