Hot Hot Comedy
Larger than life laughs
Once a video game addict, Jake Ricca traded in on that obsession to cultivate comedy fans.
Almost four years ago, Jake Ricca waltzed into Austin’s Coffee in Winter Park and delivered his first set.
“I got very lucky on my first one. Well, from what I remember. I could have been delusional, but it wasn’t booze. People were like telling me after, ‘Good set.’”
Fresh to the game, Jake was fixed on the idea that you never deliver the same set twice. So his second set bombed, as did his third. He was doubting his new venture. He had other misconceptions, thinking Orlando had a location problem for comics, that he needed to be in New York or Los Angeles to succeed.
We’re all glad he stuck with it, because today, keeping Orlando as his home base and perfecting a set that evolves without being hijacked by all-new material every time, Jake is a bold force in comedy, with ardent fans and almost 105K followers on YouTube. His videos, some with upwards of 3.5 million views, offer his commentary on video games like Warzone.
We met and talked at The Geek Easy on Semoran (fuck you, Ken, I will never call it 436) prior to a show, and multiple fans approached to sing Jake’s praises. This is not rare, I learned.
He told a poop joke that night, one I’ve heard two more times since, about the delicacies of wiping from the front. The joke brings Jake’s physicality to the fore. He fills the room and has a knack for bringing energy to dead spaces.
I saw him at Tin Roof at ICON Park on International Drive, a fun open mic spot on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. They were having an off night, with only about eight spectators outnumbered 2 to 1 by the mass of comics huddled together on the patio. Somehow, Jake masterfully conducted this small audience to bring out big laughs.
Whatever anxiety he feels leading up to a performance — and he does feel it — he harnesses that in his set, transforming it into a magnet that grabs the audience.
Now 28 years old, Jake is approaching that inflection point where his dream job will likely become his full-time work. What was once a fantasy is blooming into an eventuality. But Jake isn’t waiting on luck.
“In reality, you can make your own luck by being everywhere. You just increase your chances of being there when the opportunity presents itself.”
Over the past four years, Jake’s set has matured (don’t grown-ups like poop jokes, too?) to a point where he’s feeling the energy in the room and adjusting the cadence and tone of a joke to fit the vibe. There is no “one size fits all” delivery method if you want to elicit laughs. And the better he gets, the more fine-tuned and focused, the longer the road to excellence appears to be.
It’s just like any kind of learning. The more you learn, the less you know. You realize that there’s no stopping point to growth.