By Scott Ryan-Hart – 20 Questions Tuesday Tumblr – January 15th, 2013

      It is rare that I get get in contact with someone that completely and thoroughly intimidates me. There is my wife, but I have learned to deal with that near constant terror after 17+ years. In this instance the intimidator is the stand-up comedian Greg Proops. Mr Proops is one of the memorable personalities of the US and UK versions of the improv show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” He is a facile improviser, but his real strength lies in his meticulously crafted stand-up. He is a wordsmith, a verbose wordsmith with amazing hair. If you are interested in his weekly musings, he has a great podcast called “The Smartest Man in the World.” He is full of himself and backs that shit up, and oddly enough, he is at his best when he is in the middle of the boring preachy parts.

      Without further ado, here are 20 questions with the feminist, improv specialist, podcasting genius, vodka aficionado, stand-up comedian, and baseball enthusiast.

I got my masters in geography, specifically associated with geographic information systems and cartography, and the story of place really resonates with me. I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, lived in Montgomery, Alabama, grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, went off to school in Kent, Ohio, and wound up in Columbus, Ohio. Question 1: What is your geographic story?

      I was born on a planet far away. Given powers that could corrupt normal mortals. I withhold some of my super juice knowing one day earth may need me.

You often mention how much you travel and you are touring all over the place. Question 2: is there a particular place you cannot help but visit if the occasion arises? For example, if someone offered for me to go to Edinburgh (and I did not have previous obligations) I would go in the drop of a hat.

      Paris is always at the top of my list. It is beautiful and the food is tremendous. Just the smell of coffee and bread in the morning is enough to write a novel about. I adore San Francisco with unbridled passion. I was just there and we stayed at the wharf. The fog and the gulls, the seals and the tiny boats swaying in the slaty air. Goosebumps.

Question 3: Is there a non-traditional place that you enjoy visiting? Some place off the beaten path. A little burg that you visited once with which you did not know you would fall in love… For me, currently, it is a little town in Nova Scotia that makes me smile.

      Halifax, NS is a place of rare delight and mad lobster. Mendocino, California for me is heaven. Mendo and Point Reyes. Weed, wine and seafood.

One of the questions I always ask my questionees is born from a Paul F Tompkins bit. Question 4: Cake or Pie? Which specific kind and why?

      Both. My wife kills both.

I have found in my asking this question to bunches of people, that there is a strong distinction between who likes cake and who likes pie. In my small survey sample, I have noticed that people who opt for pie, really like pie and would love a piece of pie if it were available. However, people who opt for cake, LOVE cake and would jam a fork in a baby’s hand to get that piece of cake. Question 5: Why do you think cake lovers love cake so much? and why are pie eaters relatively ambivalent in their love of pie?

      I have not found your thesis to hold true. Pie lovers in my experience are simply cake lovers who have not yet grasped that fact about themselves.

You are clearly a lover of words with a delightful vocabulary. I have found that there are a smattering of words that should be used more often but are not. For me, one of these words is “whilst.” Question 6: What is a word that is in relative obscurity that you feel should be used more in everyday language?

      Recalcitrant it means defiant of authority or difficult or resistant.

I also try to fit in the word “shiny” as an adjective for awesome. “His performance was really shiny.” That shit just doesn’t work, so it is not working well. I do not seem to be able to gain any traction at all. I think one of the reasons for that is because it is a silly notion, and I also have the social footprint of an unknown blogger.

      Shiny is best when used describing things that actually shine like sword tips, or the moon.

Question 7: Is there a “3rd rail” of comedy? If so, how often have you danced on that rail?

      I have pissed on it, daring fate to leap up and scorch my manbag.

So, I have been sitting at my desk and rubbing my eyes nearly nonstop for the past 5 minutes. I am pretty sure it is something to do with some moldy elements at my workplace and my own difficulty dealing with mold at a histiminic level. Question 8: Do you have any allergies?

      Poverty is highly allergic to me. I have been poor and it is hard fucking work.

I think I may be allergic to alcohol. Every time I have a drink (the equivalent of a shot, a glass of wine, or a pint of beer) my face gets flushed and I get a nasty headache. The following morning I am hit like I drank a keg of beer and licked a lizard of some kind… after just one drink. It is quite annoying. I have been staying away from the alcohol for the past 5 years or so. Question 9: You are a lover of the vodka, what is your brand of choice?

      Don’t lick lizards you have not been properly introduced to. Any brand I am pretty slutty. Tito’s handmade is nice. Chopin is very smooth.

From listening to your podcast, I know that you love Roman History. Question 10: Who are the 5 Romans with which you would want to have an intimate conversation? They do not have to be an emperor, but they could be… and it does not have to be simultaneously. No reason to get Caius Cassius and Julius Caesar in the same room.

      Cicero because he is the governor. He is why we know anything about Rome and the rhetoric he used still stands. He loved his family and hated Caeser and Antony and paid for it baby.

      Cleopatra, I know she wasn’t Roman but she had a huge influence on Rome and did visit. Fascinating woman.

      Livia, Augustus wife. Probably one of the most powerful women in the history of Rome. She could tell you everything about what was what.

      Hadrian – Gay, lover of poetry and things Greek, Traveled the most of all the emperors.

      Seneca, Tacitus, Strabow, Arrian, Martial, Terence, Plutarch- Poets and historians.

Oooh, over halfway done. Question 11: Is this going okay? Am I boring you? I am boring, aren’t I? God, I am so self-conscious right now…

      Easy, Cochise. We are moving right along.

Question 12: Dozen eggs, dozen bagels? dozen roses? dozen donuts (doughnuts… you pick your spelling of choice), or the Dirty Dozen?

      Eggs are useful, donuts divine, bagels are great in the morning, the Dirt Dozen is an awesome film. I love Jim Brown and Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin. Ralph Meeker has the best line in the picture. He is the psychologist and Lee Marvin asks him what he ahas found out about the guys and he says,’ But along with these other results, it gives *you* just about the most twisted, anti-social bunch of psychopathic deformities I have ever run into! And the worst, the most dangerous of the bunch, is Maggott. You’ve got one religious maniac, one malignant dwarf, two near-idiots… and the rest I don’t even wanna think about!

Always donuts for me… always. A dozen donuts is almost immediately a half dozen though…

Ah, unlucky 13… When I was a young’un I had a specific ritual that I did prior to playing soccer. I did not construct it as a “lucky” thing, so much as I used it to get myself in the frame of mind to play the game. Question 13: Do you have any classic superstitions (salt over the shoulder, black cats, etc…) or rituals (get dressed in a specific sequence, only pour the vodka into this specific glass)?

      I smoke a j and pray to the gods of funny.

I always love your diatribes against popular culture, so for my own indulgence… Question 14: Can you give me your best reasoning as to why non-celebrity celebrities (Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, etc…) have become so integral to popular culture when their “celebrity” status is consistently decried by the very media that elevates them to relevance? … and go.

      The world is full of mediocre people who don’t want anything to challenge their crappy pre-conceived notions or their stunted intellect. So they elevate these entities to distract us from the game at hand. The rich have taken over and are never letting go, the government is not going to help you and war is made to drain the wealth from regular people. The media is owned by the companies that run the government. Do not believ anything on TV. Nothing on TV is true or important in your life. Except the World Series and old movies.

Question 15: Fill in the blanks: I find that I am mostly _____. Others find that I am mostly _____.

      Unable to fill in blanks. Pretentious.

Question 16: Do you have a typical day? Is there a typical schedule that you adhere to on a typical day? or are you some kind of laze about hedonistic well-dressed neo hippy who lounges about all morning until you have to scrape yourself away from your comfy confines to belly up to the comedy club and swill libations until you entertain the masses with your witty rapport?

      I awake full of fear and trepidation. The world is scary. Then I burn one and move on.

We are heading into the wrap up. Question 17: Is there something I should have asked you that I have not? and what is your answer to this question I have not asked through my staggering inadequacy?

      The greatest ball player of all time is Willie Mays and yes Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame.

I understand that turnabout is fair play. Question 18: Is there a question you have for me?

      Really?

Yeah, Really. I know.

The penultimate question… Question 19: Are you leaving these 20 questions with anything that you did not have with you when you started them? What is your take away from this “experience?”

      You have over-thought some things and pulled the ripcord on others. You seem sincere and you care. That is what is important to me. I like insecurity it is a sign of humanity.

And now the final question, Question 20: What is next for you? Be as concrete or vague as you want…

      Hopefully a new comedy hour for Chill who did Maria Bamford’s special special. Maybe a book…..and as always the Proopcast which is free on iTunes or gregproops.com.

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