WWE champion/performer Mick Foley coming to The Comedy Club
05:00 AM, Jan 07, 2014
If you go
What: Mick Foley.
When: 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Where: The Comedy Club, 2235 Empire Blvd., Webster.
For tickets: (585) 671-9080 or thecomedyclub.us.
Mick Foley goes by many names.
The three-time World Wrestling Entertainment champion who has wrestled under the names Cactus Jack, Mankind and The Three Faces of Foley is often referred to as The Hardcore Legend for his ability to sustain brutal physical injuries. Once he had his ear ripped off during a match and another time he fell from a 16-foot cage, rendering him unconcious and with one of his teeth lodged in his nose.
Yet Foley has also made a name for himself as a two-time New York Times No. 1 best-selling author and a comedian/spoken word performer.
In all his roles, he is first and foremost a storyteller.
“There are two types of people drawn to wrestling: the competitors and the entertainers. I was really never competitive,” he said in a phone interview from his Long Island home.
“I just lived for reactions. When I started writing, and I’d read my stories aloud to my fellow wrestlers, I was getting those same reactions from them,” he says. “And now that I’m onstage, it’s really the closest thing I’ve ever felt to being in the ring.”
Foley will bring his story-based show to The Comedy Club in Webster on Friday and Saturday. Expect a PG-13 show revolving around memories and observations rather than one-liners.
The storytelling started for Foley when he began work on his first autobiography, Have a Nice Day. He was working with a ghostwriter and wasn’t satisfied with the “mediocre” results.
“I dreaded the idea of having a really boring autobiography on the shelf with my name on it. And I was stunned that you can become a best-selling author without writing a word. It just seemed very fake to me even coming from the world of wrestling,” Foley says.
“And I honestly felt I could tell the story better than this writer,” he says. “He hadn’t been there. He didn’t know what it was like.”
So Foley took his pen and legal pad to the top deck of the Tallahassee Civic Center before a show in 1999 and set out to tell the story himself. The result was 200,000 handwritten words completed in 50 days.
Since 1999, Foley has penned a total of four memoirs, four children’s books and two novels.
After the first memoir became a best-seller, Foley was soon flooded with offers to speak on college campuses.
“I found I really enjoyed gravitating to the humorous stories, while still trying to have some kind of a substance to the overall message, because I was in collegiate setting,” he says.
But the offers started drying up in 2007. “I realized I didn’t have to wait for a college or university to come calling; I could kind of create my own shows.”
But don’t call it comedy.
Foley still shudders at the word after taking his stories to the stage five years ago and calling it stand-up comedy. His fanbase made it clear they were not interested in hearing Cactus Jack tell jokes.
It’s taken some time and word-of-mouth, he says, to get the idea across that he’s putting on a story-based show.
“It’s not a vast departure from telling funny stories on a page,” Foley adds. “The same skills that went into making the pages come alive are the same that make the show onstage come alive.”
In addition to taking his stories on the road, Foley carries reminders of his wrestling past with him everywhere he goes. He doesn’t move very nimbly these days, he says, and cringes at the thought of climbing down a steep flight of stairs.
Whatdoes he miss most about wrestling?
“I don’t really miss it because I have these shows that fill that void … and I can kind of come back any time I want to. I was just on the stage in front of 15,000 people a couple weeks ago. And honestly, it was no more gratifying than being on the stage in front of a couple hundred people in a club,” he says.
“You just want to look at faces and see that they’re enjoying themselves.”