By Diane Shreve – Greg Proops Net – September 11th, 2009

Hello there, Greg! Allow me to premise this interview by saying thank you very much for your time and for agreeing to do this. I understand that you are a rather busy individual, so I just wanted to say thank you on behalf of not only myself, but all of the visitors of Greg Proops Net.

      My pleasure, you little rascals.

You have mentioned a few times before in the past that you’d like to play a ‘cool villain’. If you could be any villain whatsoever, what would be some notable character traits you’d love to portray? Or rather, what would your “dream role” be like, if you have one?

      Satan, a black knight, an evil Warlock. Troll, gremlin, sprite. I wanna be evil as Eartha Kitt once sang. I want to cheat at Jacks.

Not very long ago, I caught wind of a pilot called “Simply Svelte” that was – please correct me if I’m wrong – developed by you and your wife. The comedy sitcom was described as being about ‘a fashion guru who juggles work deadlines and his wild lifestyle as well as a girlfriend, an ex-wife, and a boyfriend’. To me, the premise alone sounds outright hilarious. What happened to “Simply Svelte”, and is there any sort of possibility for it to be revived and / or picked up as a series? Also, were you originally set up to play the lead character?

      Don’t want to tell. Let’s not have someone steal it.

As articulate, descriptive, and well-read as you are, I’m almost surprised you haven’t penned a written work yourself. Have you ever thought about publishing a book (of any sort)?

      I will be reading books. One day if I can be bothered I might write something.

Something that never fails to astound me is your sheer wealth of knowledge. To be sure, some have even likened you as a walking encyclopedia, as it seems that you can pull dates, facts, and political as well as pop cultural references out of the hat with ease. Allow me to take a moment to say just how greatly I admire this. Of course there’s always the typical adage of ‘just read a lot’ to increase one’s know-how, but I was curious if you attributed your seemingly endless mental capacity to something else – if you had a secret, of sorts, on how to not only take in information, but to remember it.

      You are capable of remembering anything you want. But we don’t want to. I just read and watch movies and stuff and remember what I likes.

Ok, I must ask about ocelots. Ocelots seem to be a long-term gag that has made many appearances – both in your improv, and in your stand-up material. Likewise, in the past you’ve not only termed your fans as ‘ocelot kittens’, but yourself as ‘the big ocelot’. And, of course, there is the old joke of owning an ocelot whose name seems to change frivolously. So, the question is this… Just how did ‘ocelots’ come to play such a big role in your comedy, to the point where it’s one of the things fans have come to know you by?

      Purely organic. I found one kitten and she blossomed, then they sprang forth endlessly. I love to watch them run and gambol.

A bit of a random question, but were you a part of the 1999 cartoon series “Dilbert” at all?

      Yes, but I killed a guy by accident so they overreacted and fired me.

As enraptured as you are with the popular American past-time that is baseball, I deem it only just to ask you a baseball-related question. You’ve said in the past that if you weren’t a comic, you’d probably be a sports historian of sorts. Thus, I inquire of you… if you were presented with a “magical” baseball that could transport you back in time to see any one game, any place, any time, what game would that be, and why?

      The 1944 Negro Leagues All Star game with Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and Cool Papa Bell. Sam Lacy the writer told me Oscar Charleston was a better all around player than Willie Mays. He would have been great to see.

A short time ago I stumbled across a rather interesting rumor. It was a note written on a very old fansite by an anonymous poster who claimed to know you back at San Francisco State. He alleged that you starred as the lead in the drama “Equus” back in 1981. First off, is this statement true? Secondly, if so, what was that experience like? I personally have not seen it, but from what I know of it, Equus is supposed to be an exceedingly emotional and somewhat taxing play.

      I did. Yes, I was naked. Scary skinny, then. Awesome equipment. The play is very moving and shocking. I loved playing the crazy boy. It helped me through my own young life.

I don’t recollect exactly when, but in another interview from not too awful long ago, you were discussing your new comedy album, Elsewhere, but you also mentioned something about a new comedy DVD as well. I was wondering if perhaps you could indulge me with further information on this DVD?

It will be available on A Special Thing Records
http://www.aspecialthing.com/store/index.htm

September 28th
“Elsewhere” Comedy CD Release Party
With Laura Kightlinger!
Dana Gould!
And Other Special Guests!
Largo
366 North La Cienega Blvd.
310-855-0350
9 PM – God Willing

Just recently you began filming season two of “True Jackson VP” as the character Max Madigan. Max is a sort of zany and flamboyant individual. How much influence did / do you have over the creation of Max and his character traits? In other words, is everything cut and dry scripted, or were you allowed to develop the character yourself to some extent? Also, has there been a specific episode that stands out in your mind as being particularly clever, funny, or just plain fun to film?

      I loved the character from the audition. Nothing is cut and dried. TV sitcom work is very collaborative. Do I make up new lines? Not that much. We all try to add bits and work on pace and delivery. The writers and producers Andy Gordon and Dan Koppelman are dead clever with a very clear comic vision. Our directors, crew, and everyone are top-notch.

      I have had snakes on my head and had to fly in a lounge chair so they are all fun. I have got to work with Dave Foley and Andy Richter and Dave Gruber, so that part is just tremendous. The best part is working with Keke, Ashley, Matt, Danielle, Ronnie, and Robbie. They are hilarious and generous and we have each other’s backs. And we poke at each other as you should.

Head Games is, as we know, by far not your first dabble with the game show genre (if indeed game shows even have a genre). How has your experience with Head Games differed from that of VS. and Space Cadets?

      Well, Head Games is about science so that part is different. We shot in New York which made it funner. I like the genre because there are stakes. Remember, Whose Line is a faux game show.

It seems that you’re an exceedingly busy individual with little downtime. When you’re not working, what would the absolutely divine, perfect day consist of?

      Breakfast with my wife on the balcony over looking the Mediterranean. Two double cappuccinos and pastry. Buzzing to look at Roman ruins and driving back gazing at the sea. Lunch at a roadside place, prosciutto and melon. Long nap. Sunset walk to dinner outside. Wine and swordfish and oysters and cherries on ice. Iced peach tea in the square after. Late night shopping at Yves St. Laurent. Cigar.

Looking back on everything you’ve accomplished, you have had quite the prolific life and career. What would you say is, thus far, your greatest achievement, and what goal(s) are you still striving towards?

      Marrying well.

      I still strive to be funny – all the time. In stand-up, improv, and acting. Funny must be made, delicately.

      As far as career, I am proud to know and work with the Comedy Store Players in London and the Whose Line crowd here. Drew Carey and Ryan Stiles have done everything for me.

      The best thing I have been able to do is travel and do my act in all its guises. I’m for Ireland in October with Steve Frost, Andy Smart, and Richard Vranch. Should be great craic. Look it up.

Lastly, because this is an interview for Greg Proops Net as a site exclusive, though I don’t know how much of the site you’ve seen, or how often you’ve visited it, but what are some of your thoughts on the site?

      I hate the fat pictures of myself. But I actually go there to get details about my gigs and such. You often know more than I do. Should I be scared or just happy I can Google myself in your world? Both, a little.

Thank you once again Greg, and we hope that you have an absolutely lovely day! Do you have any last comments?

      I love all the people who have followed my jokes and all. I truly do appreciate the love. There is no show all alone. I have been so happy to do what I always wanted: to be a fool. Thanks for letting and abetting.

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