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Last Comic Standing: The Rich Vos Interviewby Dale & Jill Sherman -- 08/21/2003
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Rich Vos is a comedian. He’s not a guy just starting out; he’s not hoping to break through; he’s not someone just looking for an acting gig – he is a comedian, pure and simple. When the nation finally got a chance to see him on a weekly basis thanks to Last Comic Standing, they also got to see that he was also hysterically funny, not to mention extremely quick-witted off-stage as well as on.
Rich has done a variety of stand-up and comedy-related gigs over the years: from hosting the 1999 Woodstock Festival (the one that ended in rioting and bonfires), to writing for television and magazines. Still, it is evident that his first love is stand-up and he has appeared on many different programs performing portions of his act in the past few years, leading to a 1999 Backstage Magazine award for “New York Comic of the Year.” There was a reason that Rich Vos was one of the finalists to Last Comic Standing – and it had nothing to do with sympathy, or “maneuvering people,” or “being the don” – it was because he was and is funny. That’s all you can ask of a comedian and Rich readily delivers on that expectation.
On August 17 we had a chance to catch up briefly with Rich by phone, as he was getting ready for a gig. We had a ton of questions to ask, but unfortunately we were only able to scratch the surface with him before he had to go. Still, Rich gave us some good insight into the show from his perspective and we appreciate his taking the time to talk to RNO.
RealityNewsOnline: How did you start in comedy?
Rich: Open mic nights. Where I could get work.
RNO: On your website, which was great, by the way, it mentions “training” on your resume. What does it refer to?
Rich: Acting training.
RNO: Your resume also mentions writing credits that you have done. What do you find different between writing for television or magazines and writing for your stand-up act?
Rich: It depends… You can get away with more in clubs than you can for TV. It depends on who you’re writing for. If you’re writing for a roast – that’s who you’re targeting. It depends on who you’re writing for. Acts can be more edgy than obviously on TV.
RNO: You’ve done what must be considered one of the hardest gigs to do for a comedian – opening up for rock bands. What was that like? Is this kind of a rite of passage, what people starting out have to do?
Rich: No – you’ve got to be able to handle an aggressive audience to do something like that. I didn’t do it when I started out… I was doing it for a while. And it depends on what band it is, too. Opening for the Four Seasons is a lot easier than Metallica. And I hosted for Woodstock ’99. It wasn’t all comedy, there was announcing… I was being the host.
RNO: That leads right into my next question. How did you get involved in Woodstock 99?
Rich: They called me at the last minute and I took it. It was fun.
RNO: Were you there when all the trouble started… with the fires…
Rich: Yeah, but that wasn’t at my stage… that was in another area. There were three stages, and I was at the west stage. But I think it was built into something bigger than it was. I saw some fires; it wasn’t as bad as the media made it. I don’t know, but I think it was exaggerated a little. But I wasn’t anywhere near it.
RNO: The media really made it out to appear that it was the end of society as we know it…
Rich: It wasn’t a picnic, but they exaggerated a little. But it shouldn’t have happened. It was a tough concert, and with that many people in the hot sun…
RNO: We also noticed that you were the first white act on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and appeared on Showtime at the Apollo.
Rich: Yes, I was the first white comic. I was on these shows that had all black comics for years. There was a lot of pressure. A lot of pressure. That was seven years ago. It was fun.
RNO: Some of the comics we spoke with seemed to be reluctant to do Last Comic Standing. Did you feel this way?
Rich: Yes, I was very reluctant to do the show. There was too much reality on TV. But it ended up being a really good show. We were lucky. And I made it a good show. It turned out good. I was glad that I did it.
But you’d be reluctant to do anything someone asked you. You wouldn’t jump into things… you’d have to look at the positive and negative.1 2 3 Next-->
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