Interview: Comedian Michael McDonald

THE ROXY EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH COMEDIAN MICHAEL MCDONALD
By: @brentXmendoza

Not simply a one-trick musical pony, The Roxy Theatre has a rich and storied history of superstar comedians (Cheech & Chong, Paul Reubens, Robin Williams), gracing the stage for landmark, breakout performances. Following in these fabled footsteps, seasoned funny man Michael McDonald leaves his comedic mark September 18, as he performs stand-up featuring some of his best known characters created for the long running MADtv series.

Before heading to this laugh riot on The Sunset Strip, get to know the comedic mastermind who brought to life memorable pants peeing characters such as “Stuart,” “The Silver Fox,” and “The Depressed Persian Tow Truck Man,” as he cracks wise about meeting his comic idols, his most memorable onscreen death, and sharing his name with “the other” Michael McDonald.

First off, Michael McDonald… the name must be a bit confusing for some people. Any good identity mix up stories?

Yes. My parents were disappointed when they found out they had not given birth to a Doobie Brother.

So why The Roxy as your choice of venue, as opposed to a more traditional comedy club setting?

My show is a little untraditional, so I wanted to do it in an untraditional space. I thought about doing it at a theater, like Largo or something, but the idea of The Roxy on Sunset just sounded too good to pass up. Plus I hear the bartenders pour a stiff drink!

You’re probably best known for the characters you created for MADtv, and impersonating dozens of different celebrities. Which was your favorite character to play? Any unpleasant run-ins with any of the impersonated?

The character people probably know best is “Stuart,” the cross-eyed weird kid with the high voice and the rouge. He might make an appearance in my stand up show at The Roxy. Don’t you love how I’m pretending not to know what will happen in my own show?

As for running into people I have impersonated… All have been good sports about it. I’d probably be nervous if I ran into Dr. Phil. In case he’s reading this, I’d like him to know that I did not write those sketches and I have the home addresses of the writers who made me do it. Unless he liked the sketches; then, I helped.

With such an extensive résumé, have you been able to meet most of your comic idols? Is there anyone in the comedy world that you have not yet met that you have always dreamed of meeting?

I’ve been lucky to meet many of my idols—and most of them I would like to meet again, because I usually blow it on the first try. Like Amy Poehler… I met her at an “industry party,” and she was very nice, but I was nervous, and tried to make her laugh by being obscene. I am counting on her not remembering.

Some of your perhaps lesser known work has included roles in Leprechaun 2, Carnosaur 2 and 3, and Bloodfist VI: Ground Zero. What’s the most far out/embarrassing/over-the-top character you’ve played. Any bizarre death scenes on film?

First of all, how dare you say Leprechaun 2 is “lesser known!” Most bizarre death scene: being steamed to death by my own cappuccino machine in Leprechaun 2. Most embarrassing character I’ve ever played—Janice Dickinson, MADtv. Self-explanatory…

Speaking of bizarre… in your experience, who’s more f*cked up comics or musicians?

It’s a wash. Every comic I know wants to be a rock star, and every rock star wants to be a comic.

What projects are you currently working on? What’s next for you?

I’ve spent the last few months touring comedy clubs, so I am really excited about finishing up my tour at The Roxy. After that, I am set to direct a few episodes of TV, and then after that, I’d really like to purchase a baby at a good price.

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Tickets for the September 18th show are available now via Ticketweb. This show is seated and a 2-drink minimum will be enforced.

Infant Sorrow and Friends Live at The Roxy

GHTTG

Infant Sorrow and Friends May 24, 2010

In celebration of the new movie “Get HIm To The Greek” (starring Russell Brand and Jonah Hill) we welcome the amazing “Infant Sorrow and Friends” for one night only of classic rock. Who knows what the night will have in store – your guess is as good as ours! Tickets go onsale tomorrow thru Live Nation.

Comedy Strikes Again

Doing live music night after night is a blast….don’t get us wrong – but I’de be lying if I said that live comedy here isn’t a totally amazing change of pace. Having hilarious Russell Brand here all last summer was such a treat- and we’ve never laughed harder. Not to put any pressure on newbie Bo Burnham, but he has big comedy shoes to fill. With everyone from Pee Wee Herman to Robin Williams (and Russell of course!) taking the stage before him…can he bring it?? He’s a youtube phenomenon and his comedy central special is prettttyyyy hilarious. Musical comedy? I’m intrigued. Click here for tickets!
Credit: youtube live

Because Everyone Else Is Doing It

Sometimes I’m against “Best Of” lists. Mostly because I never agree with them…so to remedy that – Team Roxy have created our own version of what we thought the highlights of ’08 were. Scanning thru the ’08 Roxy calendar – it was hard to narrow it down (which is a good thing)!
For the record – this started as a TOP 5…but some people *cough* Meg and Heath couldn’t make up their mind. Let us know what your favorite Roxy shows were! Thanks to everyone who contributed to making the year a success – from MYSPACE, to DIM MAK, and everyone in between. Viva 2009!

Nic:

Shwayze
Crystal Castles
MSTRKRFT
Zappa Plays Zappa
TRVSDJAM

Megan J:

Little Dragon
Ours
Foxboro Hottubs
Duke Spirit
Dolly Parton
Hot Hot Heat
MSTRKRFT

Heko:

Jonas Brothers
Foxboro Hottubs
Hot Hot Heat
Dolly Parton
Rooney
Camp Freddy
TRVSDJAM

Annie:

Dolly Parton
Raphael Saadiq w/ Janelle Monae
Russell Brand
Marc Broussard w/ Matt Hires
Tokio Hotel

Happy Birthday To Us

It’s a pretty fabulous week here at The Roxy as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of the club! Through the years, we’ve opened our doors to the ordinary and the extraordinary. From legendary tours from Springsteen to the Jonas Brothers – comedy runs from Cheech and Chong to Russell Brand – and stage productions from Rocky Horror Picture Show to Hedwig and the Angry Inch – we’ve seen it all! Theirs to many bands and artists, crew members, team mates, and wise ones to thank – but know that we are so thankful for all the wonderful people who have graced our stage both in front and behind the curtain over the years. We all have so many epic stories and tales and are working hard everyday to create more memories. Feel free to talk about your favorite show, most amazing experience, or re-count those nights that you can’t – quite – remember – we are proud to admit, we have plenty of those too! Here’s to another 35!

The Roxy Theatre - Sunset Blvd looking east

Cheech and Chongin It

Special thanks to Lina Lecaro of the LA Weekly for recapping the fabulous night with Cheech and Chong. Always happy to have her in the house!

CHEECH AND CHONGIN IT

We waited 25 years, what’s another hour? The not-so-secret Cheech and Chong reunion show at The Roxy last Thursday night was set to start at 8 p.m. sharp — but of course nothing is ever sharp in stoner time, and thanks to the crazy-long line outside, it was more like 9 when the guys finally sparked up the preview performance of their new “Light Up America” tour. Open to anyone who brought a print-out showing C&C in their top-friends list on MySpace (it was sponsored by the networking site), this show also had historic subtext, venue wise. Not only is the Roxy stage an old haunt, its owner Lou Adler discovered the duo and produced many of their films. Like many 30-somethings, we first heard the early work of the weed-loving funny men when we were kiddies, though it was forbidden by the folks. We discovered them as we got older though, and huffing ’n’ puffing with the classics — Up In Smoke, Nice Dreams — became a ritual. Judging from the enthusiastic youths in the crowd Thursday, this obviously continues to be a rite of passage. The crowd of people who filed in toting their DVDs and LPs were also about 80 percent Latino (Nightranger’s part of this percentile) and the barrio faves that blasted as we entered (War, Santana, Ritchie Valens, oldies) solidified the cultural significance of the pair’s success. Though Tommy’s not Mexican, Cheech and Chong have always been a source of Chicano pride (some sober types might say detrimentally so). The duo’s vaudeville skit-style presentation definitely had its share of Mexi references, including renditions of rib-tickling ditties “Mexican-Americans (Beaners)” and “Born in East L.A.”

After a bubbly opening monologue from Tommy’s wife Shelby Chong — who described what it was like when the cops stormed her home and busted her spouse for selling bongs (“They never found the weed in the freezer!” Hah!) — the duo came onstage to hollering, screams and even front-row fans doing the wave. They opened up with the classic car scene from Smoke and proceeded to cavort through bits like “Let’s Make a Dope Deal” and “The Big Sniff,” which saw the 62-year-old Marin and 70-year-old Chong play doggies, walking on all fours, smelling each other’s butts and, yes, humping. The pair’s chemistry remains potent, as does the musical prowess of each. Both comics offered melodious instrumental moments to the hedonistic high jinks, and though smokin’ and sexin’ were the main themes, there was some political commentary too. No shocker: The guys are pro-Obama, anti-McCain/Bush, and their experiences over the years seem to have made ’em anything but apathetic stoners. Still, sucking the hell out of another stereotype continues to be the crux of their comedy. When explaining why they broke up in the first place, Chong told the crowd (of Cheech), “We got rich — and you can’t make a rich Mexican do anything.” Cheech and Chong (who, by the way, recently outed Arnold Schwarzenegger as a former pothead … he in turn admitted to TMZ he did inhale!) will be back in L.A. for two shows at the Gibson Amphitheater on December 6. Wonder if the Governator will check out his old buds?

Brand Gets Booed

But only because he asked us to. It was another sold out show for our favorite Brit..and was it funny!! After the stand up routine, we were all happy to play heckling fans as Russell returned as lovable lothario Aldous Snow as he filmed a few snippets for the upcoming movie “Get Him To The Greek.” Such a fun night – not a dry eye in the house, as tears of laughter took over the room. As always, such a pleasure to work with Team Russell – hopefully we see you all again soon! Also, don’t miss Russell TONIGHT on Jay Leno! Many thanks to some of Russell’s die-hards for taking such great pictures during the show! Check out TINKERBELLA’S photos for some great ones of Russell as Aldous Snow. Stay tuned as we post some of our own later!
Russell Gets Booed

Some Serious VMA Love For The Roxy

It’s already super cool that our homie Russell Brand is tagged as the host of this years Video Music Awards (check out his live comedy show here this Sunday!) – his residency couldn’t have been more fun, and he was such a cool guy to have around! Now, our OTHER killer residency o’ the summer (which concludes tonight!) TRV$DJ-AM is this year’s house band of the VMA’s. Add those, with a couple nominations for our Shwayze boys – and you’ve got quite the night.
Check out this snippet from the LA TIMES

The duo — a kind of beat-driven version of the revolving-door rock collective Camp Freddy that already has hosted such high-profile guest stars as Paul Wall and Warren G — will perform its third of three sold-out shows at West Hollywood’s Roxy Theatre tonight before going on to serve as house band for the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 7.

Russell Rox

Russell Brand 8/31
Since he last left us – Russell Brand has clearly been on the up-and-up. Most notably, he’s the host of this year’s MTV Video Music Awards! He’s one talented guy, and before he clearly takes over the entire world -he’s coming to make us laugh one more time. Couldn’t be happier to announce that Russell will be coming back AUGUST 31, 2008 – tickets go onsale TODAY (FRIDAY AUGUST 22, 2008) at 5:00pm! Click here for the ticketing link!
Check out his funny VMA spots!
Youtube Credit: apastilhaelastica

MTV Is About To Be Branded

Russell Brand Live at The Roxy
Team Roxy was so excited to find out that our very own Russell Brand was named as host of MTV Video Music Awards 2008! He’s obviously one of the biggest rising stars and funniest guys around – and we’re excited for him to be slowly but surely conquering the states. His residency here was some hilarious stuff, and we can’t wait to see him on the oh-so-famous VMA’s (with some of our other favs, the Jo Bro’s)! We showed Russell nothing but love, and we are so excited that the Roxy shows are tagged as the ones that caught the attention of the MTV Powers. Congrats Russell! Here are few articles announcing his new gig!
(Photo Credit Above: Erik Voake)
Russell Backstage at The Roxy- Vid Credit: Buzzworthy @ MTV.com

The LA Times
E! News
The Associated Press
Yahoo! News

Russell Brand Gets Ready To Say Farewell

So, it might not be the most appropriate of Father’s day gifts – but Russell’s comedy show is something not to be missed. Its the grand finale, and after a solid 6 week, sold out run – we’re sure our favorite Brit will take it out with a bang. We know he’s been the subject of a hefty about of press since the run began, check out the latest one written by Chris Lee and latimes.com

Clad head to toe in skin-tight Johnny Cash black, Russell Brand mounted the stage at Hollywood’s venerable rock venue the Roxy Theatre on a recent Sunday looking every inch the louche, preening British rock star of archetype. His haystack of “Edward Scissorhands”-esque hair: impressively vertical. His winkle-picker boots: pointy and sharp. Brand’s shirt was unbuttoned nearly to his waist, revealing a cluster of silver Gypsy medallions as he looked up to face the capacity crowd.

Then he started talking. Because Brand — who ends a six-week “residence” of sold-out Roxy dates Sunday night (several were added “due to overwhelming demand,” according to the venue website) — had come to rock the house with jokes, not music.

And for all you folks that tuned in to see Russell on Leno on Tuesday, we don’t have rats. Ghosts? Questionable. Rats? Negative.

Live Nation Presents: Russell Brand 6/1-6/8-6/15

This Is Not a Joke

Rumor has it, their are still a few tickets left for the LAST two Russell Brand comedy shows. We know you might think we’re joking…as shows kept getting added – but we happen to know Russell is heading back over the pond to work on a few more movies so this is in fact your last chance to see his comedy show! Don’t be lame – come see it. How funny was Forgetting Sarah Marshall?? Click here for tickets!

Live Nation Presents: Russell Brand 6/1-6/8-6/15

Happy Birthday Russell Brand

So, we cheated. We didn’t exactly know it was Russell’s birthday….but Heko and I were surprised when two HUGE birthday pinatas were delivered and it led us to google. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY. He’s one funny dude, and we’ve loved having him here for the past month – cheers to two more shows!
Love
Team Roxy
Russell reading birthday wishes from the fans

Russell Brand @ The Roxy 6/1/08

10 Shots From The Top

This month will be hard to beat. With so many legendary artists gracing The Roxy stage, it was very hard to find just 10. Camp Freddy had by far the most added to the group, mostly do to having 5 shows this month and a lot of amazing trigger happy photographers. Russell Brand also had many to choose from but i felt this one had special meaning because our own sound guy lee was in the mix. My personal favorite picture, not just because it’s so awesome, but that the Foxboro Hot Tubs was my favorite show in a long time. Again a huge thank you for all who added your pictures to The Roxy Theatre Group on flickr. We now have over 2500 photos and 120 members in just over a month. Keep it coming, Click click!

Foxboro Hot Tubs

Foxboro Hot Tubs Live at The Roxy

Teitur

Teitur @ The Roxy

Photo by Matthias Arni Ingimarssn

Juliet Lewis performing with Camp Freddy

Camp Freddy Live at The Roxy

Photo by Nate Christenson

Billy Idol performing with Camp Freddy
Camp Freddy Live at The Roxy

Photo by Nate Christenson
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