A self-professed aging, bitter hipster and poisoned liberal, fresh off the plane, receives a bottle of wine in his New York hotel room.
The unexpected gesture saves The Smartest Man in the World from at least one item on his to-do list.
Now all the delightfully lushed up and unapologetically opinionated L.A. comedian Greg Proops has left to cross off includes:
Touring his wildly popular The Smartest Man in the World Proopcast;
Writing his first book, The Smartest Book in the World;
Touring On the Couch and Whose Live Anyway? with comic cohort Ryan Stiles;
Challenging misogynist views, the tyranny of the rich and the support of war.
They’re all topics the frenetically verbose improvisor won’t be afraid to tackle, along with a host of other current affairs that matter to him, while on tour this spring.
“I find a lot of chit-chat about personal lives effluvium and jettison. When I do my standup and on my podcast, I’m way more political. I’ve gotten to the age where I can barely tolerate what’s going on in the world anymore,” Proops says. “I want a little substance. And I’d like to see men stop talking about pleasuring themselves and pornography and I’d like to see a woman late-night host instead of another million white guys.”
That the debonaire gent is even making money off the free podcast is something he sees as a victory. Add to that, his audience willingly follows along through the “boring preachy part” of his show, through the rants, jokes and diatribes to an hour-and-a-half of pure Proops – and he’s a happy man.
“Here’s my revenge on everybody: Ryan (Stiles)’s son loves my podcast! He’s a teenager. He’s like college-aged and he listens to it all the time. I find that a lot of revenge on friends my age is that their teenaged children or children in their 20s love my show. And I’m a 54-year-old comedian, which proves that everyone’s wrong. … TV executives have to ask their daughters what to put on TV. I don’t think they’ve got the message that people live on their phones now and don’t care about telly as much.”
Whether or not his fans drop the phone and pick up a book will be revealed with the imminent release of his book, thick with Proopsiness: “ancient history, literature, words, politics, feminism” – a project that, after having received the initial notes from his editor, has him considering offing himself.
“I’m having lunch with him and what am I supposed to say? I thought you were my friend? … I think he’s trying to provoke me. I didn’t want to do a book like all the other comics, where they talk about their life and shit. I don’t have a dog, so what’s there to say, really?”
Proops and Stiles will have all kinds of things to say – though much lighter, none of Proops’ “French Revolution, off-with-their-heads” ideas June 6 at the McPherson Playhouse for On the Couch. The entirely improvised show is more laid back than Whose Line is it Anyway – an exchange between two improvisors who have an incredible amount of trust in each other.
“I think we started working together in 1990 and I don’t know what year it is now, but it’s been a while. We’ve been on the road together for 15 years. I think by this point it’s second nature.”