Stand-up comedian Erik Griffin can get people thinking and reacting before he even says a word.
Part of that he owes to his unique looks, courtesy of an ethnic background: He has a Central American-Caribbean mother and a white father.
"People notice it right up front," he said. "People want to know what you are so they can know how to hate you."
That last line is definitely a joke, because Griffin, who comes to Lexington's Comedy Off Broadway this week, just keeps gaining traction and fans in stand-up. He has only gotten better since deciding to do comedy full-time in 2003. But Griffin will tell you that very few things can attract fans more than being on a popular TV show.
The people who don't know Griffin as a comic might know him as a scene-stealing character. He plays Montez, the irritable co-worker and over-sharer of sexual escapades on the popular Comedy Central series Workaholics.
Griffin was paying his dues on the stand-up circuit while seeking acting work when he signed on to Workaholics in 2010. Even for a guy who isn't known to mince words on stage and a network that is home to frequently offensive fare, notably South Park, Griffin was surprised by both the show's outlandish nature and, having just finished its fourth season, its growing popularity.
"When I first saw the script, I was like, 'What the hell is this?'" Griffin said. "It's crazy. It's the little show that could."
Adoration for the show and Griffin's character helped him fill his schedule in a hurry. In 2013, it allowed him to record a set for Comedy Central's The Half Hour and release his debut comedy album, Technical Foul: Volume One, on SideOneDummy Records.
Each outlet allowed for audiences to get acquainted with Griffin's fun-loving but admittedly warped perspective on any number of topics. It's a viewpoint he continues to express on the road as he perfects new material for a potential hourlong special.
"I'm a very likable guy. My look is very disarming, which lends itself to me being able to say some crazy things," Griffin said.
Griffin says he continues to be blown away by Workaholics fans who tell him after performances that it's their favorite show, but as his popularity grows, he hopes to one day be a few people's favorite comic.
"People still don't know me as a stand-up, so I really want to keep getting that out," he said. "When you're a comic, you're a perfectionist, so you just keep doing it and keep putting it out there and hope it resonates."