Hardcore Wrestling Legend Mick Foley Brings Comedy Tour to Rock Star Pro Arena
By Gary Spencer
The term “legend” gets thrown around more often than it should, but in the case of Mick Foley it’s justified. Foley has built an undying fanbase all over the world by participating in some of the most brutal, bloody and dangerous wrestling matches in pro wrestling history. Foley, under various monikers such as Mankind and Cactus Jack, has endured everything from falling off the top of a 20-something foot cage onto an announcer’s table in an infamous Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker to having part of his ear ripped off during a match against Vader in Germany. Foley has paid the price to be considered the most hardcore wrestlers ever by doing crazy stunts such as wrestling on thumbtacks and even amongst C4 explosives. Along the way he has won over the support and respect of wrestling fans all over the world.
Through all the bloody glory of his WWE Hall of Fame career, Mick Foley has shown a fun, light-hearted personality that is indeed multifaceted. One minute Mick can be the most dangerous of opponents who can withstand unspeakable amounts of physical abuse, but he is also capable of being insightfully human and of making people laugh with his knack for saying something funny or witty without really trying. His storytelling skill has also manifested itself outside of the wrestling ring with his string of New York Times bestselling books such as Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, as well as a handful of children’s books. Recently, Mick has decided to move his lovable persona and obvious on-mic talents to the world of standup comedy, and on May 5 Foley will bring his Hardcore Comedy Tour to Dayton. So what’s it all about? DCP conducted an interview with the former WWE Champion to see what he’s got up his sleeve:
Tell me about your Hardcore Comedy Tour. What’s so “hardcore” about it?
[Laughs] It’s a catchy name and plays off my nickname as the “Hardcore Legend”. It’s not a mean brand of comedy, it’s pretty likeable and people leave generally happy. [Mick Foley]
What was the motive behind the creation of the Hardcore Comedy Tour?
I have always enjoyed talking on the microphone, and at some points in my career, I could talk about literally anything I wanted to. Doing these comedy shows reminds me of the days when I had that type of free rein. No one tells me what I can and can’t say when I’m onstage. I can talk about whatever I want to, as long as it’s interesting … even if it’s not funny, as I like to make serious points along the way. [MF]
What was the appeal of doing standup comedy?
One of the things I love about comedy is that there are no frills on my tour. It’s just me and a microphone. A crowd might give you a 5 minute grace period because they like you, but after that, you’d better be good. [MF]
How is your comedy tour material different from the humor you’ve used in your wrestling career?
A WWE show is a solid PG. Ours is not. Reason why? It’s 18 and up. WWE has been nice enough to plug my dates on their website, but I think some of my material has kept them from fully embracing it. I say things I would never say in front of a family audience. [MF]
Does your comedy act appeal to audience members who are not wrestling fans?
After every show, the brave few who are not wrestling fans go out of their way to find me and tell me how much they enjoyed it. The nice thing about having a microphone and an audience willing to trust me is that I can take them in any direction that I want and it doesn’t always have to be about wrestling. I use my experiences from pro wrestling to illustrate points about the larger world. [MF]
So why did you decide to make a stop in Dayton, Ohio?
I go wherever I’m invited. [Laughs] I’ve had several events such as book signings in Dayton — not just wrestling. And Dayton is where they had the Peace Talks in the ‘90s. The show should appeal to Daytonians as I can offer more solutions for world peace than any other celebrity. [MF]
Some of our readers might not be aware that you’re a New York Times bestselling author. Do you think that this surprises those who write off pro wrestling as low-brow entertainment?
I’m not too concerned with people thinking wrestling is low-brow. That type of criticism comes from those who’ve never had their own action figure. It’s a jealousy thing. [MF]
Why do you think there are so many negative preconceptions about pro wrestling and anything related to it?
After all these decades, you’d think the negative perceptions would stop. [This year’s] Wrestlemania had 1.3 million buys. It’s appealing to somebody. No one has the right to tell anyone what type of entertainment is or is not high-brow. [MF]
So there’s a free meet and greet before your performance …?
The meet and greet should be a blast. It’s a good time for someone to take a photo with me, get something signed, and tell me what profound effect I’ve had on their dating life. [MF]
Are your shows strictly at wrestling events or are you doing this act in a more formal setting?
Actually, [in Dayton] is the only comedy event I’ve done that is conjunction with pro-wrestling matches. I just did a tour of England, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales. I think it was 12 dates in 6 countries in 13 days. The venues varied from classic Victorian theaters to the top comedy clubs on the circuit. I’m thrilled to be doing four shows at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in August — the biggest comedy festival in the world. I’ve also got five shows at The Montreal Comedy Festival in July. So the world is taking notice. [MF]
(Mick Foley’s Hardcore Comedy Tour comes to Rockstar Pro Arena at 1106 E. Third Street in Dayton on Saturday, May 5. Wrestling begins at 6p.m., meet and greet at 7pm. and comedy at 8p.m.. Advance tickets are available at Omega Music in the Oregon District for $20 per ticket. For more information visit rockstarprowrestling.com.)
Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at Gary Spencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.