Interview: Comic Steve Simeone on his storytelling style, the Philadelphia Eagles and 'Good Times.' WIN!

By Andrew Chin, April 6, 2015

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It’s been a wild ride for Steve Simeone, who went from being an unhappy banker to a man crowned “Funniest Comic in Philadelphia.” After catching Pauly Shore’s eye, he’s become a fixture at the world-famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles and has hit the road with the likes of Andrew Dice Clay and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. In what seems a comedy requirement, he’s doing the podcast thing with Good Times with Steve Simeone which serves as an introduction to his highly energetic, comedic take on storytelling. 

Congratulation on coming to China. Will this be the first time you’ll be visiting here? 
I'm beyond excited for my first visit to China. Ever since I was a small child I always wanted to visit China. I love martial arts, fireworks, and Chinese food. In fact, one of my most popular routines on my new album is a story about my first trip to a Chinese Restaurant here in the States. 

What are you hoping to see and do while you’re in our neck of the woods?
I would love to meet as many people as possible, try some food, and if could see some real deal fireworks and cool martial arts stuff I might think of moving hahaha. 

Do you perform a lot overseas and if so do you have to cater your material to international audiences? Any really memorable shows from abroad?
I don't get to perform as much overseas as I would like. Technology has made the world so small, and I love that. I have a podcast called Good Times where each week a different comedian friend and I share stories about our childhoods. I love the fact that people all over the world not only listen, but they can relate. My friend and incredible comedian Gabriel Iglesias is currently on a World Tour called Unity Through Laughter, I couldn't agree more with that sentiment. I think the only differences that people have are surface level, that deep down we're all the same. Hopefully, I have the type of comedy that comes from that "deep down stuff" haha.

My favorite memory from performing outside the United States was a show in Haiti back in 2010 right after that terrible earthquake. I performed on beach with no stage, no lights, and no microphone for a small group of US Marines and some local children. The little kids didn't even speak English they still seemed to enjoy the show. 

No VPN? Watch Steve Simeone on Youku.

For people who aren’t aware of your work, how would you describe your comedy style and who were some of your inspirations?
I guess my style of comedy is story telling. All of the comedians I admired told stories, Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, they all simply opened up about their life and told you real things that happened. I don't write 'jokes'. I don't really write as much as I 'remember'.  I guess what I do different from most comedians is that I try to celebrate life. I tend to focus and celebrate what I love about things instead of complaining about what's wrong.

Before you started comedy, you landed a dream job with the Philadelphia Eagles. What was your job title and why did you decide to leave to start in comedy?
I worked in the Marketing Department for The Philadelphia Eagles. It was so long ago, I don't even remember my exact job title. I guess I left because I loved making people laugh even more than watching sports. 

Speaking of the Eagles, they’ve had an interesting off-season. What do you think of their moves? 
This off season has been beyond entertaining as an Eagles fan. The first week of free agency was a roller coaster of emotion. I honestly think Chip is a genius and has upgraded the team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The big question will be if Bradford can stay healthy. As a fan, I would love to see what Chip Kelly and a healthy Sam Bradford could do. 

Would it be the ultimate compliment if Chip Kelly used your face as one of his famous placards?
Hahahaha THE BEST QUESTION I'VE EVER BEEN ASKED HAHA. If Chip used my face for one of his placards, that would be the coolest thing ever. I remember hearing a story that back in 1980 when the Eagles went to the Super Bowl, legendary comedian Don Rickles traveled with the team on the owners private jet. I would love to one day have the type of career where something like could happen. Actually comedian Kevin Hart, is performing in the Linc this summer. As a comedian and Eagles fan, I think that is one of the most incredible things to happen in the history of comedy. Wow. 

You won the title ‘Funniest Comic in Philly.’ How did you celebrate when you got that honor and do you still hold the crown?
I was still in my 20s when I won that contest and celebrated by drinking too much beer haha. The only crown they gave me was all of that beer haha. The best thing about winning that contest was that it gave me the confidence to actually try and do comedy as a career. I met Pauly Shore that night and eventually made it to the Comedy Store.

You have a strong connection with The Comedy Store, which is arguably the most famous comedy club in America. What was it like the first time performing there? 
I still remember everything about my first 'set' at the Comedy Store. It was an open mic, and I only had three minutes. Bobby Lee from Mad TV was the host. I remember having such a good set, I went outside and called my parents haha. I woke them up to tell them I was going "to make it" haha that was almost 15 years ago. 

No VPN? Watch Steve Simeone on Youku.

What’s the biggest misconception of Pauly Shore?
I guess the biggest misconception of Pauly, is that he is a slacker. Totally untrue. That guy works his ass off. I met his Little League Coach once. He told Pauly was like that as a kid too. That he wasn't the best player on the team but he worked the hardest and eventually became an All Star. Ever since I met that dude, he's always been hustling to get his next project off the ground. 

You recently toured with Rowdy Roddy Piper. How was the experience and how was his stand-up act? I’ve heard him on podcasts and of course, his legendary wrestling work, and he’s hilarious and seemingly pretty wild...
Roddy Piper is a legend. He has lived a 1,000 lives. Getting to know him and having the honor to call him a friend is something I still can't believe has happened to me. Roddy is very much a story teller. I think that's why he wanted to work with me. I think he liked how I approached comedy, that I told stories that for the most part are family friendly and essentially very real. Roddy's shows were very real. He has so many stories, the best nights were when he was in the zone, and just free styling. It was more than Stand Up Comedy, it was theater. Like a one man show. 

 Any crazy stories with him from the road?
One of my favorite stories about Roddy was about five years ago back when Wrestlemania was in Phoenix. Roddy's son Colt had told me that his Uncle Bob was coming to the show. I was shocked when I was backstage and I looked up to see that Uncle Bob was Sgt. Slaughter one of the coolest moments of my life hahaha.

Speaking of podcasts, it seems like it’s a requirement that every comedian have a podcast now. How would you describe Good Times: with Steve Simone and how does it differ from the other comedian hosted podcasts out there? 
I describe Good Times as self help through nostalgia. My goal is to provide a show each week that ultimately will make the listener feel better about life. Each episode goes about that goal in it's own unique way. I don't really interview my guests, I just try to make them feel as comfortable as possible and let them take the conversation in any direction they would like to take it. Some episodes are really fun. Like my friend Steve Trevino did a show with lots of fun memories about growing up in Texas. If you're already a Roddy fan, please check out the episode I did with him. It was incredible. And one of my favorite episodes was with Darren Carter. It was a nice mix of serious and silly. 

Besides stand-up and the podcast, are there any projects that you’re working on that you would like to promote?
I'm currently developing a tv show and a film concept. But who knows how any of that will turn out. There are so many different things that have to line up for those types of projects to work.  That's what I love about stand up. They say your name and you go out there and actually 'do it'. 

Is there anything you would like to add?
I guess I would just encourage people to check out my debut album Remember This.

// Apr 10-11, 8pm (Fri) 8pm and 10pm, RMB170-200. The Cameltickets.

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