INTERVIEWS

Jimmy Gunn – From the Start to “Retirement”: Part 2

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10703635_10152266229541755_5611049187700819126_nContinued from Part 1…

SUSC: Who are some of your favorite comedians now and some of your favorite up and coming comics in the bay area?

Jimmy: Probably my favorite comedian right now, and I don’t say this just because he’s a friend, I just think he’s a genius… and that’s Patton Oswalt. I never grow tired of listening to him and never grow tired of listening to the same bits I’ve heard. I could listen to his Star Wars bit over and over and laugh myself silly every single time I listen to it. It’s why when I did “Sherman Westwood” I was able to do the first 5 sentences of the jokes verbatim because I’ve listened to it so many times.. So he’s probably my favorite comedian right now. Up and comers? I gotta throw the name out because I’m still kind of in awe of this Joey Avery guy I just saw last night… I think Chad (Opitz) is great as an up and comer. I think he’s got a future ahead of him. Those names are the first ones that popped in my mind. So of the newbies that I can think of, those are the two that stand out right now.

Was there ever a moment when you realized, “Ok, now I’m a comedian”?

Bill_Hicks_at_the_Laff_Stop_in_Austin,_Texas,_1991_(2)_cropped

I think when I got my first paid two weeks with Bill Hicks is when I thought to myself “Oh my God, I’m really doing this.” Because I couldn’t have a real job and do this, I had to do this, in order to be there. I think that’s when it first really hit me. And that was about a year or a year and a half into doing comedy.

Is there anything that you had wished you had done or tried?

There are things that I look back on that I don’t regret not having done them. But it would have probably been interesting to see where my career would have went if I had actually moved down to LA. My wife was up here and she was actually making more money than me at the time. I got married at 22 and didn’t start doing comedy until I was 24. So there was no way I was ever going to make the move down to LA. Completely aside from the fact that I couldn’t stand it when I went down there. It just wasn’t in the cards to move down there. So there is a part of me that wonders, not regrets, but wonders if things would have been different if I had done that. And then of course I look at friends who moved down, and also because my comedy is somewhat similar to people like Bobcat Goldthwait. I think I might have moved down and my career would have lasted 6 Police Academies and then I would have been done. And now he’s making great movies now as a director, and I think he’s a great director… but I think that’s why I don’t regret it because you can’t really dwell on what didn’t happen.

Anything that you still want to try?

In comedy there are hundreds of things. Most of them have to do with pushing the boundaries of what comedy is, or what people perceive comedy to be. One of the reasons I did “Sherman Westwood” is because I wanted to push that idea to see where I could take it. There are plenty of other ideas I have too. Most all involve trying to push levels of what comedy is supposed to be.

This sounds really weird, but the only thing I really wish is that I wish I could write a real joke. I do not know how to do that. If you told me try to act like a normal stand up comic and do jokes, I could not tell you how do that.

So you’ve never tried doing it that way… just right from the start you found your voice?

Yeah I tried. I tried. It was interesting because someone finally said to me, “If you really look at what you are doing on stage. You are actually doing very classical structure of jokes, it just doesn’t look like it”. I never saw it like that, but I am actually doing it. I guess I can do it, but I can’t do it knowingly. I have to do it in a way that makes sense to me.

When did you come up with the Green Eggs and Ham bit?

That is a very old bit. Actually I would say roughly, 60% of my material is from the first year and a half to two years of doing comedy. Green Eggs and Ham was one of the first. It used to be just Green Eggs and Ham. The Spanish part was added when I got back into comedy. I was trying to find the book and I stumbled upon a shitload of versions of Green Eggs and Ham. I tempted to buy the Japanese version, but I couldn’t figure out how to make that funny. (Will) Durst said to me once a couple of years ago, I was bemoaning the fact that so much of my material is old and he said, “It’s not old, it’s classic.”

How many physical books of Green Eggs and Ham have you been through?

I’ve probably gone through about 7. Same with the knock knock joke books. I can’t even count how many of the oatmeal containers I’ve been through.

When was the first time you retired?

Dammit, that’s a good question. I don’t have an answer for it, because I have no memory of when I first did that. I do tend to find I go through spells where I haven’t done it for a while. Like now because I’m directing some things.  I remember doing it partially because I really truly was coming out of what I thought was going to be a retirement. And then it became more of a “That’s pretty funny if I come out of retirement for each show” and now I love the fact that people acknowledge it as a joke.

Jimmy Gunn will be coming out of retirement and performing this Thursday night at 7:30pm, October 9th in the Comedy Sharks show in El Granada (near Half Moon Bay) at the Hop Dogma Brewing Company (30 Ave Portola El Granada, CA)

Followed by another show on Friday, October 10 at 8:30pm in Dublin, CA at Bunjo’s Comedy Lounge located in Vito’s Express – 4060 Grafton St. Dublin, CA

 

Interviews
10/08/2014

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