Comedian Jimmy Pardo has a helluva resume. He’s been podcasting since 2006 and “Never Not Funny” has hundreds of episodes (available on Earwolf.com, pardcast.com and iTunes), he is the opening act for Conan on TBS, he’s one of the country’s funniest stand up artists, and he just wrapped filming a pilot for TBS and Conaco. So naturally, we had our own RJ Waldron ask Jimmy Pardo a few questions for “The Set,” our series of original interviews with great comedians.
RJW: When did you decide to have your stand-up be less of an act and primarily crowd work? Was that a conscious decision or just your natural ability to react to people?
Jimmy Pardo: I think it was a combo… I got tired of forcing something that wasn’t organic. I’m not a technician in the sense that Louis C.K. or Jerry Seinfeld are. Talking off the top of my head and improvising a set was something I did quite a bit as an open-micer, but once I started getting paid, I felt I needed t be more structured. I should have just stayed true to myself and saved 2 years of being boring and bombing.
RJW: How did you become Conan O’Brien’s opening act?
Jimmy Pardo: When Conan and the crew were making the move from NYC to LA to take over “The Tonight Show”, the needed a warm-up comic. The way I heard it was Andy Richter, whom I knew a little bit through the UCB Theatre, told them “The guy who can do anywhere from 10-60 minutes off the top of his head with the same sensibilities as this show is Jimmy Pardo.” They called me in for a meeting. I had never met Conan or any of the execs on the show, but after talking for about 15 minutes, they offered me the gig… and I promptly turned it down. I didn’t really want to be a warm-up. They explained that it was more of an “Opening act”, just do my time up front and it’s over, no commercial breaks, no throwing out candy, just be funny. I took the gig and then prayed every night for the first 2 months that I wouldn’t be fired. It took a little time to settle into. It’s now the greatest gig in the world!
RJW: Do you have a favorite Conan moment?
Jimmy Pardo: Probably when I was asked to fill in for Andy for 2 shows. That was great fun and quite an honor.
RJW: You’ve been on top of the Podcast scene since 2006, with Never Not Funny. How has doing a podcast changed now that so many other people have started putting out their own podcasts?
Jimmy Pardo: It’s a heck of a lot harder to get a guest that hasn’t just been on a another podcast.
RJW: With over 400 Podcast episodes (WOW! Can that be right?!), and countless accolades and awards, can you choose a favorite Never Not Funny guest or moment?
Jimmy Pardo: No, we are in our 14th season… we have actually done close to 400 shows, I believe. As far as a favorite moment goes… the easy answer is Pardcast-A-Thon, the 12 hour marathon version of NNF hosted by Matt Belknap, Pat Francis and myself. We raise money for “Smile Train” and have raised over $500,000 to date.
RJW: At the end of the day; after making people laugh, writing jokes, and entertaining crowds, how do you relax?
Jimmy Pardo: Watching General Hospital and Kojak
RJW: Any news on the pilot for The Weekly Awards? Can we get a preview on how the pilot went?
Jimmy Pardo: We just turned in the edit and now it’s just a waiting game. I thought it went really well and it will change television as we know it if it gets picked up.
RFW: Be honest, who gets more laughs in your family? You or your hilarious son?
Jimmy Pardo: My 6 year old son… by a long shot! The kid’s got the goods.
RJW: Your father-in-law played Chekov in the original Star Trek series and films. What’s it like to have a sci-fi icon in your family?
Jimmy Pardo: I’m not a sci-Fi guy, so to me he’s just a great Grandfather and my Father-In-Law. I will admit it’s really cool to be in the same family as someone that has their handprints and star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. That’s the reason we all get into this business and anyone that says otherwise is a lying hipster.
RJW: Do you have a favorite quotable movie?
Jimmy Pardo: Probably “Airplane!” “Top Secret” is up there , as is “Caddyshack”
RJW: Where is Jimmy Pardo in five years?
Enjoying the fact that I changed television years earlier. Oh, and prepping for my fantasy baseball draft.