The Untold Truth Of The Dr Squatch Commercial Guy, James Schrader
After a few years working local clubs and going on the road, James Schrader’s first major break came in 2017 when he won the San Diego’s Funniest Person contest. The annual event, hosted by Mad House Comedy Club, pits local SoCal comics against each other in a series of elimination rounds until only one remains. Fellow winners include comics Jesse Egan, Ryan Hicks, Jeff Bilodeau, and Zoltan Kaszas. A year later, Schrader’s comedy star rose even further when he placed second in the World Series of Comedy, a Las Vegas-based standup festival with satellite competitions across the country. He lost the top spot to Toronto-based comedian Trixx.
But while winning those competitions remains a feather in Schrader’s cap and still has a prominent space on his resume, it didn’t change the fact that standup comedy at the local level simply didn’t pay the bills. “[Winning San Diego’s Funniest Person] is success, and it’s wonderful, but from a career standpoint, it’s like, there is no money,” he told the Campfire Sht Show podcast in 2019. “I think the best comedy year I had, after I think it was year six, I made $8,000? Well, you can’t live off $8,000.” Asked what he did during those lean years, Schrader replied, simply, “struggle.”