Community Culture Extraordinary Expats
Get inspired by stand-up comedian Jonathan Rollins
- by Hedir Al-chalabi
- 27 May 2015
- 0 Comments
- 273 Views
It was interesting to meet Jonathan Rollins, an American living the Swedish dream. With transparency and simplicity he exposed his life stories, most of them very funny or silly. Life experiences are interesting, especially when they are told by a comedian.
1. When and why did you move from US to Stockholm?
I’ve been here for just over two years now. Like most expats here, I’m a love refugee. My wife is from Stockholm. We lived together in the US (New Jersey/DC) for six years. I’m originally from Miami, so we didn’t have family around us. It got a bit lonely after a while. It came time to have children and we decided it was best to go to Stockholm to be with my wife’s family. It’s been a great decision so far. My wife has a wonderful family.
2. What inspires you when you write?
I always think of myself as an audience member of my work. I think of how I would feel if I was taking in the artwork that I am creating. Then I go off of those emotions. I trust my intuition. If I think something is funny, then I assume other sane people will think it’s funny as well.
3. Why stand-up comedy?
I have always admired stand-up comedians. It takes so much bravery to get on stage alone and make people laugh. Once in high school, my acting teacher told us all that stand-up comedy is very difficult. She asked if anyone would be willing to try and get in front of the class and tell jokes. I volunteered, of course. I got in front of the class and told some jokes I heard from a raunchy comedian about “my crackhead uncle”. Nobody laughed (except for my sister). I stood there with a stupid smile on my face while everyone stared at me. My respect for the craft increased dramatically. I vowed to one day try this and actually get good results. I tried it and got hooked. There’s nothing like that shot of adrenaline you get after a successful routine.
4. How do you manage to be so active, being a father, having shows etc?
My wife is my rock. She supports every realistic goal I have. She really wants me to be happy here and I appreciate her so much for that. I tell her what I would like to do and she tells me if it works with our schedule. Somehow she does it in a way that I feel less like a little child than I do now as I say this.
5. I understand you wrote a movie script… can you tell us something more about it?
I can give you a little tidbit. I was inspired by a story of a kid that got drunk and fell onto the train tracks. Another kid saw him and pulled him to safety just before the train pulled in at the station, then left after dropping him off at the hospital. The story was in the paper. The drunk kid had woken up in the hospital and wondered who saved him. He and his mom pleaded for the hero to come forward. I wondered why the hero didn’t come forward. In my story the heroes are drug dealers that don’t want to deal with the police. The drunk kid is a rich kid of a politician trying to get re-elected. Some other guys pretend to be the heroes to get a reward and the drug dealers don’t like it…
6. What work plans do you have for the future?
I plan to raise a responsible young man that contributes positively to society (no promises). I am working to get my script picked up so we can see this wonderful story acted out. I want to keep honing my skills on stage and writing so that I can have a full 30 minute show. Writing is the key. It’s my love. I plan to keep writing until I feel my voice reaches enough people. I also want to keep producing good episodes of the podcast I started with some friends (The Power Meeting Podcast). It’s growing rapidly now and it’s been so fun to do.
7. What do you think about your Swedish audience?
Swedes are very polite. They are very familiar with American culture, so that makes it a bit easier for me to be relatable. They are also amazing at English. It’s a great place for me to put out content. I do find Swedes to be a bit too politically correct. I’ve seen crowds that love some jokes a comedian makes until he/she says something about some minority group. It’s obviously a joke. The comedian obviously isn’t a racist. But the crowd gets completely uncomfortable. It’s like they feel guilty. Lighten up, Stockholm. It’s just jokes.
8. Do you do shows in any other countries? If not, are you planning?
I haven’t worked anywhere else yet. I am still new at this. I am interested in doing shows in other parts of Scandinavia and I would love to try out London. It’s exciting to think about trying my style of humor in different cultures. I also plan to do some gigs stateside when I visit.
9. Do you see yourself writing a comic book?
10. Can you share a short story about yourself that the public would like to hear.
People ask how I met my wife. It wasn’t supposed to happen. I was stationed in Turkey and I was never able to go on holiday trips with the rest of the base because my job never closed down (I was an air traffic controller). I got deployed to Iraq and came back to Turkey right around Memorial Day. I was lucky enough to be on my R&R (rest and relaxation) at the same time the base was off. I went on the trip to Alanya with all of my friends. My wife was there on her graduation trip. She saw me the night before I met her. I was walking down the street like a drunken zombie and she somehow found me attractive. My friends met her and her friends and told me the next day about 25 Swedish girls. I bugged them all day about these girls. There had to be one for me!
My friends had the address to the 25 Swedish girls’ hotel room. I finally got them to go there. My wife was coming down with a cold and wasn’t going to go out. She came down to tell her friends goodbye. Then she recognized the drunken zombie from the night before. Something told her to go out despite her cold. She asked her friends to wait while she got ready. I didn’t know what was happening. I was ready to party with these pretty ladies. They said we were waiting for a girl. Then my future wife came down to the lobby. I was drawn to her. I told her we would ride in the taxi together. We did. I had no idea that she had planned this whole thing. We exchanged email addresses and trips across the Atlantic Ocean until we finally became a union for what will be our forever.
11. How can people find out more about your work? How can they contact you?
I have a blog http://jonrollinsiii.blogspot.se. I’m on Facebook and Twitter (@jonrollinsiii). I will be at as many comedy shows as possible around Stockholm as I try to get better at this. You can also email me at [email protected].