Comedy is like a piece of dough, Daryl Felsberg says.

“You take it, and you knead it. Sometimes it doesn’t quite fit, so you have to change it to make it a little funnier here and maybe a little embellishment there,” he said, describing his work.

He stays away from politics, gets his material from life experiences and says his size is one of his biggest assets.

“If I make fun of myself and talk about what ails me, that resonates with people,” the comedian said. “I find a commonality with audiences; everybody has children, and we talk a lot about family and everyday problems in life, including things that are sometimes controversial.

“You can say anything with a smile on your face if you have no harm in your heart.”

A successful comedian, family and business man, Felsberg said laughter is the best medicine to deal with life’s problems. His wife, Heather Felsberg, agrees.

“After 25 years he still makes me laugh every day, and that is a good thing,” she said.

“If I can make her laugh, then I can get away with stuff,” the husband chimed in. “It’s a good diversion from the problems in life. Life is hard enough as it is; problems don’t go away, they stay the same. I don’t know what life has in store but I do know the only thing I have control over is my attitude. And the only thing I can share that doesn’t cost anything and doesn’t take its toll is to share a good attitude. If I can make her laugh or if I can make her smile, then whatever the problems or challenges in life are not as big.”

The couple applies the good attitude principle in raising their children, Garrick, a senior at North Lamar, and Zoe, a seventh-grade student. Both are good students and active in extracurricular activities.

Although he’s on the road performing much of the time, Felsberg said he works his schedule around school events so he can attend most of his children’s activities. When the family moved to Paris in 2008 to get out of windy Amarillo and to be closer to family here, the Felsbergs opened what is now Tower City Comedy, a 100-seat venue at 12 1st St. NE in downtown Paris.

“Every other weekend at least, I want to be here with my family,” the father said. “So, we set up a show with outside entertainers, and while I am in town I can get on the microphone and work out. That’s how we see what works and how people respond.”

In 2015, the Felsbergs purchased Olive Paris, right off the square on South Main Street.

“Heather always wanted a gourmet food type store, and she is really a good cook and is the brains of the store,” Felsberg said. “She’s really good at selling things on the floor and likes to help people find what they need.”

The store continues to carry a large line of olive oils and balsamics as the previous owners did in the past.

However, the Felsbergs have expanded the store to include gourmet foods and items people do not find in other stores.

“We go to farmers markets or to small shops when I travel and we buy small batch products to give people what they can’t find anywhere else, and a reason to come into the store,” Felsberg said. “We have the largest variety of pickles in town and hot sauces you can’t find on the shelves of other stores.

“Our market plan is to get someone to come in at least every three months and that seems to be working pretty well.”

Speaking of his roots in comedy, Felsberg said his father was a funny man whom everyone liked and who loved to listen to comedians on television. The family lived in Corpus Christi, and the father worked on off-shore well platforms.

“I would watch comedians with him when he was home, but he was at work two weeks at a time and wasn’t there to keep me out of his eight track collection,” Felsberg said, mentioning George Carlin and Richard Pryor.

“I probably listened to things I probably shouldn’t have been listening to.”

The thought of becoming a comedian stayed on the back burner until later in life in Amarillo, a few years before moving to Paris.

“I started going to open mikes,” Felsberg said, explaining he went eight weeks straight to the Amarillo Comedy Club, watching other performers go through routines before he decided to give it a shot.

“When I came down, Aaron Baker came up to me and asked how long I had been doing stand up,” Felsberg said. “When I told him that was my first time, he thought I was joking with him. We became friends and for several years I would do openings for him around the country. I would travel five or six hours for $25, or nothing but maybe a meal. Lots of times I would sleep in my car.”

About 29 at the time, Felsberg found he resonated with audiences more so than other starting-out comics who usually were much younger.

“I had a mortgage and responsibilities and I could connect better,” Felsberg said, explaining he and his wife had a wholesale appliance business and were part owners in a struggling hockey team in Amarillo. “I started to resonate with audiences and in a couple of years I knew this is what I wanted to do.”

Now, Felsberg is not only a stand-up comic but also a promoter. For the second year in a row, a three-day festival that drew 50 comedians from around the country to Paris, Texas, ended Saturday night.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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