“I’m not sure what the deal is but he didn’t call in again today.”
Ange kept her cool but was becoming slightly irritated after being blown off for her interview with Ralphie May two days in a row. His impending show at the Gwinnett Arena on January 16th had been another of my special requests that had been inexplicably honored through some excellent networking on her part. Admittedly as a fan, I was a bit surprised about those missed call ins. Ralphie’s known for his extremely down to earth demeanor and accessibility to the public so it seemed completely out of character for him.
“Well…if he doesn’t call in today” I asked sheepishly “would you have enough trust in me to interview him at the show if they would agree to it?” I’m still very “green” and Ralphie May is somewhat of a big deal in the comedy world but I felt that I’d followed him long enough to come up with some questions that hadn’t been asked a hundred times. He was my absolute favorite on the first season of “Last Comic Standing” and like most people who followed its debut, I too felt that he was completely robbed with his loss to Dat Phan. Or maybe in the grand scheme, it was essentially the best outcome as it’s nearly 100% assured that way more people know who May is today than have any inkling of who the actual winner was that year. I’m also quite sure that Dat Phan (unlike May) was never told by Sam Kinison that his act was one of the funniest things he’d ever seen.
Friday rolled around and still no call from May. However, unlike Ange who had to rearrange her schedule several times for nothing, I was ecstatic. She had spoken with his PR peeps and they said that he would be willing to spend a few minutes with me between shows Saturday night which meant I would be doing my first REAL interview. Not only that, it would be with someone whose specials (Just Correct, Girth of a Nation, Austintatious) had left me crying with laughter at certain points. You see, I’ve always identified with May in a couple of ways. One of those being that I was a fat kid who ballooned up to 300 pounds in my twenties so any of his jokes about being enormous have always resonated deeply with me. I spent the majority of my youth cultivating a self-deprecating persona which is how one ensures people don’t hurt your feelings. You make fun of yourself first and better than anyone else can so why even bother? In fact, one of the questions I’d worked up for him was “What’s the fattest thing you’ve ever done?” Mine was cutting chocolate Entenmann doughnuts in half and spreading butter in the middle. Yeah it’s disgusting, but how do you think you get to be a million pounds? You have to be committed, it’s not for amateurs.
Another reason would be his knowledge of and incredible ease around the black community. Being raised half my life in the suburbs of Detroit, I totally know what it’s like to be the only whitey at the party or having the high aspirations of becoming a pimp. Shoot, having a pair of gators and driving a Caprice sittin’ on Dubs is touted higher than becoming an astronaut back home. Guess that’s your explanation for Kwame Kilpatrick right there. But that’s also why Ralphie is revered for his honesty when he pontificates on the correctness of the political incorrectness of many stereotypes (of all races) instead of being Tu Pac’d in the parking lot after a show. Incidentally, he was the only white comic invited to be on “The Big Black Comedy Show” a few years back and he KILLED. That’s how unusual he is.
But what if his popularity had turned him into a jerk and he felt that he was too important to talk to just some local, online publication in Atlanta? That’s the question that troubled me as I pulled into the Gwinnett Arena. More than feeling like an idiot, my true concern was meeting someone whom I’d enjoyed watching for so long and finding out they weren’t anything I’d built them up to be. The whole reason for doing these reviews is that I’m trying to make a name for myself as a writer but in my heart I’ll always be a comedy/t.v./movie/cartoon geek first and was terrified at having a part of that (however small) crushed.
As I stood in the crowded line at will call, it seemed quite strange that there would be so many children at one of his concerts. Only an anxious moron like yours truly would have not known they were there for the freakin’ Gladiators Hockey game and that I was in the wrong building. What a jackass! I’ve been to the arena several times and not realized there are like 3 other buildings down the road, one being the Performing Arts Center where Ralphie was playing. Five minutes till show time and I ran as fast as my chubby legs could carry me back to the car, booking it to the right venue, making it just in the nick of time.
The sign on the door read “NO Flash Photography” so I went ahead and put the camera away after kicking back in my comfortable seat. His people had done quite well in that area, putting me within a short distance from the stage and no matter what happened later, I was very appreciative of my good fortune. The show was about to start so I had no time to engage anyone who’d came but a visual assessment would reveal them to be mostly white, early twenties to mid fifties, working class Americans. The Performing Arts Center itself is a lovely place if you’ve never been and to date, it’s the only venue I’ve been to where they sell scrumptious looking Red Velvet cupcakes at the concession stand. Once a fatty, always a fatty.
Steve Miller’s “Take the Money and Run” dipped to silence as the lights dimmed and Ralphie’s wife (fellow comic Lahna Turner) took to the stage to warm us up. I’ve seen Lahna perform before and she is quite amusing. Turner typically plays an acoustic guitar, accompanying her silly, filthy lyrics about sex and other risque’ topics harmoniously. DISCLAIMER: If you are easily offended, please stop reading here as some of her jokes as well as Ralphie’s are not for the weak of humor. Case in point- when Lahna tells us that she doesn’t like it when black men hit on her, not because she’s racist, but because it makes her feel fat. Or when she asks the audience… “Is it wrong to tell an AIDS patient to stay positive?” Like she says, it’s wrong, we’re all going to Hell but as long as people laugh, who cares? All I can tell you is that she is so ridiculously cute, you’d be hard pressed to get mad at her even if you don’t find her comedy to be your cup of tea. May’s crowd was feelin’ it though and there were colossal laughs all around.
When she introduced the man of the hour, her husband and father of their two children, the roof practically blew off from the thunderous cheering and applause. As he ambled slowly towards the microphone it was immediately apparent that something was off beam. His normal cheerful expression had been replaced with an astute image of pain. Whispers all around me suggested that his fans were all disturbed at the unrecognizable comic before them. Ralphie being the very candid person that he is informed us all that it was taking everything in him to stand before us. He had fallen a couple of weeks before, tearing his rotator cuff and the anti-inflammatory medication he was prescribed had caused him to develop bleeding, anal fissures. Now that’s just how I’ve written it, the way he relayed it cannot be posted here but it was just about one of the most hysterical confessions of an ailment that I’ve ever heard. He then launched into a tirade about not even knowing where he was because of the way the arena was set up into so many structures that it was unbelievably confusing.
“No not here they said, this is a hockey game…the next one down. No….keep going past the f*#%ing robot….. there are like 7 damn events going on at the same time…where the hell is this place?!!.”
It was one of the most validating laughs of my life I promise you that and going by the mass reaction, we weren’t the only ones who made that mistake.
Before launching into the story that would comprise the bulk of his act that night, he expressed his sorrow that he was in such bad shape and pleaded with us to just bear with him. He was told to cancel his shows this week but didn’t want to disappoint everyone who bought tickets. Before I forget, I’d just like to comment on how much Ralphie has slimmed down. It’s the healthiest weight that I’ve seen him at but as he said, since he’s in Atlanta, he’d be breaking his diet with some Gladys Knight Chicken N’ Waffles. Because what goes best with chicken? Waffles! Naturally.
The setup for how he was busted for possession of marijuana in Guam a few months back also revealed more insight into Ralphie’s personal life. Having been in a horrific car accident as a child that broke 42 of his bones, he’d been left with a lifetime of physical anguish. He also suffered from anxiety and a sleep disorder so rather than be prescribed a lethal combination of Oxycontin, Ambien and Xanax, the Dr. chose to give him a prescription for weed. The one medication that he said would work better than all three of those things anyways. How he tells the audience this information cannot be done justice here, just know that it may sound whiny or sad as I relay it but when you hear it in only the way he can tell it, it’ll hurt you in the best possible way. When he speaks on his love for dogs (which is relevant to why he got caught) and tells cat lovers that they’re wasting their time as the cat hates them, I was squalling.
I won’t convey the story as it’s impossible to imbibe the humor the way he does, plus I don’t want to ruin it. I’d just like to note that even through his noticeable agony, he still had the crowd right where he wanted them. My sides hurt so badly by the end, I felt like I’d been kicked with steel toed boots. In my opinion, only an extraordinary entertainer could tell you intermittently during their set that their rectum was burning, stop to prop their foot on a stool just to get relief and still cause you to wrap your arms around your waist, rocking in a fit. While we’re on the subject, Ralphie also threatened any reporters in the audience with being hunted down and fitted with barbed wire underwear if they portrayed his behavior that night as what someone would normally see at a show of his. NO problem!
The next chunk was spent mostly on how women could do a better job in “certain aspects” when it comes to pleasing their man. I don’t mind telling you what a challenge this show is to write about while trying to keep it clean. And I’d be dishonest if I said that I loved that part of his set. I’ve never been a huge fan of sexually explicit comedy. In small doses, no biggie but when it goes on and on, I generally tune out. Call me a prude, whatever, it’s just my opinion and I knew going in some of Ralphie’s stuff is like that. It’s the other things he touches on that I enjoy hearing and laughing at. Certainly in the minority as the audience practically rolled in the aisles as May explained to the ladies how they could properly use their mouths in a parked or moving vehicle to ensure diamonds for Valentine’s Day. It was also his way of trying to make it up to the men who happened to be on dates on that particular evening with high hopes of getting some booty that may be shot down later because of this fat guy before them that had killed the mood with his tales of woe.
By the end, he was so visibly spent, he turned to his wife (standing just off stage) and said practically in tears … “I can’t do it babe.”
In 22 years of professional comedy, May has never missed meeting and greeting his audience after a performance, but there was just no way he’d be able come through this time. Not with him also being expected to do yet another show in less than an hour. I’d already resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t even going to try to attempt to get my questions in somewhere around the start of it anyways. Only an unsympathetic piece of crap would even think about harassing another human being, much less someone you hold in high esteem during a time when they’re so vulnerable and just trying to keep it together. Had we known he was so bad off at the Backstage Beat, we never would have even expected him to call in. His admirers definitely cared not either as they screamed out “Don’t worry about it Ralphie!” and “We love you Ralphie!” He was legitimately thankful and regretfully apologized several more times before instructing the audience to disregard the “no pictures” rule and snap away right then and there while Lahna modeled the shirts they’d be selling.
Yes….the acronym stands for what you think it does and he makes NO apologies for it. If you can’t take a joke, then don’t come to see him.
He tried his best to ham it up.
But this picture shows how he truly felt.
Afterwards, I waited for Lahna to finish signing autographs and talking with the fans about Ralphie’s predicament. Not one person complained, just sincerely wished him the best in a quick recovery and expressed their desire at seeing him again when he was feeling better. I introduced myself , telling her I was there covering the show for the Backstage Beat and how much I appreciated the amazing seats. Such a doll, she offered me things from the table that may help in my review like DVD’s and such but I refused them and just tried to let her get back to her husband and give her time to prepare for her opening set again. You can tell that more than anything, they are a team and while she’s a great comic, she’s also an amazing wife.
It was a weird feeling crossing that mostly empty parking lot to my awaiting chariot. I’d laughed a lot to be sure but more than that, I found myself caring for some dude I’d only seen on t.v. up until that night. But what I think most will find if you ever do buy a ticket, is that by the conclusion of his show you WILL know Ralphie May and you’ll probably care about him too. Another strange nugget that I hope will please him, there was only one other car in the area I was parked and it was right beside of mine. The SUV was running, park lights on and as I slunk into my ride I noticed the driver (a young dude) with his head leaned back like he was sleeping. Being nosy and upon further inspection, I saw that he wasn’t alone. His mate (a young lady) was just out of sight working on a diamond necklace for Valentine’s Day.
Dad’s Garage is Moving!
Welp, We’re Moving
Dad’s Garage Theatre Says Goodbye to its Current Home and Hello to a Temporary One
It’s official. At the ripe ol’ age of 18, mom and dad are kicking us out of the house. Dad’s Garage Theatre has received notice that our building, as well as the entire property at 280 Elizabeth Street, is changing ownership and will be redeveloped in the coming months. We’re optimistic that we’ll finish out the remainder of our season in our current space and will be performing as per usual through at least July 31st. We’ll be moving out soon after and will continue performing at our new temporary home at 7 Stages in Little Five Points beginning in August. While in our temporary home, we anticipate launching a capital campaign to raise funds to build our new, permanent home.
In regard to our permanent home, we have been vetting a few spaces and while it doesn’t look as if we’ll be able to stay in Inman Park, we’re committed to staying as close to home as possible. We have narrowed the search down to a few serious prospects and plan on making a decision very soon. That said, just like any 18 year-old, we like to keep our options open. So, if anyone has 15,000 sq. feet of space in the city with ample parking on the cheap – we’d love to hear about it.
Our facilities committee has been working hard behind the scenes to make sure we stay stable through the upcoming move, but this is still a really difficult burden for a non-profit theatre company to shoulder, and we’ll need help. These are the other things we could use a hand with:
Help us fill our seats. We’ve loved this space for 18 years and we want to cram as much love into it as possible for the last three months we’re here, so please help us (pack them out.) We’ve got some amazing shows coming up including:
- Apnea – April 26 through June 1 – Mike Schatz’s one-man show about a life without dreams
- Improv with Colin Mochrie – May 17 & 18 – Yep, the bald dude from “Whose Line is it Anyway?” will be doing funny things on our stage.
- And a whole bunch of other shows. We do six each week. You can find the remainder of our shows on our online calendar:
Help us stay connected. We don’t want to lose touch with folks, so please tell everyone you know to:
- Sign up for our mailing list: http://dadsgarage.com
- Become a fan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dadsgaragetheatre
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dads_garage
Help us move our stuff/staff. While we do have a theatre to perform in, we’ll need to find the following at low-to-no-cost to help us stay afloat. We need:
- Storage space
- Moving supplies
- Office space/meeting space for staff
- Contact Lara if you can help (Lara@dadsgarage.com or 404-523-3141 x 202)
Oh, and don’t worry, we’ll definitely close out our time here with an epic party. Be on the lookout for details.
More about 7 Stages:
7 Stages is located at 1105 Euclid Avenue NE in Little Five Points. Their name is derived from the ancient book of I Ching, The Book of Changes (#24, Turning Point). Since 1979, 7 Stages Theatre has been bringing local and international emerging artwork of social, political, and spiritual importance to Atlanta audiences for over 33 years. Artists in performance, musical, visual and the spoken arts have found the organization a haven in the support and development of new works and methods of collaboration.
For additional information on the programs, performances and activities at 7 Stages, or to schedule an interview, please contact Charles Swint at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404) 522 -4755.
Comic to Comic with Rob Shapiro
I sat down with Rob Shapiro after a week on the road with the king of underground New York comedy. We were at Siberia in the heart of historic New Orleans. The tour started at Jerry Farber’s in Atlanta. Jerry Farber had mistaken Rob for his brother Rick. The sibling comic rivalry has gone on since both brothers started in comedy in New York City so many years ago. Rick Shapiro has taken the fame role in this comedy family and Rob Shapiro has become the legend of underground.
With 25 plus years of a hard road-dog type career, Rob Shapiro mixes bitter times, a hardcore past and a sheer determination to be funny ‘till he dies. Rob reminds me of all my relatives with his gritty demeanor and a life-doesn’t-owe-me-shit outlook.
The interview starts with Rob’s description of the hotel our promoter booked him in. “Crackheads man, like everywhere, in the lobby and then again by the rooms. Genuine crackheads, so genuine that they have reached authentic status.” A fan and friend of 25 years walks up behind Rob and surprises him. He says that this kind of dedication to his comedy after all these years is what keeps him moving and shaking. I ask him the stock Comic to Comic question: “Rob, do you think one appearance on television can make or break a comedy career? Like back when you could go on Carson and the phone would start ringing?” He shrugs and gives the quirky grandpa-like smirk I have now seen over and over. Rob gets teary eyed and states that this question will take an hour to answer!
He rants about how the heart of comedy is gone and everyone thinks it is a get rich quick game. Rob started after his brother and saw a group of comics who treated each other like family. They would go out all night together. Rob was in his early thirties and saw the scene as a great mountain to conquer. Shapiro went the Ivy league Wall Street route prior to comedy and states that he was so jealous of Rick and the comedy scene that he had to do what he loved. There were no cliques in comedy. Everyone tried to help each other with the hopes that one would break and the rest would follow! Real comedy appears to be dead and there doesn’t appear to be heart anymore. Then Rob sees guys 35 and up doing it and it rekindles that drive and he sees heart in the older determined comics. He goes on to say everyone wants to be a writer and an actor first and a comic second. The guys who want to be comics and only comics get a better result.
There is a hunger that comes from doing just stand-up, and it drives Rob. When you just want to make people laugh, you will find it while you’re on stage–you learn to steer that car and hit it. You’re dancing with it, you’re living it, so genuine that it becomes authentic. In the old days, if a fellow comic saw you, they would say do that father joke, it kills. Nowadays a comic will say don’t do that joke again, ‘cause they are afraid you will upstage them. We are all in the same boat.
Marketing has become the new art. Function now follows form! Audiences have become so ready for a flashing light. You as a comic have to create a branding. Rob hates the term branding! He laughs at me saying that I was walking around the ghetto in New Orleans dressed in a black suit and Payas. Whatever it takes to make the audience take notice and give us as comics the platform to bring the funny. The audiences have become so Jimmy Falloned out of nothingness. We need our shtick since the backstabbing and nonsense between comics has become crazy! Most comics got into this business because we were antisocial and because we were hurt in life. Clubs like the Comedy Cellar in NYC or The Punchline in Atlanta have to compete now because every corner now has a club. Comedy clubs used to mean a vibrant force where they ran ads and filled the seats. They booked based on funny and to please a crowd that the reputation of the club backed.
Rob goes on and on to say most clubs will not bring in anyone, as if it was just a four wall place with a microphone. Every club owner used to be a producer and promoter, and now they forget that they sell drinks and we make ‘em laugh (simple logic from Rob Shapiro). My time with Rob has been crazy and a great opportunity to learn from a legend. He has taken A Jew and a Black Guy under his wing and schooled us. My tough New York street smart mentality is influenced by the originals of the field we struggle at every day. Rob Shapiro is a true original and we will see him back in the south this summer. He is just getting started all over again!
Comic to Comic: Greg Proops!
I was able to sit down in a groovy little cove in the lobby of the W in Midtown. I had just gotten an area in mind to do the interview when Mr. Proops walks over and plants a genuine kiss on my crippled forehead. His hair was perfectly coiffed and he looked and smelled divine! Not the usual bar room comedian I am so used too. Of course, forever the comedienne, I had to ask if he had any “work done.” Greg chuckled devilishly and said he had recently lost 40lbs as he got tired of being asked if he was his wife’s dad. I couldn’t help but laugh. as I know all too well how that feels.
Greg had a tight schedule, and I felt very fortunate that he could sit down with The Backstage Beat. He was on his way to the venue for 3 nights of standup and a Sunday night live podcast. I listened to a few of his “Smartest Man in the World” Proopcasts before meeting with him. His podcasts are hilarious!
Greg sits onstage at a modest table with a mic, a “couple” glasses of vodka, and a non gender orange cardboard kitten whose name is Kitten McTavish. He tells me McTavish’s story. The kitten is a reminder to replace some of his swearing, was named by his wife, and was picked up in London at a Christmas market. Kitten McTavish has become quite the charmer, and between McTavish and Greg, they receive a lot of questions. He loves reading and answering all of his emails and has a special account for that reason. You can write him or hell even McTavish at email@example.com.
Greg told me he was on his way to London next and that he really enjoys a small venue. This seems to be very popular with a lot of the comedians we interview. I asked him what is his deciding factor in choosing a venue to perform while in Atlanta. Greg explained to me that he had known the club owner where his weekend performances were for the greater part of 10 years. He was told he was going to put all the “groovy comedians” in this comedy club. We both laughed hysterically because it was at that point I realized that I was not “groovy.” I am indeed just an old lady living her dream.
I had to talk to him about his comedic flow. While he delivers setups, punch lines, and callbacks, it is so natural; you feel like you are engaged in a conversation with him. Yet he is the only person talking! I consider him not only the smartest man, but also the funniest man in the world. He is just naturally hilarious. Genetically engineered that way. I asked him how he prepares for a show. He says he takes a lot of notes. However, doesn’t have much time to prepare. From flying, to interviews, to check in…the time is just not there.
I asked him why he chose podcast over straight stand up. Greg was very passionate with his answer and he’s full of feminist history. He wants to be fair to everyone. He said with great conviction, “I get real bored with straight male comedians and my girlfriends so fat… and these bitches do that… not just white male comedians ALL male comedians. And I just get real bored with it and I don’t find it amusing anymore…even moreover….and I’m not trying to take high moral grounds here…the lack of awareness in that area is what really drives me up the God damn wall! Like you’re not even aware that your being an asshole. Just like all men, you walk through the world because the world belongs to you and they don’t even see that. They don’t even see their in a privileged position by being a man.”
Since the “Proopcast” aired he has a lot of women that listen and write him. Women that write him that say “Thank you for mentioning this or talking about that. Like today is International Women History Day and I guarantee you NO ONE will mention it.”
Greg continues with, “TV executives will tell you young people want to watch young people. And listen…they are UNBELIEVABLY WRONG about that! They don’t care who it is IF they are interesting to them. I was watching Lily Tomlin at 7, and Carol Burnett. They think the young want to watch the young and they don’t care at all. Network execs are obsessed with it.”
We talk about that being the kind of resistance I’m running into as a comedienne starting so late in age. Greg says, “People resist.” I feel relieved; at least he notices. He continues, “To make you feel bad about yourself. You’re too heavy. You’re too this. You’re too that. I’m too effeminate. I’m too smart. I play over the crowds head. Whatever the reasons are… have glasses. We already have someone with glasses. I’ve been on auditions where they say will you please take off your glasses? We already have someone with glasses. Well…I WEAR GLASSES! Do you want me to walk into the rest of the cast? I’ll take them off.” We both discover we are not only blind but also deaf without our glasses and gnarly funny Helen Keller impressions ensue.
We get serious again and discuss how comics are treated because of our age. Especially me as a woman. He gets passionate again and states regarding Comedy Central “They would sooner kill themselves than not put on a 29-31 year old guy. DIE…DIE…DIE. They have a bunch of new shit that is better than their old shit, like Key and Peele, thank god. In general they want it to be frat boy.”
Again we talk about resistance. I tell him I get discouraged. Greg adamantly says, “You’re either good or you’re not good. Judge me on my merit.” That is all we ask for we both agree. He goes on to say, “Oh you’re that…don’t put a label on me before I’ve said anything.”
He continues with an answer to the question on every comedian’s mind. Greg believes you got to get out of town to “make it” in some cases. “The geography of the place dictates how ignorant and stupid and vile people can be to you. ‘Well I’m from here and were shit kickers so fuuuuuck you.’ Really…really that’s how the world works you can’t open your mind in any way because where you live people throw sticks of dynamite in a pond? So when I get on the podcast these are the things on my mind. And I try to discuss them in an intelligent way. Also political things…Generalization.” Greg will go through an article that he says, “It isn’t even truth…oh the Pope left. THE POPE DID NOT LEAVE! HE’S NOT ALLOWED TO LEAVE! Oh it’s over now? No. it’s just beginning.”
We get back to the comic to comic basics. Greg says he is “Making a willful effort to dig up some old stuff, beat it up, and try to re fix it.” He says of the audience “They were half buying it last night,” and he wants to do more freestyle.
I felt inclined to ask him if he actually drinks vodka onstage or is it water in his glass. He was more than enthusiastic when answering “VODKA.” I went into my whiskey relapse story. We were both in agreement that we like to get shit faced. He enjoys doing his “Proopcast” or “vodcast” as he can just drink and talk. Greg makes me feel better about myself by saying, “All musicians and comics are drunks and drug addicts.” If you can feel better about something like that.
We talked “comedian hours.” Mr. Proops describes something I’m getting all too familiar with. He says, “You finish the late show at 1am after whipping a crowd into a frenzy. You spend 23 hours of the day focusing on THIS part of the day. And people don’t, and they don’t need to, understand the mechanics of comedy. We’re speaking as comics. It doesn’t matter to them. It should seem like magic. It should seem like you just thought of it. And they can be fooled. And that’s okay.”
“The thing is for us the doing of ‘it’ is 1/24th of the day. IF that much.” Interviews, flying, maybe writing something. “Then when you’re done, it’s like let’s go eat breakfast or let’s go eat pizza because I can’t fucking sleep.”
The conversation turns to Bob Hope. Greg gives me the scoop! “He would get up between 10-11am and would make his entire family have dinner at midnight. Everybody dressed. I’m not kidding. He kept comedian hours as if he was gigging his whole life and then he got up and golfed.”
I turned the conversation back to Greg’s pre-show prep. He told me sometimes that he stands in the back and listens. He says, “People go, ‘Do you care what topics I talk about?’ I go, no. Because I learned a long time ago from a friend of mine named Will Durst… I said to him, I got this Reagan joke and I want to do it. But I know you got a bunch of stuff on it. And he goes, ‘Your opening the floor and you’re not doing my joke…your doing your joke.’ And now the topic’s been raised so when I come out I can address it as well…. And I was like OH!”
Greg continues, “You know, ‘cuz sometimes people you know how they come up and go ‘Don’t say nothing about cats. I got cats. I do cats.’ And you’re like fuck you! You do cats. I do cats. Everybody does it you know.” Comics take note. I say to him, “You would not believe how bad that is here in Atlanta”. He belts out, “OH YEAH you’re not gonna talk about trucks are you? ‘Cuz I got a truck joke and I’m closing with it.” I tell him I’m not even allowed to do fat people jokes AND I’m fat! He tells me, “You have a lifetime experience of it and the pettiness will go away.” So that means I have hope? YES!
I end the interview with a question that we always do in Comic to Comic. Do you think one TV appearance like Carson back in the day can break a career? Mr. Proops answers, “It is the diametrical opposite of that. No! Drew Carey was the last person to get that big hit in ‘90 or ‘91. That was it. It doesn’t work that way anymore. It’s social media and internet. You have to hope for anything to happen.”
Greg decides to break my heart. “We are not going to be on Saturday Night Live. We’re too old. As soon as people hit 40 they are rejected. And that’s the way the world works.” So, I’m really over here crying… as I just spent my 40th birthday last Friday in rehab with a broken hip.
It seems like you don’t even have to be a comedian anymore to be entertaining. Greg chimes in with “Or an actor. They’re just looking for the next NeNe.” I try to find solace in this. As I am reminded once again, I may have started my comedic journey too late in life. Forever the optimist…I’m going with it’s still too early to call.
You can connect to Greg’s Proopcast “The Smartest Man in the World” and find out everything you need to know at www.gregproops.com.
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