John Poveromo [Interview]


In continuation of  our undying love for all things comedy, which is desperately needed in this day and age, we have a wonderful interview today with one of today’s finest comedians. John Poveromo is not only as good as they come today, he is better. He has been in the game for quite some time, and he definitely knows what the hell he is talking about. John is also a brilliant cartoonist and has a new book coming soon entitled Drawings From A Nobody that is both poignant and hilarious. It is a politically charged piece of art that is as on point as his stand up act continues to be.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, please enjoy some great tales and bits of wisdom from the oh-so hilarious, Mr. John Poveromo!

When did you first realize you wanted to make people laugh for a living? And once you found yourself in the world of stand up comedy, what made you decide that it was indeed the life for you?

Seems cliche, but I always liked making people laugh. Even when I was a kid I knew I had this innate ability to make a room full of people crack up. It starts with your family, then your close friends, then your classmates, co-workers and eventually just people you meet in your day to day life. Comedy isn’t always done on a stage, sometimes it’s saying the right thing at the right time to someone having a shit day who’s ringing you up at a grocery store. It catches them by surprise and makes their day a little better. It’s a pure instant connection with another human being and I think if you’ve got it, it’s an important gift to share.

Over the course of your career as a Stand Up comedian, has there been a singular moment that you can remember feeling nothing short of eternal bliss while you were on stage? Have you had that sort of moment where everything just seems to click like magic, and you become so enthralled with what you do for a living?

I’ve been doing this for 13 years and I started in the digital age, so I’m lucky enough to not only have had those moments, but have been able to capture them on video. I can tell you that feeling is nothing short of, as you put it, eternal bliss. It’s like something happens in your brain…every gear is turning at full speed, the air around you cracks and the audience is alive. It’s like something else takes over. It’s an indescribable feeling but something other comedians get right away. Comics are always functioning at a higher level on stage because we’ve got six things we’re focused on at the same time. We’ve got our set list, how the room feels, the sound of the laughs we’re getting, where to pause, any physical movements to enhance the joke, all while being in the moment in case something happens or we get the chance to improvise a new line. When that bliss hits though, it’s a perfect storm of comedic timing, ad-libbing, and audience response. They don’t last long. That’s what makes those nights special. You live for those nights.

Whilst scanning through your very impressive website and resume, I noticed that you have had writing credits for the “news” program known as Hannity. I never considered the aspect of comedy to be something involved a Sean Hannity project, but alas, there you are. So what type of contribution were you able to give to a program like Hannity?

The Hannity credit is always an interesting one to talk about. Comedians write for other comedians. Especially when they’re starting out. Early in my career I wrote for a few comics when Hannity used to have them on his show. It was challenging and fun at times but ultimately disappointing. The comics I wrote for were great but after a while I began to realize what I was writing wasn’t always making it on. Or the jokes were watered down. I was young when I was doing this and I’ll admit a little naive. It was basically a TV credit for some of these guys and not something they were doing to sling jokes and challenge the network or the host on his views,  which I absolutely understand and don’t begrudge them for. It helped me understand part of that end of the comedy business but also made me realize it was something I wasn’t necessarily cut out for. I’ve got jokes and I’ve got opinions and If I’m going to be appearing on a show like that in the future they’re not going to be watered down so the host can beat me over the head with pillows.

I am very intrigued by Drawings From A Nobody. What can you tell us about this project? What inspired you to make it happen?

I’m really excited about the book. It’s basically a result of me sitting around going, “Well what’s another way I can disappoint my family by not making any money?” And I think I made a wise choice. I’ve been drawing since I was in the third grade? I think? I know by the time I was in sixth we had these fake year books and in them we had to write down what we wanted to be doing when we grew up, and I put down Comedian/Cartoonist. So It was inevitable. Being a comedian when I was younger didn’t seem as accessible to me as being a cartoonist did. I idolized cartoonists like, the late Charles Schulz, Bill Watterson, Berkeley Breathed, Gary Larson, Jim Davis, Steve Breen, Scott Adams, Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, Mike Peterson, Jim Toomey, Bill Amend, and Lynn Johnston. I know that list is long but here’s the thing – I wrote to all of them. Asked every single one of them for advice on how to be a successful cartoonist. They all wrote back and I still have their emails. Some of them I wrote to more than once.  These guys were clowns, and misfits, and they thought differently than the rest of the world, just like me. AND THEY WROTE BACK TO ME. I was overjoyed by this as a kid.

Two of my favorite middle school art teachers encouraged me to pursue it and I think from that moment on throughout High School that was the only profession I had told anyone I was pursuing. In many ways drawing was a cover in High School for the fact that I knew I’d never last in college and wanted to pursue stand-up in NY. I never stopped and would doodle all the time. Eventually I bought an iPadPro to take with me on the road and I started drawing these one paneled comics that were basically jokes I didn’t use on stage. Eventually I had over 50 drawings and after posting them on my website and Instagram, it caught the attention of an art gallery in Woodbridge and I got to display them. They were a hit and I deiced to put them in a book. And here we are now!

What else does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m doing a string of shows in Boston (one of my favorite comedy cities) the second week of December. Then I’ve got a couple local shows in Jersey I’m doing before heading back to Los Angeles for a meeting with NBC that I currently cannot disclose details for. But it’s gonna be fun.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My four year old cousin Samantha is in school now and her teacher sings John Denver’s ‘Sunshine On My Shoulders’ to them in class. So one day she’s sitting at home coloring and singing that song. My Uncle passes by and hears her singing it and asks where she heard it. She said, “Mrs Sharon sings it to us.” So he walked over to his computer and started playing it. “You know that song too?!” She asked. Then he pulled up a video of John Denver singing it live. “Who’s that?” She said. “That’s John Denver.” My Uncle replied. ‘That’s the man who sings it.” She paused for a moment, watching him and then said, “I like him. He’s shy like me.” It’s 2017 and there’s a lot of messed up shit going on in the world, but if that doesn’t make you smile nothing will. I’m gonna carry that one with me for a while.

Wanna check out John performing live? Head on over to his website to find out when he will be at a city near you! Also find updates on “Drawings From A Nobody” at his website as well. To all of our Boston/Cambridge/Somervile fans out there, you can find him this weekend all over your fine city:

Dec 7th @ ImprovBoston
Dec 7th @ The Riot Theater
Dec 8th @ The Limelight Cafe
Dec 9th @ Bill’s Bar
Dec 9th Laust Laugh @ ImprovBoston
Dec 10th Liquid Courage Comedy @ Somerville Brewery

Check out a clip of John right here:

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About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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