A conversation with comedian Roy Wood Jr. | Comedy | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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A conversation with comedian Roy Wood Jr.

“Frustration has to be earned, it can’t be faked.”

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Comedian and Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. performs June 24 at the DVE Comedy Festival, at the Byham Theater, with headliner Chris D’Elia. Wood recently spoke to CP.

How would you compare your standup persona to your Daily Show persona?
A lot of what I do outside of The Daily Show is the guy who is frustrated with the everyday operations of the world. With the DS, [the frustration] is with the government, so it’s just more specific. I’d say most of what you see me portray on the DS, that’s me in real life, specifically on politics, whereas my standup is on the world. … When I was doing ESPN, that was Roy on sports. That demeanor, that frustration with the minutiae of the world is a throughline for my standup. In my early days, I definitely wasn’t that because you can’t fake anger. You have to go to enough bad places and get enough bad service. My first two years of jokes were about book buybacks and roommates who didn’t vacuum.

Frustration has to be earned, it can’t be faked. Look at a guy like Lewis Black — that’s real, that comes from him being on this earth for five decades.

Do you think you’ll become angrier with time?
I’m sure 20 years from now, my comedy will be just an old man complaining because he doesn’t know how to use his iPhone 72.

How do you prepare for standup?
With standup, I’m still a regular on the New York scene. Unfortunately, the show keeps me from traveling as much as I used to. I used to be on the road three weeks a month but now it’s one weekend. Comedy’s like boxing, you just stay in the gym until your next fight.

What’s your impression of Pittsburgh as a city for comedy?
I’ve done some time at the Pittsburgh Improv when I was a new comedian … and Pittsburgh was definitely a city that I sought out.

What are you looking forward to as part of your visit to Pittsburgh?
Primanti Brothers. I’ve tried to recreate Primanti at home and it’s just chaos. 

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