Graduate student goes stand up

When Patrick Melton approaches the stage, he offers personal speculations of a bizarre and twisted world through stories … and he’s damn funny. Melton, a USF graduate student and an IT manager for the Florida Golf Association, is stepping up to try his hand at standup comedy.

After placing second in an open mic competition with his first-ever stand-up routine, he is giving local audiences something to laugh about.

Since his first performance at the Tampa Improv only a month ago, Melton has played at several local venues and recently opened for nationally renowned Alexandra McHale at USF.

Armed with a tape recorder, Melton said his material comes from the things he goes through everyday.

He said he likes to joke about off-beat topics, staying away from ideas that have been continually addressed by comics.

“Most of all, I just want to be original,” he said.

Melton said his experiences as a USF student have helped his routines because he’s met a lot of funny people who have said a lot of funny things.

“I’ve wanted to do (stand up) forever,” Melton said. “I just kind of decided it was now or never.”

Melton said his comedic influences include Brian Regan, Dane Cook, Jimmy Pardo and Jerry Seinfeld, whom he’s had the opportunity to meet. Recently he also met Ralphie May, who many recognize because of his role on NBC’s Last Comic Standing.

Malton’s still trying to find his style of comedy, but so far the material that works the best for him are jokes about small things people don’t normally think about.

This act includes references to Best Buy security, Snoopy Snow Cone Machines and an unpopular Internet site, While at first glance these subjects may not seem particularly funny, Melton finds something offbeat in them and makes crowds laugh.

One of Melton’s routines centers on the “Women of Wal-Mart,” a feature that Playboy Magazine has recently expressed interest in.

“I don’t know what they could put on the magazine cover to make me buy this magazine,” he said in one of his shows. “Anna from Housewares reveals all inside. See what she’s hiding behind that blue May I Help You dress.”

Performing at local comedy clubs has been fun for Melton.

“I think of my act more as telling a story,” he said.

Standup comedy is a relatively recent venture for Melton, but even so, he has been able to book shows in and around Tampa, including acts at SideSplitters Comedy Club in Tampa and Coconuts in St. Petersburg.

“It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.

“I don’t want to look back and regret not trying.”

Patrick Melton performs Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Tampa Improv. A full schedule of his shows can be obtained at www.