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Runaways, Freight Trains and Mexico: An Interview with Jim Mendrinos: Recovery Comedian
Recovery Comedians, Comics Anonymous, Recovery Comedy, Recovery Comic, Clean and Sober Comedy

Comedian Jim Mendrinos is the common man with uncommon comedy observations. From world politics to the politics of personal relationships, Jim’s everyman insights create a symphony of comedy covering a wide spectrum of humanity.

Inspired by his New York City roots and an eclectic collection of artists – including comics Robert Klein, Richard Pryor and Freddie Prinze, with traces of John Coltrane, Jack Kerouac and Beyond the Fringe thrown in for good measure, – Jim blows right by the standard comedy fare. Simply put Jim Mendrinos carries on an hour-long conversation with the audience. His act is a comedic exploration of emotional peaks and valleys challenging the audience to mine the topics with him.

Jim is a seasoned, professional stand-up comedian. Starting at the age of 19, the audience has seen Jim grow up before their eyes, appreciating his unique outlook on life every step of the way. The audience goes from the laughter of recognition, as Jim covers the things they were talking about ‘just today,’ to the laughter inspired by delighted wonder as they experience new things through the flat out funny observations of this trusted performer.

He is respected in the industry, so much so that he was asked to author “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Comedy Writing” (Alpha Press, © 2004.) Jim’s comedy has been featured on stand-up stages around the world. He’s brought his special brand of funny to SiTV, Comedy Central, The Fox News Network, HBO and the BBC.

Jim Mendrinos is the comic who you will laugh hard with tonight, and quote for years to come.

Recovery Comedy:  What were you like as a kid?

Jim Mendrinos:  Up until 9, kinda boring. At 9 I discovered beer and was the "problem child." Ran away to Mexico 3 times. Was able to make trouble at the drop of a dime. In short, I wouldn't have wanted me as a kid.

Recovery Comedy:  What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian and how long have you been performing?

Jim Mendrinos:  I always knew I wanted to do this -- I was the only 7 year old who could do a Foster Brooks impression. Listening to Freddie Prinze is when I thought maybe I could do this. Instead of being a jokesmith like Bob Hope or the Dean Martin comics, he talked about stuff I knew about. I started doing stand-up when I was 19 and never looked back.

Recovery Comedy:  Were you performing stand-up comedy before you got into recovery?

Jim Mendrinos:  Yeah, I didn't get sober until I was 28, so I had a run of just short of

a decade as a drunk comic.

Recovery Comedy:  How has your comedy changed since you got into recovery?

Jim Mendrinos:  It is much more honest now. Like most drunks I had a woe is me victim thing going on. Now that rind of bitterness is gone.

Recovery Comedy:  Does your comedy have a message and if so what is it?

Jim Mendrinos:  No message, just an honest reflection of who I am the moment I step on stage, warts and all. In AA terms, it's like a very long, very funny share.

Recovery Comedy:  Who are your comedy idols?

Jim Mendrinos:  Freddie Prinze, pryor, Klein, Andy Kaufman. I toured a lot with Hicks & Kennison, so they are probably my biggest influences.

Recovery Comedy:  What is the difference between a recovery show and a normie show?

Jim Mendrinos:  The common experiences between me and the audience. There's a joke I have, "Did you know that if you turn the music up loud enough it drowns out the voices in your head?" Most audiences laugh at that. Recovery audiences UNDERSTAND that.

Recovery Comedy:  Where does your inspiration for material come from?

Jim Mendrinos:  I try to write about anything that I have an emotional reaction to. If I can feel it, I can make the audience feel it.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your joke writing process?

Jim Mendrinos:  Very long and involved. I go from the paper to the stage and back about a million times. I'm not afraid to waste paper. If I write for 40 pages and get 1 joke, I'm OK with that. I detailed my process in my book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Comedy Writing."

Recovery Comedy:  What is your kryptonite?

Jim Mendrinos:  It really does go back to the rooms -- HALT --Never be hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Those things still kill me.

Recovery Comedy:  Is comedy part of your healing process?

Jim Mendrinos:  - Big time, I couldn't have survived without comedy.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your worst experience performing comedy?

Jim Mendrinos:  I got booked to do something called the "Widow's 40 club" -- and was told it was all widows in their 40's. I got there and it was women who had been widowed 40 years or more. The youngest woman in there was mid 70's.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your best experience performing comedy?

Jim Mendrinos:  Sober 90 days and was asked to play a sober convention in NYC; 400 sober people in a tiny little room, and I got to talk about the raw, honest need of addiction for the 1st time. Never felt that free as an artist before.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your comedy dream?

Jim Mendrinos:  Tours of theaters where people are coming just to see me. Theater shows are always great, always.

Recovery Comedy:  We have a feeling lots of people are going to be coming to see you perform.

To find out more information about Jim Mendrinos or to book him for your next 12 Step Convention just click here!

What are your craziest stories before you got in to recovery?  Let us know in the comments!

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