Last month, Sylvan Productions presented a night of stellar comedy at Vitus with Amy Miller, Sean Keane, Chris Garcia, Natasha Muse and highly touted, heavily hilarious Rory Scovel. Scovel took a few minutes to answer some aptly absurd questions. Enjoy.
Courting Comedy: There is a video of you singing the Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers Theme Song. Is that indeed favorite Toon Disney opening song?
Rory Scovel; (emphatically) Yes. I feel like I win something at the end. (Imitating self) Yes it is! (SFX: Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!)
CC: Is there any recolation from that set, walking around a hotel lobby?
RS: It’s something I wish I tried more often… when there is a wireless mic, in a really obscure location, where there’s a comedy show for some reason. It was awesome it was so much fun to do. There’s something about singing to an entire lobby that’s thirteen or fourteen stories high and everyone has to listen to you.
CC: What gives you the heeby geebiez, not fear, just a thrill down your spin?
RS: Wet bugs. Or things that aren’t wet but look wet like snakes… things that are pretending to be wet.
CC: In a 2007 interview you introduced the idea of doing a documentary. Did that ever come to fruition?
RS: Yeah, I don’t remember the 2007 one; I probably made it up. But I did do one [in 2011] with three other comics that grew up in the South: Nate Bargatze, Jerrod Harris and Sean Patton. I think it’s going to come out . I just did another tour in November where I had a friend shoot the whole thing for three weeks. But [that project] is going to be more of an art film that [the director] is doing for himself as opposed to an informative documentary. I just happened to be the subject for it.
CC: What’s the best kept secret of South Carolina?
RS: I would Charleston but I feel like that’s what everybody knows about… Grouncho’s. Groucho’s Deli.
It’s an awesome deli… awesome, warm sandwiches like hot roast beef and hot ham with swiss [inside] a hoogie roll… and they have a great dipping sauce called “Formula 45”.
CC: Is the sauce thick or is it viscous?
RS It’s great… really thick. It’s a great sandwich… a manly sandwich… puts hair on your chest.
CC: Why did you choose San Francisco to record your album Dilation?
RS: I chose it because I love the [San Francisco] Punch Line a lot. It’s a club [where] I feel I can be very loose and be myself and really explore the joke. [The Punch Line] said I could do a Tuesday and a Wednesday… and it made sense to do it at a club. It was also very convenient to get to from Los Angeles.
CC: Did you expect so many hecklers at the recording?
RS: No I didn’t but I liked it. I’m glad the did because there was something that came from them. It was a fearful moment of it going in a bad direction… something I couldn’t use. I got lucky.
CC: What’s the significance of the album title and track names?
RS: Yeah, they’re all related to a mushroom trip. They’re my “How to do Mushrooms [Manual]”, that’s all the title in order.
CC: Were you tempted to do any Monty Pythonesque post-production alterations.
RS: No, not really. I thought about doing that before we recorded but then I thought “Let’s do a straight ‘where am I at today?’ set” for those two shows. But [creative editing] is something I’d love to do on the next [album] now that I kinda see the process. I feel like now I can take that risk, knowing what it can look like.
CC: What’s the longest you’ve ever performed the “Sleeping Jesus” bit?
RS: I think six or seven minutes. It was actually at the Punch Line with Nick Kroll and Chris Garcia a year ago… it was fun.
CC: It seems like you’re having fun.
RS: I get lost in it.
CC: It’s like a fever dream. — What is the most bullshit gift you’ve gotten for Christmas or a birthday?
RS: I got a tennis racket one year and it wasn’t good, and I didn’t like tennis at the time. Now in my older age, that was a quality gift. I should have seen the benefit of becoming a professional tennis player… [I thought] “Really? We’re doing a racket?” Really thought it’d be a video game system or something… “Here, go exercise.”
Chris Garcia: No balls though.
RS: “No balls, just swing this a lot, next year… an axe.”
CC: In a previous interview you’ve said that you get nervous veing high on stage and anxious at big events. Do you still feel that way or is it easy, breezy, beautiful cover girl?
RS: I kinda go back and forth. The anxiety leads to a more fun energy for the show. I think if you go in too confident, you’re not afraid you can lose. Being high steps it up a little bit in terms of nervousness, but it also gives me the comfortability to expand on my ideas.
CC: You reference movies a lot in your act. Is it better to watch a bad movie with good friends or a great movie alone.
RS: Both of those are equally great. Watching a bad movie with friends can be a very fun, funny experience. Especially with friends that are comics with a good sense of humor.
CC: Who is the one person you can count on to say something hilariously inappropriate in the theater?
RS: Probably Jay Hastings.
CC: When the field was much broader, which Republican candidate would your “Southern Football Coach” character vote for?
RS: I feel that because that character has such twisted logic, you’d have to go with the worst. You could do a ten-plus-minute set of that guy defending [Michelle] Bachman, or [Rick] Perry or [Rick] Santorum. I feel like all of them are fair game.
CC: Do you think you’ll ever do a multi-character one-person show?
RS: I would love to. I’ve thought about trying to do a one-man show, wondering and questioning what that might look like. If I were to do it today, it would definitely encompass [the character] element. But, who knows, maybe in five years when I actually become active with it, maybe it will be something different.
CC: What is the best improv/sketch troupe name you’ve ever heard?
RS: Not the best one I’ve ever seen? Just the best name?
RS: There’s one great name in LA, a friend is in it, it’s called “L. Ron Jeremy”. I love that as a name.
“T.J. & Dave”, “4 Square”, “Heavyweights”, those [groups] are the reason I don’t do improv anymore. I saw improv at its pinnicle and [thought] “I’ll never get to to the top of the mountain, I’m going full steam on stand-up”. [TJ & Dave] are mindblowingly awesome. There are some bad ass Chicago troupes. It’s amazing how good they are.