By Ryan Meehan
Growing up, comedian Paul Virzi was always making people laugh – something that he continues to do today. He makes waves and raises eyebrows every time he touches a microphone. Back in 2000 while still in high school, he entered a contest called “Hudson Valley’s Funniest Man” in Upstate New York where he placed second. Many of the nation’s top comedy clubs have called him one of the strongest up and comers working today. Paul’s standup can be heard on Sirius/XM radio daily, and some of his other credits include FOH favorite Fox News Channel’s “Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld”, Spike-TV’s Best Gang Ever, and writing for the ESPY Awards. Recently he performed on “Gotham Comedy Live” and he was selected to perform at the “Just for Laughs” comedy festival in Montreal. He also has become a regular guest on “The Artie Lange Show”. Paul never fails in keeping the laughs coming and making the audience feel comfortable with his hard hitting approach. He is fun to watch and has a great stage presence, and he’s our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: It says in your bio that at a very young age you got to see Rodney Dangerfield at Radio City Music Hall but you fell asleep on your father’s lap. Was that just because you were young and tired or did you not like his style at the time? Who are some of the other comedians from that era that you are heavily influenced by when it comes to writing new material?
PV: It was definitely because I was young and tired. I remember seeing him come out and start killing right away. The place was going nuts and my dad was laughing so hard. It was just way past my bedtime. There was only one other comedian at that time that I loved and it was Eddie Murphy. He was a comedy rock star.
RM: How does the writing process work for you when it comes to developing new material? Are you constantly picking up on things that may be good stories to tell, or do you set aside a certain amount of time of the week to write new stuff?
PV: I never just pick a time to write material. It always comes to me when I am relaxing or in bed at 2am. I’ll be laying there and all of a sudden I get this thought I need to write down before I forget it. Writing for me is like my sex life, it happens in spurts. Sometimes it’s terrible and then all of a sudden the flood gates open. I am now able to see the funny in regular conversations more and more. I see the funny in everything. Sometimes that can bite me in the ass.
RM: What can you tell us about “The Virzi Effect” and how is it different from other comedy podcasts?
PV: I am very proud of my podcast TVE. It is growing everyday and getting more and more popular for one reason, the honesty. I hold nothing back on my podcast. People contact me all the time and say it is one of the podcasts they listen to because it is so real. That means a lot to me. I have been doing it for almost 3 years now. I just want to give my listeners a true look at the life of a comedian other than being on stage. I also talk about movies, sports and I do a “Unacceptable For The Week” which can sometimes get pretty candid to say the least.
RM: How is performing in the big city different from performing upstate?
PV: I have performed in almost every major city in the United States and I can honestly say there is nothing like performing in NYC. Just the feel of the city and the vibe the crowd gives is second to none. That city brings something out of you. I always love driving in and seeing that amazing skyline on my way to work.
RM: You got to do three East Coast dates with Bill Burr at the beginning of November, who is one of my favorite comics. What was that whole experience like for you? Is he a pretty cool guy?
PV: Bill is the best on and off stage. He is as good of a human being as he is a comedian. Bill and I have done so many shows together and opening for him has been an amazing experience. We recently did The Beacon Theater in NYC for the NY Comedy Festival and it was insane. I had the set of my career. Bill said some really nice things about my set as well. It is truly humbling when a guy like that says he likes a bit and what you are doing on stage. My mother and wife were there too so it was a special night and one I will never forget. Bill and I go to sporting events all the time and argue sports which is a blast. He knows so much about the NFL. Bill Burr is a great dude.
RM: Have you found that with the success of YouTube that fans are more likely to check out a comedian online in order to decide whether or not they want to come out to a show? Overall, do you think YouTube has helped or hurt the world of standup?
PV: I think it can only help as long as you don’t suck. If you have a bad clip up then shame on you. I have had people come to shows based on seeing one bit online. Social media has helped because there are many talented artists out there that would not be seen otherwise. The only negative would be over saturation but quality will always beat quantity.
RM: What’s the most bizarre thing that’s happened to you since you began doing comedy?
PV: There is actually two. Early in my career I was asked to perform after someone saw my website and when I arrived it was at the persons house. I was literally standing in someone’s living room while grown adults were sitting on the couch, stairs and Indian style on the floor. I stood in front of their TV using an empty corona bottle as the mic. The other one was in a restaurant with no mic while TV’s were on and people were eating dinner. There was no stage and I don’t think everyone knew comedy was about to happen. It was like standing in the middle of a diner and yelling jokes.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
PV: I am working on long and short sets for TV and also looking to headlining more clubs across the country in 2014. I am also going to be doing tour with Jason Lawhead and Joe Bartnick this year. They also have opened for Burr. We will be doing cities on both East and West coasts.
Official Website: http://www.paulvirzi.com/
Paul on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paul.virzi
Paul on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulVirzi
Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.