The satirical guru comes to Lobero to dispense wisdom and laughs
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido
Cost: $44.75 – $39.75, $93.75 VIP
Information: lobero.org or (805) 963-0761
JP Sears is the name of a character, a satire of the crunchy new-age guru, who offers not-particularly good advice on his YouTube channel on all topics from the Flat Earth to taking ayahuasca. JP Sears is also the name of the comedian who plays this character, but turns out to have…a long history as a life coach? Where does one JP start and the other end? Santa Barbarans can find out Saturday when Sears pulls into town for his one-man enlightenment show.
“That person on video is a part of me, but is not all of me,” he explains. “But I’ve done this my entire life: I look at what’s important to me and make fun of it, the hypocrisy, all of it….It’s just a matter of are you aware of the hypocrisy, and from that you become less limited by it.”
Fortunately, his 802,000 followers on YouTube agree, as he’s found an audience that enjoys a gentle ribbing. In his own way, JP Sears puts a welcoming, hilarious face on a population segment that can be over earnest.
“I’m shocked how often (people laugh at themselves)),” he says. “When someone feels secure in what they do—yoga, philosophy, new age culture—they can laugh at it.”
The Lobero appearance is still a major event for someone who remains relatively unknown to the “general culture” out there. Sears is aware his rise is very different from that of a standup comedian, working open mics, perfecting five, then ten, then 20 minutes of material. He caught the YouTube wave and rode it. “I built up my audience online so there were people ready to see me when I stepped on stage,” he says. “But yes, I’m very aware of how fast this has all been.”
A life coach for a decade and a half before YouTube was even creating celebrities, Sears “helped people help themselves heal” and “getting people past limiting beliefs” along with hosting retreats.
“I was not only getting comfortable with speaking in front of audiences but learning to love it and thriving on stage. I wasn’t trying to be funny. In fact, here’s the demented thing, I was telling myself *not* to be funny. I thought it would discredit me.”
All this was unconsciously giving him future material for when he first began to record his first YouTube videos back in 2014. He says that after about a year of recording weekly shorts (sample titles: “How to be Ultra Spiritual” and “How to Become Gluten Intolerant”) he hit a sort of critical mass, externally and internally. “I knew I had a lot of things to say, and there was a momentum, a self-sustaining momentum.” He attracted sponsors and received invitations to speak at colleges. He got a manager “long after the point when I needed one.”
He currently lives in Austin, Texas, after years life coaching in Encinitas, CA and then in Charleston, NC where he started the comedy part of his career. But when he and his wife took a vacation to Texas’ coolest town, they were smitten. “It proves the scientific principal that weird attracts weird,” he says.
He let go the life coaching two years ago—near the end he started to find that people wanted to schedule sessions with his comic persona and not because they needed help. “They were big fans, and yes, what a beautiful gift that they’d want to meet me,” he says. “But as a coach I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, and really they could come to a meet-and-greet instead.”
For Saturday night, audiences will get a dose of Sears philosophy and hopefully, through humor, come away with some actual insight.
“When I’m onstage it is important to be fully me,” he says. “Sometimes I’ll be sincere or goofy instead of satirical. I’ve learned that character is a part of me. It feels important to go beyond and discover different octaves of me and let them express themselves.”
We asked JP Sears to weigh in on some very important topics
Crystals for Healing: “I think we can all agree that if you’re in a car accident and have a broken leg the last thing you want is medical intervention. Especially when you can use a crystal to heal naturally.”
Astrology: “The more you believe in astrology, the more you get to act like a jerk when Mercury is in retrograde. Also, I am an Aries.”
Bulletproof Coffee: “If you are not putting 2,000 calories of pure MCT oil and butter in your coffee while you’re intermittently fasting, you clearly don’t care about what’s trending in the nutritional zeitgeist.”
Lululemon: “It’s disrespectful to the eastern yoga culture to practice yoga in anything less that a $200 pair of pants.”
Burning Man: “The pinnacle of maturity is running around butt naked, covered in dirt, while on drugs. How many times have I gone? Zero. That’s how you know everything I’ve said comes from personal experience.”
Kale: “My favorite vegetable that has the consistency of rubber but tastes worse. You can get all the protein you need from kale, as long as you eat 20 lbs of it in one sitting.”
Past Life Regression: “Essential. In fact I think the purpose of our present life is to sit around and contemplate what our past life was like.”
Pyramids: “I think we can all agree that pyramids are the most stable structures on planet earth that ancient alien civilizations have ever built. Go triangle or go home.”
Generation Z: “The only cure for millennials to not look so helpless is to have another generation appear more helpless. They’re the saviors.”
The Master Cleanse: “The most important thing is the humility in its name. You don’t have to use intelligence or science or professional knowledge to know if this is the right cleanse for you. It’s all in the name: you’re an idiot if you’re not using it.”