“Funny doesn’t equal money.” That phrase is thrown around the wrestling business by those who believe that comedy gimmicks, or comedy angles in the main event of a wrestling show simply do not draw money. While people may have laughed along with Santino Marella while he was putting opponents down with the Cobra in opening matches, many believe that nobody was willing to pay to see Santino wrestle in the main event. Furthermore, while wrestlers such as The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin may have had many funny backstage segments and in-ring promos, when it was time to sell tickets to a WrestleMania main event the two certainly got serious.
There are certainly many funny individuals in the wrestling business. However, only a handful of those individuals have tried to really put their comedy chops to the test by entering the realm of stand-up comedy. While many have the courage to grapple oiled up, near naked men in front of a crowd of thousands, somehow it takes more courage to stand up in front of a room of tens of people and poke fun at news headlines while adding, “this guy knows what I’m talking about!” Here are fourteen people from the world of wrestling who have tried their hand (successfully or otherwise) at stand up comedy.
14. The Rock
Future WWE Hall of Famer and the biggest action star of this era, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has in fact done stand-up comedy. Making wrestling fans crack-up for years with timeless jokes about “poontang pie” and how the Big Show sucks, Dwayne decided to try out his comedy chops for a stand-up crowd at a surprise show one night in 2014 at the HaHa Hole in Sarasota, apparently killing for 20 minutes. Plus, The Rock has hosted Saturday Night Live several times, which is many comedians’ dream. There isn’t much this guy cannot do.
From the Bowery, Raven has made the jump from the squared circle to in front of the brick wall on a few occasions. Supposedly, Raven has a reputation of being a goofball backstage. This apparently has translated well into his stand up appearances. In typical Raven fashion, he claims that he killed for 30 minutes his first time up. If the comedy he does comes from the mind that decided that it would be a good idea to crucify the Sandman on an ECW show, one could be sure that he is at least good for a chuckle.
12. Rockstar Spud
TNA Wrestling personality Rockstar Spud, who has done many a comedy segment on TV, has indeed tried his hand at stand-up comedy. Often dressed in hideously tacky suits that could rival those worn by Canada’s hockey personality Don Cherry, he’s been both a wrestling and reality television star with natural charisma. Becoming a star in the wrestling business may have been a hard road for Spud, but he claims that stand-up has been one of his toughest challenges yet.
11. King Kong Bundy
If you get past the looking big and scary part of Bundy, you can eventually see that he looks like he might be a naturally funny guy. This may be true, for in addition to his comedic appearances on the sitcom Married With Children, he has also done stand-up comedy during his time away from wrestling. Bundy probably has a few good one-liners up his sleeve, as his Twitter page is legitimately hilarious as he hashtags his jokes with #FIVE. Demanding five-counts from the referee and laughs from his audience, be sure to check out “The Walking Condominium” if he comes to a town near you.
10. Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette, legendary wrestling manager and booker, and the man who will call you stupid for watching Lucha Underground and claim that you’re killing the wrestling business for liking things, tours a live show where he tells stories from his time in the business. He also incorporates jokes in the style of stand-up comedy into his routine. He regularly tells a story where one wrestler, as a rib, jammed his member into the mouth of another wrestler as a surprise. It’s funny because it’s not sexual assault when it’s a rib that happened when rasslin’ was real (please note the sarcasm).
9. Nigel McGuinness
Arguably the best wrestler from Ring of Honor to never get a run in WWE, Nigel McGuinness reportedly tried out stand-up comedy on the regular during his time spent out with an injury while working for TNA Wrestling. If his comedy is anything like his bummer documentary about himself breaking his arm, getting hepatitis and failing to get into WWE, one would imagine that his style might be a little self-deprecating.
8. Jim Ross
The voice of the Attitude Era, Jim Ross is another wrestling personality that also does a tour of a one man show. It’s mostly stories, but Ross does drop some comedy in there from time to time. If you’ve ever listened to his podcast, The Ross Report, you’ll know that he’s capable of awful impersonations that he himself loves. Thanks to Ross, a new generation of wrestling nerds all know how Jim Barnett talks without ever even seeing the man.
7. William Regal
Regal has had several funny moments on WWE television. He is also, apparently, a big stand-up comedy fan, even reciting a Doug Stanhope bit during an appearance on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling Podcast. He also made his own stand-up comedy debut in front of a supportive crowd in his home country of England in 2014. He’s another wrestler who has started a one-man tour style show; one that you should go out of your way to see. He’s an accomplished wrestler who’s travelled the world many times over and one can be sure that he has many funny stories.
6. Colt Cabana
Colt Cabana has worked his whole career to challenge the phase, “funny doesn’t equal money” in wrestling. He’s travelled the world working a comedy gimmick, and it’s clear that Colt loves stand-up comedy. He’s tried out stand-up up many times. He has promoted his own comedy shows with his comedy buddy Marty DeRosa, and is even a regular performer at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. You can check out his comedy stylings in many of his YouTube sketches, and maybe he’ll be able to crack a joke or two on stage this summer to a new audience during his best friend CM Punk’s (MMA 0-0, UFC 0-0) pre-fight weigh-in.
5. Dolph Ziggler
The very talented and handsome Dolph Ziggler has done stand-up comedy several times as one of his hobbies away from wrestling. He must be a pretty big comedy mark, as the man was once romantically involved with Amy Schumer. Schumer, currently the biggest female comedian in America and an alleged joke-thief, claimed publicly that she ended the relationship Ziggler as she found him to be too athletic in the bedroom. As far as publicly mentioned reasons for a break-up go, that is certainly one of the not-so-bad ones.
4. Mick Foley
Mick Foley is perhaps the wrestler most successful at implementing a one-man show tour outside of wrestling. Foley has toured stand-up comedy clubs for a few years now, regularly putting in ninety minutes or more on stage with many a joke sprinkled into his road stories. Sure, wrestling fans want to hear stories about his life-changing deathmatches, but he believes that self-deprecating jokes about how he has a man crush on George Clooney are better. If you are a Foley fan, do check him out if he comes to your area. You can at least be assured that it is not ninety minutes about how great Santa is.
3. Rob Van Dam
ECW legend, “The Whole F’ing Show,” Rob Van Dam is a stand-up comedy fanatic. Making his residence in Los Angeles, Van Dam is a regular at comedy clubs and has done many sets himself. Judging by his personality, it is easy to picture RVD getting stoned with his buddy and listening to Mitch Hedberg and shouting, “Regular banana later?! That’s so funny, Sabu!” If you search the internet, you can find a few videos of RVD doing sets at different clubs, even the historic Comedy Store. Let’s hope he keeps grinding and one day he gets his own sitcom on the WWE Network.
2. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
It may have actually blown your mind to just read that Jim Duggan does stand-up comedy. Hacksaw, proud American and known-friend of the Iron Sheik, in fact does stand-up and even tours his own comedy show to comedy clubs throughout the country. While one cannot confirm that he does prop comedy in the style of Carrot Top with his trademark two-by-four, it would be cool to know if he ends his punchlines with his catchphrase “HooOooOoo!” as Andrew Dice Clay is known to shout “Ohh!” at the end of his jokes.
1. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
During the years prior to his death, the late, great Roddy Piper regularly performed stand-up comedy. One of the greatest promos ever in wrestling, Roddy Piper was also very funny on the mic in the comedy clubs, and he also had much respect from real comedians. Ari Shaffir, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, tells a story on his podcast Skeptic Tank about working with Roddy Piper on a comedy performance, how Piper was very professional working with the other comics, and how he even showed Ari how to slap a man in the face without hurting him… too much. Piper also made appearances in comedy sketches on Funny or Die, and even appeared in a few episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He is indeed a true legend, and is missed by wrestling and comedy fans alike.
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