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Comedy writer highlight: Todd Gardner

Updated: Jul 10

Todd Gardner (@hottoddlincoln) is a Baltimore-based performer and “old time strongman” (more on that below) who doesn’t sleep much. His side hustles include being a playwright, photographer, painter, and wedding officiant. Below, we made him answer five short questions.

Introduce yourself in a tweet of only140 characters, which is the old limit:

Hello! I'm a sideshow performer, old time strongman, and pun enthusiast. I employ creative takes on classic acts of strength and daring.

Dream vacation (pre-, post- COVID):

I think my dream vacation pre-COVID was to hit the road on a long performance tour. Now, it's to do the same, but to also go to where my friends in other places live, so that I can share space with them, and give/receive ALL the hugs.

Do you have a pandemic animal? In what ways does this animal enhance your life, and in what ways does this animal terrorize it?:

I wound up finding 5 kittens that were in the bushes near my house. A friend help me find homes for 4 of them, while I wound up keeping one. She's a beautiful black cat named Mia Feral. [insert complaint from Julie: She has more followers than me!] She's genuinely excited to see me when I get home, and nuzzles my beard, and headbutts me. She also purrs when I pet her, and she'll sleep on my lap.

On the flip side, she likes to bite, and will attack my feet as I walk by her. The biting and attacking aren't bad. I'm fully in the "life is better with her" column.

How did you come up with your best joke?:

I think my best jokes are reactionary or those that are relatable. For example, I have a joke I use when I roll a frying pan. I talk about loving to cook, but my real passion is standing by the highway and making cars go slow (the pan looks like a radar gun after it's rolled). I also host shows at times, and really just involving the folks in attendance and creating a shared experience is often the fodder for great joke opportunities.

Describe your comedy writing process: When I do write material, I strive for it to be clear, and narrative. There's transformation involved. I do my best to use humor, and compassion. I never punch down, choosing self-deprecation instead. When I write, I generally have a punchline in mind, or an experience that I want to make more universal. The connection with an audience is the thing. If I'm overly clever, or obtuse... then the connection suffers.

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