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People called me a hoodlum and a thug. But they didn't tell you I was a carpenter, an architect, a stand-up comic - even a bartender. And a barbecue cook. But they didn't tell you that.
When you snatch little pieces of other people's lives and try to palm them off as your own, that's more disgusting than anything. Robin Williams is a huge thief. Denis Leary is a huge thief. His whole stand-up career is based on Bill Hicks, a brilliant guy who died years ago.
The only thing I really recommend, if you're starting out in stand-up is to not try to copy anybody else. You can be influenced by people. I was influenced by Steve Martin and Bob Newhart and Woody Allen, but I never tried to be someone else. I always tried to be myself. And the reason people are successful is they're unique.
If I had never ventured beyond being a stand-up comic, then I would be sitting in my house today working on my Leonardo DiCaprio impression.
I left school and couldn't find acting work, so I started going to clubs where you could do stand-up. I've always improvised, and stand-up was this great release. All of a sudden, it was just me and the audience.
I'm a big believer than a great bit is a great bit - if I go and see someone I love, like Robert Klein. I want to hear some classics and some new stuff. But a great stand-up bit takes a long time to really polish and perfect, and they're beautiful things when they're done.
In stand-up it really helps to play yourself and talk about your own feelings. You cannot fail to be original if you're just talking about what you think about X, Y and Z. Unless you've got a twin brother who's also a stand-up.
Acting is different from stand-up. It gives you this ability to enter into another character, to create another person.
Being a good husband is like being a good stand-up comic - you need ten years before you can even call yourself a beginner.
I don't see myself as a stand-up comic doing cynical, mean-spirited or disrespectful stuff. I'm very aware that I don't like to disrespect people too much.
One thing about being a stand-up is it's a one-man show. You gotta do everything. You're the producer, writer, director, and the actor. You just gotta be out there and perform and give your all. It's such an honest form of art that it just taught me so much, and it kind of prepared me for manhood at an early age.
I don't have any ego about it, but I find there's not a great work ethic in show business. A lot of people are in it to make money, and coming from stand-up, you have to work so hard because almost nothing works, and if you lose the audience for three minutes, you're dead.
I started out as a stand-up comedian. And that's what I'm most comfortable doing.
I started doing '30 Rock' and started writing 'Mystery Team' at the beginning of that. While I was doing 'Mystery Team,' I started practicing stand-up. While I was doing stand up, I got 'Community.' It's like I planted trees six years ago, and now they have fruit.
I write on big yellow legal pads - ideas in outline form when I'm doing stand-up and stuff. It's vivid that way. I can't type it into an iPad - I think that would put a filter into the process.
The first time I saw my wife, Marjorie, I was doing stand-up in Memphis, and she was sitting in the front row. Afterward, I walked up and said, 'Ma'am, I'm going to marry you one day.' And 15 years later, I did.
I did stand-up comedy for 18 years. Ten of those years were spent learning, four years were spent refining, and four years were spent in wild success. I was seeking comic originality, and fame fell on me as a byproduct. The course was more plodding than heroic.
While awaiting sentencing, I decided to give stand-up comedy a shot. The judge had suggested I get my act together, and I took him seriously.
I don't think of myself as funny - I don't fill up a room with my humor... I would fail miserably as a stand-up comedian.
Stand-up comedy is an art form and it dies unless you expand it.
With stand-up, it's more interesting to hear about people's failures than their successes.
You know, it wasn't even that I'm a funny guy, I just loved stand-up comedy and I wanted to do it. It was one of the few things in my life that I knew I was going to be able to do, and I also felt as though I'd be able to do it the way I wanted to do it.
Once I began doing stand-up, I didn't get a kick out of the applause or being the centre of attention - but I did get a kick out of the jigsaw puzzle aspect of it, searching for the right bit, adding another few pieces each night until the bigger picture appears. That's the appeal: the challenge of it.
I love to exercise outside in the fresh air and sun: hiking, swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, and jogging.
Doing stand-up is like running across a frozen pond with the ice breaking behind you. I love it because it's dangerous.
John F. Kennedy
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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