Local comic shares his Midwest upbringing

Flail performing a comedy stand up.

Jesse Najera

Flail performing a comedy stand up.

Jesse Najera, Reporter

Chris Flail has had a successful climb in the local comedy scene in a relatively short period of time. He was an opening act for Pablo Francisco on Feb. 9 in Bakersfield, exactly three years to the day that he first began performing stand-up comedy in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Since coming to Bakersfield in June of 2014, Flail has been performing stand-up comedy.

He moved to Bakersfield to accept a job offer from an oil company. The hiring manager for the job told him, “That’s great. No one ever chooses Bakersfield.”

Two weeks after he arrived, he happened to meet a guy involved in setting up an open mic night for stand-up comedy at a club called Martini’s. The club, which is no longer open, had a reputation for being notoriously rugged.

“It was like the crucible,” Flail said. He described it as the type of place where you were patted down before you entered.

As a comedian, he was sometimes heckled relentlessly and occasionally threatened with violence.

Since those early performances, Flail has helped organize stand-up venues around Bakersfield and the surrounding areas along with other local area comedians. He, along with these comedians, can be seen on Wednesdays at the Temblor Brewing Company at 3200 Buck Owens Blvd., where signs ups for open mic comedy start at 6 p.m.

Flail can also be seen on Thursdays at The Rocket Shop Cafe at 2000 S. Union Ave. where open mic signups start at 6:30 p.m.

Flail is originally from Frackville, Pennsylvania.

Frackville is 2.5 hours northeast of Philadelphia.He says that this is known as the old coal mining region. Flail describes these as small towns in Pennsylvania that used to be larger, thriving, coal mining communities in the 1910s and 1920s.

Frackville, as well as the towns in the surrounding areas, now have smaller populations.

He describes the people from his home town as the kind that will embrace you immediately and tell you off just as quickly.

Flail says they are good people with a New England influence.

Flail has a slight Boston accent.

After graduating from high school in the neighboring town of Shenandoah, Flail moved to the Amish community of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, to complete his undergraduate studies.

Although Flail says they didn’t mingle with the Amish regularly, but it was common on Sundays to see horse and buggies around town and near the campus.

Flail made his debut into stand-up comedy while studying law at the University of Tulsa to complete his graduate degree.

“It was at an open mic at a place called The Looney Bin,” Flail said. The comedy club would use a lottery draw system to determine who would get to go on. The comedians would sign up for the night.

Slips of paper would have the words yes or no written on them, and then put into a hat.

The comedians would would pull from the hat to determine if they would be going on that night. The first few times Flail got a no until he learned the habits of the guy putting the slips into the hat. “I became a shyster from the get-go,” said Flail.