Barry Rothbart w/ Daniel Solomon
The Mill — Thursday, Dec. 11 at 9 p.m.
Barry Rothbart, performing this Thursday at the Mill, apparently does it all. The up-and-coming comedian has appeared on The Tonight Show and Conan, and recently had a role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. When he’s not touring comedy clubs across the country (or taking part in Oscar-nominated movies), he co-stars in independent films, like This is Comedy.
Little Village talked with Rothbart by email about comedy, working with Scorcese and his experiments in cold fusion.
Little Village: You write. You act. You perform stand-up comedy. You’re a trifecta of talent. In fact, you landed a role in the Oscar-favorite “Wolf of Wall Street.” That’s a pretty awesome step in your career, so what keeps you on the road coming to places like Iowa?
Barry Rothbart: MONEY! I love money! No, to be honest nothing you do can replace stand-up comedy as far as honing your comedy muscles, especially in front of real comedy fans which really exist in the small towns and small cities of America. Those are the best at judging what’s funny.
I read an article about you — you started watching stand-up live with your dad at around age 12. How did that influence your life as a comedian?
It made me marvel at what comedians can do to complete strangers. It was like a magic trick, they could stand at a microphone and make people emit sounds from their mouths. It’s such power, and I guess I’m power hungry. But also it seemed like a good way to meet girls at the time.
You’ve been involved in some pretty great projects, including the independent film, “This is Comedy,” which is hilarious. A lot of comics go the independent film route. What has that experience been like for you?
Film is amazing, it’s like no other job. Because it’s like a mini-war that about a hundred people wage together against everything in the universe telling them to not do something and somehow they pull it off. It’s such a team effort and when something goes well it’s insane that it came together. Also Tom McCaffrey, the guy who made the film, is really amazingly funny, so it was fun working with him.
What other projects do you have in the works? You’re a busy dude — what you’re up to?
Rothbart: I’m figuring out a way to develop cold fusion as a source of energy to save the environment and the world. Also, I’m in a few movies coming out next year and working on a TV show for Comedy Central, should be amazing.
And let’s be honest… we all wanna know what it was like working in a Scorsese film. I mean… it’s Scorsese!
He’s such a genius and a fan of comedy, which I didn’t expect. Also he likes to get into tickle fights on set — that I really didn’t expect! I mean Scorsese tickling you and giggling like a little girl right next to Leo DiCaprio was surreal to say the least.
Full disclosure: Little Village Culture editor Arash Singh will be one of the openers for Rothbart’s show.