Comedian Murray Valeriano has made a great career for himself in the realm of funny and while he took a break to use his power of comedic writing for others, he just had to come back to his love, the stand-up stage. On December 10th his show “Comics on Surfari”–featuring a line up of comedians who also happen to surf– is coming to the Brea Improv. Before the show this Wednesday, we talked to Murray and found out a bunch about his family life, his odd jobs, and his incredibly entertaining podcast “Roadstories.”
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I read in your bio that your dad was a preacher. How'd he react when you told him that you wanted to become a full-time comic?
Murray Valeriano: Well like most things that we don't agree with, he just kind of ignored it. You know, like all good Christian families do when something goes wrong. [Laughs.] I always like to kid around and say that we're in the same business because we stand in front of a microphone and spew a bunch of lies.
Ha, I'm a Jew so I like to hear that. What was the last job you had before you became a full-time comic by the way?
I was a caterer for a Mexican restaurant and I was drunk all of the time. I was a fun caterer though! I had a lot of fun but I wasn't refilling your glass.
Did that job give you a lot of material? Like when you first started out, is that what you talked about?
Yeah and it's funny because a lot of comics wait tables because it's really flexible when you are starting out. Then you go on stage and bitch about the people you just dealt with and everybody laughs but nobody realizes that it's them we are talking about. Not everybody cannot be that jerk who comes into a restaurant. I don't understand why everybody laughs and nobody gets offended. Some of those people have to be the asshole who comes in and says “what's the weather like on the patio” after just walking inside.
Ahhh so that's the topic that doesn't offended people! Got it. I also saw that you do a lot of writing as well. Have you ever written a joke so great for someone else where you were just like, nawwww, I'm keeping this for myself?
Yeah actually, I stopped doing stand-up for a while because I was writing for a comedian who had his own show. I started getting really bummed because I had to write these jokes and pass them on for him to go and do. I would find myself writing ten jokes and three I'd keep for myself. That's what got me back into stand-up because I was like, I can't just write these jokes and give them to someone else.
That's got to be really hard. Although, I would think there is still something nice about writing a joke and hearing it get laughs even if it's not you saying it.
Oh for sure! And the comic I was writing for has such a strong persona. So a lot of the jokes I was writing for him, I couldn't keep anyway because it's not my persona.
I get it. You do a radio show on SiriusXM right? Blue Collar Comedy?
Yeah I co-host Bill Engvall's radio show every Monday. I have a studio out of my house that I use and we also use his room as well.
Yes. We use his sex room. I thought they were called outhouses but no, it's a sex room.
Haha very hot. Do you ever get to the SiriusXM studios in New York?
I did last year and they're great! They're really cool. There's a whole wing too for Howard Stern. It's like a fortress that you can't get anywhere near. It's like, this is our studio and the whole left side of the building is Howard Stern and you're not allowed in there. [Laughs.]
So I've heard. Tell me about your “Roadstories Podcast.” I have to say it's interesting that as a writer that you wouldn't have, “road stories” as two words.
[Laughs.] First of all, I didn't put Roadstories all as one word, the producer did so suck it. Also, it's my title so I'm using writer's leeway there. Wow, I bet you are fun at parties. [Laughs.] Are you yelling at every rapper that uses “lil” instead of spelling out little?
Yes of course! We all know that “lil” is not a word! OK no more playing grammar Nazi. What guest has been a total stand-out for you on your podcast?
The most interesting stories surprise me because I never know what I'm going to get. I don't really pre-interview these guys. I don't necessarily have to like their stand-up but I do respect them as a story teller. Like I had put these two guys together and coincidentally, both of their fathers had died while they were on the road that year. So that was an hour of some of the most painful, funny, heartbreaking stories I've heard. It ended up being one of my favorite episodes.
I understand completely. There are times I'm not a big fan of someone's stand-up but when I interview them, they blow me away. I always think, why can't you be like that on stage?
[Laughs.] Well there's a big difference there. A lot of people are really funny off-stage and they just can't bring it on-stage for some reason.
So true, it's a hard thing you guys do on-stage. OK regarding your show in Brea, how did the title “Comics on Surfari” come about?
It's a tour I put together with comedians who surf. We just go up and down the coast of California surfing and doing shows. We sold out Irvine for a while so now we're moving it over to Brea, Ventura, San Diego, and Santa Cruz. This time it's me, Monty Franklin, Joe Sib, and then a couple of surprise guests. We're also sponsored by Maui and Sons so there'll be a lot of giveaways. I'll be recording my album in January so I'll be running part of it also in Brea on the 10th. The show is so much fun because it's all headlining comics, no open mic folks, and it brings out all walks of life.
Check out Murray Valeriano at the Brea Improv December 10th, 120 South Brea Blvd. Brea, CA 92821. (714) 482-0700. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. Also be sure to tune into Roadstories Podcast, get more info on his website www.MurrayValeriano.com and follow him on Twitter at @MurrayV.
Ali Lerman knows much about comedy, basketball, and celebrating Wu-Tang Wednesday. She’s been writing for fifteen years and still calls her mom with grammatical questions.