Laughter is best medicine for Tempe comedian - East Valley Tribune: News

Laughter is best medicine for Tempe comedian

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Posted: Monday, March 6, 2006 2:03 pm | Updated: 3:34 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Stuart Haasis is a stand-up comedian who can barely stand up. The Tempe 51-year-old, known as Stu D. Baker or just Stu Baker, has embraced his muscular dystrophy by using it as material for his stand-up routine. He started performing at open-mic nights and local contests, and now books and promotes a weekly comedy show at the Mardi Gras Bar and Grill in Scottsdale.

He has performed at several Valley and Tucson clubs, and last week he stood in line for 16 hours for a chance to audition for the show “Last Comic Standing.”

“Stu is wonderful,” said Don Steinmetz, a local comedian and a Phoenix police sergeant. Steinmetz “loves Stu’s comedy” and is heartened that Haasis uses his disability as a positive, rather than a negative.

Always a music lover, Haasis has run music programs at muscular dystrophy camps, opened a recording studio in his garage, Blue Sky Recordings, and started a record label, Hayden’s Ferry Records.

Haasis also started a radio show, “Jukebox Cantina,” which now can be heard at noon Sundays on Radio Free Phoenix, an Internet radio station.

Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at age 3, he said he has always pursued his dreams, living every day like it was his last.

“Many people end up not living their life and waiting to follow their dreams,” said Haasis, who is married with three children. Following that philosophy has “always colored” his decision to turn hobbies into pursuits.

With the slow weakening of his muscles, he has problems standing for long periods, walking for very far or standing up from low chairs. He is unsure how long he’ll be able to stand during his stand-up comedy routines, but he takes everything in stride.

“I do a lot of material from it,” he said. “It’s like therapy.”

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