Nothing Is funny About Donald Trump – Comedian Tom Papa
On a new episode of “The Last Laugh” podcast, stand-up comedian Tom Papa talks about his career and friendship with Jerry Seinfeld. He also talks about his new Netflix Special “You’re Doing Great!”
As Tom built materials for his latest special, he had to keep reminding audiences, “You are doing great.”
He believes right now, there’s a lot of anxiety. “They feel everything’s going down and that they’re not doing enough in their personal life.”
People are not good looking like on social media and they are not as rich as people think” he says.
This is why his new special is titled “You’re Doing Great!”
Tom says when life is not going great, it’s only an illusion. You are actually doing pretty great. He decided his style of comedy will be less cynical and convey his feelings, which is more hope than unhappiness.
Unlike Jerry Seinfeld, his longtime friend who first gave him national recognition who he opened for in the ’90s. Papa has never wanted cynical comedy, instead, he chooses to base his comedy on observations about everyday family life.
He says life from the stage isn’t perfect, neither is it ever going to be. There is a lot of stuff people have to deal with, but you’re doing great.
Here are highlights from the conversation.
On why he does not mix politics and comedy
Ultimately comedy is an escape, and the last thing he’d do is hit the audience with “all that heavy political stuff”. He believes if he was really good at it, then he’d probably be all on it.
Tom’s focus is on things that last over the course of a person’s life than just politics of the moment.
There are people who are adept at that, and it’s cool if they keep at it. He sees politics as something that shouldn’t be funny. He feels disgusted seeing Alec Baldwin dress as Trump on Saturday Night Life, because it helps Trump more than he imagines.
On how he and Jerry Seinfeld became friends
Tom thinks one of the reasons he and Seinfeld became friends is because he wasn’t so much into TV at the time the show ended, and Seinfeld was doing stand-up in the New York comedy clubs. Since he didn’t watch the show, he wasn’t in awe like everyone else.
But he recalls Seinfeld was the biggest star in the country at the time. He remembers asking his girlfriend, “should I be telling him that I like episodes?” But thinks Seinfeld liked that he didn’t go, ‘How’s Kramer?’ He is not sure Jerry would have stuck around if he asked that kind of stuff.
Why ‘The Marriage Ref’ ultimately failed on NBC
It didn’t turn out a big success, he reminisces, but he never looks back at his failures as devastating.
However, it was still a failure because it didn’t run for up to 10 years as he would have hoped. It only ran for 2 years. “So many things were wrong with the show”, he says, but he had no control over them.
Part of what hurt was that the first year was Jerry’s Rolodex. And there was Larry David, Ricky Gervais, Madonna, and a host of high-level celebs. While being cool, it was complicated because it was Jerry’s thing.
The show ought to be a quiet Sunday family show, but it turned to be ‘Seinfeld’s return to Thursday nights! He wasn’t even shown. They only managed to show his hands and it didn’t get a good reception in the first year. This affected Jerry and made him step away after the second season. At that point, it was basically dead.
How NBC used his sitcom to ‘try out’ Steve Carell for ‘The Office’
Papa recalls his sitcom“Come to Papa” did well in its pilot phase and loved by everybody.
But then NBC president Jeff Zucker stepped down and replaced by Kevin Reilly. Reilly wasn’t into the show. And rather than keep it as Papa just goofing around with his friends, turned it into a workplace. He brought in Steve Carell to be Papa’s boss, because of the deal he had with Steve.
It was a try-out for the Office. No one had an idea about that. But choosing between “The Office” or the “Come to Papa” thing, signalled the end.
He says “They had to kill us to free him to put him in that.”