The Rivers run funny

During his still-budding stand-up career, comic Andrew Rivers has often been The Middle Guy. Now, he might be The Next Big Thing.

The middle guy comes between the opening stand-up comic and the headliner at a comedy show, and the spot is usually reserved for lesser known, up-and-coming comics.

But Rivers is headlining five shows at the Tacoma Comedy Club this weekend. The youthful looking comic is the son of longtime Seattle radio personality Bob Rivers.

The younger Rivers has appeared twice on the FOX stand-up show “Laughs,” where he was named “The Next Big Thing.” The show airs in limited markets.

Q: You have a lot of jokes about your parents in your show. Do they like it?

A: My dad welcomes it, and I think she secretly likes it. They are very different people. My father and I communicate in grunts. My mom calls every six hours: “Do you need me to do your laundry?” “I’m at Costco. Do you need muffins?” I get them back for all the pain they have caused me.

Q: What’s growing up with Bob Rivers like?

A: When you grow up around it, it’s not that big of a deal. Now that I’m pursuing my own career in entertainment and starting to write my own little stupid jokes, I appreciate the work he put in and I forgive him for missing my Little League games.

Q: Was comedy a recurrent theme at home?

A: I learned at an early age to tackle your insecurities or other issues with comedy. Whenever my brother or I were angry teenagers, my father would just make fun of us. It disarmed everything.

Q: How much did your father’s career influence your own?

A: It was a huge influence because I grew up with that around. He had huge, interesting comedians (on the show), and he took me to see comedy shows when I was younger. When I was 13, we saw Steven Wright in Seattle. (His stage persona is) very dry. I didn’t get it was a character. After the show — I probably looked 9 — he said, “Hey, little buddy, did you enjoy the show?” I asked him, “Are you on drugs?”

Q: Do you really live out of your Toyota Corolla when on tour?

A: It’s a cool thing, but it’s becoming less cool the more I do it. I started comedy six years ago when I lost my job. Comedy doesn’t pay that well at the beginning. I just finished a 13-week tour. I could fly out to some of these clubs, but if I drive out, I can crash with friends or sleep in my car in a sleeping bag.

Q: You’ve opened for Christopher Titus, Mike Birbiglia, Richard Lewis and Billy Gardell. How’s it being a middle guy?

A: Sometimes after a show people will say, “We never like the middle guy, but you were great.” Their expectations are so low for me.

Q: Gardell compared you, favorably I believe, to an embryo. I’d say you look at least 12 years old.

A: Thank you. I’m actually 29. It’s a gift and a curse. Maybe when I’m 40 years old, high school girls will finally be into me.

Q: Can we see “Laughs” locally?

A: No. It’s in 11 cities right now: Chicago, New York, LA, Minneapolis. ... They showcase a bunch of comics on each show. I’m having my third appearance on the show on Dec. 28. It’s great experience and exposure for someone at my level.