When you live just a short walk from an adult nightclub and you’re in your 20s, chances are you’re going to become a regular customer. Or at least, semi-regular. That’s not to say that the people in the club shouted “Shane” every time he walked in (a la “Norm” on Cheers), but Sassy’s in Portland, Oregon, became a favorite hang for Shane Torres, host of this year’s ED’s Awards Show (August 27, Gilley’s, Dallas).

“I lived a 15-minute walk from Sassy’s, so I was there a lot,” says Torres. “There are so many clubs up in the Northwest, I definitely spent some time in those clubs in my early 20s.”

Born and raised on the south side of Fort Worth, Texas, Torres relocated to Portland when he was 22. But it was while living in the Metroplex, home of this year’s ED EXPO (August 25-28, Hyatt Regency Downtown Dallas), that he first got bit by the comedy bug.
“I was always in love with (comedy),” Torres recalls. “I started when I was basically still a kid in Texas, but I didn’t really know the avenues in Dallas to get noticed; I wasn’t part of the ‘scene.’ Eventually, I had a chance to get out of there and kind of figure out my life. So I started in Portland and just kind of fell right back in love with comedy.”

ED Magazine had a chance to catch up with Torres in between episodes of his podcast “No Accounting For Taste,” and before hitting the road with comedic hellraiser Bert Kreischer this summer, to ask about his rising stardom in the world of comedy and what he’s most looking forward to about returning to Texas to host the ED’s.

ED: Aside from your experiences at adult clubs in Portland, do you have any particularly memorable experiences at the clubs in Dallas/Fort Worth?
TORRES: We definitely had some fun at The Clubhouse (the club formerly co-owned by the late Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott and Vinnie Paul Abbott of Pantera—Ed.), and there was also a club called New Orleans Nights in Fort Worth. And I spent some time at a few other places off South I 35 that were like, you know…a little less glamorous would be the way I would put it!

ED: How did Portland factor into your career in comedy?
TORRES: Portland had a small scene, but really creative. So I think that, at the start of it, the key point was just being around people who I thought were good at (comedy) and were interesting. Eventually, I got into a couple of comedy festivals which was a massive thing for me; it was almost like getting into a good college when I got into Montreal’s “Just For Laughs” Festival. That means you might be doing something right and you have a shot at doing well.

ED: After you were a hit at “Just For Laughs” you got the call to be on Conan O’Brien. What was that experience like for you, and how did it help further your career?
TORRES: That first time I was on Conan it blew my mind; it’s like a lot of things in life, you know, these monumental things seem to happen after a lot of work. It went well enough that (Conan) eventually asked me to come back on the show. When I did my second Conan, that’s when he and other people really started to take notice. That’s when I was like, “Oh, my God. I might be okay” (laughs).

ED: Every comedian has something that makes them identifiable and kind of defines what their personality is, their delivery, all the things that go into making them who they are. What do you think are some of your defining characteristics as a comedian?
TORRES: Actually that’s a really good question. Maybe my penchant for self-destruction! But creatively, I think I have my own sound. I’m also like this big kind of burly dude, but I think people can tell how sensitive I am right away. It’s got a “big guys have big feelings” kind of energy to me.

ED: You do your own podcast, and obviously the world is very different now with social media. How important is it for you or any comedian to have a presence online and on social media to establish and promote yourself?
TORRES: I mean, it’s like a billboard, you know. I enjoy doing the podcast, but I hate having to do this type of (social media promotion). I wanted to be an artist. I didn’t want to be a self-branding advertiser. But that’s part of it now. You know, it is what it is, it’s massively important. It’s just as the late, great Greg Giraldo (comedian) once said, “It’s show biz, not show fun.”

ED: You’re about to hit the road with a very high-energy comedian, your friend Bert Kreischer. Does touring with a very high-energy guy like Bert help prepare you for a unique gig like hosting the adult nightclub industry’s awards show?
TORRES: One of the things that attracted me to (the ED’s Awards Show) gig is that it’s not normally something I do; I don’t usually do (private shows). But these big, wild tours with Bert and a couple of other guys I’ve been on the road with, they definitely have a party element to them. I wouldn’t say I’m like, artsy fartsy, but I’m a little left-of-center comedically on some of these shows. Your show definitely seems like a challenge and I’m pretty excited about that.

Tickets for the 2024 ED’s Awards Show at Gilley’s Dallas are $59-$79 and can be purchased at www.theEDexpo.com or by calling (727) 726-3592.
For more information on Shane Torres, visit his official site at www.shaneisacomedian.com and follow him on IG @shanetorres. Photo credit: Samantha Brooks

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