Andy's BioAndy Offutt Irwin Fun Facts
Andy Offutt Irwin
With a silly putty voice, hilarious heart-filled stories, and amazing mouth noises (arguably, the greatest whistler in the world) one-person-showman, Andy Offutt Irwin is equal parts mischievous schoolboy and the Marx Brothers, peppered with a touch of the Southern balladeer. One of the most sought after performing storytellers in the United States, Andy is a perennial favorite of the Teller-in-Residence Program at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and he has been a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival nine times (as of 2017).
Andy’s character-filled, one-person shows and storytelling performances center around the adventures of his eighty-five-year-old-widowed-newly-minted-physician-aunt, Marguerite Van Camp, a woman who is keeping her finger on the pulse of the changing world around her as she seeks to grow – even at her advanced age – in these United States and the New South. Every show includes original songs, and of course, whistling. Please note, Andy’s grown-up shows are family friendly. So, there.
An award-winning children’s performer, Andy has disrupted the day in hundreds of schools and libraries from Port Angeles, Washington to St Thomas, US Virgin Islands… from Los Angeles to New England.
If asked if he would rather perform for kids or grown-ups, Andy shrugs and says:
“The secret is this: treat children with the respect you give adults, and treat grown-ups with the exuberance children crave.”
Among other gigs, Andy has been a Guest Artist at La Guardia High School of Art, Music, and Performing Arts in New York (The “FAME!” School); he has been a Keynote Speaker/Performer at the Library of Congress-Virburnum Foundation Conference on Family Literacy; a Guest Writer Performer with the Georgia Tech Glee Club; and a guest composer with the Amherst College Men’s Double Quartet.
Andy has held a few almost-real-jobs that include: Artist-In-Residence in Theatre at Emory University’s Oxford College from 1991 to 2007. (He continues serving at Oxford from time-to-time as Artist-in-Just-Passing-Through). A very long time ago, Andy spent five years as a performer, writer, and director for SAK Theatre at Walt Disney World.
Andy has also been gainfully employed as …
a garbage man, a carpenter’s flunky, a church youth director, a political satirist (as show director of the Georgia Cracker Crumble for the Georgia Press Association (1996 – 2007), an assistant water plant flunky, a deputy voter registrar, a ditch digger, a bullfrog tadpole catcher, and a camp counselor.
Andy is the recipient of many awards, but he is tickled as can be to have been patted on the head by his sweet community of peers as they bestowed upon him the Oracle 2013 Circle of Excellence from the National Storytelling Network.
Also, when he gets around to buying a frame he will hang upon his wall:
a Special Congressional Recognition – For outstanding and invaluable service to the community – from Rep. John Lewis.
Andy lives in the town where he grew up –
which is the same town where his mama grew up, which is the same town where his mama’s mama grew up, which is the same town where his mama’s mama’s mama grew up, which is the same town where his his mama’s mama’s mama’s mama grew up – Covington, Georgia.
He thinks he is funny.
“Acute folk sensibility.”
“…An accomplished singer-songwriter, Irwin tackles genres like a veteran defensive lineman tackles quarterbacks … The man’s a master musician with some VERY talented lips.”
“A fiendishly clever union of Tom Lehrer’s topicality… cut with Bobby McFerrin-style mouth music. Andy Offutt Irwin’s shows are good quirky fun!”
“You laugh, then you laugh harder, then you sigh, then you listen in awe. Breathing in life.”
“… In 2005 Andy and I were both newcomers to the National Storytelling Festival. During a break I went over to see the ‘other new guy’. I was not prepared. Andy took me on a journey unlike any other, full of heart and gut busting humor all wrapped in a hauntingly, beautiful story. What separated him from any other teller was his characters. Like Charles Portis, flesh and blood people born of great imagination. visceral and nuanced, we immediately know and love his family because it’s our family…. Since then I have had the joy to share the stage with Andy. An incredibly giving soul, he wants everyone around him to do well. Then he humbly takes the stage and blows the lid off the joint. For all his audacity he has a giant giant heart…
When it comes to originality Andy is a piece of the American storytelling puzzle that is not shaped like any other…”