Updated March 19 to reflect Peggy Sue's Diner location as being in Yermo.
BARSTOW • It took 31-year-old Charles Warren approximately 30 years to step out underneath the incandescent lights which hang atop the stage, to feel the warmth from eyes spotlighting his every move.
It only took Chuck Diesel moments, however, to realize that performing stand-up on stage was a second home — and he was pretty good at it, too.
"It was the biggest adrenaline rush I've ever had in my life," Warren said, speaking of his first show last May.
Warren, who works as a cook seven days a week, splitting shifts between TA Travel Center in Lenwood and Peggy Sue's Diner in Yermo, is also a married father of three.
The budding comedian finds time to hone his routine in the after-hours of work, in the car while driving there and in-between little league games and beauty pageants, he said.
He began performing under the name Chuck Diesel when asked last year by friend Buck Acosta to be part of a comedy show for Acosta's birthday.
"He always thought I was a funny guy," Warren said of Acosta.
The duo now perform to audiences in Barstow as "Buck & Chuck," he said.
It was during a few warm-up shows down the hill and prior to the birthday event when Warren became hooked on stand-up, began to build connections and fielded calls from comedians more known than himself.
In August, Rick Martinez — a regular at the Improv Comedy Club in Ontario and who appeared on VH1's "When Comics Ruled the World" — called Warren and invited him to become a part of his team, Warren explained.
Since then, Warren has performed once a month at the Improv Comedy Club as part of "Spicy Latino Night." He's also performed at the Ice House in Pasadena, the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club in Universal City and The Comedy Store in Hollywood, among others.
Next Wednesday, Warren will produce and perform in a show at the Improv Comedy Club; on April 19, "Buck & Chuck" will be at Rosita's in Barstow; and on April 24, he will be at the Improv Comedy Club again, co-headlining with Martinez — the first time he'll see his name on the marquee, he said.
When asked about the topics in his act, he explained it's personal.
"I talk about my wife and my kids, the silly things they do and things I do to annoy my wife," he said.
Warren wants it to be known, though, that it's his wife who has made it all possible.
"My wife is my biggest supporter, she puts up with it," he said. "(She) goes with me to all my shows, even when we get back at 1 a.m. and she has to work (later that day) at 7 a.m."
"(Around our house), it's comedy 24/7," Warren said
For more information on upcoming Chuck Diesel shows, search "Chuck Diesel" on Facebook and find him on Twitter at twitter.com/chuckdcomedy or call 760-590-5147.
Shea Johnson may be reached at (760) 256-4126 or at SJohnson@DesertDispatch.com.