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Shayne Smith Interview

Being straight edge can be weird when it comes to making friends and dating as an adult. Without the social lubricant of drugs and alcohol, I have found the best way to overcome my inhibitions in a social setting is through sarcasm and humor. Perhaps a lot of people battling depression and anxiety can relate. 

So when a video clip landed in my feed of a dude covered in tattoos joking about Harry Potter, I was intrigued. While falling down a rabbit hole of his work, I noticed what appeared to be three giant X’s on his throat. I had come across a number of comedians who were open about their sobriety, yet never anyone edge. 

After more lurking online, it was confirmed. I had encountered a unicorn; a nerdy, Jewish straight edge kid from Utah who joked about all kinds of shit I could relate to. From his stand-up videos, Instagram profile, multiple podcasts, and live show I managed to catch before the pandemic, it seems few topics are off-limits. Shayne openly discusses everything from his sword collection, sex life, ghost hunting, past cosplay characters, and depression, sometimes all in the same day. His comedy, as well as real-life experiences, have not only made me laugh but also taught me that you can’t take yourself too seriously. 

So when I first joined xsisterhoodx, I knew I wanted to share his comedy with the rest of the community that may not have had the pleasure. Shayne was kind enough to respond when I asked to interview him about being straight edge in the comedy world. After reading this, check out his work by listening to his podcasts (Freaky Geeks and Cowboy Boys), follow him on Instagram, look up his Dry Bar Comedy videos and many other stand-up clips posted online, or roll the dice and Google search him. Either way, you’re in for a laugh.

(interview from February 2020)

You’ve mentioned a brawl outside of Arby’s in your youth, that being the moment you knew doing hoodrat shit with your friends wasn’t sustainable, but what drew you to straight edge when there are so many other ways to steer away from adolescent shenanigans?

I don’t think straight edge actually had anything really to do with hoodrat shit in my life (I think you might be implying this but I could be reading that wrong). I did know a lot of hood rat straight edge people growing up but that was more about the fact that just everyone I knew was poor and honestly all the worst trouble I was getting in was more motivated by money and people who were in my life offering me opportunities to make money doing hood rat shit. During that time in my life shows and typical types of Straight Edge shenanigans like fights were a break from the craziness of my life.

What drew me to Straight Edge was that they stood for something I believed in starting very young. I grew up around substance abuse and as a young person simply being sober wasn’t enough for me, I wanted to make a statement. I honestly didn’t meet another Straight Edge person for the first 3 years of being Edge it was just about a personal feeling before about that community support and belonging. 

How old were you when you first claimed edge?

I woke up hungover on my 14th birthday and said enough is enough and here I am 33 still Edge.

Is there anyone who inspired you to sobriety? Someone you looked up to at the time? Or still do?

I had no one honestly just the ideal in my imagination. I grew up in a small small town so when I first started claiming I had no real information outside of punks I knew being afraid of Straight Edgers which I fucking loved so I was like yeah I am one of those.

Do you think you would have wound up in a way different place had you not chosen this lifestyle?

100% absolutely altered the course of my life several times in major ways over the course of my life. I don’t think I would be here if I wasn’t Straight Edge.

You’ve joked about people assuming you’ve “done time” because you are heavily tattooed. Do people ever refuse to believe that you don’t do drugs or drink because of your appearance?

All the time. Also the reverse happens where people see how I look and assume not that I am making a choice to be sober but that I am a former addict in recovery that needs to be treated a certain way. I don’t personally see anything at all wrong with being in recovery and I am here to support people in recovery as best I can but it’s frustrating at times to experience the prejudices they go through not only because I feel for them but because here I am not in recovery with one more weird social issue on my plate when I already have so many to overcome.

Have you ever run into other comedians or promoters that give you a hard time for not indulging?

Not comedians. Many comics are in recovery. Comedy as an art form is absolutely jam-packed with fuck ups and mental illness I think more than any other community of people I have seen or been a part of so often I find that they are the most accepting. Promoters however have in the past completely not understood that I am sober and that can be frustrating.

Do you have friends who are straight edge? Or are you the “sober one” in your crew?

I have quite a few Straight Edge friends all things considered. My brother is Straight Edge still and some of my closest friends are in their 30’s and still edge like me. Utah where I am from doesn’t play around so a lot of those commitments I’d bet will be kept for life.

Aside from your XXX throat piece, do you have other straight edge tattoos?

I have X’s all over me, haha it’s kind of absurd at this point. I also have an “Edge over 30” tattoo that is one of my favorites

You may have mentioned you drink Mountain Dew from time to time… do you have any other vices?  

Haha, Diet Soda is a big one for me. A ‘Vice’ is defined as Immoral or wicked behavior and honestly, I try to do everything in my life I’m passionate about like it’s a vice.  

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