With nearly a million people living in Pierce County, getting your voice heard can be a daunting task, but one millennial is doing just that – becoming known as a triple threat, thanks to his humor, local knowledge and Pacific Northwest pride. Residing in the Stadium District of Tacoma, Casey McLain is a man of many talents, and is a community leader in sports podcasting, standup comedy and beer (due to his extensive knowledge). While you might not know of Casey now, chances are, you’ll soon be hearing his voice talking about sports, introducing stand-up comics or even telling his own jokes on stage.
Growing up in Fife, Casey rarely traveled to Tacoma, instead finding himself exploring his community and the towns to the north, especially Seattle. Now, having lived in downtown Tacoma for the past six years, Casey is discovering the joys of the region. A few of the many aspects of living in Tacoma that Casey enjoys is the cost of living and the walkability of neighborhoods.
“Being able to walk to a bar and taste numerous beers, or know you can eat a huge meal and walk off some of the calories is always a plus,” added Casey.
Casey is a knowledgeable beer enthusiast, having written for the Washington Beer Blog and supported local establishments like Tacoma’s own Wingman Brewers, which collaborates with local artists in numerous ways. Besides great beer, Casey has developed a relationship with Ken Thoburn, the head brewer, who with the rest of the staff, gave Casey permission to produce nine comedy shows at their establishment.
Long before beer entered his life, Casey was a local kid growing up in the 90s, where it was nearly impossible to escape the allure of the region’s star athletes. For Casey, his connection with local sports came in the form of one of the greatest players to ever step on a baseball field – Ken Griffey Jr.
“I am a lifelong Seattle sports fan,” Casey shared. “My dad was a Seattle sports fan, so I became one as early as I could become a fan of anything.”
He continued: “The early Mariners teams really got me into sports. As early as I can remember, Ken Griffey Jr. was my hero. Being born in 1986, I tried to bat left handed and failed. I tried to field balls with one hand and failed. I wanted to be everything Griffey was, and also pitch.”
The mid-90s sports scene in Seattle, especially the Mariners and Sonics, inspired him to surround himself with sports. Over the next decade, Casey’s love for sports were honed into writing, which led him to a paid job as a columnist, creating articles in 2007 for a website that is now Row12.com. His success writing about football helped get him a writing stint at Bleacher Report.
When BleacherReport first started, Casey was in the first group of featured columnists, writing about the Mariners, Seahawks and even the soon-to-be departing Sonics. After getting passed over for a huge promotion, Casey decided to branch out on his own, creating North and South of Royal Brougham (NASORB), a website where Casey wrote more than 1,200 posts in five years, covering Seattle sports and things relevant to life in the South Sound. This website eventually became a well-received podcast of the same name.
The NASORB podcast became an important step for both his comedy and podcasting career. It also led to his friendship with fellow comedian Aaron Kirby. Together, they started the Offspeed podcast, which discussed sports, while mixing in humor, life and beer. The Offspeed podcast lasted 87 full-length episodes and 15 short episodes. It was during this time that Casey started his standup career. He had watched a few people try it, seeing their success and struggles, and his confidence in getting onstage himself was shaken. With Aaron’s support, he attempted his first minutes doing stand-up at an open mic night.
“I had a premise for a joke and before I went to the open mic night, I practiced the bit on my wife,” Casey said. “I stood in the living room, holding a mic that I used for podcast and rehearsed my few minutes of material probably 30 times in a row to make sure I got the wording perfect. I did not do it well onstage.”
Despite early setbacks, Casey kept working the local comedy scene, finding some success. In early December 2017, Casey was the host at the Tacoma Comedy Club for Pauly Shore during his four sold-out Tacoma performances. Riding high from that experience, the reality of being a comedian hit hard a few days later, as Casey recalls bombing at an open mic. By the weekend, Casey had bounced back, having his self-esteem boosted yet again, hosting for Seattle Radio host Jubal Flagg of 92.5 when he performed at Enumclaw’s Chalet Theatre. This event was the largest crowd Casey had performed in front of, with more than 400 people. Then, to cap off his week, he got to perform with Olympia-based comedian Gabe Rutledge, who Casey admires and considers to be his favorite local comedian.
“This ten-day stretch is the best ten-day stretch in comedy that I have ever had,” Casey shared after recapping his comedy career so far. But stand-up and hosting isn’t his only exciting news.
The Pacific Northwest, thanks to Casey, is also about to get another incredible sports podcast. He is getting ready to launch a new podcast with well-known Seattle sport’s personality Alex Akita in what promises to be a humorous and entertaining listen. Today, Casey runs the Cascaudio podcast network in his spare time, where he has hosted and produced hundreds of podcasts.
If you haven’t heard Casey talk about sports or perform his stand-up act, check out his website, follow him on Twitter and get connected with a local millennial, doing great work and showing pride in Tacoma.