The Mick Foley interview
By Jeff Allen, Contributor
Joy, comedy, and humour don’t just make themselves happen (usually)—for many comedians and performers, laughter is their product and they’re sell, sell, selling it. Join the Other Press as we get to know the people and places that create the comedy we LOL at.
Mick Foley is a triple threat: a beloved wrestling icon, a best-selling author, and now, an in-demand comedy performer. Foley brings his unique brand of stand-up to New Westminster this month as part of the Northwest Comedy Festival. The Other Press spoke to Foley the day after a controversial WWE pay-per-view event, one that inspired him to vent his extreme disappointment with his former employer via Twitter. Prior to the event, Foley tweeted that he would throw a brick through his television if a fan favourite, Daniel Bryan, did not win the big match.
What does Mick Foley do to relax?
I don’t get much time to relax. You know what I do? I’m here in my year-round Christmas room and I just revamped it with some nice framed photos of the Foley family… I just got a message that TMZ wants to record me throwing a brick through my television…
[Note: Mick Foley posted a video of himself smashing his daughter’s television set with a baseball bat. It has generated over 100,000 views on YouTube as of this writing.]
What’s more terrifying: wrestling Terry Funk in a ring with C-4 explosives and barbed wire (Foley actually did this), or standing in front of a room full of strangers telling funny stories?
Unless a set goes really awry, there will be no late-night emergency room visits… but up until about a year and a half ago, every night, the prospect of going on stage really did intimidate me.
It seems part of being a successful wrestler is having the ability to reinvent yourself every few years (Foley had several personas including Mankind, Cactus Jack, and Dude Love—and he played both the hero and villain). Does your foray into comedy stem from those instincts?
Yeah. The constant tweaking really did result in gradual evolutions over the years. It was always really helpful to stay one step ahead of the curve, to kind of change things up before people realized it needed changing.
How would you describe your act to someone who isn’t familiar with Mick Foley?
[Laughs] He tells animated stories about interesting people that are only slightly exaggerated.
Is your set constantly being refined from city to city? Or has it remained constant, like a one-man show with set dialogue?
It’s a combination of both. I found a few core stories that I revolve the show around, and then I try and add personal experiences and recent observations.
I remember sitting with my brother at my cousin’s house in New England and finding the George Carlin Class Clown album and listening to it over and over. We obviously knew it was something we were not supposed to listen to. But it wasn’t just “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television”—it was his mastery of finding humour and absurdity in the human language.
Being on the road, have you gotten to know any of your fellow comedians?
[Judah Friedlander] was the guy who took me under his wing and basically saved my comedy life by telling me—when I got off stage in New York City after doing a set that was so bad I swore I would never step foot up there again—that it wasn’t as bad as I thought. And that ordinarily if a comic went four minutes without getting a single laugh, they were done, but people were actually listening, they weren’t laughing, but they were listening, and if I could find a way to make these stories funny as opposed to interesting, then I would be okay.
Is the camaraderie between comedians the same as it is between wrestlers?
Yeah, the lifestyles are so similar… one of the things we bond over is the fact that the best stories come from the worst gigs.
You’re a married guy. This interview will appear in our romance issue. Do you have any advice for keeping your partner happy?
Yeah, I’ll give you an example. Last night, I went outside to get the brick that I was going to throw through my television set. A spirited debate began between me and my wife. I lost the spirited debate. So I would say if you want to be happily married: a) accept that you will lose almost every argument and, b) be prepared to apologize for things you’ve done, even when you know they’re not wrong.
Mick Foley appears at Lafflines in New Westminster February 13, 14 and 15.