November 19, 2014

Claire Cooper

House of Comedy Pre-Show Q-and-A with Rob Little

The Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy pre-show Q-and-A series give you 10 questions of insight into your favorite comedians’ minds.

Last time comedian Rob Little came to Phoenix, he ordained a wedding. This time, he’s coming to get Phoenicians a taste of his best stand-up comedy. Little has gone from watching George Carlin and listening to Eddie Murphy and Weird Al as a kid to performing around the nation, including at a nudist colony.

Little will be performing at House of Comedy, located at 5350 E. High St. Suite 105, in Phoenix on Wednesday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Nov. 23. Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 19 and 20, shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, shows are scheduled for 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Saturday’s shows are at 7 and 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 23, has one show at 7 p.m. Ticket prices vary by show and range from $13 to $20.

When was the moment you realized you wanted to be a comedian?

I have always wanted to be a comedian, but the earliest memory I have of wanting to be one was when I was 5 years old. My family took my sister and me on a trip up to Mackinaw Island. We stayed at a motel right before the bridge. I remember late at night my parents were watching HBO. We didn’t have this at home so it was a treat! My parents thought my sister and I were asleep but I was laying on the floor watching HBO with them. They were watching one of George Carlin’s comedy specials and laughing to the point they were crying. Right then and there I knew I wanted to be a comedian. I wanted to make people feel that good, too!

What was your best (or most embarrassing) moment on stage?

Well the craziest weekend I ever had in comedy was a few years ago. I did a church on Friday, a nudist colony on Saturday and then a swingers club on Sunday.  Talk about having to be very versatile with your comedy.  I’ll tell you one thing, the later in the weekend it got, the friendlier the people were.  And actually every one of these shows were super fun!  One cool thing about the nudist colony was I had to take the tour naked but when it came time to do the show I had to be dressed, because if you are nude performing any type of act and getting paid it’s considered “erotic entertainment” and they didn’t have a license for that.

What’s one thing you want people to know about doing stand-up that nobody has ever asked you?

Please don’t come up to tell us jokes.  More than likely we have already heard them or they are going to be racist and I’m not down with that.  Also, don’t tell us we can use them in our act.  10 times out of 10 we can’t and wouldn’t anyway.  We take pride in writing our own jokes and not using street jokes.  It’s really looked down upon in our industry if you do such things.  On the other hand, if I talk about a subject and you have a funny or odd story that would go with it, I would love to hear it.

Who is your comedic inspiration?

As far as influences, growing up for me was all about Eddie Murphy and Bill Cosby. I had their “tapes” and would listen to them constantly! I would memorize their comedy bits and repeat them to my friends. It was awesome to listen to their different point of views. Eddie was very adult and Bill was more family friendly but they were both great storytellers. My parents were very open-minded and didn’t shelter me from life, which I am very grateful for. If they would have sheltered me from Eddie Murphy’s material, which I’m sure most parents would from their pre-teen and teen kids now-a-days, I would have never been exposed to such a brilliant talent. Yes, he cursed, and of course that would have been bad if I would have done it, but my parents taught me that once I was an adult I could make my own decisions to use language like that but as a kid it was not acceptable. I wasn’t perfect though and might have slipped a few times imitating Eddie. It was all so awesome to me and I soaked it in like a sponge.

I also remember Weird Al Yankovic having a huge influence on me, too. I thought my dad was so funny growing up and he would change words to songs all the time to include the family or the situation we were in. It would crack me up and then Weird Al came along and blew my mind with parodying Michael Jackson. His song “I’m Fat” from Michael’s “I’m Bad” was not only hilarious it also hit home with me being chubby. I had no idea that was what my dad was doing all the time, creating parodies.

After those three, any comedian would influence me.  I loved them all and would learn from everyone of their styles. I remember getting to stay up late to watch Johnny Carson and pray he would have a comedian on so I could see them. And if not, I would laugh at Johnny’s monologue or how he brilliantly worked comedy in with almost every one of his guests. Again, most of my friends never stayed up late to watch Johnny Carson but being an extremely hyper kid, I got to stay up later and be exposed to more humor. [It] makes me feel bad for kids that are put on Ritalin or other mood enhancing drugs just because parents don’t feel they can handle them. They might be changing a kid that could have grown up to be the next Robin Williams. Who knows…

What’s one thing you wished someone had told you about stand-up?

How lonely it can be. You have so many people that love you for what you do but so few that really know you. Traveling is so hard on you physically and mentally. How many times have you gone on vacation and then got home and was completely worn out? Now picture doing that 40 to 50 weeks a year.

What’s one item you never hit the road without?

My laptop. I run my whole business on there and use it to work out with my P90X videos.

What is your favorite city to perform in and why?

I have several and most of the time they are my favorite because of the people. There are certain cities that just embrace comedy so much more than others. I’ll tell you overall that the two best states to perform in are Wisconsin and Texas. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t think I have ever had a bad time in either state…If you are in the Midwest, you can’t go wrong with these people.

Describe yourself in three words:

Silly, philanthropic, diligent

If you had one day left to live, how would you spend it?

With loved ones, watching a “Law and Order SVU” marathon.

What did you do the last time you were in Phoenix?

I was just there in May 2014 and ordained a wedding! Yes I’m an ordained minister and I like to do non-traditional weddings. It’s a joyous day. Why not have fun and spice up the ceremony with your comedian friend?