Joe List [Interview]


Hello Folks! As most of you know this is just our second outing since our previous hiatus that started last May. But, if I am being completely honest, I truly feel as though I (Ron) could end this whole damn thing right now. This is because I feel like today’s interview subject is as close to the pinnacle we could ever reach here at Trainwreck’d Society. Most of my heroes are dead. Hemingway, Kerouac, Chef Boyardee. All dead as fuck. With obvious exceptions, just about everything I love in the world of art and entertainment, I have been able to share some words from people associated with specific projects. Hunter S. Thompson killed himself? Maybe I should expand my idealism? I don’t know. But, I feel like the web has been casted so hard that Kirsten Dunst very well might consider kissing me upside down. Or not. Who knows. But, I’ve gotten Ralph Steadman on here. I don’t have Steadman tattooed on my back, but I have one of his drawings of HST there, so that feels like something, right?

Alas, I digress (once again). Today’s interview subject is the absolutely hilarious comedian Joe List. We have so many interviews with comedians on this little site of ours that it’s almost hard to keep count, but the list of the fine folks I have seen do their comedy live and in person in a very compact “theatre” is very limited. I saw Joe List at the Soho Theatre in London just this past summer. Remember when that was a reasonable thing to do? I have often thought about the fact that I bought two tickets, and everyone who said they could go with me, including my wife of 17 years, said they had to bail, ended up leaving at least 3 feet of space to the east of me. Did I know something about what the future held? No. No I didn’t. My wife just couldn’t make it.

Joe List is an exceptional comedian, definitely one of the best in the current game. His exceptional insight and 20 years worth of experience has made him one of the modern day giants. I’ve been wanting to have him on the site for years now. His wife (Sarah Tollemache) and his podcasting partner/probable lover in disguise (Mark Normand) have been on the site, but the man himself has eluded us for years. Maybe he hates me? It’s possible. It’s always possible I suppose. But mostly, I think he finally had something exciting to promote that happens to be free to everyone, so he understandably is willing to promote any damn way he can, even if it means a quick baker’s dozen of views from our little site.

Nevertheless, I am so damn happy to have Joe on the site today. His new special, I Hate Myself, will premiere tomorrow (August 6th) on YouTube via Comedy Central’s page. I hear he will even be on Maron’s podcast tomorrow, which is pretty cool. Sorry to beat you to it Marc, but you know, show bizness.

So Folks, I shall refrain from further babbling and let you all get right to the fine words that Mr. List was kind enough to share with us all. He’s a great guy, whether he realizes it or not, and we are so honored have him grace our digital pages today. So Folks, please enjoy some great words from the illustrious and ever brilliant Joe List!




I understand that you got into the comedy game at a very young age. What was it about comedy at that point in your life that made you realize that it was the path you wanted to follow?

I had wanted to be in comedy from a very young age. I grew up during the big comedy boom of the last 80s and early 90s and I just thought it was so cool. I always wanted to be a part of it. It just seemed like so much fun and it also felt like a great way to get the attention I had been craving when I was young. I loved it and still do.


What was your very first paid gig in the world of comedy? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this gig that still affect your work to date?

The first paid gig I ever did was at a bar called the Emerald Isle in Dorchester, Massachusetts. My friend Ed Regal ran comedy shows in the back of his bar. I did the show without knowing that I would get paid for it. After my set he handed me probably $50 or $100 I can’t remember. At first I refused it. I said ‘oh no, you don’t have to do that’. He told me to take it and to never turn down money for working. It was a good lesson for me. If someone wants to pay you to do comedy, you let them. I’m grateful for him.


We always like to ask comedians who work the road most of the time, back when that was a thing, this question: What are some cities that are wonderful to perform comedy in that people outside of the business may not realize are great comedy towns?

The city I most enjoy performing in is Madison, Wisconsin. The club there is called Comedy On State. It’s just the best to me. The audiences are so nice and giving. The club is run so well, it’s just the best. That is number one for me. I also really love St Louis and Tampa audiences. I just always have a great time on stage in those cities.



I’ve been a big Tuesgay for close to 4 years now, even had Mark on the site a while ago. It is an absolute must listen to each week. I am curious to know what it is about your partnership with Mark that just seems to mesh so well? What made you realize that the two of you could spin proverbial podcast gold with your podcast Tuesdays with Stories? 

I think the thing that makes the professional relationship with Mark work is our mutual love for the TV shows Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Those two shows are by far the biggest influence on both of us comedically. It’s like we both went to the same college and studied the same subjects. I think we also both have similar desperation to entertain. And at this point we’ve been doing the show for so long that we just work really well together. We have a sense for when the other has a good line or is about to finish talking and we manage to give each other the space to do what they need to do.


You’re most recent podcast, Mindful Metal Jacket, is also a must listen in my rotation. Probably a super basic question here, but given the content of the show, I am curious to know what inspired you to set out on the spiritual venture that is MMJ?

I started doing Mindful Metal Jacket because I felt like I have finally gained some wisdom on how to deal with anxiety, panic, and hypochondria and I felt like maybe I could help some people by having conversations about that kind of stuff. I really enjoy talking about anything related to mental health so I thought why not do it and record it. I’ve gotten a lot of really nice messages from folks saying the podcast has really helped them out. It’s been very satisfying. I’m proud of it.




Can you tell us a bit about your latest special, I Hate Myself? What can old fans of yours expect from this special? Also for the new fans who may check this out as their first intake of your comedy, who then go back and check out your old work, what do you believe they will find quite different from your old stuff?

I think with this new special I hope fans can expect more of the same but improved. I feel like this is the strongest stand up I’ve put out. It’s just a regular old stand up show. I wanted it to feel like any week night at the Comedy Cellar. That’s what I was going for. It’s a ‘special’ but I didn’t want it to feel overly special. Just bare bones stand up comedy in a basement. As far as material wise, I just feel like this stuff is stronger. I’m more confident as a person and there for as a comedian and performer. I hope that new fans and old fans will both find it enjoyable and hopefully hilarious. We’ll see. (Gulp)


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

For right now the special I Hate Myself and my two podcasts Tuesdays with Stories & Mindful Metal Jacket is pretty much it. Eventually I hope to be back out on the road but we’ll see I guess. Fingers crossed for a vaccine and perhaps some better leadership so we can get back to work.


What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was recording my podcast with Mark Normand. We just finished recording and I was laughing very hard. Comedy is fun.


Be sure to check out Joe’s special tomorrow night. Check out the trailer below, as well as some fun content that Joe made for you all that is absolutely free. 

And with that in mind, if you find yourself just loving what Joe puts out into the universe, consider the Tuesdays with Stories Patreon for additional awesome content. Or don’t. Just don’t yell at him on line. That’s rude.






About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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