Kirk Fox [Interview]


They say that “patience is a virtue”, or “good things come to those who wait”. I’m sure there are many other clichés out there, but these are the first two that come to mind. The point is, these were the first things I could think about when I finally managed to get some answers from the brilliant man who is Kirk Fox after a whole lot of back and forth. And it would be remiss of me if I didn’t admit that I was partially flattered by the fact that a world-famous comedian was even willing to go back and forth with a guy like me. I wasn’t sure that the interview would ever happen, but in the end, I can hands down say that I now have the best interview that has, and possibly ever will be, appearing here on Trainwreck’d Society. Even though it comes to us with the spite of Mr. Fox deciding to become a whole new, and possibly more “professional” person (which we here at TWS would NEVER condone), we are extremely excited about his presence here on our digital pages. He may just be looking to help create a better life for his beautiful wife and pending child, which is, again, just the sort of justifiable yet futile gesture that I simply can not condone.

Nevertheless, I can not tell you how excited I am to be able to share these amazing words from one of the finest comics of these modern times. I was a fan of his work as a comic and an actor years before I had any interaction with him, but I have built an immense amount of respect towards this man as an artist. And yes, I definitely respect the new man he has managed to become on the back of the career of being “That Guy” for oh so many years. I actually said all that shit in the last paragraph to be funny, but then realized by the time I reached this paragraph, that I am not a comedian, and I should really just stay in my own fucking lane.

So, with that, please enjoy some words from one of the finest comedians in the business and my new friend, Kirk Fox!

I understand you did not start out with a direct path to the world of comedy, but obviously had a natural talent for it. So, can you tell us a bit about your journey into the world of comedy? And do you feel as though you were destined to make people laugh for a living?

Let me start out by saying I’m not sure I have a natural talent for anything. I often say, “I’ve worked hard to get where I’m not.” My dad was funny. He was a handyman. People seemed to like having him around. Not so much for the shelves but more for the laughs. He often said he was a housepainter by trade. I’m a tennis pro by trade. When I came to Los Angeles I taught tennis to directors. Every acting job I think I’ve ever gotten has been a result of fixing someone’s backhand. I didn’t start out to be a comedian. I remember being runner-up in high school for class clown. Didn’t think at the time it was a possible career choice. My guidance counselor actually said I should become an ambulance driver. I laughed at the time but now I think she was probably dead on. Looking back I don’t seem to remember being that funny. I always had a dry wit. I can’t remember ever doing impressions.

Was I destined to make people laugh for a living? Good question. I’m not sure yet what I was destined for. I’m having a daughter in May. I’d like to think I was destined to be a father. But having a mouth to fill besides my own might cause me to rethink my approach to stand-up comedy. Definitely the making a living part. I’m only answering these questions because I’m having a child. I think we’ve been talking about doing this interview for two years. Why now then? Because I have to start taking this profession seriously. In order to monetize anything you have to get the word out. This is certainly a step in the right direction. Not sure how many people will read this but if I can get even one to be interested enough to purchase a ticket next time they see that I’m doing stand-up in their town then it’ll be worth it. I prefer giving tickets away though. I’m a terrible businessman. I think I get that from my father. He invented the headstand machine and forgot to get a patent. That’s why he drove a Honda Accord. I remember he took out the passenger seat and put a little table in its place. He’d cut up cheese and apples on that table during long drives. Ted Bundy also took out the passenger seat in his VW so he could transport victims below the eye line of other motorists. Sometimes I rode in the backseat when my father would drive me to soccer games and tennis tournaments. I remember trying to slide down below the eye line of passing motorists as well. My dad may have actually been the first Uber driver. Why else would anyone be in the backseat of a Honda with an empty table in the front? I definitely got my dad’s business sense. Damn. Dad missed out on the Uber patent as well.

My journey into stand-up was late. I didn’t tell a joke onstage until I was in my 30’s. November 10, 2002 was my first time onstage. I loved it. I enjoyed thinking of jokes during the day and saying them at night. I suddenly felt like I had a reason to wake up in the morning. Stand-up comedy made me a better actor as well. It taught me how to listen. One of the keys to comedy for me is talking with the room and not at it. Stand-up comedy allowed me to start auditioning for comedies instead of simply westerns that didn’t require much hygiene. I’ve always looked homeless. I like to think that if I became homeless at any moment of my life I wouldn’t have to go home to change. I’m always dressed for comfort and possibly falling asleep in an alley. Not afraid of denim. I actually even booked my first audition for a sitcom. The show was called Rodney and it was on CBS starring comedian Rodney Carrington. Rodney liked the fact that I was a comedian as well and gave me the job. I never told him that I was just starting out and was soon opening for him on the road. I went from an open mic for ten people in a coffee shop on Wednesday to an arena on Saturday.
Okay, let’s move to the next question or we may never finish this.

Bottom line, I did not have a direct path to comedy but clearly had been training for it my whole life. I had a wonderful childhood so I was not propelled into it. I had nothing to complain about. By the time I hit my thirties I still had nothing to complain about except that everyone I knew had a house and family. I began to get concerned about my future. How will I eventually feed a child if it happens? Well it’s about to and I think at this moment comedy will be it. Luckily my wife is a CPA so the kid will always have food. Me is a different story. Lastly, making people laugh feels better than making them cry, so if I am destined to make people laugh, I’ll gladly accept my destiny. Next question please.

Close followers of the stand up comedy world know that you are a regular face down at the famed Comedy Store in L.A. It seems as though the last five years has brought a lot of attention to the comedy scene, and the Store specifically. And you have been appearing there for a very long time. So, in your obvious expert opinion, how has the scene around the Store changed since you first began hanging out there?

I’m a creature of habit. I think the main reason I’m always at the Comedy Store is they provide parking for the comics. My whole life has been predicated on parking. I think every job I’ve ever had in Los Angeles has never been outside of three miles. I lived in the center of Hollywood for most of my L.A. days. I’m now living in Laurel Canyon but that’s only because my wife has a house and I moved in with her. I’m no dummy. Once again, she is very close to the Comedy Store so it worked out. If she had lived in the valley, it’s safe to say we would not have married. She was very convenient to the Comedy Store. She’s also gorgeous, young, and smart. But the location certainly raised her stock. I also like that she has never laughed at any of my jokes. When she does laugh, I know it won’t work onstage.

You are correct. The last five years has seen a spike in comedy. What has changed for me at the Comedy Store? The shows are now always sold out. I used to be happy with half a room. There were periods when twenty people was plenty. What has caused the spike in comedy? I can only guess, but the world definitely needs things to laugh about. The Comedy Store is magic to me. It’s my home. Over the last few years some big specials were shot there. The store just slowly got hot. Podcasts got the word out. Marketing became a priority. Social media. It was a perfect storm. The store also got a new booker and with him came some of his famous friends. With huge names on the lineup huge crowds would follow. I also saw comedians that had been growing at the store hit hard. Timing. All comedians that had been at the store during the lean years are now a huge reason why it’s filled. It’s the Comedy Store. It’s where you want to be onstage or where you want to be in the audience. I could post the lineup of any night of the week and you will see that the best comics in the world are performing there. If a comic is working on a special they are trying their jokes there. It’s a great time to be a comedian.

How has the scene changed for me? The scene has changed only in that the rooms are now filled nightly. It’s still comedy. You have to be funny. Now that I think of it, maybe in the past you could spend a bit more time on some new thoughts. Drift a bit. Not much room for drifting now when a room is sold out and you’re wedged between killers. Keep the laughs coming or you might not have a spot next week.

Much like our dear friend and past guest Alison Becker, you had an absolutely hilarious re-occurring role on the acclaimed series Park and Recreation. How was it working on a show like this? Did it differ in any way from other works you have done?

People sure seem to love “Sewage Joe.” This was my favorite job. There was no one on that show that wasn’t kind to me. Maybe it’s just because I’m so cool. Maybe they weren’t nice to anyone but me. You’ll have to ask them. What I liked about that show is everyone was having fun. All of the actors were great at improvisation. So if someone went off script it could lead to something magical. I have been fortunate to do mostly comedies so the shows are all pretty painless for me. But I’d definitely say Parks and Rec spoiled me. Lately I’ve done a couple episodes of The Mick on Fox and it was also a blast. Everyone is loose and funny. I play a loan shark. My wheelhouse. I seemed to have a penchant for sex offenders and finger breakers. I also did an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and it was easy for my brain as well. I guess I haven’t really had to work with too many pricks. Man I’m fortunate. Okay, next question.

I understand you have a special coming out on Showtime this April. Can you tell us a bit about it? What can fans expect from this upcoming special that may be new and exciting to them?

It’s called ‘That Guy” and we all know one. The friend who doesn’t seem to be growing up. Spends too much time chasing girls. Doesn’t seem to have many worries. Wishes he was a cop. All the usual. It’s an interesting chapter in my life. It’s my first hour special. I had a half hour special on Comedy Central in 2008 but hadn’t really put the effort in since then. Yes, that’s something “That Guy” would do. I definitely had enough material but I couldn’t stick the landing. But eventually I managed to stay in the pocket long enough to let the cameras capture an hour of jokes. It’s interesting because since filming “That Guy ” last year I’ve now become “This Guy.” “This guy” is now married with a daughter on the way and two puppies. We got them a week before I found out my wife was pregnant and I immediately asked if it was too late to abort… the dogs. It was. So now most of my days are spent walking two puppies. They are brother and sister and were rescued from Mexico. They are Narcos dogs. I know this because they only bark at cops, DEA agents, and hookers. That’s Narcos in a nutshell. They are part beagle, shar pei, and termite. They love to eat wood. My dad left me a musket from the 1800’s that is now a pistol. Eventually it will just be a civil war toothpick. They have taught me patience.

People will like this special. It’s funny. Not much about politics, religion, or relationships. Just my brain dancing for an hour. Watch it. April 13th on Showtime. 10:00 pm. I usually wouldn’t promote anything but with a baby on the way I’m forced to care about something. This is the new Kirk Fox. Nice to meet you.

When you are not out there making people laugh all over the globe, what would we find you doing for a little “me time” or a vacation maybe?

My life is a vacation. It’s only been “me time.” That’s the beauty about where I’m currently positioned. Right now my life is spent planning for a human being to be comfortable. “Me time” is being replaced by “Addison time.” That’s her name. I’m excited. Sometime in May I will have a daughter. I will finally put someone before me. I’ve been training my whole life to be a stay at home dad. I hope Addy doesn’t get in the way of it. But what will I be doing for the next month? The same thing I’ve been doing my whole life. Tennis. Some golf. Work on the new jokes and then deliver them at night. Build another hour special. I’m also on a mission to make the world a better place. When I take the stage it’s always with the hope that these jokes will benefit all sentient beings. My wish is to replace suffering with happiness. I also do Pilates a couple of times a week. I’m working on my posture. My wife got me into that. She is a saint. She keeps me alive. Makes sure I have food in my belly. She also likes me to have facials every few months. She loves her old man and wants to keep him from aging. She is young. She will be around a lot longer than me. She will keep an eye on Addy and the dogs after my exit.

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

Plug to your readers? I can really only plug one thing at a time. Showtime special, April 13th. 10:00 pm. They can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I like hanging little pieces of art there. I think of my tweets and Instagram posts as little pieces of art. I respect the followers who take the time to look at them so they are not hung lightly. I care about humans. And animals. If I don’t say animals also I have to deal with the vegans. I made a joke once on Twitter that all those animals vegans don’t eat wouldn’t hesitate to eat them if they were given the chance. That was two years ago and a day doesn’t go by that I’m not reminded by an angry vegan that cows don’t eat people. And once again, maybe if they were mad enough they would. I love vegans and don’t even really know what they stand for. I just eat what’s put in front of me.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I definitely need to smile more. I know this because as I think about the question I can’t pinpoint it. I smile a lot internally. I think I smiled the other night onstage when I said, “I’m against marriage. And I have the ring to prove it.” The room laughed and so did I. It will be a part of the next special. I never wanted to get married. Always was against it. I had my suspicions why. Now I can confirm them. That to me is a funny angle. But in all honesty I like being married. It’s good for me to try to grow up. I was tired of being “That Guy.” Except I still wish I was a cop. The only thing that has really changed for me since I got married has been foot massages. My wife used to always rub my feet before we were married. Once we got married it stopped. She started to rub them once after we got married and then stopped and said, “were your feet always this big? I don’t remember there being this many toes.” I laughed. So that was maybe the last time I laughed. If you made it this far thank you very much. I hope to see you out in the world sometime. And if you don’t enjoy “THAT GUY” hopefully you’ll still give “THIS GUY” a chance. At least for Addy. If not I will be driving ambulances. Which at the end of the day, might actually be my destiny.

Be sure to check out Kirk Fox’s aforementioned comedy special that will airing April 13th at 10:00 p.m., and will be available On Demand from Showtime on April 14th. For more details, go HERE. And also check out more info and hilarity at kirkfox.com. Also be sure to catch Kirk’s hilarious Twitter and Instagram accounts!

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About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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