I finally got the opportunity to sit down with Roy Wood Jr. to talk about his gig as a correspondent on The Daily Show. We’ve been passing each other like ships in the night because we’re both always running off someplace, so before he took the stage to headline Gotham Comedy Club over the holiday weekend we sat down in the green room to chat. As a testament to his popularity despite the holiday weekend the room was packed.
Roy suggested we sit down and talk before the show started because he had to run out to do a set at The Cellar before his second show of the night, which speaks both to his determination as a performer and also how important it is to do a set at The Cellar! No one wants to give that up. When I asked him if he was working on anything else besides The Daily Show he explained it to me this way, “I won’t pretend to be a female. but doing The Daily Show is almost like finding out your career got pregnant, and you gotta drop everythinng and just tend to that pregnancy. So any of the projects, any of the scripts that I had in the works, you have to put a pause on it because you have an opportunity to be a part of an institution, … so maybe you should just focus on that for a while dummy, and go back to your stupid sports vlogs later!” He added, laughing, “those things are no longer a priority right now”!
To which I reminded him that as a result of his stand-out appearances on the show, all or at least many of those projects will eventually come to fruition, and the show will give him a voice he may not have had before. He said it’s been fun to be a part of it but even more fun to learn the process of what goes into making a show like The Daily Show. He said there’s actually so much more that goes into the making of the show than you would think as a comic just watching the show but when you’re there day in and day out, for like 10-12 hours a day, and you start seeing how they put everything together, you realize how much work goes into making that show.
He said that Bernie said– and he said he was paraphrasing– but that Bernie said no matter who’s there, no matter where you are, the people are entitled to a good show.
And he said that’s why he feels that all comedians should always try and give a good show, which is a concept he said came from Bernie Mac, in his book, and it helped to change his ideology. He said that Bernie said– and he said he was paraphrasing– but that Bernie said no matter who’s there, no matter where you are, the people are entitled to a good show. No nights off, you give your all every night, because you never know who’s in the crowd and apparently someone who was connected to the show saw me do something positive years ago, and when it came time for them to look for a “slighly overweight Black comedian” my name came up! Then we high-fived on “Top of the list bitch!”
He’s got these stylish European shoes on sometimes, … I gotta get him a pair of Jordans
When I asked him if he had any advice for up and comers he said, “ Just work hard and trust in your talent man! Too many people expecting somethin’ else to come from other people, like ‘ Why haven’t I gotten something, because the other guy got it?” Well his walk isn’t your walk,” … which is when I thought he was going back to the shoe metaphor, but I was wrong again, because he continued with, “I been doing this 17 years and I seen cats been doin’ it six or seven years doin’ stuff that I still have yet to do in my career. You don’t get bitter about that. You don’t even pay attention to it. You just respect that’s what your path is, so just be your best to perform and capitalize on it when you have a chance. That’s all I’m tryin’ to do!”
And with that we went back upstairs so I could watch him kill to a packed house!