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Making Dad Proud: An Interview with Recovery Comedian Richard Weiss
Recovery Comedians, Comics Anonymous, Recovery Comedy, Recovery Comic, Clean and Sober Comedy
Richard Weiss Recovery Comedian

Richard Weiss is described by one observer as a performer who is pure heart and soul, "His body language on stage is so grounded and positive. All feeling. No ego."

Weiss, a recovering alcoholic/cocaine addict from New York City, came to Riverside, CA in 2005 to get away from an unhealthy environment that threatened his sobriety. In 2006, Richard began writing comedy and debuted his stand-up act at the Hollywood Improv where he closed out the show. From there he took off running.

The humorist has gone on to perform stand-up in just about every major club in and around Los Angeles. Recently, while with the Improv group the Berubians, he wrote and appeared in the comedy; "Sketch and the City" which ran at the Next Stage Theater in Hollywood.

Richard, truly a “Standup Guy" as he's been called, has helped write for dozens of comedians. He recently completed the comic book, "Weiss Cracks" which has received a 5 star rating at IndyPlanet.com.

Recovery Comedy:  What were you like as a kid? 

Richard Weiss:
  Quiet.  My parents would throw wild parties running into the wee hours of the night.  I stayed in my room and played with GI JOES, read my comics and basically entertained myself while isolating from the insanity outside my room. To this day I can be an isolator.  I tried going to Isolators Anonymous but nobody ever showed up.

Recovery Comedy:  What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian?  

Richard Weiss:  I saw Richard Pryor in his first concert movie and he just "murdered" (meaning he was really really funny), he took stand-up and made it an art form. Richard was the best in my opinion.   I knew I could make people laugh but not sure if I could have the same results on a stage in front of strangers. I did a Steve Martin impersonation and made it to local TV.  That's when the idea of trying stand-up first entered my mind.

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

Richard Weiss:  I had always enjoyed laughing both on the bench at baseball games and at my job in construction.  Before we were dispatched in the morning a group of us would sit around the garage and rip each other to the point of tears.  I knew I could make people laugh off stage but wasn't sure how it would work as a stand-up.

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

Richard Weiss:  If we're clean and sober there's nothing we can't accomplish.  Don't take things too seriously. Live, love, and laugh (at my jokes)

Recovery Comedy:  Who are your comedy idols? 

Richard Weiss:  Pryor, Steve Martin and Rodney Dangerfield

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

Richard Weiss:  Life experiences and the people I've met in my life who made me laugh.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your joke writing process? 

Richard Weiss:  Many things I say in the moment, punching up scripts as I've done for other comics, some jokes from riffing on stage.  I don't have one set way but if I have to sit down and write jokes as I did for my joke book that was just published, I can do that as well.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your kryptonite? 

Richard Weiss:  People. People I genuinely care about who let me down. I put too much trust in them.  They'll let you down and break your heart.  Today I rely on my higher power that I call God and have learned to lower my expectations of others. I can't control anything but my own actions. I’ve come to accept that.

Recovery Comedy:  Is your family supportive of your comedy career?

Richard Weiss:  While I never thought they would be, they are.  When I perform in my hometown of New York, they've always come to my shows.  My Father gave me the biggest compliment of all at my shows last week at Carolines, He said, "You’re funny but not as good as Jackie Mason", Sounds a bit harsh but coming from him that's huge because he's not one to give compliments.  I remember in little league I'd pitch a one hitter and he'd harp on the one hit I gave up. 

Recovery Comedy:  Is comedy part of your healing process? 

Richard Weiss:  Laughter is like a drug to me. It relieves stress and making others laugh is a gift I don't take for granted.  So to answer your question, what was the question again?  Oh yeah, part of my healing process. Absolutely. ; )

Recovery Comedy:  What was your worst experience performing comedy?  

Richard Weiss:  Early in my comedy career I ran a room in Pomona.  I produced a weekly show and on a recommendation I booked a comedian who came with some baggage.  Long story short the comic went up and shit on the entire crowd within minutes. He was insulting them from the moment he went on stage. Telling some of the other comics they shouldn't do comedy and they sucked.  He didn't stop there; he went after the DJ, wait staff and another well respected producer who was not even in the room.  Initially I was thinking about just going up and taking his mic but he was had done so much damage so quickly , I just let him rant on as a case study of a psychopath.  He ended his lunacy on a joke which went nowhere (the only joke he told in his 20 minutes) worse yet, he was the headliner. To this day I still wonder why he chose my room to vent his vitriol.  He almost got beat up in the parking lot by another comedian he insulted. If there was a silver lining to it all, an audience member who was at his first comedy show ever , enjoyed the drama so much, he thought it was actually staged. He came back on a weekly basis after that supporting live comedy. 

Recovery Comedy:  What was your best experience performing comedy?

Richard Weiss:  The Helium Club in Philly, It was a packed house around 30 minutes into my set , I did a few jokes about my Father who was sitting in the first row. Then I introduced him to the crowd and they gave him a rousing ovation. Yes comedy has been very good to me.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your favorite joke?

Richard Weiss:  Our current core of politicians, oh wait you said favorite joke not biggest. They change from day to day but one I get lots of positive comments on is; I was in West Hollywood and asked a waiter for a spoon. He came up behind me and cuddled me.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your comedy dream?

Richard Weiss:  To write a popular sitcom 

To find out more information about Richard Weiss or to book him for your next Recovery Event just click here!

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