Comedian Bret Ernst set to host 2022 ED’s Awards Show on Tuesday, August 16!
When you’re on the number-one Netflix comedy show that caters to a wide-ranging demographic, people are going to recognize you. Based on the classic 1984 movie “The Karate Kid,” the episodic “Cobra Kai” is about to launch its fifth season and appeals to everyone from teenage Gen Z’ers to 50-something Gen X’ers and everyone in between.
For comedian Bret Ernst, who plays the character of Daniel LaRusso’s cousin “Louie LaRusso,” getting autograph requests from teenagers is a welcome development — if not a bit strange.
“Prior to (“Cobra Kai”) I had a name in the comedy world, but I’m a nightclub comic,” says Ernst, noting that his Instagram account has leaped from 20,000 followers to over 100,000, thanks in part to the success of the Netflix show. “Years ago, if people recognized me, it was only through standup, and they were usually … I don’t want to say degenerates, but you know, they were fans of more ‘adult’ comedy. Now I’ve got kids coming up to me, and it’s great man. But you kind of feel like a professional wrestler ‘cause they know you’re an ‘actor,’ but then they kinda don’t. They still think you really set Johnny Lawrence’s car on fire (plot line from season one of ‘Cobra Kai’).”
He may not have actually set Johnny Lawrence’s (aka actor William Zabka) car on fire, but Ernst is still riding his own hot streak. His latest comedy special, “Domesticated Animal” (available on YouTube and streaming audio) is the follow-up to his hit special “Principal’s Office.” The 25-year standup veteran is a pioneer, being the first comic to release an hour special via YouTube (which worked out pretty well for him considering that “Principal’s Office” has garnered four million views to date). “Domesticated Animal” follows suit being shot independently at Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club in Las Vegas and showcases Ernst’s mastered storytelling ability. In “Domesticated Animal,” he dives into the trials and tribulations of marriage. “Whether you’re in a happy relationship or you’re going through a divorce,” Ernst notes, “it should resonate.”
Recently listed as a top 5 comedian working today by Standupcomedyreview.com and “#16 of the 101 Funniest Comedians Working Today” by Heckler.com and TBS, Ernst is regarded as one of the best stand-ups in the business by his peers. He ﬁrst gained national notoriety as one of the stars of the movie “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show,” and his “Comedy Central Presents” was voted #5 on the network’s “Stand-Up Showdown.”
It was that experience with the “Wild West Comedy Show” that gave Ernst his initial boost of national notoriety, which he soon parlayed into roles on such popular shows as “CSI: NY” and “Weeds.” But Ernst is quick to point out that Louie LaRusso is his most coveted role yet, a role that was created by “Cobra Kai” writers Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg (“Harold and Kumar” films) and Josh Heald (“Hot Tub Time Machine”).
“I’ve got kids coming up to me, and it’s great man. But you kind of feel like a professional wrestler ‘cause they know you’re an ‘actor,’ but then they kinda don’t. They still think you really set Johnny Lawrence’s car on fire.” – Bret Ernst
“(Jon, Hayden and Josh) have always been comedy guys and, you know, I’ve been doing stand-up for 25 years, so they knew who I was and I auditioned, but it was by request,” says Ernst. “And I got the part. I’m happy I got more seasons out of the show and that it’s still going and getting renewed because it’s just so much fun.”
The tough-guy Italian bravado that Ernst portrays in his Louie LaRusso character can possibly be attributed, at least in part, to one of the comics he grew up a huge fan of: Andrew Dice Clay. Other comics that influenced him as a young comic include the late Sam Kinison, and of course, Eddie Murphy. Today, Ernst counts Bill Burr and Sebastian Maniscalco as his favorite contemporaries, and like Burr and Maniscalo, still tours comedy clubs across the US.
“People are finally starting to get that I’m a character on the show, but I’ve also been a stand-up comedian for over 20 years,” says Ernst. “At first I think some people thought I got the gig on ‘Cobra Kai’ and then started to try stand-up, but now they’re putting the two together and that’s been really cool.”
The 2022 ED’s Awards Show, featuring Bret Ernst, is sponsored by Knights Global, and will be held on Tuesday, August 16, at the Paris Theater (inside the Paris Hotel & Casino), from 9-11 pm. Tickets are available for just $69 right here!