There are over 100 shows and 180 comedic artists playing all around town in the next two weeks at JFL NorthWest. We can’t highlight everything, obviously, but here's a performer who won’t disappoint: The Daily Show’s Roy Wood Jr., a 20-year standup vet who'll be playing the Orpheum on Thursday (February 14).
Georgia Straight: Being on The Daily Show has really helped your career. Is it in any way a hindrance?
Roy Wood: No, I think the only hindrance is that because a lot of what we talk about on the show dabbles in politics and world issues, people expect you to talk more about politics, and I don’t that much. I’m no Lewis Black, I’m not Jon Stewart, I’m not Dennis Miller. I don’t have 60 minutes of full analysis top to bottom of every bureaucratic issue. Sometimes I just want to talk about why Street Fighter is the greatest video game of all time. You know, mix it up. If The Daily Show is a five-on-five basketball game, my comedy is more like watching one-on-one. It’s still basketball; it’s just a different speed.
GS: Big standup fans understand the difference, but the masses who might only know you from television wouldn’t.
RW: Yeah. And I don’t think the people leave disappointed; I just think they come with preconceived notions of what they think I’m going to talk about on-stage. But at the end of the day, as long as people laugh and have a good time, I feel like I’ve done my job.
GS: When did you realize you could make it in comedy?
RW: I never felt like I’ve made it. That paranoia of failure is always there for me. I don’t know if that’s healthy or not, but it exists—even now, on The Daily Show. There’s still the idea of “Okay, you’re on The Daily Show. Well, now, don’t screw it up.” For all that people talk about The Daily Show being a great institution that springboarded the careers of so many people, there’s far more people that it didn’t do shit for. And I don’t want to be one of those people. So in order to not be one of those people, you gotta bust your ass; you gotta work hard.