Marital Status: Single
Location: Houston, TX
Education: Some college
Hometown: Beaumont, TX
Year of first performance: April 2000
Number of performances: Absolutely no idea. Easily over 200 a year.
If you do a name search you will discover that there is one or fewer people in the United States named Slade Ham. Not surprising you scoff. True, but for all you thinking it’s a stage name, you would be incorrect. Now that we have that cleared up, let’s continue.
I have never met Mr. Ham in person or even seen him do his stand-up comedy show. To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t listened to his act on CD until recently when I purchased his latest effort, “Three-legged Unicorn”. I laughed out loud, something I am not prone to do as I fall into the group deemed “tough” audience. I was pleasantly amused by the fact that this man, whom I have chatted with online, exchanged emails and faithfully read for years, is as funny live as his pondering on paper. Slade’s work is not for the stupid, if you read his writings or listen to his live material and you don’t get it, let me clue you in, “you are whom he is talking about in his rants.”
Introduced to Slade’s blog on MySpace back in 2006 through a mutual friend, I have been annoying him ever since. I have auctioned him off on a friend’s MySpace page, referred to him as “pork chop” as though he was just a “piece of meat”, convinced him to allow a group of friends to conduct a dating contest on his blog, and periodically leave obscure comments on his blog to which he always has a clever response. If I can state anything besides the obvious; that his intellect and talents are immense, it would be that he has shown himself to be good-natured and professional.
I figured why stop the harassment now? Having just returned from another tour with the USO in Iraq, producing his second CD and touring the southwest, surely he has time for me. In replying to my email asking for an interview he wrote, “I don’t BASE jump.” Maybe not at this point in his life, but I wouldn’t remove it from his bucket list just yet. He then asked, “What angle are you going for with this?” My reply, “Please, you have read my writing, you expect me to have an angle?” Realizing whom he was dealing with, he agreed to “just go with it”.
So here’s my angle, I supplied him with 20 questions, he had a couple of days between his hectic schedule to answer them as honestly as he could without pondering the greater meaning of it all. For those of you who know Mr. Ham, perhaps his answers will offer you further insight into someone you thought you knew all too well and for those being introduced to him for the first time; I whole heartedly suggest he is someone you should know.
“Hey Slade, ask your people if you are available to do my radio show next Friday and have them get back to my people.” 🙂
1. To what degree do you think being raised in a single parent household played in your remaining in a 7 year relationship that was so toxic to your well-being?
Honestly, I’ve never thought of it in that context. I’m sure Freudian psychology screams to the contrary, but I have never really considered my parents’ relationship with each other to have any bearing on my decision to stay in or get out of my own relationships. My parents did not get along. They just didn’t. I was eight when they divorced, and as rocky of a road as that is for any kid, I somehow knew that it was the best thing for all of us. I don’t think I ever blamed them for splitting up, and I definitely never wished they had stayed together just for the sake of staying together.
My reasons for staying were entirely different. Again, there is certainly some rationalization on my part, but sometimes it is easier to stay than it is to leave. I had a lot of things going on in my life that were positive, from my career on the road to my comedy club back at home, and adding more upheaval to the mix wasn’t something I was ready to do. The drama that existed while we were together was smaller than the drama that would have come with leaving her. That’s why it was much easier to have it end on her terms.
That, and I possibly possessed a few co-dependent qualities at that phase in my life.
I think the fact that I watched my parents’ relationship deteriorate was just coincidental. I never tried to hang on for those reasons, though the possibility that I did has to seem glaring.
2. At what moment did you realize that you could intentionally make people laugh and could earn a living do so?
I’m still not positive that I know that for sure. I’ve been fortunate in that I have always found a way to slide underneath the fence of responsibility. With my radio career or opening a club or doing comedy as I do now, it’s really all just come about because I tend to do what I think is fun. The fact that they pay me for it is a happy bonus. When my club closed in 2007, it was the first time I wasn’t actively doing more than one thing. I’ve always had several irons in the fire and they always tend to overlap. Suddenly, I was presented with the reality that I only had one source of income, and it was untested as a viable, singular, income source. Fortunately, it did pay enough, and still does.