Before comedy’s top acts take the stage at Levity Live in West Nyack each week, they email LoHud Lowdown to participate in our Comedy Q&A: Same questions, different answers from some our favorite comedians. Here’s the latest from our inbox.
Performing this Weekend: Flip Orley
Best Known For: Putting audiences to sleep in a fun way! Orley is not only a comic, he’s a hypnotist. Hilarity ensues when he has volunteers act out funny scenarios while they are in a hypnotized state. You might have seen him on “Maury” or “The Today Show.”
If You Go: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Levity Live, 4210 Palisades Center Dr., West Nyack. $30. www.levitylive.com.
Q: What are some of your favorite topics to talk about on stage these days?
A: When it comes to comedy, I typically talk from personal experiences. My life seems to take
a lot of twists and turns so it’s really easy to draw from day to day experience. Recently, while
standing in line for a beverage I asked a guy where he was from and he started yelling at me
and cussing at me. He was from Ireland and he literally snapped because he was tired of Americans
asking him where he was from. At a Starbucks, a 70ish year old man cut the line in front of me. I
said, “excuse me” and before I could say anything else he turned around and started yelling at
me. He was dropping the F-bomb and telling me to go to hell. That’s a rich well from which to draw.
Hypnotic bits that I write for volunteers are also based on my personal experience and pop culture.
I prefer a show where volunteers are creative and interact with each other.
Q: Is anything off limits in your act?
A: The only thing off limits in my show is I won’t ever intentionally embarrass or humiliate a sincere volunteer.
I also don’t do an X-rated show.
Q: Who are some of the comedians who inspired you to become a standup comic?
A: The list is a long one. I watched a lot of comedy as a kid and listened to a lot of comedy albums.
Inspirational comics include George Carlin, Bob Newhart, Cheech and Chong, Flip Wilson, Johnny Carson,
Monty Python, Richard Pryor, The Two Ronnies, Foster Brooks, and Mel Brooks.
Q: Who are three celebrities who have given you great material over the years?
A: Although I don’t do a lot of material about celebrities, Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen have come up from time to time.
Q: If you weren’t a comedian, what do you think you would be doing for a living?
A: I once read a Jon Lovitz interview and I think he made a really interesting point:
“If you give yourself something to fall back on you will surely fall back on it.
Force yourself to make it as an actor and leave yourself no other option.”
As it turns out, he was quoting a friend of his family, but the quote made sense to me. I don’t know
what else I’d be doing, because I never had a plan b. I guess at this point I would
have to consider a greeter at Walmart.
Q: What are three things people would be surprised to learn about you offstage?
A: – For all the lack of success, I think I’m a good partner in a relationship
-I’m a pretty decent cook.
-I can’t dance and often blame it on a mysterious injury.
Q: Where’s the most interesting place you’ve ever…performed comedy?
A: In New York, I was doing a one nighter at a sports bar. They had the stage in front of the big screen TV.
The TV was on and a New York baseball team was in the fourth inning of a World Series game. The club owner insisted we start the show, and when I said I thought the audience wouldn’t like it if we turned the game off, he told me, “We aren’t turning the game off, the crowd would riot.”
When I asked how he proposed we do a show, he said, “I’m going to turn the volume off”. That’s exactly what he did. He turned the volume off, dimmed the lights and introduced me. I spent the entire show talking to a hostile audience who was yelling at me to shut up and get out of the way.
A close second was being the first comic on the first night of comedy at a male strip club. A male strip club in Phoenix, AZ decided on Sunday nights to put on comics between male strippers. So, they had Bob the police officer, followed by Tom the construction worker, followed by Flip the comic. I spent that night with drunk women yelling at me to get naked.
Q: Do you have anything coming up that you would like us to know about?
A: I’ve completed a final draft on a book. I still need to find an illustrator, but I hope to have
it published sometime this year.
Q: Do you tweet?
A: I do tweet. I am very active on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve also posted several Youtube clips.
I try to use social media as much as possible. I especially like how easy
it is to interact with people through Facebook and Twitter. (@fliporley)