Tony Deyo decided to title his 2011 debut comedy album I'm Telling You for the First Time, a sly play on Jerry Seinfeld's post-Seinfeld stand-up special, I'm Telling You for the Last Time.
Five years later, the name of the album continues to ring true for the comedian. Deyo is part of the Nobodies of Comedy tour, now in its 14th year. The trek returns tonight to the State Theatre in Easton with a lineup rounded out by comedians Steve Burr, Liz Miele, Matt Bergman and Tim Krompier
"There is always that person who it's the first comedy show they've ever seen and they're shocked anyone not famous would be good at it," Deyo deadpanned Tuesday during a phone interview.
Deyo said he came late into the comedy game at the age of 28. He learned quickly that if you do well in a comedy club you can do even better in a theater. "I often don't get to play venues this nice. It's an incredible experience," he said. "It's kind of inspiring, at least to myself, because if you work hard enough and the stars line up, maybe 15 years down the road I may get to play these places with my name out front."
In 2013, Deyo made his television debut on Conan. A year later, he performed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. "I knew in my head there was nothing I can do to stop this. In your mind you know technically you're ready for it, but you've never done that thing, never walked out there, never stood on the mark and told these jokes," he recalled of his Conan experience. "If you watch the clip, you can see it my eyes, before I get that first laugh, there is a little bit of fear in my eyes."
Deyo said dipping his feet into the waters of stand-up comedy was initially just to scratch a performing itch. He did not expect it to snowball from there.
"I had, not low expectations of myself, but I kind of understood the odds of succeeding in comedy. I never expected to do television at all," he said. "I knew if I didn't try, I'd probably regret it for the rest of my life. But there was something about it I liked. I was delusional enough to think I'm good enough to keep going."
Deyo, a former teacher, said putting academics behind for a career in comedy meant accepting the challenges that come with it and a life on the road. He said traveling does not bother him too much because, at the end of the day, Deyo knew what he had signed up for.
"It's the dream life I really wanted. When you get that dream job, it's hard to complain about things," he said. "You never really know the trajectory of your career. I'd love to get to the point to play a place like the State Theatre and people come and see me because my name is (on the marquee).
"I fell in love with writing joke sand going on stage and telling them."
Nobodies of Comedy returns tonight to the State Theatre in Easton. Show time is 7 p.m. Tickets cost $25. Information: statetheatre.org