Born in Staunton and based in Richmond, comedian Paige Campbell wears a cowboy hat and books a monthly showcase at Buskey Cider. This month, it’s on Black Friday, and it’s got a lineup sure to excite RVA comedy lovers. Gabe Santamaria caught up with Paige to get the scoop.
This week I talked with outlaw comedian Paige Campbell. The cowboy comedian has been hosting last Fridays at Buskey Cider, and those shows have been packing in crowds. This Friday — Black Friday — Campbell has a great lineup of local comics and some visitors from Philly coming to Buskey for two shows. In the meantime, Paige and I got together to discuss his hometown, the comedy boom, and country music. Here’s our conversation:
Gabe Santamaria: Hey Paige. Thanks for doing this.
Paige Campbell: Thanks for having me.
Gabe: Tell me a little about yourself. All I know is that you have glasses and wear a cowboy hat.
Paige: [laughs] Yeah, love wearing the cowboy hat. I like calling myself an outlaw. I mean, not much to know. Once you start comedy, your life is consumed with it. I’m in my seventh year of doing it. Started pretty young; I started when I was seventeen. I think I’m the kind of guy, if something doesn’t go well, I’ll just not try it again, but it went pretty well the first time. So, I just haven’t stopped.
Gabe: Nice. Are you from Richmond?
Paige: I’m from Virginia. Probably not a town you heard of. You know Staunton?
Gabe: Think I’ve seen the sign on the highway.
Paige: Yeah. Its about an hour and half west [of Richmond]. It’s a pretty nothing town. I always tell people ‘it’s the kind of town you either get addicted to meth or Jesus, or you leave.’
Gabe: Oh shit, it’s one of those types.
Paige: It’s one of those kinds.
Gabe: So you’re based in the city now?
Paige: Yeah. I’m in Richmond now. I’ve lived in Richmond for two or three years. For forever it was just, you know, stayed in my home town after high school and I was driving to Richmond most nights. Just trying to get stage time. And now that I’m in Richmond, it’s driving to DC all the time or driving to wherever. You’re never not driving.
Gabe: Tell me if I’m wrong, but it feels like comedy is having a real boom right now.
Paige: Yeah, I would agree. It kind of felt like it was in a boom pre-COVID-19. But post-COVID it’s like, yeah, people just want to do something. I say post-COVID, but I know it’s still out there, of course.
Gabe: [laughs] Oh yeah. I don’t know what to call it right now. How’s post-vaccination?
Paige: Post-vaccination. Exactly. Yeah, we’re living in limbo. Once the vaccine started rolling out, shows really haven’t been as light as they used to be. People want to do stuff. They want to come out. They want to laugh. It’s great.
Gabe: I feel like I’ve been hearing about more people watching specials and going to see shows. So it’s been very nice.
Paige: Yeah, one hundred percent. It definitely is on a boom period.
Gabe: So, you said something earlier about an “outlaw vibe.” What’s that about?
Paige: [laughs] Yeah. I don’t know. It’s like every comic, you know, you hate yourself or whatever. I like wearing the cowboy hat. It’s helped me. It sounds dumb, but it helped me.
Gabe: Cowboy gear really has some pull and shows some confidence.
Paige: Yeah. Well, also I mentioned the town I come from. Very religious. I was raised crazy religious. So, I feel like I have this guilt complex and it tells me just be like, ‘I’m an outlaw, whatever.’ I mean, I don’t have to feel bad about every decision I made.
Gabe: I remember talking to some people and saying some shit about country music to country music fans. They were telling me I needed to get hip to ‘outlaw country.’ It’s the real thing. Not that pop country bullshit.
Paige: That’s exactly right. I one hundred percent agree. The ‘bud light country,’ that sucks.
Gabe: So what can you tell me about these Buskey Cider shows?
Paige: I’ve been running the Buskey showcase… I probably took it over in June. It was running before COVID and they’re hot shows. They’re always a good time. It’s the last Friday of every month. But this month, it’s on Black Friday. We’ve been packing them out.
Gabe: What comics do you have lined up for this Black Friday show?
Paige: A lot of good ones. Especially as I am traveling more for comedy, I take a lot of pride in getting people from all over. So we’ve got Samantha Padgett from Philly this month. She’s super funny. Anthony Thompson is a local Richmond favorite. I got Will Minor on, who I think you talked to, right?
Gabe: Oh yeah. I know Will.
Paige: Yeah, I got Will on this month, and then Jason Kusterer. Another hilarious local. Lots of locals. I figured since it was Black Friday I’d try to see who would be in town. But yeah, I like bringing people in from all over. DC. We’ve had North Carolina comics on, Philly… it’s great. I love not just sticking to Richmond, but bringing people in from all over.
You can catch the outlaw, Paige Campbell, hosting two shows at Buskey Cider on Black Friday, featuring Anthony Thompson, Samantha Padgett, Jason Kusterer, and Will Minor. Back-to-back performances at 6:30 and 8:30. Tickets are available at Buskey Cider’s website. Get a table, get a cider, and enjoy some comedy.