WWE Wrestler Turned Stand-Up Comedian!
Mick Foley, aka “The Hardcore Legend,” is tackling life post-WWE (World Wide Wrestling) from two interesting angles.
After speaking at some of the most respected colleges in the United States — including MIT and Notre Dame — it was 2009 that Foley decided to take his larger-than-life persona to the comedy stage, sharing stories of his experiences as one of the most beloved and respected athletes to ever grace a wrestling ring. He is now performing his comedy styling in a one man show format at comedy clubs around the world, including a stop in Nashville (I will be there) on Wednesday November 13th. He also earned rave reviews from his comedic performances at Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Fest and the Edinburgh Fringe Fest in the United Kingdom.
He is also busy with a new documentary about Santa Claus, appropriately titled “I Am Santa Claus,” which was an official pick at the 2014 Hollywood Film Festival. According to press: “The documentary chronicles an entire year in the life of professional Santa from all over the United States as well as Mick Foley’s journey to putting on the red suit for the first time outside of the wrestling ring.”
I had the great privilege to discuss with Mick the entire spectrum of his fascinating career:
So tell us about the documentary I Am Santa Claus?
It is like any documentary, I think; it’s a labor of love. I have been accused by fellow Santa ambassadors of doing anything for the almighty buck. And I wish they knew what it was like to work for two and a half years on a low budget documentary and not get paid. It would change their tune. On the list of get rich quick schemes, I don’t think you are going to find a scheme that gets people involved in low budget documentaries as a means to instant riches. We love it. I started out as a subject on this movie, and then long after shooting was done I was still working on it, avidly taking on part of the editing process, and so I am really proud to have my name on it. I have seen it now three times in public and for all of the controversy surrounding it — our one gay Santa and our one non-monogamous Santa — it is really, at its heart, a really good movie about people who find a way to bring the best of themselves out when they are doing Santa’s work.
Do you think the world should keep Christ in Christmas?
Yeah, and it is in the name, right? I think Christmas extends well beyond — it should be inclusive. I believe that Christians should celebrate it the way they like. Santa is big in non-Christian parts of the world too, and I think they have the right to celebrate him and that day anyway that they choose. But for sure, for people who celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, by all means, [they] should be able to wish anyone [in] anyway they want a Merry Christmas.
How did you make the transition from wrestling to stand-up comedy?
Well, you know what I wish I had never called it stand-up. I mean, it makes sense that if you are on a stand-up stage at a comedy club that it would be called stand-up comedy. I am a storyteller. So the people who don’t know what to make of this should just go back to my books and remember the times they laughed out loud and trust that I will make them laugh out loud in a live setting as well. Very soon I will have a televised special, and then people will see and go, “I get it, I completely get it.” Up until this point people have taken pretty much a leap of faith and at about the five minute mark they realize that it is better than they expected it to be. We still throw in the free post-show meet and greet as a way to assure them they are not wasting their time. But it is the same thing that I loved about being in the ring in wrestling, same things I loved about writing stories on pages, same things I love about being on stage, and that is taking people for a ride — an emotional ride and watching them react along the way.
Do you like performing at comedy clubs as a chance to interact with your fans more intimately?
I like that intimate setting and being close with those audiences. We go to places like Zanies (Nashville) and Zanies holds like 250, and that is the perfect number. Not saying I wouldn’t love to do thousand-seat theaters sometime, but at 250 you just see everyone, you can see the reactions, and I am reminded that I can really enjoy my fans and that they are having a better time than they had probably counted on.
In honor of No Shave November I have noticed you have grown a really awesome beard. Do you have any grooming tips for us?
I will be bleaching this bad boy out in order to do my work as one of Santa’s Ambassadors. After Thanksgiving. The products I use are called Sleigh Masters by Santas for Santas — these are guys who know about beards — and I also use Honest Amish Beard Balm, and that kind of keeps the follicles nice and healthy.