Cliff Cash found financial success in Asheville real estate back in the early 2000s. He lost it all in the Great Recession.

Cash bounced back by moving and launching a recycling business. He says he lost it to some unscrupulous business partners.

Today Cash drives a beater of a car across the country, moving from job to job. He’s going through a divorce. His laptop recently went kaput.

But for Cash, a stand-up comedian, it’s all good. He says he’s finally pursuing what he’s truly passionate about. And all the dark stuff makes for some light-hearted material he’s more than willing to share with an audience. He’ll do just that at 8 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 22) at Altamont Theatre in downtown Asheville.

“I did comedy the night my dad died. I did comedy the night my wife cheated on me. I did comedy the night I lost my house,” Cash says.

“But people come out to feel better, and that’s my job, even if it’s just for an hour. I think it’s a special thing to bring people together have everyone be present and laugh together,” he says. “It’s pretty magical.

A few years ago, much of Cash’s act was found at the  intersection of his Southern upbringing and his progressive political views. The viral rise of Trae Crowder and his “Liberal Redneck” schtick stole that thunder. It’s not something Cash says he’s upset about, but “it’s hard not to let that hurt your feelings a little bit.”

Cash adds that stand-up comics are a small, tight-knit and supportive community, and he’s not holding any grudges. He says he’s changed his act to simply focus “on being a funny stand-up comedian” rather than trying to poke at politics.

To that end, Cash says he’s not afraid to dive deep into the dark caves of his life’s experiences in search of a little levity. That’s what folks will hear tonight when they come out, he says. And the big lesson in it all, Cash says, is “that I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my adult life.”

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