A comic, a cartoonist, a writer, a meme-maker, and now an official knight via Dairy Queen’s twitter, Sir John Poveromo has been working professionally for eleven years, and working unprofessionally his whole life. Even from elementary school, he remarks on the importance of comedy in his life, “If I [could] crack up my teacher, that meant the world to me because they were older. We were on a different level. They would be like, ‘why don’t you do you homework?’ and I’d be like ‘why don’t you shut the f— up’ you know.” Adolescent narcissism aside, though, he states the real reason he got into comedy was due to the connections he could make. “I got into because I was a short goofy looking kid and comedy was one of the ways I found to connect to people.”
And connect with people he does. Establishing a relationship with his audience early on, he’s not only able to personalize the show but also take audiences to places they did not know they could go. With a ‘no-filter’ style, he is sure to surprise you and challenge your preconceptions, making for an interesting night, to say the least.
“I still think it’s important for comics to be themselves on stage and explore new ideas, and, I’m paraphrasing here, but a comics job is to find the line and deliberately cross it,” Poveromo states on the importance of his style. And he’s so happy to cross that line. “I love stand-up. There’s nothing better than being in front of an audience. It’s just an instant response and each show is different.”
Talking with him you about comedy, his process, and Robert Downey, Jr., you can see all of this and more.
What’s something people can expect from your upcoming comedy show at Cozzy’s Comedy Club here in Newport News on September 1st and 2nd?
POVEROMO: Hopefully laughter.
Watching your work you have a no-filter style. Is that style of comedy something you think is especially important now, or were you just born without a filter?
POVEROMO: Yeah, it’s my personality. But I still think it’s important for comics to be themselves and explore new ideas. And I’m paraphrasing here, that a comics job is to find the line and then deliberately cross it.
You’ve done a lot of other work besides stand up, is there a form of comedy you like the most?
POVEROMO: I love stand-up. You know everybody dreams to get a sitcom or a talk show, but for me, and, I think, for a lot of comics, comedy writing and working with other writers, at this point now is more of exposure. There’s nothing better than being in front of an audience. It’s just an instant response and each show is different because you never know who you’re gonna get.
Apart from stand-up, you also make comics. I also heard you had an upcoming book coming out?
POVEROMO: I just recently I got asked to put my cartoons, in a gallery and I was like ‘absolutely!’ So I had it all framed and it wound up being a hit and I got really sweet comments and they were asking if I had a book and I was like ‘no, I don’t. I suck.’ It never even crossed my mind. And then I was like ‘oh why not,’ and I gathered my drawings and now I have a book coming out at the end of the summer.
How long have you been making comics?
POVEROMO: I’ve been drawing my whole life. A friend, another comedian, Joe Starr who has been like a mentor to me, were just talking about going through old stuff and I was going through a box I found. It was emailed from when I was a kid that I had sent out to artists that I liked at the time.
You emailed cartoonists when you were younger?
POVEROMO: I think it was a lot easier. I’m not saying I was around at the dawn of the internet, but it was ‘99, so it was just people were just getting on it. At the time, some of them used to put their email addresses where they would sign their comic. I was just like ‘hey why don’t I give it a shot,’ and I emailed them. Then I wound up researching the stuff they had. (I was a little nutty) and I found others like Steve Breen. Steve Breen was famous for being a Jersey political cartoonist, which I loved when I was in high school like I used to draw cartoons of my teachers and stuff knocking them down a few pegs making my friends laugh. But my friend’s mother worked with Breen at some point, so I emailed him and I said, ‘hey, I’m a Jersey guy and do you have any advice?’ and that was basically it. And he replied back to me! It was pretty cool.
Do you remember any of the conversations you had?
POVEROMO: I remember one in particular. I’m terrible at math. Math is not my thing. And most anybody that’s creative, they are not mathematically inclined, so one of the emails was like, ‘do I have to be good at math?’ and it was someone emailed me back ‘no?’ But also, just like ‘I don’t know how old this kid is. I don’t want to tell him like fail your math classes.’ So in the emails, they were like ‘no you don’t, but keep doing it, I guess.’
Other than just emailing professionals, do you have any other words of advice for aspiring comics at CNU?
POVEROMO: I’ll give them the same advice the other guys gave me when I was coming up– just keep doing it. You have to get up as much as you possibly can, where you possibly can, and don’t be afraid to bomb because it’s really the only job you’re doing in real time. You’re learning it right there, on the spot, in front of, you know, two hundred strangers, and they’re judging you every twelve seconds. Like, there are nights when I’ve bombed horribly and you’re kind of driving home, ‘hey, you know, let’s swerve into traffic, but I’ve got five more shows this week, better not.’
Other than performing, what’s something that you’re excited about?
POVEROMO: Marvel, man. I saw Guardians of the Galaxy three times already before it opened, and then on opening night, I saw it again with a friend. And you know how Marvel releases their schedules in advance, so it’s like in the year 2030 Spiderman 8 comes out? I’m pretty sure they’ve prevented thousand nerd suicides because they’re like, ‘I hate my life but also I want to see how Avengers pans out in the year 2038,’ you know what I mean? Like I gotta see if RDJ will still be playing Iron Man in 40 years.
Finally, I saw you were recently knighted by Dairy Queen on twitter?
POVEROMO: Yeah that’s a big deal. If you want, you can address me as ‘Sir.’ But that was the weirdest. First of all, I’m obsessed with The Guardians of the Galaxy and when the Dairy Queen product came out, I was obsessed with it. So, I was like, ‘I’m going to tweet at Dairy Queen,’ you know, at three o’clock in the morning. It’s like me and the president– he’s destroying the world and I’m tweeting at Dairy Queen. We’re basically the same people. And they wound up replying. That’s my favorite thing, too, there’s no reason for those accounts to reply to me, but when they do it’s just fun messing around with them, so I asked to be knighted and they obliged.
You can see John Poveromo at Cozzy’s Comedy Club on September 1st and 2nd, on his twitter @JohnPoveromo, on his website johnpoveromo.net, or in a movie theatre watching whatever Marvel just came out with.