Greg Proops – Charming Know-It-All – 26th August 2015.
Greg Proops is a man who doesn’t really need any introduction; he doesn’t need rules either, as he dismisses those in place by the festival over photos and phones: “Smoke, drink, do whatever you want. Let’s have a riot. We’ll get in the papers. I’ll get back on TV here.”
“Will anyone listen?” remembers Greg, as they talk about launching his podcast. This was in the States five years ago, when it was just burgeoning. They get 30-60k downloads per week, 250,000 per month; he says that the best can get millions, but those are still very good figures. “It’s like talking on the phone to the audience. That’s the fun of it, it’s portable.”
“I have an enormous ego,” he continues. It’s good to judge how well you’re doing, instant feedback on whether you’re funny or not.
“My advice is to skip school entirely,” he adds, on the topic of how much he seems to know. “School is to put you in a box and teach you not to think.” Failure, he explains, is the greatest way to learn; if you do well, you never seek to learn more. “Being on stage is where I feel in control. When I have the mic it’s my way or the highway.”
There’s talk of several different areas from his idols in baseball and life to feminism and America. “The great American lie is that if you work hard, you’ll succeed.” His wife had been a key force in his understanding and supporting feminism; he had grown up around misogyny and never understood why people would think like that, he’d think, “Mm, I’m not buying that.”
This is a big topic in comedy; he himself has stopped girlfriend-type jokes in his shows because they’re both regressive and insulting. “White guys have dominated long enough,” says Greg. “We’ve all heard our story. It’s time to hear others.”
In his book, he includes lots of poetry, mainly older examples as including contemporary poetry in books is quite expensive. He quotes JFK: “Where power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” Look up from your phone and see the moon and stars.
He’s actually very pleased to be asked about the poetry, noting only women seem to ask about it and delve into these areas. “Men always ask ‘How come you’re the smartest man in the world?’ It’s something called dick measuring. But women get it. Women get the joke.”