Harlan native finds success

Rob Fee, a Harlan County native and HHS graduate, has worked on numerous shows including Ridiculousness on MTV and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He also has a top-selling comedy album on iTunes.

Rob Fee has already made a bit of a name for himself, with a top-selling comedy album and numerous writing and production credits on his resume. Now, he is poised to take another leap forward in his career.

The Harlan County native is currently creating original sketches for Comedy Central. The sketches will run on the network’s website and will also occasionally air between programs.

“They contacted me (in May) and asked if a writing partner and I would be interested in writing some content for them, some original sketches,” Fee said. “We’re going to be writing some stand-alone stuff, which will be fun; normally, writing on a show, you have a structure, but with this we have complete freedom to do whatever we want.”

Fee grew up in Gulston and Rio Vista and still maintains contact with family and friends in the area, although he acknowledges, “I haven’t been back in way too long.” The 1999 Harlan High School graduate credits his teachers with fostering his love of writing.

“I had several teachers who pushed me in writing and gave me freedom to explore what I wanted to do,” he said. “Vickie Ball at Harlan was my English teacher, and I would always write about pro wrestling in her English classes. I know she hated it with everything in her being, because it was such a ridiculous topic to write on. But she let me do it.”

Fee also recalled being given the opportunity to plan an assembly program in high school.

“We did a project in 12th-grade where they let us write an assembly. I’m like, ‘Why in the world would you let us have free reign in writing an assembly?’ But stuff like that was the origin and basis of all the stuff I’m doing now,” he said. “I used elements of things we did there on the Ellen show. There are definitely influences from (Harlan).”

Fee hit No. 1 on the iTunes comedy album charts with “Grape Stomp” in 2011. He also began pursuing a full-time writing career that year.

“I really started going at it hard on the Internet, and from there it just kind of snowballed,” he said. “It’s crazy.”

Fee has worked as a segment producer on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” and a creative consultant for MTV, and as a writer for an array of outlets, including Mandatory.com, Relevant Magazine and Thought Catalog.

“I think I do more than a lot of writers,” he said. “I write a whole lot of places. I don’t think it’s common to do as many as I do at one time, but I try to stay busy; anybody who asks me about a job, I’m much more likely to say yes than no. I think I’m still just amazed that people want to pay me to write and be funny.”

Fee said doing stand-up comedy requires a significantly different approach than writing.

“Stand-up is much more personal, much more of yourself. With writing, you have to take on a different voice for each project. It’s hard to convey everything you can through stand-up,” he said.

Fee expects that the first of the Comedy Central sketches will be available starting this weekend.

“We’re doing one for Father’s Day. They approved some script stuff, and we’re going to start shooting it within the next two weeks,” he said in a May interview.

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