A lot of people sneer when they hear of someone who is famous for something else - especially something sensational - getting in to stand-up comedy. And many times, with good reason. Just like a fading pop star "going country" to crank out a few more albums, getting in to comedy can be used just another stunt-y cash grab for someone whose name will draw a crowd.
This is not the case with Roddy Piper.
I remember Rowdy Roddy Piper because I have a little brother and we were just the right age that we'd watch wrestling every Saturday after cartoons, back when it was still the WWF (fun fact: they had to change their name to WWE so as not to be confused with the World Wildlife Fund). I even watched him in cartoon form on Hulk Hogan's Rock n Wrestling. So, I was pretty psyched when he became a Paid Regular at the Comedy Store and I was able to watch and enjoy as his act evolved.
But Roddy's really not doing "stand-up" in the strictest set-up, punchline sense. More accurately, an Evening with Roddy Piper is like spending an hour with a wonderful humorist or a very funny raconteur. Think of him as the Garrison Keillor of professional wrestling. I don't want to spoil it by revealing too much of the content of his stories, but I will say there's stories of Bear wrestling, Andre The Giant's drinking and Ric Flair's enormous schlong. And it's not just the content of the stories that makes for such a pleasant evening, telling tales. Roddy's affable, self-effacing charm is absolutely winning. It was such a pleasure, at one point I found I'd scrunched my knees up and perched my chin in my hands like it was story time in kindergarten.
Plus, if you do want some more traditional stand-up in your evening, there's Steve Simeone. I not only admire Steve's technical prowess at crafting longer story-jokes that keep you entertained throughout and still pack a punch at the end, but I genuinely enjoy his sets from my gut. During their show at the Improv, I was not only laughing almost constantly during the second half of Steve's set, but I was having such a good time at the height of one of his stories that I actually clapped involuntarily with glee. yeah, I'm a dork. So check it out if you get the chance. It's ridiculously enjoyable.