5 Questions Interview


by Ryan Meehan

Comedian Greg Fitzsimmons hosts a weekly radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio’s “Howard 101”, and you may notice him as regular on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, and The Tonight Show.  Greg recently made his 60th visit to “The Howard Stern Show” and has done two Half-Hour Specials for Comedy Central. Greg won four Daytime Emmy Awards for writing/producing “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”.   And if that weren’t enough, he’s also our guest this week in 5 Questions.

1.   You just released a book:  “Dear Mrs. Fitzsimmons:  Tales From an Irish Mailbox”  Could you tell us a little bit about it?

GF:  Disciplinary notes from school and arrests for fighting are normally seen as bad news.  Coming from a 100% Irish family they were just seen as funny.  I found a collection of these letters my mother had saved and realized it was the skeleton of a book.  I fleshed the letters out with a deep, dark look at my relationship with my Dad and my journey trying to be a better person despite my impulse to do the opposite of whatever i am told to do.

2.  You were a writer for “Lucky Louie”.  How did the atmosphere of the writing room differ from that of when you worked on “Ellen”?

GF:  The pace is very different on a sitcom.  You have weeks and weeks of pre-production where you come up with story ideas and work as a group to shape and improve the script.  With “Ellen” or any other daily show, it is a factory.  You have to attack each day knowing there is a very firm deadline of a taping that evening.

3.  I’ve noticed that other comedians are getting into the whole podcasting thing:  (Carrolla, Burr, Rogan, et cetera)  How much of wanting to do a podcast is the fact that you’re allowed to broadcast free of FCC regulations?  In other words, how much of the desire to podcast is based on the fact that it’s uncensored?

GF:  That is a lot of it.  Comedians are famous for being lazy and not meeting deadlines, et cetera.  The creative freedom and lack of any notes whatsoever from above make it refreshing and challenging compared to what you are used to in the media.  Much closer than the standup comedy experience.

4.  How does writing jokes for a standup show differ from writing jokes for a TV show?

GF:  In standup you start with an idea that is compelling for you personally.  TV writing is about seriving the voice of the show.  It is also great because joke writing is like solving a puzzle and there is always a satisfaction when you “solve” a joke.  Standup is obviously more rewarding because the material stays with you and you continue to make it better over time.

4b. Why are the New York Mets so awful?

GF:   I have no idea.  I grew up a Mets fan because my father was a DJ on WNEW AM which carried the games.  We had season tickets and my Dad was friends with Rusty Staub.  It was almost a joke to call yourself a Mets fan because they had been bad for so long.  The 1980’S changed our self-image and winning the series in ’86 is the high point of my sports memories that I shared with my Dad.  After the strike I lost interest in even following at all.

5.   What’s coming up next for you in 2011?  Any upcoming TV appearances we should know about?

GF:   In the last four weeks I’ve been on Letterman, Kimmel, Chelsea Handler,  Howard Stern, NPR, The Bob and Tom Show, Joy Behar and about 100 local radio shows.  Coming up I have a spot on “Lopez Tonight” and we have a few other shows we are finding a date for.  The Podcast just keeps churning out two episdoes a week, plus another show on Sirius/XM every Monday.

Don’t forget to check out Greg’s podcast at his website, and visit the other sites listed below.

Don’t forget to check out Greg’s podcast at his website, and visit the other sites listed below.

Official Website:  http://www.gregfitzsimmons.com/

Greg on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/gregfitzshow

Greg on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/gfitzsimmons1

Greg on Youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/user/GregFitzComedy

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