Tom Papa Bakes a Fresh Batch of Jokes For the Irvine Improv


Tom Papa (courtesy of the comedian)

Just when you thought you would go crazy due to all of the “outrage” going on in this world, Tom Papa is swooping into Orange County to save the day. This superhero of hilarity (and part-time baker) will be on hand to put smiles on faces, tickle all funny bones, and trigger slapping of knees this Thursday through Saturday at The Irvine Improv. Before he gets cooking on stage (see what we did there?), we took it off script to stir his pot of unpredictability. Ok, we’ll stop with the awful puns now…

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): OK let’s get random but first, something not so random. What’s your all-time favorite bread?

Tom Papa: Sourdough. My favorite sourdough that I am making right now is a sourdough with olives. Green and black olives with Herbes de Provence and lemon zest. Oh boy, it’s good.

I need that in my life. Are your kids sick of sourdough or are they into it? No they’re super into it! That’s kind of why I got into it. It’s a fun process and it’s fun to learn about and fun to do. There are different meditative things about it but ultimately, it’s delicious!

I mean, it’s bread. Hello? I feel bad for people who have gluten issues. Oh my god if you had a gluten issue, what would you do? I would just plow through it. [Laughs.] I have a lot of friends who have like, not full on issues, but intolerance and stuff. It turns out that they were just eating stuff that isn’t bread. Bread should just be water, salt, and yeast. What you get in the supermarket has like, thirty ingredients in it! I truly think that is what is making people sick. All of those sugars and preservatives added into bread. When you eat the breads that I make or breads from the people that make it this way, the fermentation doesn’t stop once it’s cooked and it starts absorbing all of the sugars and you actually are eating something that really isn’t bad for you.

I shall start my all bread diet RIGHT NOW! Is there anything in your refrigerator that one might find odd? [Laughs.] I just got this delivered yesterday. It’s an empty jug I got on Amazon and I put it in there to see if it fits. I’m going to start making pickles.

No kidding, I’ve always wanted to make my own pickles! Yeah once you start fermenting stuff, you start exploring all the stuff you can do. And for me, pickles are next.

That’s so great. I feel like it’s a drawn-out process though and when I want a pickle, I want it now. Yes! They say it’s ten days and I was just literally trying to figure out where I will be when they are done because I’m on the road. I’ll be in Irvine though so, it’ll all work out.

You’re legit inspiring me. OK, here is your chance to say something nice too. What was your favorite part about having Donald Trump on The Marriage Ref? Umm…that I can look back and tell the story now! When he came in he was this big imposing guy that was constantly talking about the ratings. I clearly remember he was obsessed with the ratings. “We’re going to do great! We’re going to get great ratings, we’re going to get great press, and it’s going to be great for you.” It’s so funny now that all these years later, that guy wasn’t messing around!

Hey, he’s a super positive thinker! Let’s get negative for a sec here. What’s your worst memory of bombing? Early on I was at a comedy club in New Jersey and it wasn’t going that well. Some guy threw a French fry at me and it landed on my chest. What made it worse was, it had ketchup on it so it stuck to my chest. I was kind of in shock so I look down and there was a French fry slowly just making its way down my shirt. [Laughs.] It was so pathetic! 

WTF! Haha people suck. If you were taping an episode of “Baked” on Food Network and the food was trash, what would you say? I would probably say that it is good but if you listened closely, my voice would go up a couple of octaves. It’s goooood? Fortunately, we’ve only taped eight episodes so far so I haven’t had to really fake it yet.

Well I’ll be listening for your best Peter Brady impression. Any thoughts on pumpkin spice? It’s a little too invasive! It’s turning up in a lot of places we don’t need it.

Thank god. I was afraid you’d answer that the wrong way and I’d have to end this convo. OK serious question here, was “Papa Don’t Preach” directed at you? [Laughs.] I like to think so. But obviously, from my career choice, I didn’t listen. I’m the one guy blabbing away on stage…

If you could change one thing about your past, what are you picking? I probably wouldn’t have gotten a tattoo on the side of my right calf.

Don’t leave me hanging. What it is of? It’s of a gnome. I got it when I was 19 and I just picked it off the wall at the tattoo place. It’s not the best.

I’m a victim of that myself so I’m gonna let that one go. What’s the most unappetizing meal you can think of? Beets. Anything with beets. Much like pumpkin spice, beets have a very strong turn out these days. The PR department for beets is doing very well. It is really just the one food I am not into. They always taste like the inside of a can.

They truly taste like dirt to me. I don’t get them at all. I’m with you! You go to these places and they’ll have beet salad and everyone gets excited. I’m like, what is wrong with you people? They’re awful.

What’s the last thing you Googled? I can tell you right now, let me look. That’s a fun question…ok…it was Maine fall foliage. I do this monologue each week for Live from Here, which is the new A Prairie Home Companion. I write about my travel around the country and I was just in Portland Maine. When I was there a week ago the leaves weren’t changing. But, the show airs over the weekend and people are really particular and will fact check you because it’s a NPR audience so, I wanted to have the accurate status of the leaves changing.

Ha! What a task it is to not get called out these days. Besides your family, what’s something you can’t live without? I’d say my computer and my iPad. Both used for writing.

Come on Tom, I gave you the perfect lob to say “the crowd at the Irvine Improv.” [Laughs.] Yeah, OK. Them too!

Grab your tickets to see Tom Papa at the Irvine Improv October 11th through the 13th at (31 Fortune Drive Irvine, CA 92618, (949) 854-5455.) For more Tom go to and follow him on Twitter @TomPapa. Also, because you can’t get enough of Tom (go ahead and admit it), check out his Food Network show “Baked” and grab his book “Your Dad Stole My Rake: And Other Family Dilemmas.”  

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