Paula Poundstone wants to make Boulder laugh.
The Dairy Center tries its hand at comedy.
Hippieman has a plan for America. Like most Boulderites.
The only difference is, his made Craig Ferguson laugh.
OK, maybe there are a few other differences, too. Hippieman's plan for America also includes his recipe for special brownies.
"I don't like to brag, but two of those brownies would have wrapped up that whole Iraq thing in like two days," he says. You might have seen him lay out his "plan" on TV. One of Boulder's most famous comedians, with his long, curly grey hair and wandering eye, has appeared on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" twice.
He's been touring the country as a full-time comedian for the past 12 years, and this summer, he's been helping revive Boulder County's comedy scene. He performed at The Dairy Center for the Arts' new comedy night and most recently at Miller's Grill in Lafayette. Outside the county, he headlined a show at Denver's Comedy Works on Wednesday.
If you missed those shows, he also regularly pops in to the Sunday comedy nights at the Bohemian Biergarten in Boulder.
Born of real hippies -- in Boulder, of course -- Hippieman is shockingly not his legal name. He is John Novosad, Boulder High School graduate.
"I am actually torn about the name 'Hippieman,' " Novosad says. "It's good, because people remember it, but it also pigeonholes me. You probably think it's all weed jokes."
Indeed, there is more to Hippieman -- and more to his plan for America. For example, his solution for immigration: "Take all illegal immigrants, make them all U.S. citizens, give them higher-paying jobs and then outsource all of their jobs to India. Welcome to America, pal."
One of the things that makes Hippieman so funny is that many of his jokes are ironically opposite of what you'd expect a hippie to say, says Chuck Roy, a Denver-based comedian who has worked with Hippieman over the years. Together, they created the "Bobo & Blue" show at the Comedy Works and did two years of podcasts with Uncle Nasty, then of Denver radio station KBPI. They even worked together on the Renewable Energy Comedy Show.
"An audience member might expect Hippieman to be against war, yet he suggests manufacturing shovels to arm illegal immigrants to solve the war in Afghanistan. 'Tell them to hit anyone who isn't carrying a shovel,' " Roy says, reciting one of Hippieman's jokes. "Audiences roar with laughter, and it's opposite the peace and love you might expect from a hippie. When I book shows, Hippieman is the first I call."
Ever since he was a kid, Novosad has been out to get a laugh, he says. He says his home life was happy (forget the disturbed-comic stereotype). After his father died when he was 6, he says he began telling jokes at the dinner table to make his two siblings laugh.
"But as far as being funny in front of your friends and a crowd, it's totally different," he says.
He still clearly remembers his first attempt at stand-up. It was 1980, and he was about 25. A friend invited him to an open mic at a music venue called the Blue Note (now closed). He had about five minutes on stage.
"It was overwhelming, in a sense, because there was so much info coming at me. I got a few laughs, but, well, the crowd was very forgiving," Novosad says. "After 21/2 half minutes, I had nothing left to say."
He bombed it. But it sparked a passion inside him. He ended up quitting his job at a magazine distribution company to pursue comedy full time. When he had about 15 minutes of solid material, he hit the road.
Since he recommitted to comedy full time a little more than a decade ago, he has earned a reputation. He performed on a nationally syndicated show called Comedy.tv.
"Hippieman is a quiet guy, yet he easily commands a Red Rocks Amphitheatre audience of 8,000 in his yearly appearances at Film on the Rocks," says comedian Roy.
Novosad has opened for big names such as Josh Blue (winner of "Last Comic Standing" ) and Craig Ferguson. In fact, that's how he landed his TV spots. Ferguson saw Hippieman's act and invited him to perform.
He wore his father's tie and a thrift-store sports coat both times. That's his television tradition, he says.
Novosad says he feels pretty close to "making it."
"Although I'm not even sure you know when you get there," he says.
Maybe it's his name, or maybe it's his hometown, but Novosad says he does believe in the "hippie dream" -- his dream is that if he works hard enough and stays focused and goes after the business aspects of being a comedian, he can bring his act to the next level.
As he tells himself before each show, "Swing hard at the ball. Swing hard every time."
Contact Staff Writer Aimee Heckel at 303-473-1359 or email@example.com.