What wrong with Orny Adams? Nothing.
June 23rd 2018
Comedian Orny Adams took some time out of his busy schedule to give me a call, and discuss his upcoming run with the Ethnic Show at Montreal’s Just For laughs from July 11th until the 26th. He’s not just another comic on the bill he’s a very special guest because Orny Adams is a very special comedian you don’t want to miss.
Ron : Hello, Orny.
Orny : Hey, Ron, I saw your name on the media list and I was so happy. How ya been?
Ron : Great. It’s always great to know your coming back at Just For Laughs. You’ve been coming here for so long. Do you know how many times you’ve done it?
Orny : No clue. It used to be every couple of years, then it was like every year. I feel like Montreal has become my second home.
Ron : You probably know the city more than most people who live here.
Orny : I know eight French words now. That’s how much I’ve been up there. Eight words in French.
Ron : Obviously you have a love affair for Montreal or maybe it’s more that the city has a love affair for you. Is there anything specific that you love about Montreal?
Orny : Yeah. I love it that the people who come to the shows are hard core comedy fans who get the nuances of comedy. They’re not just casual people showing up. I just spoke to somebody who remembers seeing me at New Faces back in the day. Now when they show those clips of all the comics who’ve been to Just For Laughs it’s exciting to be a part of that group. In general I never feel like I’m on the inside. Even with other comedians I always feel like I’m on the outside. However when I come to Montreal, it’s the only time I feel like I’m in a group. It’s a family.
Ron : Well you’re going to have a very specific family this time around because you are a part of the Ethnic show. Is it your first time on this bill?
Orny : No ,I’ve done this before. It’s kind of weird because I’m Jewish, but nothing in my act comes off as if I’m Jewish even though I am. That’s my ethnicity.
Ron : That’s the thing. Even my friends who are Jewish love your comedy because you don’t push the Jewish envelope.
Orny : That’s it. They probably booked me because anyone whose seen my comedy will think “well that’s the way a Jewish brain works”. There’s a rhythm or pattern. But I’m not out there throwing out Yiddish words or telling you want happened at my Bar Mitzvah.
Ron : We’ll leave that up to a comic let’s say like Elon Gold.
Orny : Exactly. There are Jewish comics who do that sort of thing or comics who concentrate on politics. When a comic gets up there and says “Let me tell you about what happened at my Bar Mitzvah.” you’ve now alienated a portion of the audience. What about all the other ethnics?
I get up there and talk about my dishwasher because it’s relatable to everybody. I don’t divide my audience. I want to show how we’re all similar in a way. That’s always been the goal of my comedy.
Ron : That’s really great. I’ve seen your shows in the last few years. Are you bringing a new act to this year’s JFL?
Orny : Yeah. I’ve been up there the last few years doing a one man show, I had my special on showtime More Than Loud that is available online with Spotify and iTunes. So it’s out there and people have seen it. This time I’m coming with a whole new act. At the end I might do a few older jokes. Sometimes people come up to me and they want to hear some of the familiar jokes. So I do have a little extra time on this show. With me I just never know where my head is gonna go.
Ron : That’s rock n roll.
Orny : Well y’know most of my act I took from rock n roll and punk.
Ron : That was something I was going to ask you because last year you came on stage to a big rock n roll anthem. You read Keith Richard’s book. You’ve worn your Beatles or Stones t-shirts. Who is your favourite musical artist?
Orny : There’s two. If you look at what I do onstage it’s clearly derivative and highly inspired by Mick Jagger. There’s no question. The only thing I didn’t take from him is his diet (laughing).
My writing is all Bob Dylan. He gets up there and plays it fast one night, slow other night, country on another night. He’ll switch the tense from past to present. He’s constantly playing with it so he isn’t bored. Most of us aren’t even smart enough to understand what Bob Dylan is doing.
So there are things that I am doing up there that are for me. There are things that I am doing up there for other comedians that love the art to the level I feel I’m trying to bring it to. Then theres things that are just successful to everybody, because subconsciously you get it.
Ron : Speaking of favourites, I’m curious do you have a favourite comedy film of all time?
Orny : Okay there’s two. Trading Places with Eddie Murphy is unbelievable. I just love it. The other one is Meet the Parents.
Ron : Hey, that’s a great one.
Orny : When you take Owen Wilson in that film. He had a small role but he stole it. He stole every moment he was on screen. Everything about that movie. It was also a time when Robert DeNiro decided he was going to be funny and he wasn’t so over the top.
Ron : Those are great choices especially because they are not typical.
Orny : Am I ever difficult? (laughing) Haven’t we learned that about me yet?
Ron : (laughing) No definitely not.
Orny : (laughing) None of my choices are mainstream. They could say to me the calendar is 2018, but you’re in 1642 or something like that. I’m so sure I’m not even on the same planet in the same time period. I think I’m genetically incapable of giving an answer that is like everyone else.
Ron : It’s always good to be outside of the box. That’s the way to go. I wanted to compliment you on the videos you did a little while ago that are on youtube such as the What’s Wrong with… Orny Adams. That was really some of your best work.
Orny : I like hearing that. Thank you. Again this is my career. I worked really hard on those. I wrote them. I filmed them. I edited them. I re edited. I re filmed things if I felt it didn’t work. You should watch the recent one I did which is I didn’t know I was watching a car commercial. You’ll like that one. It’s on youtube. Watch here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgIyjVqTYSU
Ron : So what’s the future hold for Orny Adams?
Orny : After this is to keep on doing more comedy and get better at it.
Ron : Great stuff. Thank you so much buddy.
Orny : You know I could talk to you forever. Thank you so much for being so supportive.
If you enjoyed this interview check back soon to read my upcoming interviews with Gina Brillon and Fransisco Ramos who are also appearing at JFL’s Ethnic Show. Make sure to get your tickets.