Craig Shoemaker is more than just funny. He is an intellectual mind who is unbelievably relatable to audiences of all ages. With a track record that spans years, he is not here to impress--he is here to be himself. And "himself"? Well, he's as entertaining as they come. He has won various awards, and to give him continuous praise would be . . . well, necessary. Craig Shoemaker has had a long career for a reason. This guy is good. Craig is a stand-up guy in a standup comedian's body. Come out and see this body at the Brea Improv tonight through Saturday to get a taste of the Love Master.
He'll give you a taste and send the bill later.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): So you're writing a book huh? What's it about?
Craig Shoemaker: This book I am writing is a process about the journey I've been through. It's about finding my "authentic self" and happiness, which was compromised in my former relationship. So there is a lot to it, but now it has a purpose because I have this uncommon dialogue going with this woman from Facebook. I'm happily married, but this is a woman who's going through divorce, and I'm sort of helping her. It's not a self-help book necessarily, but my stories will help. The words are just flowing from me as opposed to coming up with a false device to put up a show. It's real personal experience.
So then "The Love Master" is a real personal experience?
[Laughs.] He's a guy who channels through me. He's the Lothario that I found through my dating years. I found that girls would always end up with the jerks, so he's the guy who takes it to another level. No pun intended, but he's the "cocky" guy. Women always end up with that guy, and I'd be the "F" word--friend. So I have him, and I literally become him. I even squint my eyes because there is, like, this channeling taking place. That's where the lines come from. I never want to be this character, but I like to visit there. I've even had a woman in the past say, "I'll sleep with you only if you become him."
They had to have some interest in you if they were going to sleep with you. . . .
No, no. They only wanted the confident guy. They don't want the guy with feelings and insecurities and all of the other components that make up a comedian.
How do you come up with the endless pickup lines for that character? I mean, there are TONS of things the Love Master says!
Yeah, I've got about a few hundred now. Actually, once in a while, people actually submit ideas.
Really? Because I came prepared with a good one for you.
Oh, yeah? [Laughs.] You have a submission? All right! Give it to me, and I'm going to give you a grade from one to 10. You're talking to the Master now. Also be warned that a lot of lines have been run by me or I've thought of them.
That's a lot of pressure, but I'm ready to get graded. Let me get my voice ready. Awwww, yeeeahhhh, baby. I'll be your Denny's Grand Slam; you can have me for breakfast, love annnnd dinner.
Ha!! Now you're talking about a 7.5 or 8! I've had the Grand Slam, but I haven't had the breakfast, lunch and dinner. So that puts you up there. That's pretty good! Yeahhhh, baby. Forget Denny, I'll take you to IHOP and flip you all over. Look out for the side of sausage. See? It's co-creation, usually done with men.
I've never had a woman on the other side of collaboration on the Love Master. You could be a whole other character with this, the Love Mistress.
Yeahhhh, baby. I'm talking to you on my new iPhone, yeaahhhh.
Yeeeahhh, baby. You wanna touch my pod, baby?
Touch my pod?? [Laughs.] See, now we're getting closer! I haven't heard that one or thought of that one before. Now we're getting there, Padawon!
I'm here to help. So do your kids find you embarrassing yet, or do they realize how funny you are?
I think a little of both. My 12-year-old, Justin, is now trying to be the Love Master. I'll pick him and his friends up, and they don't look at me like the normal dad. They'll sit in the back seat with that look, like they're in an audience waiting for me to say something funny. So Justin is in band trying to be the Love Master, and he's going, "Hey, baby. I'm feeling a little French horny!! Check out the Screwba! Somebody's got a trombone!"
So do you laugh? Are encouraging your son?
You will see my reaction to his jokes at my show, but I will say, there is one of his jokes that actually gets the biggest laugh of the night. Here I am, trying not to laugh at him, and yet he's a genius! He can make an entire room full of adults laugh at his joke. I try not to encourage it, though.
Where did all of the impressions you used to do go?
I used to do hundreds, and now I leave them to Frank Caliendo. I think around the mid-'90s, the feedback I was getting was that the "industry" (like the industry has a vote) says I don't have a strong point of view. I thought, "What if my point of view is that I don't know who I am, and I hide behind impressions?" I finally thought they might be on to something. That's when I created a show that is very much me. It can't be stolen because it's me, so the impressions went bye-bye. There also aren't that many great characters these days. There are so many famous people who are famous for nothing. It's so fleeting because the second you learn to imitate someone, they're either dead or in rehab.
Well, whatever you're doing is working.
Yeah, it's actually working now better than ever. That makes it feel really empowering to be onstage in a different way. It also helps that I am really happy with my life.
Yeah, a lot of comics overkill that depression, drug angst . . .
And it's so one-note. It's been done, and every comic is so tortured. I think there are many colors to a comic's palate, and why not use them all? Comics come from this bitter place filled with resentment, and it's very flat. I want to use some sharps. I like to think I've been through the torture and now I'm getting to the "enlaughterment."
I can dig it. How did you end up touring for Kenny Loggins?? It seems random!
I was just talking about that the other day. I have two OC families that I am friends with who I met at a Kenny Loggins concert. A friend of mine was Kenny's travel agent, and he told me about the gig. I was young and starting out, and I jumped at the chance. And it's actually not too random because a lot of artists did it. It's really a smart move because laughter cuts through any negative impatience. They walk onstage with an audience that is in a good mood and ready to have a great time. They're gonna have a little "Footloose" action and "Fly Into the Danger Zone," baby. Yeahhhhh, baby.
When you put it that way, it is pretty smart. . . .
You know, it changes the mood and the atmosphere into the mood they really want. And think about this also: What if you have a musician opening for you, and they are better than you? There is a lot to that because you don't want them to compare you!
So would you ever have a singer open for you?
I actually have, and it worked out great. I mean, they were on the funny side, but maybe I will do that. I'll think about it.
If you need a good laugh (and who doesn't?), check out the Laughter Store or Craig's website. Get your tickets now to see Craig at the Brea Improv, 120 S. Brea Blvd., Brea, (714) 482-0700; www.improv.com. Feb. 2-5. See website for show times and ticket prices. 21+.