Follow GuyMacPherson on Twitter

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Podcast episode 297ish: Lori Gibbs

Your host going balls to the wall.
And having fun. Just like Lori Gibbs.
I'm a little late with this one but it will be all the more sweet with the wait. And it's pretty sweet on its own! Lori Gibbs returned to her hometown. That's right, we think of her as a Calgarian (which she is now) but she's a born and bred Vancouverite. In this episode, recorded on her bed, we compare head sizes and talk about gardening, piano lessons, motivational speaking, weight loss, and judging comedy. As an added bonus, I offer a possible revolutionary solution to depression.

So download to your heart's content over at iTunes or, if you'd rather, pull up a chair and listen right here on your computer.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nov. 25: Kevin Banner

I'm a bit late posting this today but I've been running around all over the lower mainland and, well, I'm not that organized. Forgive me. Tonight's guest is a first-timer and homeboy. Actually, I think he's from Sooke, but we're all island people. I first saw Kevin Banner at Laffline's a year or two ago when he was competing in a Bite-TV competition. "How good can he be? He's from Sooke," I thought. No disrespect intended but I didn't know of any other Sooke comics. Turns out he was pretty good. And is even better now. He recently broke free from the island and moved to the big city. We'll see how that's going tonight. Talk to you then. 11 pm PST. 100.5 FM. Livestream at

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jim Breuer interview

Jim Breuer's hitting town tonight with the Just For Laughs Comedy Tour so I thought I'd run the full transcript of the interview I did with him last month.

Jim Breuer – Oct. 16, 2012
"SNL and Half-Baked worked for me big-time. It made me money, got me out there in the public eye. However it watered down my standup. So I had to get back to who I am as a standup and get back in there." – Jim Breuer

Jim Breuer: Hey, how are you?

Guy MacPherson: Hi, Jim. Good, thanks. How are you?
JB: I’m great, thank you.

GM: Where are you calling from, Jim?
JB: I’m calling from New Jersey, in my home.

GM: You’re touring Canada. Have you been to Vancouver before?
JB: The only time I’ve been to Vancouver was just to kind of warm up the crowd for Metallica about a month or two ago.

GM: Oh, right, I heard about that. And that was your first time?
JB: Yeah, that was my first time in Vancouver. Vancouver has an amazing reputation and I understand why now. I got to rent a bike and I rode around each day. It’s absolutely beautiful there and the people are great. I really enjoyed Vancouver.

GM: Well, you’ll be here in November so who knows if any of that will happen again.
JB: Yeah, it’ll be a little colder but that’s alright.

GM: You’re used to it. You’re a hardy soul.
JB: I’m used to it.

GM: And now touring across the country.
JB:  From east to west.

GM: I would assume if you’ve only been to Vancouver once, you’ve only been to Montreal, maybe Toronto.
JB: Correct. I have not toured Canada and it’s something that I’ve been really pressing to do for the last couple years. So finally when this happened, it made all the sense in the world. I think by the time I’m done with this tour I’ll have a really good Canadian following to the point where I can come out and tour on my own.

GM: I would think you would have that anyway, don’t you?
JB: Um, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. Unless you’re on TV a lot, people forget about you quick. I’m still at that stage where people go, “Wha-, what was he doing? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, the Goat guy. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, the guy from that thing. Oh yeah, I know him.” So I have to establish where they go, “Oh my gosh, yes, that guy. Great comedian.”

GM: One of the top 100.
JB: Oh boy.

GM: Who was directly ahead of you in that?
JB: I have no clue. I don’t get into lists and all that nonsense. Like, I know where my best pizza place is in town; I don’t need to vote for it. I don’t ever refer to that list. It doesn’t change who comes to see the show. The only list I care about is who’s in the audience.

GM: I just thought maybe you’re really competitive and want to take them down a notch.
JB: No, no, that’s crazy.

GM: On this tour, with essentially four headliners each doing a shorter set than they normally would, will it be harder to quell the yahoos that will surely be there yelling out Goat Boy or Half-Baked stuff?
JB: No, not at all. That’s expected. If that’s what they’re a fan of and that’s what brings them in, well then that’s why I got in this industry. So I don’t have a lot of problems with people yelling and shouting out stuff. What I usually do is I hit them pretty hard with the standup and it stands on its own and keeps their attention. If I wasn’t able to pull it off, I’d probably have a real problem with them shouting stuff out. But I haven’t had a problem with them. What I usually do is when I’m finished with my set, I’ll ask, “Did you come here to see anything specifically?” And then if it calls for Goat Boy or Party in the Stomach or whatever they were really dying to see live, then I’ll give it to them.

GM: That’s a good healthy attitude to take because some performers maybe resent a past success.
JB: Oh, yeah, some do but you know what? I’m also a fan and when I go to see my favourite performer, they need to know what I’m coming to see. I’m a metalhead and I went to see Iron Maiden and they didn’t play any old stuff. I literally walked out, I was so aggravated and mad. “We’re doing new stuff tonight!” Well then I’m going to bed because that’s not what I came here for.

GM: So you’re still a metalhead?
JB: I am. I am. It’s like a fine wine. It’s the only thing that gives me a good buzz.

GM: It’s funny. You’re on the Relationship Show tour and the traditional image of a father or relationships is kind of old and safe, but of course metalheads are fathers and husbands and any type of person is, too.
JB: I consider myself a modern-day dad where I still got the rock and roll in me, but yet I take being a parent and relationships very seriously in life. And on stage. I’m married going on twenty years, I have three daughters. My father, who’s 89, lives with me. My mom is close by, she’s 85. So I take family very seriously. But on this tour and elsewhere I’m putting out there that I’m tired of the image of the father as a fat, overweight, beer-chugging stupid guy because it’s not in real life and that image has to change.

GM: And you’re changing it one city at a time.
JB: I’m changing it, baby, one city at a time!

GM: I saw a video of you hitting your dad over the head with a newspaper.
JB: (laughs) He needs to play. People forget when you get older you still gotta play. He loves to play and he likes the busting-chops type of play.

GM: You could see the real warmth between you guys but I would imagine some people look at that and go, “Hey, you shouldn’t do that.”
JB: That’s people who have a stick up their rear end. That’s people who can’t see comedy. Those are the people I don’t want showing up.

GM: Did you finally get the ramp built?
JB: Oh, that’s funny, yeah. I built the ramp. It came out great. But then we had to sell the house. So I had to take down the ramp about four or five months later. Hence why he lives with me now. In my house, I don’t need a ramp. I’m on the ground level so I don’t have to worry about that.

GM: How old are your kids?
JB: 13, 10 and 7. All girls.

GM: Are you constantly embarrassing them?
JB: (laughs) There’s a fine line, yeah. There’s a little bit embarrassment. When they get a little too serious, yeah, definitely I whip out the embarrassment card.

GM: I, like most people, first saw you on Saturday Night Live but I don’t know about your standup before then.
JB: I started in 1985 and I dabbled in it for a couple years. And then I got serious in 1989 and I never looked back. It was my standup comedy that led to everything. Every work, TV, film, commercial, it was all from standup comedy. In the very beginning, Comedy Central held me as one of their up-and-coming stars to watch out for. I was starting to make a name for myself and then I hit Saturday Night Live. Saturday Night Live and Half-Baked and all that, I wouldn’t say derailed me but it took me off course of what I was becoming as a young comic. So I’m kind of taking back that threshold when I started really refocusing back in 2008.

GM: Did you stop performing live when you got Saturday Night Live or just less frequently?
JB: No, no, no. But what would happen was the crowd that was coming out was a Saturday Night Live crowd so they wanted to see the characters. So it became more of trying to describe the characters. The standup was working but I also wasn’t able to work as much and work on the standup as much. You’re putting all your time and energy in Saturday Night Live and then boom, they send you to a college. And really, when you’re on TV everyone’s just there to see the star, the guy: “Ah! It’s the guy!” So thank God I worked my way up as a standup so I could hold court for years, but after a while, getting back to that original standup where it’s a set-up and a punch and a story and I set the story up here and I have a call-back and I really work the act the way I originally used to do it, that was kind of losing its sense for a while. Like I said, SNL and Half-Baked worked for me big-time. It made me money, got me out there in the public eye. However it watered down my standup. So I had to get back to who I am as a standup and get back in there.

GM: Is standup ultimately the most rewarding?
JB: Yeah, hands down. Because I control the writing, the directing, the editing, and whether I fail or succeed, I’m the one in control of it. And I can handle that. The most frustrating thing is when it’s not in your destiny; someone else is in control of how you’re put out there and you don’t like the way you’re being put out there. It’s very frustrating. Standup, I see right there and then what they like and what they don’t like.

GM: You changed recently to be more family friendly?
JB: Yeah.

GM: Does that mean you cut out curse words?
JB: Yeah, basically. At the end of the day, it’s not to be confused with soft comedy. I think if you look online and look up any of my current bits, there’s nothing soft about it. I just take being a role model with my kids and as a father and as a dad and as a family man – a real family man – I take it very seriously. And I want to be that role model. Being on stage is a big part of that. And that’s a major mission of mine. But I work on it to be hilarious. I don’t want it to be nice and soft and “Oh, he’s the nice family guy.” No. I want to be hilarious, really funny. It just so happens, oh yeah, he’s clean, by the way.

GM: Like Brian Regan.
JB: Correct. If I had to put an idol ahead of me, then that’s the guy.

GM: It’s a big responsibility being that role model.
JB: Not if you’re living it.

GM: With some performers who have kids, I wonder if they let their kids hear them.
JB: And that is one of the reasons why I went in that direction. Once I realized how powerful the internet was, when my kids started looking me up online, I’d see these routines where they weren’t filthy but I was cursing. And I realized, “Aw, man, I can’t let my kids watch this. That’s stupid. Why am I cursing so much? Who am I trying to appeal to?” And trying to write funny instead of just ending it with a curse word. And that major reason was I want my kids to be able to watch it, I want their families to be able to watch it, and I want them to go, “God, that guy is so good, so funny.” Just like you said, like Brian Regan. I really respect what he does.

GM: If we in the media didn’t even mention that you’re doing family-friendly stuff, people probably wouldn’t even notice.
JB: And that’s what happens. I’ve noticed that, too, where people leave and they don’t even really realize it. It’s more of an afterthought and they go, “You know, I don’t think he… I don’t think he said anything nasty.” I want that multi-generation show. I love watching families at a show.

GM: Your kids know you so they know you were an actor in Half-Baked.
JB: They don’t know that. They don’t know anything about that movie. (laughs)

GM: But they will eventually.
JB: Of course.

GM: I never understand if fans really don’t get it or they just don’t want to believe that you’re an actor doing a role.
JB: It’s a little bizarre. I can’t tell you how many people come up to me and they’re like, “You got me through my teenage years and I was just like you.” And I’m like, “No, dude, you were like the character. You’re not like me. That’s not me.” Yeah, a lot of people attach themselves to that character but it’s a character.

GM: I think Harland Williams told me he doesn’t smoke pot at all.
JB: And that’s the crazy thing, is I did. I have no qualms about that. However, Harland didn’t whatsoever. It’s pretty funny, he started getting this following but he’s like, “I can’t keep up with this because I don’t do this stuff.”

GM: Who did you come up with in standup?
JB: Uh… Wanda Sykes, Chappelle, Joe Rogan, Jeffrey Ross. We had Keith Robinson, Jay Mohr was around a lot, Wanda Sykes, myself. Ray Romano was a little ahead of me. Those were all guys I used to see all the time. Dave Attell, Jim Norton.

GM: In New York.
JB: Yeah.

GM: It seems every comic now has a podcast but you’re old school. You’re on radio.
JB: I am on radio. I started a podcast and Sirius Satellite Radio was like, “If you do the podcast, we’re not giving you a cheque.” And a cheque is really nice. I don’t plan on walking away from that one.

GM: Yeah, that’s the thing with podcasts: everyone has one but three people are making any money from them.
JB: Yeah, not too many people make money. Maybe Marc Maron, maybe… what’s his name? The original guy… Carolla. I think besides those two, no one’s making money. Unless it’s driving their audience to come see you, maybe.

GM: There’s always that. What format is your radio show?
JB: It’s talk comedy. I have standup comics. I do characters. That’s where I get to do more… People say, “Do you do impressions on stage?” And I don’t really do impressions on stage but I’ll do them on my radio show. Sometimes it’s just real heart-to-heart real-life subjects, which is what’s great about satellite radio is no limits.

GM: Is it a weekly? Sorry, I should know this.
JB: Yeah, every Friday, 4-6 pm Eastern.

GM: There’s a great public appetite for comedians talking to comedians these days.
JB: Yeah. I’ve been doing it for about eight to nine years now. It’s funny because pretty much everyone that came on my show turned around and started a podcast.

GM: Exactly. I’ve been doing one on the radio and podcast for eight years and I had Maron on before he had his show so I like to think he stole my idea.
JB: (laughs) It’s a good possibility.

GM: Of course everyone listens to his and not to mine. When you were here a couple months ago, it was for Metallica, right?
JB: Yeah, they were filming a movie and the movie producer asked if I could go out and do seven minutes of warm-up. Five to seven minutes to warm the crowd up, get them excited, get their energy way up and then bring out Metallica. So I flew to Vancouver thinking I’m doing five to seven minutes and no standup, no show. The day of the first concert, Metallica’s people tell me, “Listen, it’s a Metallica crowd. You don’t need to warm them up. Go out and do 40.” Four-zero?! “Yeah, do 40. They’ll love you.” Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, this is not a standup comedy crowd. They don’t know I’m on the bill. You don’t just walk out in front of a raw metal crowd and just start doing, “Hey, I’ve got kids. Who’s got kids and who’s married 20 years?” Thank God I’ve been around long enough so when I did go out there, I believe I succeeded. It was the hardest… It was a hard thing to figure out because the entire floor was a stage, you’re constantly in the round so if I was faced in one area, 90 percent of the audience was to my back. And God knows what they were doing: drinking, smoking, whatever. So it was a little bit of a challenge but I conquered it and I succeeded both nights in a row. Was it phenomenal standup pieces? Absolutely not! But did I pull off the crowd control and amp them up? Yes. So my mission was accomplished but if you came to see me do standup comedy that night, I beg you please don’t judge that event.

GM: And if you were in the audience for that show, would you have wanted to see a comedian come out?
JB: Dude, I would have started throwing things at me right away. Right away. There’s no way if I was 19 years old and I was in the parking lot, or wherever I was, and I was putting whatever in my system and I think Metallica’s going on at 8 and some yo-yo goes up who’s going to try comedy, I’m looking for everything I can to throw at him.

GM: They know you, though. You know that now.
JB: That’s the good thing. They do know me. And I will say to not get booed off the stage, to be able to walk off the stage two nights in a row after blindsiding a Metallica audience, I felt pretty good. That’s going under my belt as a huge success.

GM: You have high standards! You didn’t get booed off the stage.
JB: (laughs) That’s right. I did well both nights and I stood up there 40 minutes both nights so I feel good about that.

GM: I look forward seeing you here doing your normal set.
JB: Yeah, me, too. (laughs)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Alone Up There documentary

Remember back in September when we had filmmaker Sean Patrick Shaul on What's So Funny? It was just prior to the big premiere of his stand-up doc Alone Up There. As you heard on the show, the feature-length film is available online for a very reasonable 7 bucks. I watched it and it's really good. And I'm not just saying that because I was in it for probably upwards of 7 seconds. That's right, think of it as paying a buck a second to see me pontificate and all the big names in the movie are free! Names like Marc Maron, Eddie Pepitone, the Sklar Brothers, Iliza Shlesinger, Bobby Slayton, Brody Stevens and Moshe Kasher, along with a healthy sampling of local comics, like Simon King, Toby Hargraves, Darryl Lenox and fellow Canadians Mike MacDonald, Jeremy Hotz and Darren Frost.

There's a nice introductory section on the history of comedy with some great clips, followed by a large chunk on contemporary comics ruminating on what it takes to be a comedian, and a segment on Shaul himself attempting his first (and last) stand-up set. In Los Angeles, yet.

As a way for Sean to get the word out even more (it's already received some positive reviews), he's come up with a cool incentive for everyone interviewed in the film. We each have the potential to earn $1 on a given sale if the buyer includes our name in the coupon section.

I feel guilty even mentioning this for my brief appearance, but what the hell: a buck's a buck. I think the film is worth seeing anyway, even if you don't use my name when purchasing it. But if you want to, here's how you put a dollar in my pocket:

  • Go to and click on "Buy the show"
  • When you get to the checkout screen, click on "I have a coupon".
  • Enter "macpherson" (all lower-case letters)

Easy-peasy. Seven bucks for a movie about comedy and watch it from the comfort of your home in your underwear? And you give me a dollar in the process? It's a no-brainer. I'll buy you a coffee next time I see you.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nov. 18: Lori Gibbs

Hey, look at this: We're back this week with a real guest! If you tuned in last week, we played comedy clips for the hour. The week before it was a special encore presentation of the Tim Rykert episode. But tonight, a brand new show and a brand new guest. In fact, I had never met Lori Gibbs prior to our meeting in her hotel room on Friday afternoon. And we went balls to the wall... No, wait, that doesn't sound good. In truth, I went balls to the wall and she went tits to the bricks... Um, well, if you know Lori's comedy, you'll get what I mean. We also had fun, which is a personal credo of the Vancouver native (who has lived in Calgary most of her adult life).

It was a good talk with a good person. She's like the Sally Field character in Punchline, although she always thought of herself as the John Goodman character. But she was a housewife who started comedy at the tender age of 40. And look at her go. Now she tours the country, with occasional forays into the US to open for former WSF? guest Iliza Shlesinger. And she's got a Comedy Now special to her credit.

Tonight's episode is a getting-to-know-you kind of affair. We get her back story as well as work out some personal demons. I think you'll enjoy it. I know I did.

So tune in tonight at 11 pm PST on CFRO, 100.5 FM in Vancouver. Livestream the puppy, if you're out of earshot, at

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Podcast episode 296ish: Myq Kaplan

This podcast episode with New York-based comic Myq Kaplan has it all. We talk about the wonder of podcasts, the power of blogs, the danger of comedy, and the benefits of veganism. What more could you ask for? And if you could ask for more, we've got it, because what I mention is just what I remember from our one hour twenty-three minute conversation. There's lots more. Myq (pronounced My-q) has a gift of the gab and isn't afraid to use his powers for good.

 Have a listen any which way you choose: right here right now, download over at iTunes, or however else one is able to acquire podcasts.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

John Pinette interview

John Pinette – Aug. 20, 2012

"I’ve gotten things in my career that tell me to keep on with the journey. But you look at me with Mr. Sinatra, me on the last episode of Seinfeld, I kinda feel like Forrest Gump popping up in different places." – John Pinette

Guy MacPherson: Are you on the road now?
John Pinette: Nope. I am at home until, I guess, Friday, the 24th. Then I go to Albuquerque, which is quite a journey from here.

GM: Where’s here?
JP: I’m at my house in Pennsylvania. I have a house in Pennsylvania and I have a little place in L.A.

GM: Are you Amish?
JP: You know what? We live near the Amish. I actually like living near the Amish. I do some self-deprecating stuff in my act and I talk a lot about my own journey. I don’t like to make fun of people, but I can make fun of the Amish because it doesn’t get back to them.

GM: (laughs) Exactly.
JP: They don’t know.

GM: Do you ever have any interaction with them? They fascinate me.
JP: Oh, absolutely. We went to Lancaster a few weeks ago. There’s outlets there so I took the ride. Yeah, in the area they’re at all the farmers markets and they sell their actual crops and they sell prepared foods and stuff. And they actually do a lot of construction work in the area. I mean, you couldn’t get better fiduciaries to put on your roof or anything. I mean, they are slow. They come by buggy.

GM: Well, you get what you pay for.
JP: Actually, they have the Mennonites drive them. Mennonites are Amish but with a license.

GM: They’re modern Amish.
JP: Yes, exactly. It kinda sounds like an oxymoron, modern Amish. But they’re very good people. It’s a completely different culture. Sometimes when you’re in the midst of the world you go, ‘You know what? Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.’

GM: You say you don’t like to insult people. So we’ll never see you on a Comedy Central roast, I take it.
JP: You know, I doubt it. I watch them once in a while. It just seems too easy to just stay up there and insult people. I have a bit about the Cake Boss. And, you know, he’s the boss of cake. Listen: I started in 1998 with the album Show Me the Buffet. And everybody said, ‘Oh, you’ve got so much food stuff in your act. It’s all about food.’ Yeah. Well now we got the Food Channel, we got Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain, Adam Richman, and food, food and food. So I kind of consider myself ahead of the curve. Or the curves, if you will. We have a show about cake. I just think that it doesn’t really evolve because what’s gonna happen next week? They’re gonna make a cake. Now they have Cupcake Wars. They’re battling over cupcakes. You can use a cupcake like a hand grenade. I did a Cake Boss bit on my last DVD and I actually got to talk to Buddy from a radio station in New York and I was glad to hear it was something that he could laugh at, that he didn’t think was mean-spirited or anything. Because I don’t think that’s what I’m on stage for.

GM: I think he’s coming to Vancouver.
JP: He does a tour! He’s a rock and roll star.

GM: So are you.
JP: Oh, listen. I tell jokes. It’s a common ground that people share: everybody eats. And everybody has an opinion about food.

GM: Have you tried to move away from food jokes and found the audience won’t let you?
JP: Oh, no. No. And I think it has evolved at its own pace. I think I brought a lot more of my life to the stage. I go by a text of talking about something but there’s a bit of the show that’s extemporaneous. So I do go up there and work on my feet.

GM: You say you started in ’98…
JP: No, no, no. That was the first CD. I started in ’86. I’ve been doing it 26 years.

GM: Ah, that makes more sense because I interviewed Maryellen Hooper in 2000 and she cited you as one of her favourites.
JP: Oh, that’s nice. She’s a really nice gal. And funny, too. She lives in Orlando.

GM: Yeah, and she married some sort of explosives guy?
JP: No, he’s, like, imagineering. You know, that subsection of Disney that does all the stuff for the park. But she has to live at that Disney place, you know, where there’s a piece of paper on your front lawn and the Disney police come. They have Mickeys but they have, like, batons and pepper spray.

GM: You’re a bit younger than I am. I certainly remember Sinatra, but in my mind he’s from an era from our parents. Does it blow your mind that you worked with him?
JP: You know what, when I look at some of the things I’ve done, like opening for Mr. Sinatra off and on for about a year and a half – my last date with him was at the old Desert Inn in Las Vegas and it was a grand time and that was his second-to-last gig at the Desert Inn. But I look back at getting a call while I was in Vegas doing a show. I’m supposed to go to Wisconsin and my manager says, ‘No, you’re going to do the last episode of Seinfeld.’ And I said, ‘Well what about Wisconsin?’ You know, I’ve gotten things in my career that tell me to keep on with the journey. But you look at me with Mr. Sinatra, me on the last episode of Seinfeld, I kinda feel like Forrest Gump popping up in different places.

GM: Good analogy! And did you have a sign a paper saying you’ll forever call him Mr. Sinatra?
JP: No, actually he was cool with Frank. I just always called him Mr. Sinatra. He thought I was Gleason; they didn’t tell him. He called me ‘The Kid’.

GM: Do young comics today get similar types of experiences or do they have to be in it a lot longer?
JP: I think it’s harder in a way because I came along at the last of the old school of Las Vegas, where you had a musical act but you had an opening comedian. Or you had a comedian open for a comedian. There were a lot of opening venues in Las Vegas still. So I did Caesar’s with the Pointer Sisters, I opened for the Temptations, I opened for the Four Tops a lot, the Oakridge Boys, which I do not wish to speak of. If I hear Elvira one more time, I’m going to kill myself. But I see great young comics, I really do. It does take a lot of time, but I don’t think they have the opportunities. I don’t think they have the TV opportunities. When I was younger, we Evening at the Improv, we had Caroline’s, we had Comic Strip Live. Obviously Just For Laughs was a huge thing for me. And I don’t see them having those opportunities anymore and I wish they did.

GM: Opening for all these musical acts, that was show biz.
JP: Absolutely. That was old school Vegas. And things change. Everything pretty much became a four-wall and people kinda pick their own acts. You couldn’t be a guy that gets a call that says, ‘Okay, you’re opening for Julio Iglesias in Connecticut.’ It just doesn’t happen much anymore.

GM: Who did you start out with in Boston?
JP: Oh, goodness. Well, Louis C.K. was there, Nick DiPaolo, David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, of course Denis Leary. Denis had a few years on us all. Billy Martin was there. Billy Martin’s now the head writer for Bill Maher. And quite a few more. It was kind of a magical time. I didn’t know it because I was young and stupid but it was a magical time upon reflection.

GM: A lot of those names you mention are heroes of the alternative scene. Do you feel you get respect from that corner of the comedy universe?
JP: You know what? Sam Kinison once said if you’re funny, you’re funny. Everybody has a piece of the rainbow. I think I can laugh at their stuff. And when I meet them, they’re really nice. At one time, we all did a gig together here or there so there’s always something to talk about. I wish them all the best.

GM: There are some comedians who work clean and you don’t even realize it until somebody points it out. I was thinking yesterday about you: you don’t necessarily work clean, but you don’t even realize it.
JP: I try to work clean but once a show I’m gonna say ‘fuck’. And do you know why? Because I find, as I grow older and as I grew more on stage, the more I was the John that sat around the table at dinner or at college and people really laughed. The more I become that guy on stage, the more I can bring to my audience. And once in a while I say ‘fuck’. So that’s why I may say it once a show. Unless it’s a corporate show, then I will not get the cheque. (laughs) I think it’s clean as far as not being graphic in nature. I think I’ve been fortunate enough to have a pretty wide range of an audience, a pretty wide demographic. And I gotta tell you, I was in Tarrytown, New York, and I had this nice couple with their two little kids come to see my show and they tell me that it’s nice to listen to comedy with their kids. It certainly makes you feel good. Louie Anderson taught me that, actually. Louie Anderson said, ‘You know, you should work cleaner.’ Because in Boston it was kind of a free-for-all. Second show Friday night in Boston with 400 drunk people in the audience, you pretty much had to keep their attention any way you could. I didn’t want to come off strange and go, ‘I can’t believe I said that.’

GM: What’s your profile like in Canada compared to the States?
JP: I’m actually going to be working on a show here. I really can’t talk about it because I don’t know what the deal situation is. But I can’t ever give back what Canada has given to me as far as the experiences of working every city with just full auditoriums. To go to Charlottetown, PEI, on a Monday and have a thousand people in the audience, which in PEI that’s pretty much everybody. I mean, if somebody has a heart attack, you see two people leaving the show. Canada’s just been very good to me. It’s my favourite place to play, as far as doing one 90-minute concert.

GM: Did you have much knowledge of the country before you started touring here?
JP: I did not. And now I have a full knowledge of Canada. At what point do you make me an honourary Canadian?

GM: As soon as you get a show.
JP: There you go. Exactly. It’s just been a great ride and I look forward to this fall. I do like the fact that this is in the fall so we won’t have to fight the… We were in the maritimes in January and February and what I like about Canadians is they come out. They don’t care. If there’s three inches of snow outside, people in Pennsylvania hide in the basement and clutch canned goods. Canadians put their stuff on and they go to the show.

GM: They have to otherwise they’d never go out.
JP: Yeah, exactly! We did Ottawa in February and walked to an Italian restaurant in two feet of snow. And it was pretty fun.

GM: Were you funny as a kid?
JP: I think so. My family doesn’t seem to think it came really into life until high school.

GM: You hear a lot about kids being funny to offset teasing from other kids…
JP: Oh, believe me, it absolutely started out as a defense mechanism. Without question. Then it turned into much more of a craft and something that I really love to do. There is a craft to it. You not only have to say funny things, you have to say things funny. And I think I’ve worked on that quite hard.

GM: I’ve read you develop your act on stage. Is that for a paying audience or do you go to clubs to work on it?
JP: I always have a set amount of material. What I do is I start out with a little bit of a story, and the story can’t grow until I bring it to the stage and it grows kind of organically on stage. So what you may see two minutes of in one city, by the time I get to the fifth city, it may be ten minutes long.

GM: And Vancouver’s later in the tour so we’ll be seeing the developed stuff.
JP: You’ll be seeing the whole nine yards.

GM: Is there a name for this tour?
JP: The DVD is Still Hungry so I guess it’s the Still Hungry tour. Which is kind of a double entendre, the fact that I like food. But it’s really about the fact I’ve been doing this 26 years and I can still find new things to talk about and still love doing it more than I ever have. I mean, I loved doing it when I was younger but part of me was a scared kid.

GM: And maybe when you’re younger you take it for granted?
JP: Oh, without question. Absolutely without question. And I certainly don’t think that way now.

GM: Are you still a comedy consumer? A fan? Or is it more like when it’s your job you just want to get away from it?
JP: No, I watch comedians. I did a comedy cruise with Lewis Black and Dom Irrera and Kathleen Madigan and Vic Henley. We did a comedy cruise a couple years ago and I watched every show and I had a great time. Ordinarily we wouldn’t have the chance because, as headliners, we’re all ships that pass in the night. I go to a venue and I hear, ‘Oh, Kathleen says hello.’ Or ‘Lewis says hi.’ So it is very nice.

GM: Will you be bringing an opener?
JP: Yes. I don’t know who yet but I think it’s going to be Darren Rose.

GM: Oh yeah. From Toronto.
JP: Actually he’s from Oshawa.

GM: Ah, same thing to us westcoasters.
JP: Yeah, exactly. I believe Darren’s going to do the tour and we get along quite well. He’s very funny.

GM: John, thanks a lot. I know you gotta go.
JP: Well, I hope you got some stuff. And thank you so much for your time. Have a great day.