Philadelphia City Paper – Holy Jokes

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Helium Comedy Club

Greg Fitzsimmons is a pretty successful guy. He’s starred in two Comedy Central specials, is a regular on Best Week Ever and Letterman and has four Daytime Emmys courtesy of his work on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. But that’s nothing a little Irish Catholic guilt can’t undo. The comedian dishes about the puzzling self-hate that fuels his career and his own personal hell.

City Paper: What have your appearances on Best Week Ever taught you about America’s celebrity obsession?

Greg Fitzsimmons: It’s a way of thinking there’s an easy way out in scary times. We have to believe that there’s a better class of being than the one we’re in. Essentially, we’re very conscious of class in this country because we come from this shame-based European mind-set where the king and the queen were good and the peasants were bad.

CP: What’s your own family history?

GF: My grandparents are from Ireland. We’re a close family with a lot of pride about being Irish. They really practice what the church preaches, like quietly giving to charity and being good to strangers.

CP: Is your own relationship with the church holding up?

GF: It was good for a lot of years, but then I fell out of it. Ultimately, I saw that at the foundation of the church is a need for a lower class that feels ashamed in order to believe that there’s a better place for you later so that you’ll put up with all the bullshit.

CP: Is that something you dealt with growing up?

GF: I’m still ashamed. I hate myself. I hate my body, I hate the way I stink, I hate how I think that I’m selfish and that I’m not a good person, and all these things that aren’t really true. That’s why I’m a comedian. We just hate ourselves. I’ve got a beautiful wife, two healthy kids. I make a great living doing what I want, I do a ton of charity work, I’m good to every stranger that I meet — but that’s in a cognizant moment. Underneath it all, it’s all a reaction to trying to be better because I feel like a piece of garbage.

CP: What would be hell to you?

GF: If you commit horrible atrocities, you’re given a microphone at midnight on a Friday at the Greenbay Chucklehut and forced to do 45 minutes. Then you’ve got to sell your CDs to that same group of Packers fans as they come out chain smoking and licking the grease off their fingers from the bottomless bucket of fried chicken wings that they just ate.

CP: What direction would you like to see the church go in?

GF: They should acknowledge that we’re all part of one human race and that all religions are essentially saying the same thing: forgiveness, the submission of the self for the good of others, charity and love.

CP: But what will people argue about then?

GF: I guess we’d have to go with football, and if it weren’t football season we’d be lost for a while. So, you’re right, scratch that.

Greg Fitzsimmons Interviewed By NUVO Newsweekly

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Greg will be in Indianapolis on November 22nd. Listen for him on the Bob & Tom Show, or have your copy of Dear Mrs. Fitzsimmons autographed at his book signing at 7PM.

Greg Fitzsimmons returns to Indianapolis – the first place he ever headlined a comedy club

Forgive him: He’s been a little busy, as you’ll see from this interview. If he wasn’t having a family and writing for Ellen DeGeneres’ TV show, he’s been working on TV scripts and a book, providing commentary for VH1’s I Love the (Blank) shows and Best Week Ever, hosting the Adult Video News awards, doing a weekly show on Sirius satellite radio and performing 60-second interstitial spots called “Scenario DogvCat” on the Adult Swim channel.

Oh, and adopting a pet.

“We just rescued a puppy and I had to fill out 10 pages of paperwork,” he says. “And they did a home inspection before they’d give us the puppy. And I thought: How bad is your life if they come over, check out where you live and say, ‘We’re just going to go ahead and kill him. This is fine for you, but I think it would be better if we put him to death rather than live like you.'”

Here’s more from Fitzsimmons.

NUVO: Let’s start with an essay question: Compare and contrast being a guest on The Bob and Tom Show with being a guest on The Howard Stern Show.

Fitzsimmons: Bob and Tom are the best audience in the world. I always tease them because when you’re on the air, they are falling out of their chairs, laughing and really enjoying it. Then the second you go to commercial, they open their newspapers and just start reading. They like material. They want you to come in and bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! And kill. Whereas Stern wants you to tell a story or reveal something.

NUVO: You always seem very comfortable on both shows, though I have to say that when you’re on the Stern show during the news, that’s some of the funniest radio.

Fitzsimmons: I still get nervous every time going in. When the news comes on, it’s toward the end of the show. Howard’s tired. Many times when I come in, it’s a Thursday, which is their last workday. Everyone’s fried and it’s a real opportunity to step in and try to contribute to the show.

NUVO: But Bob and Tom has to be the greatest place for a comedian.

Fitzsimmons: They’ve always supported standups – not just in your actual interviews but the plugs and staying in touch. They’re real comedy fans, and it’s turned into this real nice reciprocal relationship. Doing Stern and doing Bob and Tom both helped me grow as a comedian. On Bob and Tom, I learned how to come in and be prepared and let somebody set me up. The Stern thing taught me to trust that if I tell the truth, it will always be entertaining. It may not be funny, it may be awkward, but it’s always good radio.

NUVO: You do a lot more writing than most comics. Why is that?

Fitzsimmons: I’ve been a writer since I was a little kid. I wrote a James Bond script when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I’ve always loved writing. I was an English major. When I started doing standup, I was always trying to come up with new material. And standup is so much more rewarding for me when I’m on stage and I have a bunch of ideas I’m working on. When my kids were born, I wanted to be around more, so I transitioned from working the road Tuesday through Sunday 45 weeks a year to mostly Fridays and Saturdays and maybe 60 percent less roadwork.

In the meantime, I’ll pick up writing jobs. I worked on a sitcom all fall that is not going to end up on the air, but we worked on it for three months. I have a deal right now with 20th Century Fox for a sitcom. It’s a pretty big deal – it’s the Greg Fitzsimmons sitcom, basically. I’ve been writing the scripts since fall, and about two weeks ago I handed them the first draft and they really liked it. They gave me some notes and I’m doing some rewrites. In about three weeks, we’re going to the next level and it’ll be made into a pilot. That’s really exciting – and nerve-racking.

If I could do anything, it would be just standup. Unfortunately, that involves me flying and being away from my family a lot. So it’s something I do more selectively now.

NUVO: You worked on the Ellen show for two years. How was that?

Fitzsimmons: I won four daytime Emmys – two for producing and two for writing. I learned a lot about it because I was there from the beginning. Months before the show aired, I was there in meetings every day, learning how a new show is created from the ground up. It was a great learning experience, but I think it will be a while before I go back to a show where you’ve got a 5 o’clock deadline every day with cameras rolling. I know guys who’ve been on Conan since Day One and I don’t know how they do it. It’s really an intense grind.

NUVO: You also hosted the Adult Video News awards. People probably think it’s a great gig, but I imagine that’s a tough audience because they take their “craft” so seriously.

Fitzsimmons: Absolutely. That’s Oscar night for them.

It really is the coming together of two very similar worlds. Standup comedy is no different than pornography. You’re entertaining people for a very brief period of time and you can do whatever you want. There’s a lot of creative freedom, and it’s considered dirty in some ways. Comics and strippers end up hanging together in the same bars because we’re society’s rejects. We’re clowns and we take ourselves very seriously.

For me, the challenge is going up in front of 5,000 people and trying to hold their attention. I love that. Especially since I know that world – I’ve done research on pornography for many years.

They told me, “You’ve got about 30 seconds from the time you get out there to get them. If you don’t, we’ll probably have to take you off stage because they won’t listen. They’ll just start talking. They’ll be like you’re not there.” So for two months, I was writing jokes and trying out all my porn jokes in the clubs. And it went great.

My wife didn’t want me to do it. Not that she cared about that stuff. She was just, “What are you going to be, the Porn Guy?” I said, “Well, they’ll see me on Showtime. It’s good exposure.” So I brought her with me and everybody from my agency flew out. I rented a house, I put up all my agents. We went to parties all night and had assorted adventures. It was great. At the end of the night, I went to bed with my wife and she said, “So, we’re done with this?” And I said, “Yeah, we’re done.” Nobody should ever have to say to their wife, “Honey, you know Ron Jeremy.”

Sam Simon

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Greg and Mike Gibbons welcome legend Sam Simon to this week’s podcast. Mike Gibbons opens the show with the daily news, they talk about Randy Quaid and is wife going crazy, and Sam talks about punching a guy at a poker table. Sam comments on the Howard Stern / Greg Fitzsimmons book forward controversy, the group agrees Steve Martin’s tweets are disappointing, they trade Norm MacDonald gambling stories, take your overheards, and Sam exposes online poker.

DOWNLOAD THE PODCAST – Click HERE to download the podcast directly, or do yourself a favor and Click HERE to subscribe on iTunes.

Bill Burr Welcomes Greg To His “Monday Morning Podcast”

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Greg sat down with Bill Burr for his “Monday Morning Podcast“. Check it out HERE

The Nerdist, Chris Hardwick

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Greg and Chris Hardwick

Chris Hardwick shares the secrets of being a geek who is a winner and explains how to organize your life so you too can be a successful geek. Greg’s lack of any rude comments can only be attributed to Chris Hardwick being an extremely nice guy (or someone who just acts like a nice guy all the time but is not really).

DOWNLOAD THE PODCAST – Click HERE to download the podcast directly, or do yourself a favor and Click HERE to subscribe on iTunes.

Greg And Steven Weber

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Steven and Greg in the studio

Greg and Mike Gibbons welcome Steven Weber on this week’s podcast. Greg reminds Steven that he was on Wings, Steven talks about being born in to show business Goodfellas style, and Mike explains why his American nanny who was born in Mexico isn’t allowed in the family pool. They take your Overheards, Mike is amazed by vegan dental floss, Greg wonders when his kids are going to call his bluff about life, and Mike talks about his future in solar energy after peaking in show business.

DOWNLOAD THE PODCAST – Click HERE to download the podcast directly, or do yourself a favor and Click HERE to subscribe on iTunes.

Andy Dick w/ His HOT 20-yr-old (GIRL)Friend

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Andy and Chelsea

Andy Dick brings in his smoking hot 20-year-old girlfriend whom he claims to have sex with nine times a day (in the shed behind the house he bought for his ex-wife). Greg talks to Chelsea about how she met Andy, how they make love and why she is attracted to an older man. Greg is liberal with cutting people’s mics off in this podcast, which helps keep things in as much order as can be had with Andy Dick around.

LISTEN HERE – Click HERE to download the podcast directly, or do yourself one better and CLICK HERE to subscribe to Fitzdog Radio on iTunes

Donate to help support Greg Giraldo’s Children

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As many of you know, Greg Giraldo passed away last week. A fund has been started by friends and fans to help support and educate his three young boys. If you’d like to help, send a check to the address below, or click the link to donate via PayPal.

Thank you and God bless.

Giraldo Children’s Fund via PayPal

Giraldo Children’s Fund
C/o MaryAnn McAlpin-Giraldo
P.O. Box 1827
New York, NY 10025

Natalie Maines & Zach Galifianakis (coming soon)

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Standby for my interview with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks.  Zach Galifianakis walked into the studio during the podcast and we all talked for a very long time (alongside Mike Gibbons).  Tuesday at noon Part one of this historic broadcast will be available.  Thanks for your patience.

Natalie Maines

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Dixie Chicks CONFIRMED for tonight’s radio show and podcast!  Don’t miss it!

Could Sexual Baseball be on the cards? Stay tuned!

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