From kicking asses in the wrestling ring to kicking it in clubs all in the name of humor, Mick Foley is really starting to make a name for himself in the wide world of comedy. With his upcoming show "Hardcore Legend: An Evening with Mick Foley" hitting The Ice House in Pasadena on Aug 12th, the Ontario Improv on August 13th, and the Brea Improv August 14th, we jumped at the chance to chat with him. What we realized when we were done was that whether you call him Cactus Jack, Dude Love, Mankind, or even just plain ol' Mick, after you see his stage show and get a glimpse into this fantastic guy, you too will be calling him a complete and total class act.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I wanted to first say that as huge fan of Opie and Anthony, I appreciated you speaking out the way you did on Anthony's behalf. You were always fantastic on the show.
Mick Foley: Yeah you know, I don't condone the language used but that doesn't stop me from liking someone or appreciating what they've done. It doesn't change that I had a great time on their show. I know that you learn who your friends are when you're down and the circumstance doesn't sweep away the friendship I have. I mean, I go out there and try new things every night and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. If they don't, I can just go back and scratch it off the list. When something of theirs doesn't work, it can offend a lot of people, even though the thing Anthony did was done on his own time. That's the downside of having social media at your fingertips. Your worst thoughts can come to fruition in a matter of seconds.
Oh yeah, social media can be such a gift and a curse. OK so for those who don't know, how did you decide to make this transition into stand-up?
First of all, I never really call what I do stand-up although for a few years I really did try to be a stand-up comic. [Laughs.] Then I realized I was trying to push so much non-wrestling stuff on people who were wresting fans and it was taking away from what makes me, me. Once I became comfortable about being this wrestling story teller, I found a lot more enjoyment, had a lot more fun, and the quality of the show really took off. I learned to work much more effectively within boundaries. I also decided to only curse once in the show using an f-bomb so when I took away that crutch, the shows benefitted immediately.
It's got to be pretty great that you are selling out all over. That must mean the world to you…
[Laughs.] Almost everywhere! Most nights are really good though. What's flattering and frustrating to me is 90% of the people are coming despite the fact that they have no idea what to expect. I've got to get some of the footage out. People say to me that they leave with a huge smile on their face and that is more important to me than however many laughs I get during the course of the show. I think it's really more of a spoken word show with an emphasis on humor…but that's kind of hard to fit on a marquee.
Ha! So true. But you're so filled with humor! I guess people don't get that unless they've listened to longer interviews with you.
Well, thank you. My points of pride are that I try my best to create warmth in the room and a welcoming atmosphere with the non-fans in mind. I know some comics are edgy and like to provide an uncomfortable feeling but, I'm 49 and I got all my frustrations out years ago. I just want people to feel relaxed and have fun at my show. And, they usually do.
So would you say that you don't have to be a fan of wrestling to enjoy what your show is all about?
Correct! It's always rewarding when the non-fans come up after the show and tell me that they had a lot of fun. The show is geared towards wrestling fans but you do not have to be a wrestling fan to enjoy it.
I know you do a meet and greet after the show but do you also do a Q&A? I think I read that somewhere.
Oh yeah! We do a Q&A every night and that serves a couple of purposes. It gives people a chance to settle down and understand that they'll get to ask questions and also, it provides the perfect place for when the clubs drop their checks. That way when people pay their bills, the commotion isn't taking place during your final emotional story.
Yeah I wish clubs would fix that! It's so sidetracking. Not to change the subject but, what gives with the fascination you have with Santa?
Well I have a documentary on Santa Claus coming out in November so I've been wearing Santa Claus themed attire every day. [Laughs.] The name of the movie is called "I am Santa Claus" and the director follows six men who portray the iconic figure over the course of a year. We find out what these men do when they're not in the red suit. We find out that universally these men of different backgrounds, all of whom are flawed, find a way to become better. They find the best of themselves when they put on that red suit and become Santa!
Gotcha! I saw the movie poster and it said "whose lap your child is sitting on" so I instantly thought something kind of bad. Apologies.
I get that but it is actually not supposed to hint at something like that! [Laughs.] It's more so like, who are these people? You're trusting them because parents line up for hours just so their kids can meet them, and what do they do on December 26th? It follows six real bearded Santas who more or less live the gimmick 24/7. It's like, it's a big deal that I'm wearing Santa Claus themed attire for now but these guys do it every day. Oh, you'll love it! I was drawn to it after I did the documentary called "Beyond the Mat" and with this one, you really do find a parallel. Everyone will. It's really great!
Be sure to catch Mick Foley at The Ice House, Ontario Improv, and Brea Improv this week. Also, be on the lookout for "I am Santa Claus" in November and for more info, go to Mick's website www.RealMickFoley.com and follow him on Twitter @RealMickFoley.