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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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John Mulaney & Pete Davidson To Perform At Count Basie Center For The Arts
(RED BANK, NJ) -- Comedian John Mulaney and Pete Davidson will perfom at Count Basie Center for The Arts on Sunday, February 17 at 10:00pm. Tickets are $49.
Russell Peters To Perform Two Shows at NJPAC
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Emmy and Peabody Award-winning comedian Russell Peters will leave no cultural stereotype unturned when he brings his brand-new Deported World Tour to NJPAC’s Prudential Hall on Saturday, February 16.  Due to popular demand, there will be two performances: one at 7:00pm and another at 9:30pm.  Tickets range from $49 to $99.
Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix To Perform at MPAC
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Sit! Stay! Get ready to howl! Johnny Peers and his personality-plus canines are coming to Mayo Performing Arts Center on Sunday, February 3 at 1:30pm and 4:30pm. Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix is a slapstick comedy act like no other. Johnny leads over a dozen dogs through challenging and hilarious tricks as Johnny plays the straight man role in this wonderful show. This event is for the dog lover in all of us stars mostly animals rescued from shelters or pounds.Tickets are $12-$15.
Ladies Night Out Comedy Tour To Come To NJPAC on March 9th
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Calling all ladies! Ladies Night Out Comedy Tour makes a stop at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 8:00pm. NeNe Leakes (Real Housewives of Atlanta) hosts this outrageous stand-up comedy event featuring Adele Givens (the big-screen Beauty Shop), Sherri Shepherd (former longtime host on The View), Loni Love (co-host of Fox’s Emmy-winning The Real), and Janelle James (of HBO’s current Crashing).
State Theatre New Jersey presents Ron White
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents comedian Ron White on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 8:00pm. Also known as Ron “Tater Salad” White first rose to fame as the cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman from the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” phenomenon, and has long since established himself as a star in his own right. Tickets range from $45-$85.


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
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


MUSIC


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


THEATRE

"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


KIDS

AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

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