Episode 54: Paul Hooper Wanders the Desert


Time for another adventurous roadtrip podcast from your intrepid PHX Comedy “reporters!”  This week, we’re proud to bring you our interview with NY comic Paul Hooper.  As you’ll come to learn from this delightful conversation, Paul began his comedy career some 15 years ago at the Comedy Zone in Charlotte, NC, and rapidly excelled to touring feature status before taking off for NYC to continue this ever-winding, ever-lengthening road we know as standup.

We came across Paul when Jamie was hired by Laff’s Comedy Caffe in Tucson for an opening gig over the weekend of 4/19-4/20.  As the first road gig; the first “work” either of the S&M Comedy duo had ever gotten, we were fairly geeked about the whole endeavor.  All we had was a date range, however, so we had no idea who would be the headliner.  Would it be a big name like Maria Bamford or Jackie Kashian?  Some lesser known, but incredibly skilled comic we’d already worked with like Ben Roy or Alvin WilliamsSome motherfucker with a puppet?

For months in advance, we watched and watched the website to see for whom Jamie would be opening.  We repeatedly refreshed.  We forgot for a couple weeks and suddenly remembered, and it was our pleasure to see a disenchanted looking, tired-eyed Paul Hooper, staring back at us.  And he looked very, very unimpressed.  We checked out his material.  Angry.  Intelligent.  Doesn’t like kids.  Perfect.  Let’s interview this cat.

And interview him we did!  But what you’re about to hear is so much more than just an interview with a comic, his tales of the road, and how he skipped right over being an opener and diving right into feature status on his way to national headliner.  This conversation is also filled with Paul’s stories of reuniting with his father after years apart, overcoming a potentially fatal drinking problem, and life after sincerely fucking up.  Don’t worry though, there’s no sap in this tree; it’s solid, rough-ass bark the whole way through.

There is 15 years of road-weary standup experience behind every one of Paul Hooper’s stories in this interview.  All that knowledge is such a pristine dichotomy to the first step on our comedy journey that we were taking by being in Tucson all weekend, getting our first real work of four shows in two nights, an opportunity that we don’t get in Phoenix.  That first step was a tremendous one, getting a taste of the camaraderie generated by slugging it out in the trenches for an entire weekend.  From the comics and the managers all the way down to the brand new server, everyone carried a harried look of battles fought and won, casualties taken, and scars well earned, a look easily recognisable at 12 midnight on Sunday in comedy clubs all across America.

This Thursday at Monkey Pants, El Paso’s Gibbs Saad will bring the Refried Comedy, spiced by fine Phonecians Michael Turner, Andy Steinberg, Matt Levy, Anthony Desamito, Kirk Buckhout, Chris Centanni, James Mabry and Dave Deasy!  Comedy at 8.30, fish racing at 11, $4 bacon wrapped deep fried hot dogs smothered in nacho cheese in your mouth!

Upcoming shows for us:  Steve will be at the IceHouse Tavern and the Hidden House on 4/24, and at Firehouse Art Gallery on 4/26.  That’s a lot of houses.  Both Steve & Jamie will be at Brigett’s Last Laugh on 4/30.

Pertinent Links:

Welcome to HooperTown; sit down, have a bite to eat and chill for a bit.

Twittz:  @PaulHooper  @S&M  @Sanderson  @Marek

Facez:  Paul  S&M  Steve  Jamie

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention our new Los Angeles friend, Sam Ridley, whom we met in Tucson at Laff’s.  Sam is currently checking out the local PHX Comedy Scene, so be on your best behaviour when you’re out.

Don’t forget the coffee!

Thanks for listening; keep coming out to shows and supporting the Live, Local, Hot ‘n Spicy PHX Comedy Scene!


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