IF YOU GO
What: Comedian Steve Byrne.
When: 7:30 and 10 p.m. today and Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday.
Where: The Comedy Catch, 3224 Brainerd Road.
Admission: $19 today and Saturday; $16 Sunday.
Steve Byrne knew after his first time telling a joke in front of a crowd that he wanted to be a comedian.
"I didn't know if I'd make a dime, but I knew that is what I wanted to do," he said.
Over the years, his stand-up routines have evolved from physical to cerebral, and that's simply because "I've grown up," he said.
"When I first started, I was a lot more physically animated. That was more from a lack of experience in writing, so I did it with smoke and mirrors. I'm not the same guy I was at 23."
The son of an Irish father and an Asian mother, one thing he's never done much of was focus on his heritage.
"I never wanted to be an Asian comic," he said. "What I do now is a lot more about being an American. I want to be inclusive of everyone. I try not to do the Asian mom stuff because I never looked at myself that way."
Byrne, who headlines at The Comedy Catch this weekend, has been featured on "Comedy Central Presents" and recorded two one-hour specials for the network, "Steven Byrne's Happy Hour" and "Byrne Identity."
He's been on "The Tonight Show," "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Comic View" and "The Late, Late Show." He also has been featured in the films "The Dilemna," "Couples Retreat" and "Four Christmases."
His "awkward situation" videos also are popular on YouTube. He also is working on a pilot and hopes to one day star in his own sitcom.
"Doing the film and TV stuff is fun," he said. "You have to start thinking about other opportunities, but you have to be a pretty patient person. The instant gratification of being onstage and getting that laugh, or they don't laugh, is great."
While he is happy with where his career stands at this point, Byrne said he tries to see the big picture but doesn't take anything for granted.
"I look at myself as the tortoise, not the hare," he said. "At the end of the day, I want to kick back in my rocking chair and be able to look at my body of work and be proud of all of it.
"I've always felt like I'm somebody who's earned everything I have. I'm trying to do my best every single moment."
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...