"I think we're all just too lazy to shave," quips T.J. Young, one of the four whiskered dudes who make up the Beards of Comedy. The Beards, as they refer to themselves, are headlining Theatre 99 on Dec. 2, marking their third stop in Charleston since they banded together in 2008.
"Our show has matured from where it probably was the last time we were there," Young continues. Each of the four guys — Andy Sandford, Dave Stone, Joe Zimmerman, and Young — will perform stand-up and some "extracurriculars," their terminology for the sketches, haikus, and other bits that are spliced between the longer one-man routines.
Despite the ubiquitous facial hair, Southern roots, and an affinity for plaid, "No two of us are exactly the same," Young says. "You get four distinct voices. It meshes really well."
The Beards' brand of comedy lacks the raunch-factor of a roast and strays from stereotypical Southern stand-up, the kind Zimmerman says the Blue Collar Comedy Tour created. They rely more on mixing wordplay, wit, or "the WTF stuff in life," Young adds. Both he and Zimmerman use the word "silly" to describe their point of view, but don't expect to see pure slapstick on stage.
"We're more of a New York sort of style, but we came up in the South," Zimmerman says. He, along with Sandford and Young, recently moved to New York, while Stone is currently based in Atlanta with plans to move to Los Angeles. "There's a really cool underground in the Southeast and I like to think we're part of it."
They've taken to the web, launching video shorts that have a similar feel to their jokes: a twist, an observation, a kicker. The foursome also recently released an album, The Comedy Central Records Cardio Mix, which, despite the name and The Royal Tenenbaums-esque sweatbands on the cover, should not be loaded onto your iPod before a workout.
"There will be somebody out there who tries to run to it and will have to sit down on a bench and drink some water," Zimmerman says of the ironic title. "We have a lot of jokes about food and eating and being unhealthy."
The Beards are quick to make themselves the punchline, or perhaps paunch line, given all of the self-deprecating comments ("I guess my first goal is to not look like a competitive eater," Stone jokes in a video on their site). They also take digs at everyone from vegetarians to corporate America.
"If you're on the fence about coming out to the show ... it's not a guarantee, but there's always the possibility at a Beards show that you'll just find money lying around," say Zimmerman. "Just cash — suitcases of it."