Eli Graves, formerly of Wellington aspires for the big stage

There's nothing like a good joke.

…One that makes you think.

…One that makes you cringe.

One former Wellington resident is gathering a cult following in the world of comedy.

Eli Graves recently started performing stand-up on a whim.

"I was invited to an open-mic night at Barleycorn's in Wichita. I went to watch a friend of a friend. The guy performing had a really bad stutter, but he went up there and did it. I thought, 'If he can go up there and do it, maybe I can take a whack at it.' It went well," said Graves.

He's been a regular on the open-mic-night scene ever since -- polishing his act, learning to read his audience.
Jerry Fike gave Graves a chance to emcee his Thursday Night Comedy Night, which is held every third Thursday at Barefoot Jerry's.

"We've been fortunate with the comedians coming in. We've had acts that have been featured on NBC's Last Comic Standing, specials on Comedy Central, HBO … we've had the real deal," said Fike.

How did Graves fare with major acts from across the Midwest?

"He's by far the best and also the worst," jokes Fike. "He's going to be our emcee on comedy night. Our last comedy night he did very well. He's made an amazing journey in a short amount of time. I was pleased, I was impressed."

Graves is working towards an hour-long comedy special in Wichita at Parker's Grotto, a new entertainment venue that features music and comedy.

Well, let's let Graves take it from here. It's time to test him with a few random questions.

What's your favorite song on the jukebox?
Celine Dion's, "My Heart Will Go On" is a great one to play, at like, The Dore.

If you play it on the jukebox, and get away as quick as you can, all the guys will get ticked off. They will walk around looking for the idiot who played the song.

I'll walk around with them. I'll say, 'We gotta find this guy.'

When I do play Celine Dion, I'll play Ricky Martin right after. That way, when the patrons finally skip Celine on the jukebox, Ricky kicks in.

If I'm lucky -- and have enough money -- I'll play that one three times in a row.

Besides that, it's Hall and Oates, ELO … that's how you make a dance party.

If you could get rid of one U.S. State, which would it be?

Pick two celebrities to be your parents.
I would have to pick David Byrne from the Talking Heads.

For a mom … I'd go with Roseanne Barr.

My grandmother would be Diana Ross.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, name three items you would bring.
I'd have to go with duct tape ... and … plastic wrap.

You can dig a hole in the sand. You dig until the sand gets moist. You put the plastic wrap over it. The sun will purify the moisture in the sand. Then, you can drink the water.

The third ... it would either be a dirty magazine or an extra pair of shoes.

Where do you see yourself in twenty years?
Hopefully my daughter will be graduating.

Fantasy-wise, I would be paying my bills with some sort of art form – music or comedy.

Realistically, I'm probably going to be back in Wellington -- at a bar -- talking about how I used to do standup.

What's your favorite joke?
It's awful. It would be impossible to print. Can I use the word, XXXXX?

I'm pushing it already.
Fair enough.

Come see Eli at Parker's Grotto near the Wichita Delano District, April 26. Times will soon be announced. If you can't make the drive, come by Barefoot Jerry's every third Thursday to see Eli entertain and introduce some funny people.