When and where did Comedian Henry Foley start performing comedy? What was his first time on stage like?
2008. The Laff House Comedy Club In Philadelphia Pa. I was 32 years old. I bombed, like a gentleman. Best wings in the city though.
Why did you pick NYC instead of Los Angeles or anywhere else?
I figured there would be more opportunities to get on stage, I couldn’t afford a plane ticket, and the pizza is way better.
How long did it take you to get paid work in comedy after you moved to NYC?
It wasn’t until late 2017. I was 41. Jesus, I was 41.
What tip would you give any comedian who moves here?
Follow Gary Gullman on Twitter, watch him perform any chance you get. Watch Mike Britt! He is a brilliant performer.
Don’t buy drugs from the dealers in the West Village, it’s all garbage. Also, wear Camo! All the cool comics do, or maybe Super Dry if your parents have money. None of that stuff fits me.
I’m very serious about Gullman. He is a walking master class on stand up comedy. The best. Just to note I don’t know him personally. We have worked together a few times but I think he thinks my name Steven.
What most important lesson you learned in comedy?
You are an entertainer first and an artist second. Obviously, that’s not mine but it is so true.
Also, you never want to be the hero in your hometown (not mine either) so if you’re not, be grateful and move to the city because you will either stay there or expect too much when you get off the bus here, and no one cares.
Next thing you know your back in that small town running an open mic and telling people: “New York just wasn’t for me.” The truth is, its not for anybody, you have to fight every day, then one day after many years of struggle and persistence and despair, and hard work it will love you back for maybe a second.
New York will take away everything you ever had but can turn around and give you everything you ever wanted. At least I hope.
How do you come up with stand up comedy material?
I pull everything from my life; starting late, family, personal failures, my hair. I honestly can’t get past myself.
Who are your influences?
Well, I was more exposed to comedic acting than standup. Which may explain a few things. Lucille Ball influenced me at a very young age. She is still the funniest person I have ever seen. She reminded me of all my aunts and grandmothers who were all hysterical and had this inner strength.
Also, Jackie Gleason gave everything he had every time. He blew me away and I wanted to be him. That has stuck with me. It always feels wrong not to swing as hard as I can. Which I am not really sure is a good thing.
Which comedy clubs do you typically perform at in New York City?
New York Comedy Club I would like to think is my home club. I hope it is, no one else really fucks with me. They are doing amazing things over there and have the best comics in the city hands down. It’s a very special place.
How did Henry Foley get his start in comedy?
I ( Henry Foley )was living in New York for 10 years prior to moving to Philly. I was telling people I was an actor but wasn’t doing anything about it.
But back then there was no google so if you were all yaked up and told someone at a bar you were Andy Garcia’s nephew, no one could check.
It was wide open. Anywho, I moved to Philly, did an open mic and that was it, I was hooked… on a few things, but I’m totally clean now, I swear.
Who are some of your favorite up-and-comers in the comedy world?
Sincerely, Kevin Ryan is one of the best in the city, he can shine in any situation. He can turn a room or ride the biggest wave. Irene Morales has a special place in my heart as well. She is extremely original, lovable on stage and is also an amazing actor with real depth.
I love Eagle Witt, Alysia Hush, Nathan Habib, Nick Simmons, Danny Delcolle, Katie Boyle, Lindsay Theisin, Mary Beth Barone, and of course that Maddy Smith.
All great comedians. They will all take off like rockets and never return my texts. They all have great energy and work very hard. Thank you, and I’m sorry if I used “Also” too much or used too many periods or commas.
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