FAIRBANKS — Comedian Ryan Hamilton has shared the stage with a lot of notable celebrities, but he had a standout moment this summer when a world-famous fuzzy green frog introduced him.
“It’s really hard to follow Kermit,” Hamilton said with a laugh. “I mean, he’s such an icon.”
Hamilton appeared at the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in July, hosted by the Muppets. He tweeted, “This little puppet’s dream came true — I’m working with The Muppets tonight!” (His Twitter handle is @ryanhamiltone.)
He tried to see the backstage workings of the famous puppets, but didn’t succeed. “They’re very secretive. They don’t let you see what’s going on,” he said Monday from Salt Lake City. “They don’t like people seeing the magic behind the Muppets.”
Even worse, Hamilton said he and the other comics were upstaged by the puppets who introduced them. “The comics would get up on stage and the people would go, ‘more Muppets!’”
Hamilton is from small-town Idaho — he recently spoke at his high school alma mater’s homecoming — but now calls New York City his base. In just a few years on the comedy circuit, he has been named one of Rolling Stone’s top 5 comics to watch and has appeared on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and Showtime special “Caroline Rhea and Friends.” He’s performed on the Conan O’Brien show and has won a slew of contests, including the MVP award for “The Comedy Leagues” competition at the Montreal festival.
Hamilton is known for his on-stage charisma, big smile and crisply written, clean comedy. That has made him a favorite at venues all across the country. He recently taped a spot for an upcoming Nickelodeon show called “Mom’s Night Out” for niche channel NickMom.
He’s also on the road a lot and enjoys traveling. Hamilton is in Interior Alaska this week doing shows in Delta Junction, North Pole and Fairbanks. It’s a far different experience than his visit last November, when temperatures were flirting with minus 50.
“I like seeing new places,” he said. “I like to experience the best of whatever place I’m in.” Hamilton said when he travels to a new city, he asks about the best restaurants and sights and about what makes the place unique.
“I like the time to think,” he said. “I tend to get pretty focused on my work. When I’m traveling, I get away from distractions. Because New York is so crazy, it’s good to get away for awhile.”
IF YOU GO
What: Comedian Ryan Hamilton
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21 at The Blue Loon (smoke-free)
8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at Kodiak Jack’s
Tickets: $12 in advance; $15 day of show. Available at Gulliver’s Books and at the door.
Contact staff writer Julie Stricker at firstname.lastname@example.org.