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Portlandia! Fred and Carrie Talk!

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The Backstage Beat has been HUGE fans of IFC’s show Portlandia since we first heard it was coming out, 2 years ago.

We have had the pleasure of talking with Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein several times since and it is always a hoot.

The new season is starting on January 4th! We will be dropping some sneak peaks at that as well in the week to come!

For now, we give you Fred and Carrie:

Hello, hey, I’d like to learn from both of you guys about the MTV episode.  Did you guys both grow up on MTV, or were you big fans of the original version of MTV and what’s your view of the transition of MTV over the years?

 

F. Armisen    Absolutely, I grew up on MTV.  I remember even as far back as when it first started, and I was addicted to it.  I watched MTV all the time and it was a huge part of my life.  I remember all kinds of shows like 120 Minutes and The Cutting Edge and stuff like that. All through the years, I was really addicted. So the transition is fine.  I don’t subscribe to things were better then.  It’s just it’s a different kind of channel, but for people who were growing up on it, I’m sure it’s great for them, so the episode is not a judgment call on it at all.

 C. Brownstein              Yes, certainly MTV was an important part of my childhood and it helped kind of nurture and augment my obsession with music as a kid and I loved watching videos.  I don’t begrudge or have any negative feelings towards MTV as now.  I think it’s kind of a different time and a different era, so it’s fine.

 

  Okay, now I’ll just ask one other thing about that.  Kurt Loder, I actually didn’t know Kurt doesn’t do anything at all for MTV anymore and kind of when you suggested this to him, what was his attitude? 

 

C. Brownstein              Everyone was really on board with being on the show and it was actually one of my favorite days on the set. It had such a strange kind of nostalgic feel for me since I had watched all three of those guys when I was a kid.  Yes, he was really excited to be part of it.  All three of them were very gracious with their time and very game.

  I was wondering what keeps challenging you about portraying these characters? 

 

F. Armisen                   Trying to find, trying to do more things that are a little bit beyond the surface of what we’ve been doing already. Not just repeating ourselves, but finding a new angle, trying to make it seen fresh and new to ourselves.  So I would say that’s probably the biggest challenge with it.

 

C. Brownstein              Yes, I think just finding ways of making the characters more multi-dimensional, figuring out who they are and how to write for them is a challenge.  But it also becomes easier as the seasons go on because as we figure out what makes these people tick and what their essential traits are or their essential characteristics. It’s easier to put them in conflict with the environment and to create situations for them that kind of bring to the surface who they are.  So it’s challenging, but it’s becomes more rewarding to create the world through these characters and stories for them.

 

    And what do you think it is about Portlandia that continues to make it such a fanfare program? 

 

F. Armisen                   I think that maybe people are reacting to because it’s a very affectionate show and warm. It’s definitely a positive, so maybe that’s something.  There’s an optimism to it that I think maybe people react to.  I mean I honestly don’t know.  You never know why someone likes something.  There might be a million different reasons, so I also, I’m not sure.

 

    We enjoy having you, Carrie, on Twitter.  I’m hoping that you’ll join, too. 

 

F. Armisen                   Okay.

 

C. Brownstein              Thank you.

 

You both have such an awesome sense for comedic timing.  What do you feel – is there maybe a certain formula for good comedic TV or is that not the case?

 

F. Armisen                   Well, I think there probably is some really complicated formula that no one really knows how to find exactly. For as long as comedy on TV has existed, there’s been so many successes and failures that it probably just changes from minute to minute.  So there’s some kind of complicated formula, but I don’t think anyone will ever know exactly what it is.

 

   No, probably not.  So for both of you, you have other projects going on and music going on, what does work on Portlandia fulfill for each one of you on a creative level? 

 

C. Brownstein              Well, for me it’s an opportunity to get to hang out with and collaborate with Fred and with our director and co-writer, Jonathan Krisel.  It’s a very specific chemistry that we have, it allows a certain kind of frivolity and certain kind of performance like comparing to absurdity, but also kind of dealing with the awkward moments and I really love that.  It kind of allows, with all the sort of observations that I make throughout the year, to get to write those ideas down and bring those to fruition.       I’m really just grateful actually that we only do it five months out of the year, because I think we never take it for granted.  We come to it hungry and eager and with a sense of enthusiasm that I think is really important and infectious.  It comes from a labor of love, which it very much is, so I think even just that it provides that for me.  It’s just something that I am very appreciative of and grateful for.

Great.  And Fred? 

 

F. Armisen                   It’s almost like it allows me to just kind of keep moving forward.  Like I don’t like stopping for any reason, so it’s a kind of like I look forward to every year.  On a very immediate level, it allows me to hang out with my friends and to be in a beautiful city that I love and then I like that it’s not always easy.                                      We make little changes just so we’re not repeating ourselves and that’s kind of hard.  If we let it sit back and go like, this worked before, let’s just do this again, it wouldn’t be as good. But that once there’s this new, we just kind of make these little like walls, you know like okay, let’s try to jump over this one and see what happens.

 

Okay.  And the other thing I wanted to ask you about was this “Winter in Portlandia” episode; I don’t think we’ve seen Portlandia in winter before. What was the inspiration for that, or was it a matter of, did you plot out doing a winter episode first; or did you suddenly find you had a collection of skits that worked for a winter episode?  How did it come together?

 

C. Brownstein              Well, we knew we had an 11th episode that we were going to make and that it was going to air in advance of the regular season, so that it will operate as sort of a special.  And with it airing in December, we wanted it to be distinct from the rest of the season.  Because with season three, we really wanted to go deeper into some character development and have some people on there to…, and we kind of needed it to be a standalone thing.

So as you mentioned we never really show Portland as the rainy city that I sometimes see with, clouds overhead and the dreariness, so we did deliberately write for that episode and come up with ways of having the characters kind of deal with the darkness and the kind of dreariness as winter, so all the scenes kind of in storyline surround that.  There’s some holiday stuff in there as well, but because we have never shown the rainy season in Portland, we thought that that would an interesting way of making it distinct from the rest of season.

 

My question is that I see that Carrie is going to have a new roommate.  Can you talk a little bit about how that figures into the show?

 

F. Armisen                   Well, we just wanted it to, like the characters of Fred and Carrie we didn’t want it to be the same thing where they’re just doing tasks for the mayor.  So we thought let’s put another person in with them, who is close enough that it can actually have an effect on their friendship in some way.  So that’s kind of the idea behind that was.  It wasn’t just that we wanted to have a roommate.  We just thought like would that be something that we can get to know the Fred and Carrie characters a little better.

 

    That sounds exciting to see another dimension.  Now you’re on location there.  What kind of ideas do you get from living there? 

 

C. Brownstein              Well, I mean I think it does help sometimes to be immersed.  I live in Portland, but we do some of the writing in Los Angeles and then when the production gets going in Portland, it does help to be in this immersive environment, because it just lends itself to authenticity and also just kind of remembering the ways to keep the show kind of feeling real and textured and varied and not to become a caricature of itself.   There’s just an unabiding fondness that we have for Portland.  So I think actually to be on location, it also I think reminds us that it’s not specifically Portland-based. Like we still need to focus on character and story and so it’s just, it kind of just helps kind of shape and contextualize the show.   It doesn’t really help in terms of material, but we’ve been very deliberate about not having the show be concept-based.  People want to have emotional attachment to conceptual ideas.  They’re drawn to something because of a story or a character, so Portland just kind of functions as this lyrical backdrop for what we’re doing.

Hey, guys and excuse me if you’ve answered this question a million times, but I’m wondering what city would you like to give the Portlandia treatment to and would that ever happen as far a special Austinland or LAville or something like that?

 

F. Armisen                   Well, we’ve thought about it a little bit.  I don’t know that we want to necessarily go to another city.  We talked about it the other day privately, but when a show goes to another city sometimes it’s a little risky.  Like for us, it’s fun, but for the viewer, they’re like where are we.   But with that said for some reason I feel like there might something to explore in like Pittsburgh or I don’t know why.  I don’t know what my backup for this is, but like Detroit seems like a weird and interesting city, because I feel like it goes through so much hardship, but so much great stuff comes from there, so I’m like what’s that about?  Minneapolis, for some reason might be fun.

 

C. Brownstein              Milwaukee.

 

F. Armisen                   Milwaukee, Milwaukee is like a major city, but it’s like just personally I just want to explore what that would be about.

 

And one other quick thing, if you guys can just share your favorite local Portland response to the show, if it’s someone coming up to you saying oh my God, I have the best idea for skit or someone who is  maybe insulted, just your favorite local response.

 

F. Armisen                   Well, my personal is that I was at the movies and this girl came to me and gave me a big loaf of French bread, so I took it to the movies with me.  So that for me was like very, you know it was nice and it was strange.

 

And Carrie?

 

C. Brownstein              Did you say weirdest thing?

 

Yes, the weirdest response or your favorite response.  It might be the same.

 

C. Brownstein              Okay, well, all of those really stem from my experiences at the grocery store, but I was in line behind this guy who had some nuts from the bulk bin and the cashier was laying them up and when he typed in the code, it came up as Brazil nuts and the guy said, “Those aren’t Brazil nuts. Those are macadamia nuts!” And the cashier was like, “That’s fine.  I’ll just charge you for the Brazil nuts”, but he was so insistent. He was actually about to save literally $20, but he was so insistent that everybody knew this wasn’t the kind of nut he was getting and he wanted to pay for it.  It was just strange and weird.

Great, so how do you plan out story arcs for all your characters and decide about what wraparound should go on and that? 

 

F. Armisen                   It’s kind of a very traditional thing.  We have a writers room and a bulletin board and we have the big cards. We really do sit there all day and just keep proposing things: what if this happened, what if Nina wanted a wedding, okay, no, let’s change it to a birthday party.  It’s like then we look at the whole board of the season and we’re like, okay, well, how can we have the characters of Fred and Carrie expand a little bit, so it’s not just the same thing.  What can we do with the mayor?

So that is the part that is most kind of work heavy, where we really do have to like try to come up with a storyline that is interesting to other people and us.  That’s the part that where we just sit there all day saying you know that’s not a bad idea or that’s great or like you know, that’s how we do it.

 

So what have you both found has changed from the first season to now in terms of creating sketches and your work flow? 

 

C. Brownstein              We definitely, I mean to Fred’s point that character and you did say production of work flow where we spend a lot more time writing for sure.  We spend a lot of more time being deliberate about endings and really making sure that there is a story.  What we learned from season to season is that the characters have to have a relationship within the setting.  We can’t just be a situation or a concept.  There has to be stakes.  There has to be something that brings tension to the scene.

Those are all the basic tenets of good story or good writing, but I think sometimes when you’re doing a sketch and you can kind of forget that that fully exists, so we really have worked on having arcs in place and endings  in place and really building this infrastructure in which we can improvise because the dialog is mostly improvised.  We’ve really worked on that scaffolding within the scenes and within the story, so that we know where to go as we improvise.

I think that that helps make the show richer and it’s becoming less and less like a sketch to me.  Like the first season seemed a little bit more like that, but still some hybrid and now it’s seems even less like that and more like the lives of these people moving forward.

 

     So Fred, the bike messenger’s ears, what makes that skin around the gauges, how is that achieved?  How is that achieved?

 

F. Armisen                   That’s all prosthetics.  It just that we have this really talented makeup artist who kind of pulls back my lobe and my lower lobe and then kind of pulls back behind my ear and then a fake one is attached underneath it, so that’s how she does it.  She’s really good at it.  She’s really great at it.

 

    Yes, it’s like terrifically real, especially with the door lock caught in his lobe that first season. 

 

F. Armisen                   Oh, yes.

 

Yes, all right, great, thanks so much for taking the time to talk and good luck with everything, both of you.  Thank you.

 

C. Brownstein              Thank you.

 

F. Armisen                   Thank you.

Comedy

Dad’s Garage is Moving!

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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:

http://dadsgarage.com/Calendar
Help us stay connected. We don’t want to lose touch with folks, so please tell everyone you know to:

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 charles@7stages.org or 404) 522 -4755.

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Comic to Comic

Comic to Comic with Rob Shapiro

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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!

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Comic to Comic

Comic to Comic: Greg Proops!

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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 fanmailforgreg@gmail.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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