by Ryan Meehan
Greg Proops is a stand up comic from San Francisco. He lives in Hollywood. It’s not that bad. Really. The Proopdog is best known for his unpredictable appearances on Whose Line is it Anyway? He can be seen on the New Season on the CW. Greg has a brand-new stand up special called “Live at Musso and Franks” which is available at gregproops.com and was recorded at the legendary Hollywood eatery. Professor Proops has a hit Podcast called The Smartest Man in the World. He has recorded it live in London, Australia, New Zealand, Montreal, Edinburgh, Dublin, San Francisco, Oslo, Amsterdam, Austin, Paris aboard a ship in the Caribbean and somehow, Cleveland. Find it at Proopcast.com or iTunes. The Greg Proops Film Club is a popular new podcast covering old and new movies also available on iTunes. He records and screens a movie monthly at The Cinefamily in Hollywood. Greg can be viewed on the new season of @midnight on Comedy Central. Proople Rain brazenly smokes dope on TV on The Green Room with Paul Provenza on Showtime. Greg has lent his voice to Star Wars the Phantom Menace, The Nightmare Before Christmas and was Bob the Builder. We are delighted to have the captain of the Proop Deck as our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: What was your first experience on stage doing stand-up, and had you done improv at the time? How did it go, and what was the first real “lesson” you learned regarding the comedy community?
GP: Well, in High School I got up and did Abbot and Costello at the school talent shows. Then me and my partner Forrest Brakeman did gigs in junior college. We weren’t in the community at that point, we just wrote stuff and did it at school. When we moved to San Francisco we did clubs, then we got into the 80’s scene in SF which was fertile baby. Paula Poundstone, Warren Thomas Bobby Slayton, Will Durst. So it took some time, we were energetic – but not actually good. I first did Improv in college at SF state. They had a group and they did an audience spot, so I volunteered and they asked me to join. That was 1967.
RM: In your own personal opinion, can every aspiring comic learn from the world of improv? Can people who are focused only on the stand-up aspect of comedy and have no general interest in improv whatsoever benefit from being a part of an improv troupe, even if it’s just for a short period of time?
GP: Improv teaches you to go forward with the information you have. It made me confident enough to fail as a stand up. If you join a group, make sure you are not the funniest. Run with the big boys and girls.
RM: You’ve been doing standup for quite a while now…In your time on stage, what do you think is the biggest change that you have seen within the industry of comedy; and what’s your take on how it has had an effect on the art form? If you had to make a prediction regarding what will be the biggest change in stand-up over the next twenty or thirty years, what would you guess that it will be?
GP: More women and minority comics getting huge. The internet blowing up and making traditional TV not the main way to reach lots of people. Thank the gods for the smartphone, because it has made podcasts accessible.
RM: Your new record “Greg Proops Live: At Musso and Frank” is available now for download for just $4.99. I’ve noticed that a lot of comics (Todd Barry for example) seem to be using that price point as the industry standard for downloadable specials. Do you think a lot of that is based off of what Louis CK is doing with his website by making comedy available at an affordable price to the masses? Have you seen your own stats go up as a result of offering your special for five bucks as opposed to the $15.99 one might pay at a Best Buy or even a local record store that has good taste in which comedy albums to order?
GP: Louis laid down the law. Five bucks is fair and affordable. Plus, we do not charge for the podcasts.
RM: Other than the fact that the latter is more politically-centered, what the biggest difference between the two panel shows that you regularly appear on – “Chelsea Lately” and “Red Eye With Greg Gutfeld”? Why is it that panel shows seem to have increased in popularity over the past five to ten years? Is it more than just the format that viewers are interested in?
GP: People like chatting. “Chelsea” is all tabloid and sex, and “Red Eye” is more politics and opinion. They have all been so nice to me. “Red Eye” gets away with murder, which I love.
RM: How often do you smoke marijuana when you are writing new material for your stand-up act? Which part of the writing process is your favorite step, and which part do you find to be the most tedious? Why do you think that is?
GP: Lots. Doing it on stage. Being in show biz is not that fun sometimes too much ego bashing. I hate business, I love fun.
RM: When did you first get the idea to do the podcast at different spots around the world? And how have you used that angle to create differentiation between your show and the seemingly thousands of other podcasts out there?
GP: Well we had Australia and New Zealand on the calendar right after we started, so it just happened. Now I would not have it any other way. In April/May we have Halifax, Chicago, Brooklyn, Paris, Helsinki, Amsterdam, London and Hayon Wye, so game on kittens.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
GP: The video is out at long bloody last and I am on the new “Whose Line” on the CW. I am writing a book and it is murder. I am lucky as can be. I love doing my podcasts and that people still care. My heart soars like a sparrow.
Official Website: http://www.gregproops.com/blog/
Buy Greg’s new special: http://gregproops.vhx.tv/buy
Greg on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GregProops
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