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An Interview With Dom Irrera

By Gary Wien


Comedian Dom Irrera first made a splash nationally from a spot on a Rodney Dangerfield special in the 80s. He's gone on to earn two CableACE Awards for Best Stand-Up Comedy Special and has been seen in films like "Hollywood Shuffle", "The Big Lebowski", "The Fourth Tenor", and "The Godson." He also received a CableACE nomination in the writing category for his work on Comedy Central's animated series, Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist.

Thanks for taking some time out to talk to us.
Sure, from my busy schedule on the couch. I turn over every hour so I don't get bed sores. It's very important.

You just got back from The Cat Laughs Festival in Kilkenny, Ireland, right?
I did. "The Godfather of Kilkenny" — that's what they call me.

And you've got the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal coming up. What is it about your material, which generally stems from your experiences growing up in an Italian-American household, that goes over so well all around the world?
I think there are certain threads through our cultures and it doesn't matter where you're from. One thing about comedy is you've got to be able to relate. I guess people relate to family stuff and human weaknesses... the human spirit. What we all have in common is that we're human beings and we go through a lot of the same stuff. No matter who you are — and I know movie stars and I know people who haven't made it at all in show business — people have the same problems and insecurities; thoughts that go through their head that they don't think anybody else has. I think if you can expose those human frailties people can relate.

Do you notice a difference between audiences in clubs and those who go to comedy festivals? Are they comedy die-hards?
No, they're exactly the same. People who like comedy... people who are going to make the effort to come out and watch standup are fans of... dare I say the art form?

Everything's changed you know. It used to be if they saw you on The Tonight Show or one of those late night shows they'd come out to see you, but now nobody cares about those shows, it's all about podcasts. I do Joe Rogan's podcast, Marc Maron's podcast, Adam Carolla's, and I've got my own - "Live From The Laugh Factory". Those podcasts get me more people than all of the talk shows combined. People who go to see comedy are the ones who listen to podcasts. People who watch the late night shows are like a lonely wife in Ames, Iowa whose husband is getting drunk after bowling so she puts on one of the late night shows to keep her company.

There used to be the idea that a spot on Carson could make or break a career. Is there any show with that power anymore?
Not even close. I mean, they're so unimportant it's unbelievable! And I still do them. I don't mean to put that down... it's not their fault, but times have changed. First of all, there are 700 channels now. When people used to make it big on The Tonight Show, a third of the country was watching the same show.

Tell me about your podcast.
I'm lucky because I can get the guys people will listen to. Guys like Marc Maron and Bill Burr, Rogan and Greg Fitzsimmons... David Spade. I've known these guys for so long. The bad thing about being around for a long time is you're closer to death, but the good thing is that you know everybody. If you were nice to people they'll be nice to you and they'll remember.

After a podcast I said to Marc Maron, "Thanks for coming in, I know you're busy." He goes, "Dom, I'll do anything for you. When I was a doorman at The Comedy Store you were always nice to me." I said you're supposed to be nice to people, he goes, "Yeah, but I don't forget that."

You're playing the Tropicana on August 2nd. That's one of the few casinos on the upswing.
The Tropicana is the best place I've done standup since the Sands closed. They're one of the only casinos in the black. I can't explain why, but they have the whole spectrum of ages. They're not like a young hip club and they're not like an old, fuddy-duddy club. You go to the bar there and it's like being in Ireland. You'll see an 80-year-old couple sitting next to teenagers. It's a really different vibe there. It's not an elitist vibe or a big money vibe, it's got everyone and I think that helps it.

To me, doing Atlantic City is the ultimate, coolest thing for me and my career because I grew up in Philly. I grew up down the Shore and to be headlining a casino, I never lose sight as to how cool that is. I mean it's so weird to be on a billboard on the Atlantic City Expressway next to someone like Eminem or Gladys Knight!



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NJPAC Presents Maria Bamford
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents stand-up Comedian Maria Bamford on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 8:00pm. The stand-up sensation starred in the semi-autobiographical Netflix comedy series Lady Dynamite, lauded as “revelatory” by Entertainment Weekly and one of 2016’s must-see shows by Variety and Rolling Stone.
Newton Theatre Presents Big Apple Comedy Club On January 18th
(NEWTON, NJ) -- The Big Apple Comedy Club returns with four of New York City's freshest comedians for a show on Friday, January 18, 2019 at 8:00pm. The lineup includes Matthew Broussard, Chris Coccia, Drew Fraser, and Mike Speirs.  Don’t miss the chance to see these hilarious, high energy comics in action! Tickets start at just $19.
Patton Oswalt To Perform At Beacon Theatre
(NEW YORK, NY) --  Patton Oswalt will take the Beacon Theatre stage on Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 7:30pm. A comedian, actor and writer, Patton Oswalt continues to find success in all areas of entertainment. From his award-winning comedy specials to his many memorable film roles and guest appearances on his favorite TV shows, Oswalt continues to choose work that inspires him and entertains audiences.
Craig Ferguson To Bring His Hobo Fabulous Tour To Mayo Performing Arts Center
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Craig Ferguson's Hobo Fabulous Tour comes to Mayo Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, December 4 at 7:30pm. The show, which will be 100% new material, will never be recorded for any form of broadcast or streaming outlet given Mr. Ferguson's new (ironically) Luddite mistrust of digital technology. Tickets range from $49-$79.
NJPAC Presents Candice Guardino: Italian Bred
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) Presents Candice Guardino: Italian Bred on Saturday January 26 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm. Created, written by and starring Candice Guardino, Italian Bred is based on true-life events seen through the eyes of a little girl.


A Look At 2 Guys From Jersey
In issue 50, New Jersey Stage gave readers the opportunity to learn more about the writers who contribute to the magazine and the daily site. We’d like to give you the opportunity to learn more about the two shows that are featured in our magazine each month.  One is a podcast called 2 Guys From Jersey that runs a new episode every Wednesday. It involves Dr. D, Rocky, and Erin (a recent addition to the team) trying to settle trivial bar arguments that have plagued mankind for centuries.
"Legal Immigrant" Alan Cumming Brings His Cabaret To State Theatre New Jersey
It was the fall of 2008. Barack Obama had just been elected president. And Scottish-born actor Alan Cumming was sworn in as a citizen of the United States.
“Hysterical!” Gallagher LIVE! at The Strand Lakewood
Gallagher is joking with patrons in the lobby of Lakewood, NJ’s historic Strand Theater this Thursday, May 24, 2018 evening. In his audacious style, he’s grabbing cameras out of the hands of patrons who want to take great selfies with him, while also taking the time to sign T-shirts for stand-up comedy fans waiting for him at the merch table.
So You Want To Be A Comedian?
“I feel I have the kind of life where people think I’m making things up all of the time, but weirdness is kind of attracted to me,” said Jess Alaimo, a comedian from Monmouth County.  “So, I just go with whatever happens to me.”
The United States of Russia
Rutgers alum, Ben Rosenfeld released his third comedy album in January.  Entitled, The United States of Russia, the album was released by Comedy Dynamics and continues the Russia born, American raised comedian’s style of mixing tales of his immigrant parents and outsider childhood with topics ranging from millennials, terrorism, politics, and adjusting to life as a newlywed.  We caught up with Ben to talk about the album.






Event calendar
Saturday, Nov 17, 2018


MUSIC

THE GAY BLADES @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

HERMAN'S HERMITS STARRING PETER NOONE & THE BUCKINGHAMS @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

Nelson Riveros Trio: “The Latin Side of Wes Montgomery” @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Hawaiian Music and Hula @ 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing, Ewing - 8:00pm

Pop 2000 Tour @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

THE MACHINE PERFORMS PINK FLOYD @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 8:00pm

THE FAB FAUX A HARD DAY'S NIGHT AND REVOLVER IN THEIR ENTIRETIES @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm

Todd Barry at SOPAC @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm

Swamp Boogie Trio @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Annie @ Broad Street United Methodist Church, Burlington - 8:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Annie @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 8:00pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Billy Bishop Goes to War @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm

Kiss Me Kate @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Phoenix Productions Presents: The Hunchback of Notre Dame @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Enchanted April @ The Summit Playhouse, Summit - 8:00pm

Heathers, The Musical High School Edition @ Pebble Players, Oakes Center, Summit - 7:30pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

Into the Woods @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 8:00pm

The Drowsy Chaperone @ Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 8:00pm


COMEDY

Todd Barry at SOPAC @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm


DANCE

BALLET FOLKLORICO DE MEXICO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


KIDS

ROALD DAHL’S WILLY WONKA JR. @ Ridgewood Ave School Theater, Glen Ridge - 1:00pm and 7:00pm

View all events
























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