A Penny's Worth

Comedian, Jimmy Dore

Jimmy Dore is a comedian who has appeared on shows like The Jimmy Kimmel Show and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and has starred in numerous Comedy Central specials.

» Quotes by Jimmy Dore

Many comedians describe the process of producing material for a performance as almost involuntary. Is creating jokes more like fishing for crab, wooing a bird or hunting a boar?
It used to be that way when I started. I would say for the first 6 or 7 years I was just figuring out how to be funny. But my act now is much more focused current events and social criticism and politics. Now the way it usually happens is like this: I see something ridiculous, like our screwed up for-profit system of health care, then try to find the funniest way to talk about it.
Athletes refer to purple patches of form when the basketball hoop seems to be the size of a phone booth or the baseball looks as big as a basketball. When do you find your wit to be at its sharpest?
When I am onstage and talking to someone in the crowd, I am extremely present and it seems to help with the funny.
How long does it take to develop a stand-up routine and memorize it?
It took me about two years to hone 45 minutes of jokes that worked consistently. I never had a problem with memorization.
The potency of a comedy routine depends heavily on its delivery. How do you handle occasions when you're not in the mood to perform, your your comic timing is off or you're under the weather?
If I am not in the mood to do comedy it is probably because the venue is bad. In those cases I have a scotch.
Painters find that the longer they invest in a painting, the less accurately they're able to gauge its objective merits. How do you know if a joke is funny or just funny to you?
If it is a joke I wrote, it usually struck me as funny when I wrote it. The real problem is determining if it is funny to others. Then I bounce it off a few friends and a few crowds.
A professional comedian uses humor not only to make people laugh, but also to make money. Can you describe the way that this pressure affects your mindset and performance?
It is very undermining to have to make your living at your art. It inevitably affects your act if you have to worry about being re-booked. But such is life. YOU have to somehow put that out of your mind if you ever want to do something worth while.
There's a perception that having a comedian around is as good as having laughter on tap. How do your family and friends react to your sense of humor?
I only talk to people who find me funny.
Do you feel pressure to be funny when meeting your fans or do you find that fans feel pressure to be funny when meeting you?
Both. But I am getting over it.
A scene in Finding Nemo finds Marlin being asked "Hey, you're a clown fish. You're funny, right? Hey, tell us a joke." Is this the kind of exchange which takes place once strangers discover that you're a comedian?
It used to. But less now that I am more established and have several specials on T.V. When somebody says that to me now I tell them they can get three hours of my comedy at jimmydorecomedy.com, itunes, or amazon.com.
Tough crowds are a staple of prisons and the comedy circuit. In your experience, which kinds of audiences have been the easiest and most difficult to entertain?
Sober people that have a sense of humor and like to listen and laugh are the best audiences for me. Most difficult are drunk people that are dumb to begin with.
The biblical account of Samson records that he awoke to find that his locks had been cut and so his strength had deserted him. Do you ever wonder whether you'll wake up one morning to find that your wit has left you? (And if this did happen, what do you think you'd find yourself doing for a living?)
No, i never worried about that happening. And if I wasn't a comedian I would be doing something I wasn't very good at.
Much of a comedian's success depends on natural talent, a lack of which can't easily be compensated for with practice. Are comedians prone to be jealous of those who are funnier?
For me , I am jealous of guys who are unfunnier than me...less pressure.
There's a biting political edge to your jokes. Is your message incidental to your humor or is your humor incidental to your message?
Neither is "incidental", they are both very "cidental". I don't know if I even have a message, my act is made of jokes about stuff I like to talk about.
With comedians like Brian Regan (http://edition.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/04/14/brian.regan.comedy.tour/) showing that clean humor increases a fan base and doesn't necessarily emphasize "clean" at the expense of "humor", why do the majority of comedians rely so heavily on profanity?
I don't know what you mean by "rely on profanity". I know of lots of unfunny guys that swear their heads off. And I know lots of unfunny people that never swear on stage. I also know lots of very funny people that swear on stage and lots of very funny people that never use profanity on stage.

Profanity doesn't offend me, nor does it make someone funny. Is Brian Regan funnier than Chris Rock? Or funnier than Bill Hicks or George Carlin or Sam Kinnison? It is a matter of personal taste.

I really have problem with the question. Would you say that Goodfella's relied on profanity to be entertaining? See what I mean?
What would we find Jimmy Dore doing if his long lost uncle left him an estate worth $10 billion?
Complaining about the Estate tax.
When you're on the cusp of death looking back on your life, what do you hope to see?
I hope to see a time when Penelope Cruz couldn't keep her filthy hands off me.
Would you rather a time machine or a teleporting machine?
Depends on which one has a first class.