By Maurice Pendarvis
I read that you didn’t start off wanting to do comedy?
I didn’t plan on it. I started off wanting to be a improve actor, like I love, Mike Myers, and Dana Carvey, and I wanted to do improv but it was really hard to do that. I was going to try the Groundlings but it cost money and I didn’t have that much money so I started doing stand-up as a free way, so that’s how I started doing comedy.
When did you move to LA?
1989, I came here when I was 19 years old from Philly.
Did you live the life of the struggling actor when you first arrived?
I worked at Domino’s pizza, delivering pizza. I worked at Pizza Hut, and I worked at Red Lobster, that’s really what I’m known for, is the guy that worked at Red Lobster. I would basically sit at the bus stop at Ventura and Coldwater and I would look at all the people in theirs cars and I would say “one day I’m going to get a car”, and after two months here, I saved up enough money and got a really nice bike. I went from the bus to the bike and eventually I got a really crappy car. It didn’t run very well but I had such luck because I got into an accident, some guy hit me, he sideswiped me, and the car I paid $400.00 for, had $2,000.00 worth of damage. So, I got to keep the car and had extra money for a while.
What kind of car was it?
It was Dodge Duster, it was very beat up, and I think it getting hit put it out of his misery.
So I was looking over your filmography and I never realized how many films you have been in!
I know, its kind of crazy.
But you also have built a career doing voiceover work in cartoons and video games.
Video games, cartoons. I’d like to get a big commercial campaign. Tomorrow I have to go in, I do the Cleveland Show, and I have to go in tomorrow because they have a new character and I’m going in to see if I can get that. But you know, you go where you can go. Everybody likes to be a movie star but even movie stars are doing voice work. Cartoons are awesome and its great money and they are great to be part of.
Is it easier than working on a film or a TV show because you don’t have sit through make up and all that other stuff?
Yeah, that part is easy; being able to just show up wearing whatever I want is awesome. The hard part is doing the actual performance and being beaten down, it’s very physical to use your voice, especially if it’s a character that doesn’t come natural to you.
Tell me about Federline Jones.
(Laughs) Federline Jones is on the Cleveland Show and he basically is a character that was created for the Cleveland Show and kind of an off-shoot of B-Rad from Malibu’s Most Wanted. He’s Ro-Ro’s boyfriend, Roberta Tuck, whose Cleveland’s daughter. And he’s a white Jewish kid that thinks he’s down with the homies, and he’s an aspiring rapper, and you know, he’s that type of dude. But he has no relation to Kevin Federline.
One of my favorite characters, and you were probably on the screen for only 5 minutes, was the “creepy guy” from Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle.
A lot of people seemed to like that one for some reason.
I think because it was unexpected and just uncomfortable in a good way. Was it improvised or written into the script?
They came to me and said, “we’re doing this movie and we like you as this character”, and I said I’d do it, if I can do whatever I want. So, they said OK, but what do you want to do? I said, a creepy insurance salesman, you know, looking creepy, probably a sex offender type of man. It was written but I improvised a lot.
You have a new Showtime special out right now.
Yeah! It’s called Uncomfortable and it’s out right now, and its usually on Showtime every other night until January 4th when the DVD drops. It’s been so far so good, been getting a lot of love from it.
It’s been a minute since you had a stand up special.
The last special I did was four years ago and that was Unwashed. I keep trying to do different things and I was doing stand up for a while and I had a bunch of new material. Now, people are like, I didn’t even know you did stand up.
Are there plans to take the special on tour?
I did the special, and you know, people seemed to like it, and I’ve been doing some touring but I’m almost done. I got one more gig this weekend and then I’m done for a while because I get tired. I’ve been on the road every other weekend for 4 months.
You made the documentary, Heckler, that highlights stand-up comedians talking about their worst experiences being heckled. Do you or can you ever prepare for a Heckler?
Well, you can kind of be prepared but it’s really hard–like this weekend I had 3 really good ones in Denver and the last show was just an abomination because people were so drunk, and people weren’t so much heckling as they were drunkling. It really makes you not want to go out there sometimes. It’s like “man, what I’m doing on my Saturday night? I could do be doing so much more with my life.”
Do you remember the best comeback you had for a heckler?
Somebody asked me why I did Son Of The Mask, and I told them I’d give them 2 million reason why I did it.
How are you able to juggle all the aspects of your career going from movies, to TV, to going on the road and doing voiceover work?
I just did this film in New Orleans and when I had days off on the weekends I would go and do my gigs and then go back to the set. Before I did that film I was on the Ghost Whisperer–it’s all about being like a shark–just keep chumming. That’s what this business is, the business is changing everyday and it’s gearing toward more entrepreneurial people because just waiting for stuff to happen is long gone–you got to generate something. It’s pretty amazing. I just like to do it because it’s my personality.
What new things are you working on?
I’m working on a horror movie that we’re trying to shoot in Spring or Summer–it’s going to be really weird but very cool. I have couple of shows that I’m trying to produce, sold a script to Nickelodeon. I have lots of things in development; I just finished that movie in New Orleans called Bending The Rules with WWE Studios.
What are you going to be doing in 10 years?
Hopefully, we’ll have a striving company producing, acting, and really what I’m doing now which is being able to control my destiny, put out my product how I want it and working with good people.