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"I've Been On a 19-Year Trek": An Interview with Last Comic Standing 2's Jay Londonby Mike DeGeorge -- 08/30/04
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Jay London has been a comedian for 19 years, and was seen by some as a breath of fresh air on Last Comic Standing 2. Jay Mohr described him as "a fish out of water," and he certainly fit the bill. As a 19-year veteran, Jay seemed to come out of nowhere to appear in our living rooms every day, but it's been a long time coming.
Recently, RealityNewsOnline's Mike DeGeorge had a chance to talk to Jay about his origins in comedy, how the show affected him, and the future.
RealityNewsOnline: How did you get into comedy in the first place?
Jay London: I, many a moon ago, when Rodney Dangerfield opened up his club in Manhattan, I wrote this joke that I thought would be, just, right up his alley, and he literally told me to talk a walk. And then I went to Jackie Mason, two years later, and he made a derogatory statement as to letting Puerto Ricans be comics, you know, just being cute. So I said you know what, I'm just going to do this myself. So I've been on a 19-year trek, October will be 19 years straight. One week sabbatical to move to California, another week I was ill, another week I was getting so burned out I just had to kick back. But it's almost been a 19-year escapade.
RNO: What drew you to standup?
Jay: An emaciated ego, looking for attention, and always knowing that I always saw things in my own light, in my own area of thought. And then I just put an action behind it, and I don't know how I even came up with the persona, it's really just an extension of myself, kind of a bloated me.
RNO: Have you been doing the same basic type of act…?
Jay: No, well, now I'm starting to work off of another wall where I actually talk to a wall or curtain or whatever and I'd get a little guttural, like a DeNiro character. One time, I worked a club in Brooklyn, it was very Brooklynese and cliched and some guy went, "What is this, I paid for this," I hear it under his breath. So sometimes if it's not going right, I'll go talk to the wall and go "What, did I pay for this? Come on, do your job!" It's like I'm learning how to bounce off of another wall, so I'm building a little bit instead of a one-sided, you know, poor little, well, little's not the right word, me.
RNO: Like in the wildcard show, you still did the "I'm sorry," even though the stuff was getting great response.
Jay: Well, I'm slowly eradicating that from my comedic system that I built, meaning that it doesn't call for it anymore. So now I have to use other alternatives. Or, I'm that much of a masochist that I just enjoy what I'm doing, punishing myself. I still haven't figured out 'me,' I need to get back into therapy right after this all blows over.
RNO: People call standup therapy.
Jay: Well, in a way, with all this onslaught of recognition or whatever, people pressing for pictures and autographs, it's sort of surreal for me because it's just been the opposite for so long. Sometimes it's hard to decipher, not that I'm looking for empathy, it's kind of hard to differentiate between real life and onstage.
RNO: Do you get a lot of people coming up to you on the street and saying "Thank you"?
Jay: No, females want hugs, males just give me a strong, hearty handshake. And kids just seem to… it's like I covered the whole age demographic from nine to ninety. I didn't know that I had such a powerful stance.
RNO: There is something about you, I don't know, I can't explain it either, and I'm a big fan.
Jay: Yeah, you know, and even my sister, you know, my sister was looking to, because I never divulged anything on the show, you know, who came in last, who does this or anything, scatter any dirt on anybody. But my sister went, in particular about one comic, well, he's a… and she used real guttural language, and I went hey, there's no reason to talk like that. She said, "You know what, I never knew you were so shy and introverted." She marveled at the fact, I guess, I'm just a real introverted type, I express it on stage, when I get that out. Uh, what was the question?
RNO: Umm… originally we were talking about using the apologies in the act.
Jay: Yeah, all my life I've been saying I'm sorry for whatever reason, reasons that never even exist. I guess it's just part of my interior makeup, I dunno, I don't know where it came from, I never worked really hard on my persona, it's hard to differentiate who I am onstage, compared to who I am off which has always caused me a problem. But it's gone very well, I guess.1 2 3 Next-->
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