Walking away from his family’s faith allowed Bengt Washburn to pursue a career in comedy | KNKX

Walking away from his family’s faith allowed Bengt Washburn to pursue a career in comedy

Nov 23, 2019

 


As a child, Bengt Washburn had two passions: art and comedy. Everything he drew made it to a child’s first art gallery — the refrigerator. His early comedic taste was formed by the records his dad brought home.

 

Washburn’s dad got Steve Martin’s "A Wild and Crazy Guy" record.

 

“My parents had a really good sense of humor," Washburn said. "They were funny people."

 

Washburn’s dad loved Steve Martin on television, but didn’t listen to "A Wild and Crazy Guy" before giving it to his young son.

 

“They just assumed he was a clean comedian, because that’s what he was on TV, and I was too young to know that these were dirty jokes,” Washburn recalled.

 

When his father heard Martin exclaim in one of his bits, “Grandpa bought a rubber!” the record was tossed, Steve Martin was declared off limits and the only comic deemed appropriate to listen to was Bill Cosby.

 

Washburn’s Mormon faith stayed strong throughout childhood. But, when he was a young adult, doing his mission work in Seattle, doubts started to grow. His pursuit of fine art is what made him question the path he was taking.

 

“When you do a painting, you can do anything — paint whatever you want, which becomes, what do I want to paint?

 

Which turns into the question, well what do I want?

 

Which turns into the question, who am I?"

 

In this story, Washburn tells us how his wavering faith and the mental decline of his mother opened up a door to a career that until then was considered off limits.