Mick Foley on His Comedy Career, WWE Hall of Fame Induction, and Interaction with Triple-H
To most people -- well, pro wrestling fans at least -- the name Mick Foley is synonymous with brutal, blood-soaked matches involving the renowned grappler giving and receiving plenty of pain. This is, indeed, true of Foley, who spent close to two decades in the ring with World Wrestling Entertainment and other feds before hanging up his boots, but he's much more than just another 'rassler.
Stand Up Live WWE Hall of Famer (and best-selling author) Mick Foley
Besides his claim to fame as a three-time WWE Champion, the 55-year-old also is a gifted wordsmith and natural storyteller (hence his many legendary wrestling promos) who's penned several New York Times best-sellers and has been a frequent appearances on The Daily Show as the program's "Senior Asskicker."
A few other ways in which Foley defies the conventions of a musclebound grappler? He's raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the charity RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and is besties with singer Tori Amos. Plus, he's a pretty funny guy to boot (no pun intended) who's been touring comedy clubs and other venues the country the past few years performing his Mick Foley: Tales From Wrestling Past spoken-word show, in which he spins hilarious career-spanning yarns in his goofy, good-natured style.
The one-man show slams into Stand-Up Live on Thursday night, and Jackalope Ranch recently got a chance to speak with Foley via telephone about his new onstage career, as well as his recent induction into the Hall of Fame and other topics.
Being a stand-up comic or spoken-word artist is not unlike the life a professional wrestler, correct? You're on the road, hitting different cities, working the mic . . .
I agree completely. I don't really consider myself to be a stand-up comic. I probably should've not put that label on what I [do] because I think it brings to mind a guy kind of embarrassing himself with weak one-liners as opposed to a guy telling stories about 28 years on the road. But you're absolutely right. You're travelling, you're on the microphone, you're getting reactions from people -- although they're different reactions than you'd get from a wrestling crowd. But the stage becomes your ring and it's honestly the most fun I've had since, really, the [WWE's] glory days of the late '90s.
You're famous for your excellent mic work and cutting intense promos. Do you go through the same sort of creative process that you would for some of your more memorable interviews and promos?
No. [Laughs.] I don't need to get that deep into the zone -- 'cause the emphasis is on fun. I'll get intense every once in a while, but only as a way to create some tension that will be released with laughter. Some people say that's the art of comedy, create tension and then release it. I can do that pretty well.
In your autobiographies, you described how you'd spend hours envisioning matches and promos. Do you do the same for your performances?
This doesn't mean I take it any less seriously, but the process is a little bit different. This is more like when I'm on stage I can think of ways of making it better the next time. I can immediately realize where I made a mistake and then after the show is where I'm thinking of the ways to make the show better. But I'm not living in that zone 24/7. I'm not shaking in a gym 'cause I'm thinking of promos that I can cut a week later.