by Ryan Meehan
Memphis born actor Jerry Minor is known for his work in such feature films as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, I Love You, Man, and Beer League. Minor was a cast member and writer on NBC’s Saturday Night Live from 2000-2001, and was also a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He has appeared on a plethora of other television programs, such as Lucky Louie, Arrested Development, Lewis Black’s The Root of All Evil, Crossballs, Drunk History, The League, Key & Peele and Cedric the Entertainer Presents. An alumnus of the Second City Touring Company, Jerry is currently the only performer to ever belong to all three of Second City’s Touring Companies. We are delighted to have Jerry Minor as our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: What were the three most important things that you learned about comedy during your time at Second City? How did your experience working with that enterprise help shape you into the performer you are today?
JM: 1) I learned how to work with a diverse group of people; 2) I learned the process of building something from scratch. Most of the time in TV, film and screen you are just a small part of a bigger machine. Second City actors do everything; and 3) For me it taught me how to be an adult although I failed often. Being professional, showing up on time, shit like that…
RM: If you had to sum up your tenure at SNL in five words or less, how would that sentence (or sentence fragment) read?
JM: “Wished I had relaxed more.”
I was only one year. I should have chilled and taken in the scenery more. I was full speed ahead back then, and not patient at all. I don’t know if the results would have been different but my brain would have felt better. And I should have had more sex with people.
RM: When you watch video clips of yourself performing, what is the first thing that you analyze? Has that focus changed over the years as you have perfected different details of your comedic chops?
JM: I look for how into it I was. If I’m looking at it, don’t remember anything I did and am truly into the piece then I feel I did my job correctly. And yes, it’s changed a lot over the years.
RM: What is the most crucial element of nailing down a really great impression? Which of your signature impressions do you think is the best and why?
JM: I don’t do impressions well. There are so many people who concentrate on that and I bow to them. But I can tell you the best of them all do different things. Darrell Hammond’s process is way different from Dana Carvey. I could go more into the difference in preparation, but I think it’s enough to say there is no one way. My best is Lando Calrissian. Only my friends and a few writers at SNL have seen it. Also I’m doing Ben Carson tonight, so I hope that’s a good one as well.
RM: When did you initially meet Craig Robinson; and how did the two of you eventually come about creating the “L. Witherspoon and Chucky” characters?
JM: I met Craig while I was at Second City in Chicago. L. Witherspoon came about when I had the song title idea, “Somebody is fucking my lady”. That’s all. I don’t play the piano very well so after I moved to LA from New York – after SNL started looking for Craig because I’d heard he was in town but I couldn’t find him. Then an assistant I worked with was talking to someone on the phone and asked if I knew him from Chicago and it was Craig. So random. So she hooked me up with him, I told him the idea and we worked it one night after smoking some great weed. The next night we performed it at Largo in LA, and the next week we were on Bill Maher.
RM: You’re fortunate enough to be a part of the hit series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”…Other than the fact that it’s extremely well written, why do you think that show has become such a smash among comedy fans?
JM: Kimmy Schmidt is liked by comedy fans as much because it’s got some of the most talented people in comedy working on it, including myself.
RM: If you had to give one piece of advice to young comedians about what to expect from their first time writing in a group setting, what would you tell those aspiring comics?
JM: I don’t like writing with a large group so I would actually ask, “How you do that without pulling your hair out?”
RM: What aspect of the comedic writing process would you consider to be your specialty? Why do you think that you excel at that particular facet of the craft?
JM: I feel like writing characters and dialogue are my strengths. My background growing up probably has the most influence on that. I was just really observational and always reading people. Everyone has faults, so everyone has the potential to be funny as a character.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
JM: My podcast documentary “The Truth” is on Howl right now…It’s about my experience growing up a Jehovah’s witness, and I’m also writing a feature film for Cedric the Entertainer.
Jerry on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0591576/
Jerry on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jerryminor
Jerry on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jerryminor
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