Pittsburgh comedian Kleiber feels lucky to be able to make people laugh
Pittsburgh comedian Aaron Kleiber feels like he just won the lottery.
And it's not because he just finished filming a commercial for the PA Lottery. It's because the Homestead-raised Kleiber will headline a weekend of shows at the Pittsburgh Improv at the Waterfront.
Most of his childhood friends could probably walk to the show.
In comedy circles, he seems to be everywhere. He hosts local open stages like Comedy Sauce on Monday nights at the Pleasure Bar in Bloomfield and the Beer Hive in the Strip District on Wednesdays. He serves as the comedy programmer and host of Comic Wars for Arcade Comedy Theater, Downtown. Kleiber was named Pittsburgh's best comedian in 2012 and '13 by Pittsburgh Magazine.
Kleiber has come a long way from being the new kid in class at Steel Valley, which, he says, could be rough.
“You better be able to fight or be funny,” Kleiber says. “I tried to fight, but I got knocked out cold. ... After that, I was all funny.”
Kleiber was also a youth pastor for his church; it's where he found his true calling. He has a degree in ministry and theology.
“I'm a people-pleaser,” he says. “I really aim to make everyone laugh. People get their affirmations many places like drugs, alcohol ... being a jerk. I get mine from making people laugh. I'm blessed to do what I do.”
Kleiber, 33, is also an actor, having appeared in numerous commercials and the 2011 movie “Warrior,” shot in Pittsburgh.
“Comedy has blown up my acting,” he says. “I don't get nervous in front of eight or nine people, because I'm in front of 200 people a night. I'm really lucky and blessed to be able to do both.”
But all that work doesn't keep him from being ever the family man.
“I don't miss much,” says the father of three. “Most dads work 9 to 5, have dinner, help the kids with homework and then put them to bed. I am home Sunday through Thursday. I spend all day with my kids. I walk my daughter to the bus stop. It's great. I kiss them good night and then I go to work.”
Kleiber credits his wife, Wendy, with having his back when he made the brave decision to let show business be his only source of income.
“Honestly, I wouldn't be able to do this without my wife being supportive,” he says. “She saw the jobs I had and knew how hard I would work.”
Even though he's excited to be headlining his home club, Kleiber is grounded in the fact that comedy is what he does and not who he is. Kleiber says he's a husband and father first.
“I'm just trying to support my family doing something I love,” he says.
Don't put anything past the hungry kid from Homestead.
Matt Wohlfarth is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.