"I could be a training wheels gay for a homophobe. I'm a very safe and non-threatening gay person." - Andrew Roffe
Andrew Roffe answers the most important question on Paul, and everybody else's mind, "why are you gay?" We also find out what it's like touring the country in a 14 seater van and opening for viral internet comedic sensation, Wisconsin's Charlie Berens. Even though this episode came in a little late for Pride month we still delve in to Andrew Roffe's personal life, even going as far as using this platform to find him a potential partner. In this episode you will learn:
1. How improv training helps you become a better stand up, quicker.
2. How a positive shift in your work ethic will lead you to more successful business opportunities.
3. How owning a t-shirt company is a horrible idea.
"I could be a training wheels gay for a homophobe. I'm a very safe and non-threatening gay person." - Andrew Roffe
Andrew Roffe graduated from the famed Second City Conservatory in Chicago. Some of his TV/Film credits include Year One, Think Like a Man, Maron, and Trophy Wife. He is a comedy writer on the award-winning film Purpose Over Prison starring Romany Malco and Regina Hall. Andrew performs across the country with internet sensation Charlie Berens.
He can be found on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / TikTok at @ASAP_Roffe
Paul Vato is an on camera and voice actor, improvisor, podcaster and entrepreneur.
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Paul Vato: [00:00:00] Welcome. Welcome. Welcome ladies and gentlemen. My name is Paul Vato and this is Paul Vato Presents and today my very special guest is Andrew Roffe. Who's an actor, he's an improviser, he's a writer, he's a standup comedian touring the country, doing comedy off and on. Please put your hands together and welcome Mr. Andrew Roffe. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks for everyone that's here and anyone that's popping in Andrew, occasionally you might hear some sound effects some laughing and whatnot from our audience members. If that bothers us, we can always remove it, but welcome to fireside and thank you so much for,
Andrew Roffe: I'm not used to the laughter, so please be sparse with it.
Paul Vato: Aye aye aye, Okay. Good. It's working already. I don't think we have to worry about it. We don't have a lot of people in the audience yet, but which you might also be used to, I don't know. Let me start out with the most important question.
Andrew Roffe: Yes?
Paul Vato: Why are you gay?
Andrew Roffe: Paul, I ask myself that every morning [00:01:00] and the answer is just for attention.
You know what,
Paul Vato: that's what I thought and I'm sorry that we're a little late for Pride Month. I really want to have you on, and it didn't quite work out.
Andrew Roffe: I've been really enjoying the corporations fleeing from their pride right back into the closet. I think it's funny is like all that, like pride gear that they probably didn't sell they're probably sending it to countries where they'll kill you for being gay. So am I gonna freeze to death or am I going to be killed for wearing a shirt that says non-binary gay? Something at target would sell in San Francisco or something.
Paul Vato: Do you think that all that clothing is ended up, in countries that just need clothing?
Andrew Roffe: Absolutely, that, and Boston Celtics championship gear.
Paul Vato: Thank you so much for taking time from your busy day and popping into Paul Vato Presents. Who is Andrew Roffe? Please, tell us a little bit about yourself, Andrew.
Andrew Roffe: Oh, man. I grew up in Chicago. I'm back here now. I lived in Los Angeles for 13 years. [00:02:00] I've been an actor and a writer for a really long time. I got into standup a few years back and I have just been making a lot of content, teaming up with some really cool people. Charlie Berens is who I tour with and collaborate with a lot who has this massive following now. Gosh, I think on social media, if you combine it, it's I don't know, over 5 or 6 million maybe. He just a few months ago surpassed the 1 million subscribers on YouTube. He got this big fancy plaque, which was cool. So Charlie and I have, work together now over five years and it's been amazing. I met him when my career was in the toilet and we found a way to work together. It's like luck and timing and it was just in the cosmos.
Paul Vato: Did you reach out to him or did he find you or how was that?
Andrew Roffe: I reached out to him. I had a t-shirt company, which I don't suggest having. Having a t-shirt company is having a marketing company that just sells shirts. You gotta be a real hustler and at that time I [00:03:00] wasn't. I wanted him to wear this one t-shirt. He had just done his first Manitowoc Minute and I had seen a couple people post it. I had just been a writer on this movie called Purpose Over Prison, which was written and directed by a good friend of mine named Romany Malco, who's on A Million Little Things, he's most well known for being in the 40 Year Old Virgin or Baby Mama or Weeds, Think Like A Man, ton of those movies. Romney and I met on the set of Think Like A Man, I was an actor in that, and so we work on that and that stars him and Regina Hall, so I just mentioned to Charlie, I'd come off of working with that and if we ever wanted to get together and talk about ideas. A few months and like occasionally meeting for coffee and discussing ideas, he asked me, I wasn't even a standup at this point, he was like, I need a producer to come on the road with me and you want to do it? I wanted to tell him no, cuz I had no idea how to do that, that just terrified me, but I was like, your career's going nowhere, you gotta start saying [00:04:00] yes to different opportunities and see where it goes and thankfully I did. We'd have these long car rides in a 14 seater van, cause he is one of 12 kids, so we took the family van cuz we had so much merch and I would just crack him up and we'd talk about jokes and he's I know you've wanted to do this forever and that's true, I always wanted to do standup. He's you gotta go to Mike's, get five minutes, and I'll start giving you some spots. That turned into I'll do 25 now and feature for him. I write almost every single day. The second I did it, I just fell in love I was like, oh, okay, this is what I'm supposed to be doing my whole life. I started really late, I started in my mid thirties, which for a comic is like ancient. I've been really blessed to have some incredible opportunities and just capitalize whenever I could. I've been really lucky, he's a really big champion of mine.
Paul Vato: That's amazing. That's wonderful. When did you study at The Second City? How old were you when you got into improv [00:05:00] and do you think that affected your ability to learn and excel at standup?
Andrew Roffe: Yeah. So many of my heroes are Second City alum and that was the place to be. I actually was an intern there in my sophomore year of college. I worked for a couple of producers there, like helping transcribe shows and getting lunch and just doing whatever, and then I started taking classes a couple years later. I was in my late teens, early twenties, when I started. I just started in the beginner classes, I did A through E maybe or whatever it was, then I auditioned for The Conservatory and I got in. And then that was a couple years. We are doing shows between 2007, 2008. I think from my cast I'm definitely the only one who moved to LA and I think I might be the only one still pursuing comedy, which is crazy.
Paul Vato: Really?
Andrew Roffe: That doesn't reflect really well on our shows, we were literally seen by DOZENS of [00:06:00] people.
Paul Vato: Because in the 1900s, when I was at The Second City studying there and doing our show Touched by an Anglo, up at Donny Sky Box, this would've been like 98, maybe 99, right before I moved to LA. I feel like a lot of people that were there at the Main Stage and ETC, they definitely are still pursuing comedy. The people that I did The Conservatory with, there's maybe just one or two that are still "in the business", if you will.
Andrew Roffe: For sure.
Paul Vato: Who was on the main stage when you were there?
Andrew Roffe: The only one I can recall, cuz we were friendly, was Antoine McKay.
Paul Vato: That's wonderful. Do you think that then having this improv background has then helped you transition into standup? Is that something that I've always have wanted to do and the reason I got into improv was I went to Improv Olympic by mistake, Improv Olympic (Rest In Peace), because I didn't know the difference between standup and improv. The internet was just starting to come around so it's not like I could do a ton of [00:07:00] research, but it was great to have it in my backyard. I grew up in Aurora. I had an Oberweis Dairy of Geneva in Geneva, Illinois. I was able to drive into Chicago and study improv. I didn't know the difference between standup and improv, but so do you feel that knowing improv and having studied improv has helped your stand up?
Andrew Roffe: A hundred percent, because so much of improvisation, most of it, is just listening. Being able to read a crowd is a really important skill, that one I'm still very new at. That crowd, in a lot of ways, can be your scene partner. There's so many different factors with a crowd depending on size and what time it is, what time the show is and when you go on. It's definitely been a huge thing and also the experience of Second City and just creating sketches and sketch writing, that's where it really started for me.
Paul Vato: I love your work with Charlie. I think the last one that I saw, you were, I dunno if you were coming [00:08:00]out of the closet, as a vegan maybe?
Andrew Roffe: Oh, yeah, that's Midwest coming out. Yeah, we wrote that one a couple years ago and we were just never able to do it. It started as a long form and I'm really glad we cut it to a short form. That's been one of the biggest videos I've ever been a part of. Yeah, I wrote that one a couple years ago. It just, and it's as like a sketch writer, like it's one of the few times where like lightning was coming outta my fingertips. I was like, it's just never clipped so fast. I wish it was always like that. Although Charlie did write the line it's Adam and cheese, not Adam and peas. It's very important these days to give straight white men their credit, as you know.
Paul Vato: A hundred percent, obviously.
Andrew Roffe: I don't even remember how it came, what I was even thinking about. It's done really well, like almost a million views on Facebook, Reels on Instagram it's like 800,000, TikTok it's one and a half million, YouTube, one and a half million. Then as a goof I posted it on the [00:09:00] funny subreddit and in less than a day, it's two and a half million views. It like blew up on Reddit. It was crazy. I was never expecting that. For the most part, people have been very kind. The one sort of trolling comment I get is there's no way a vegan could be fat. Which I'm actually not a vegan. I was a vegetarian years ago for a while, but it's very easy to be a fat vegan. I guess people in Midwest think like vegans just like roam around and eat grass, like they're prairie deers. I don't know what they think vegans eat, you know, you can eat like all sorts of vegans, desserts, and chips and beer and candy and pasta and different pizza, like vegan pizzas. It's not hard at all. I think Lizzo, God love her, I'm a huge fan of Lizzo, and I love everything about her. I'm pretty sure she's a vegan and she's like the poster child for being like full figured and big. So yeah. I always thought that was weird. Thankfully Charlie looks a little bit like Jeffrey Dahmer, so he gets that [00:10:00] occasionally, that's the only trolling comments he seems to get. Overall Charlie has a very interesting mix, audiencewise, politically, on the left and on the very far right and I don't know what this means, but I get people all the time after shows or comments they're like, I'm a right wing Republican, I love Donald Trump and I really love your comedy and it's very flattering. I don't discuss politics in standup. Things that are really divisive, people don't want to hear that. I try and really stay away from those topics just because I don't think I have anything all that interesting to say. I'm disenfranchised with both political parties at the moment. I really just try to have fun. I talk about being Jewish. I talk about being gay. I do get some hate mail about that stuff every now and again. This one woman she sent Charlie's manager a letter and asked for Charlie to call her up, to talk about my set and that I needed to be fired. When I tell you I am maybe a PG 13 comic, pretty PG and as far as a [00:11:00] gay comic goes, I am like vanilla G rated. I don't know what they hear, it used to really bother me and now I'm just like, eh, it's just them it's not me.
Paul Vato: Did you did you convince Charlie to give her a call?
Andrew Roffe: We were thinking about it. Another comic, a friend, Bill Doucette from Boston, who uses a lot of videos with Boston, who people think bill and I are the exact same person. I also get that with Miles "you betcha", people think we're always the same person. I don't really think we looked that much alike, but Bill really wanted to call and I was like, no, forget it, but I don't know it would've been fun, but I think at the end of the day, we could make Charlie look bad and so I just leave it alone. Who needs to give her that attention?
Paul Vato: Let it go and it's not the comedy, it's not what you've written. And it's a shame because it that's exactly what it should be based on, granted this right wing Republican is saying, wow, I'm this, but yet I love your comedy because it's funny, funny is funny.
Andrew Roffe: I don't come in with like my quote unquote gay agenda where I'm like trying to tell people how they should think. The sort of the crux, the sort of thesis [00:12:00] of my gay stand up, cuz I have a joke about how I could be a training wheels gay for a homophobe. Like, I'm a very safe and non-threatening gay person. It would be very hard for them to meet a drag queen maybe, but I love sports. I support our troops, I'm politically moderate, like I'm the gateway gay. I think that people just see a voice that might be similar to theirs and they're like, oh, okay. I can understand this better. So yeah, I'm really honored, but like I they're also like super woke people on the left who do not like me at all. I'm not gay enough for them. I'm not down enough for their woke agenda. There was this one girl, very militant, lesbian at a show in Washington state, maybe Spokane. She was like with me throughout everything and then I talked about just like I made some off color, not, or just off the cuff remark about like, How woke people were bugging me. She did not smile for the rest of the show. She was done with me. That was fine. [00:13:00] Whatever. The very far left and the very far right. The two things they think they both are hating me and dogs.
Paul Vato: You definitely put the gay and gateway, so that's.
Andrew Roffe: Oh! Is anybody watching this right now or am I just? I don't mind. I like talking to you. I'll sit here and talk to you all night. I'm just wondering, does anybody care?
Paul Vato: I think they do, we have Woody in the audience, we have Steven in the audience, but really I use this platform to record the show, and it's also being simulcast on Twitch and YouTube so there may be a few people over there watching, but realistically I use it as a platform to record it and then I will, do a little bit of editing, not too much and then put it up as a proper podcast on, Anchor, which is Spotify, but then it goes out to all the podcasting platforms. I think all...
Andrew Roffe: How stupid are all those parents feeling from 20 years ago, who are on their kids for playing video games all the time. And now those parents would be set for life. If they would've let their kids play more video games, instead of doing their [00:14:00] homework, they'd be on Twitch, making millions of dollars and instead they have to work at, I don't know...
Paul Vato: Walmart?
Andrew Roffe: I won't say a company, cuz then people would be, I work there. You have to work in corporate America. Hate their lives.
Paul Vato: That's so right, because even in the COVID times where before they're like, and 20 years ago, what are you guys doing on your computer? Go outside! Now, it's what are you doing outside? Get inside, get on your computer and play it's such a great premise for a sketch. That's so true.
Andrew Roffe: You're never gonna make it in the Major Leagues, so you better start coding right now.
Paul Vato: Start coding. These kids that are playing e-sports, my goodness, getting million dollar deals and you're right. Or you're just sitting at home, playing and streaming it on Twitch and getting millions of views and getting thousands of dollars. It's insane. What's the world become?
Andrew Roffe: A friend of mine, who he made a fortune in the toy business during sort of the eighties and nineties, he now owns some giant e-sports team. I don't understand that world [00:15:00] at all, he tells me about it sometimes, he owns it with one of the guys who owns the Dodgers, like serious. It is like owning, the Bulls or the Cubs. It's that intense.
Paul Vato: Yes, it is. Yes, it is. The industry has just exploded and there's always opportunities to invest in teams. Here in Vegas. I'm in Vegas right now. There's an e-sports arena that's, hosting things. I'm probably gonna have a few other guys from Vegas Inferno on the podcast hopefully soon. It's insane. The whole industry has just exploded and it's just virtual. Maybe we are living in a matrix. I don't know.
Andrew Roffe: Seriously that movie, what's the Mike Judge movie? Idiocracy, that movie. It's like becoming a documentary before very eyes.
Paul Vato: It really is. You know what, I don't think it hit when it first came out, but it really has withstood the test of time and like you said, it's becoming a documentary. I had Big CiTRiC on and CiTRiC played the Minister of Defense, in that movie and I'm friends with, [00:16:00] Anthony Campos is his name and he's in the movie Idiocracy, and it has just become such a statement on the state of society, the dumbing down of society, people waiting to have kids, cuz they're not ready and then all of a sudden it's too late and then the dumbest people are having kids so, no offense, if you have kids.
Andrew Roffe: It's not our fault you're stupid.
Yeah. I'll get asked. What's the hardest part about writing a joke? Honestly, I think the hardest part is having a joke be universally understood. Really eye opening, how little, a lot of people know, and I'm not saying you have gotta be watching PBS every night and Crossfire on CNN and know the ins and outs of, local politics, but it's like really basic things that I just am shocked, and then this is not left or right, this is just generally that people just do not know things. It's sad because then the discourse becomes mean and toxic and personal, instead of just having healthy debate, I [00:17:00]love having a healthy debate to terms of politics. It doesn't get personal or ugly. It's just people sharing their opinions and back and forth. You don't ever wanna sit next to me on an airplane is what I'm saying, Paul, because even if like people are got their headphones, I'm like, Hey, what do you think about what's going on right now, 2022 election. He's I'm really trying to sleep, wake up,
Paul Vato: Oh, boy. Insufferable. You're right. You have to have somewhat of a high reference level to understand the jokes a lot of times. That's what I think makes jokes successful is when people are able to connect the dots themselves and then get the joke. If they don't have a high reference level how are you gonna get the joke?
Andrew Roffe: Yeah, I get why so much of comedy is written about like relationships or things like that because it's universally understood.
Paul Vato: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. But then again, you don't necessarily want everyone to get your comedy or your joke, I don't think, because then it's almost too diluted, you can't please everybody. There's a theory that [00:18:00]you only need 1000 good fans that will support what you put out, fans that will buy your merch fans that will come out to see your shows and you can make a living with that
Andrew Roffe: I need 999.
Paul Vato: Almost there. You can chalk me down.
Andrew Roffe: You're the one, I was counting you.
Paul Vato: I'm the one? Okay. All right. Wonderful. I love it. Tell me a little bit about being on the road and opening. I feel like you guys are doing some pretty big venues. What's been change, and then and you've only what been doing this, you said, a few years, as far as standup goes?
Andrew Roffe: Ive been a standup for, not counting the pandemic, cuz there wasn't much going on. Three years, three, three and a half years.
Paul Vato: Oh, brilliant. Starting to see that more and more where I get it, it takes time to develop your persona, your point of view, your voice. I had some people are like, oh, it takes 10 years, but I'm seeing people doing it a lot quicker and I think it's because of the proliferation of the internet and platforms like this, and aLive Show and platforms [00:19:00]where you can get your stuff out there and let the people decide if it's good or not Trailer Trash Tammy, she's so new to stand up but is already killing it. She built this community and, but realistically, she hasn't even been doing standup that long. She said the first time on stage was the first day of her show, which had been sold out. She had a tour going, sold out the tour, so had to get up on stage and do standup and killed it. I feel like a lot of people would be maybe jealous of the fact that you've been doing this technically for three years and you've already found this great success.
Andrew Roffe: I know, I really try not to tell people that cause I don't need more people hating me. Charlie has been an incredible mentor in that regards, I always like to say he cut the line and he's there's no line anymore. I lived in Los Angeles for 13 years and one of the reasons I decided to relocate here other than I don't have a kind of money to buy anything in Los Angeles, it's insane. He made it for himself. He started putting on his own videos and like when his Manitowoc Minute first started catching on, he was going to do all these shows just in [00:20:00] Wisconsin and he was selling them out. He was doing, like 200 seaters, 500 seaters. He did a thousand people one time, which was crazy in Wisconsin Dells. But I think when he started he had 10 minutes of standup material, and he's I've got an hour show to do, what am I gonna do? And so we filled it in with videos and different things and he, he made it work. The thing with Charlie is when he first started, he was definitely more, and this is no disrespect, he was more of a gimmick then a standup. I'll say over the last few years, he is a legit good standup comic. He just taped a special, and we are on the road and I was like, that is a solid hour of comedy, that is a really solid hour, really tight, really crisp, really good. Then you see guys like Trevor Wallace, who also has this giant following, but, he was a standup as well. I met with an agent, a big comedy agent and he was like, one of the things you gotta really be mindful of, is like too much too soon. Where if you get this giant opportunity, but you can't kill on stage [00:21:00] they may never come see you again. It's a really interesting time to be a stand up where, you don't have to be at the Comedy Seller in New York or at the Comedy Store or at Zanie's in Chicago or Laugh Factory. People are doing it on their own and a lot of comics who are older, who are allergic to doing social media, they're sort of stuck in the same rut of just trying to get spots here and there. It's just going to lots and lots of open mics and trying to build your way that way, it feels like it's not even possible anymore because even when you get good someone with 10 or 20 times the amount of social media followers are always gonna surpass you because being a standup comic is basically just how much alcohol can you sell at a show? That's all they see us as is how many tickets can this guy sell, cuz it's a two drink minimum and how much can we make at alcohol sales? That's all that it is. I think the number I've been told is like at 50,000 followers, either on TikTok [00:22:00] or Instagram or whatever, then clubs will start looking at you to either feature or headline. That's like the first goal. Charlie hit that a long time ago and his career has just skyrocketed, especially during the pandemic. When, myself included, was not doing enough, he was putting out videos twice a week and his numbers grew. I think he gained a million new subscribers or followers during the pandemic. We'll play for a 1000, 2000 people a show and then I'll be here in Chicago and I'll be begging comics to be on their bar shows where 50 people or 20 people will show up. I definitely got a really big opportunity very quickly and I think that's one of the reasons why I write every day, I worked really hard is because I don't wanna blow that opportunity. I've blown plenty of opportunities in the past, not being prepared enough, being good in a room and in a meeting they're like, all right, auditioned for this and then I just did not know what I was doing. That's not the way I try and operate anymore.
Paul Vato: I hear you, man. That's it. It's that being [00:23:00] prepared. It's what it takes and good for you. Are you still, and this is probably a silly question, are you still producing Charlie's show on the road or now do you guys have another producer and you're just doing standup?
Andrew Roffe: Not a silly question at all. It's a small operation, so it's all hands on deck. When I first started, I was doing whatever he needed. I was helping write the show. I was producing. I was doing things backstage. I was selling merch. He has a merch guy now, shout out to Dante, who's probably not watching, but if he is, he just got a shout out. I'm gonna tell him to watch, cuz he needs to know that I shouted him out on the show. He's become a very big deal here on Fireside, right?
Paul Vato: Fireside, that's right.
Andrew Roffe: I say fire chat.
Paul Vato: Fireside chat.
Andrew Roffe: Yes.
Paul Vato: Works also. But yeah, Fireside.
Andrew Roffe: I do whatever is really needed. So I am not above selling merch, running errands writing. It is really an all hands on deck approach so I still do that stuff. There were times where I had to sell merch and I was the only one [00:24:00] working. There was a ton of people online. And then I had three minutes to gather myself and get on stage. That's the thing is you gotta be a team player. My job there is to make Charlie's life easier and whatever he needs. I am very aware that they're there to see him, all this show is centered around him and he pulls his weight as much or more than anybody. It's really good to have moments where you're not completely just thinking about yourself. I need some more of those where I'm just, what's in it for me? I try not to always behave that way.
Paul Vato: It sounds like you guys have this wonderful, beautiful dynamic relationship.
Andrew Roffe: Yeah. He's become one of my best friends. I have encouraged that he and I go to couples therapy at some point, just for fun, but he's not willing.
Paul Vato: If that ever happens, let me know. I think that needs to be filmed, and there's another series. Has Charlie done a special, or have you done a special, or is this anything that's in the works?
Andrew Roffe: Charlie filmed his special in Milwaukee, this April, he did [00:25:00] three nights at the Riverside theater.
I was not a part of those shows. I was back in California. But I don't know where, and when that's going to end up, not exactly sure yet. Got it. But yeah, I know that it's it, people are gonna really like it and what's the crazy with Charlie is. people who are not even from the Midwest are recognizing him.
I think mainly because of YouTube, we just did a show in Honolulu and there were these two, 10 year old boys, like maybe they were Polynesian, and they were like, are you that guy from YouTube? And he was like, you know me? And they're like, yeah. We've had like in Baltimore, people recognized him who had no understanding or had no reference to the Midwest. He's definitely grown to become much more of just a local Midwest comic. There are not enough sort of Midwest communities, not a lot of Midwest comedy people think of us, I'm including Chicago, mean I understand Chicago is just major city, but a lot of the Midwest are like people consider [00:26:00] flyover cities or states. For me personally a more liberalish moderate city in a red state had the best audiences like Cedar Rapids or Fargo. Those have been some of the best crowds ever because it's not just like in LA or New York where it's like one of the stops for the night and they're started there on their phone. This is an event for them. They have, paid the babysitter, they're out for drinks and this is their evening and it's also one of the reasons I try not to do really dark or offensive or political jokes, cuz I understand, I want them to come and have a good time. They have sacrificed a lot for the most part to be there tonight. So I want to, I want them to leave and just really have enjoyed the show. And so those cities have just always been really great. People think comedy in a red, state's only LarryThe Cable Guy or Jeff Foxworthy, but that's not true at all. There're such great places to play. I've never loved the comedy [00:27:00] audiences in Los Angeles. They just, I don't know. They've been okay, but unless you're a Jeff Ross or Anthony Jeselnik or someone who's headlining or top tier at The Store, I don't know, I always thought people just would rather have been somewhere else.
You've described the LA comedy scene to a T perfectly.
Paul Vato: Did you leave LA permanently? Did you move out?
I'm still back and forth. The reason was I had the opportunity to start a cigar company here in Vegas, I met a casino owner who loves cigars and basically wanted somebody to sell him cigars and open up a couple shops, so I did that. I'm still in the world of acting, more so now, especially after COVID I really got back into it. Was able to get a manager and an agent, theatrical and commercial and all that good stuff.
Andrew Roffe: Mazel tov, mazel tov.
Paul Vato: Thank you. Thank you, thank you. Do you have representation in Chicago?
Andrew Roffe: I have a really great agent at Stewart Talent. 10 years ago, when I could talk a big game, but had nothing to back it up, I got a meeting with them through a friend helping me out and they were [00:28:00] like, yeah, maybe if you move back to Chicago, maybe we can talk again, which was a very polite way of being like, nah, we'll call you don't call us. Then through my standup tape and whatever I got a meeting with them and they really wanted me. It was such a weird experience of instead of having to sell yourself, people are like, we love what you're doing and we wanna work with you. They've been awesome. They've been so great. Auditioning for a ton of stuff, either Chicago in the Midwest. I just had an auditioned yesterday. Yeah, I've been really lucky, but I am on the hunt for a manager who can help get me into some more doors comedywise. At the end of the day, what I tell young actors or young people trying to work in this space, always be making things because when I'm making content, my anxiety about my career is at an all time low because I am more in charge. The thing is, whether this audition I had yesterday, whether I book it or I not, and the chances are so low of you booking things, I'm filming this weekend, new sketchs. I'm out doing stuff. That'd be great. But if not, I'm busy, I'm doing my own thing [00:29:00] instead of waiting for the phone to ring. Which was a really big mistake I made in my career for so long. I think a lot of people are still making that mistake of just waiting for it to happen and waiting to get discovered in your living room. It just, it didn't happen. Three months into living in LA, I was auditioning for a movie called, Get Him To The Greek, through a friend of mine, who was producing that movie and I was a finalist for it. It was a role that came down to me and Aziz and they went with Aziz. They said Jonah and I were too similar, and we are in some ways. It was about him working in a music company, like two sort of Jewish guys working in a music company wasn't believable, which I think the music company is basically all Jewish guys, promoting these incredible acts who usually aren't Jewish. But I got a manager. I got with Jason Siegel's manager from that. Which was incredible. Had all these big auditions. I was a decent improviser, but I was not a good actor really insecure about who would know about my sexuality and just I just was a basketcase about that [00:30:00] stuff and it just, went away. Years later, I got with a management company called 3 Arts, it has a bunch of huge names and just didn't really hustle and lost that. Then about Five years ago is when, like my work ethic completely shifted and I just became a hustler and a grinder. Had my work ethic, been how it was like now the way 10 years ago, maybe it would've been a different story, it happens when it happens or it doesn't, but I'm super blessed. I've also gotten to perform with these two amazing comedians, JT and Chad, I don't know if you're familiar with them. They have a show on Netflix coming out, being produced by Tim and Eric this August. They're like the surfer bros who will go to local town hall meetings and talk about small dong awareness month. I would see them at LA open mics and they were the most enjoyable people to watch, even in a mic. They were just so fun to watch and we became friendly and I've opened for them a little bit. That's been such a blast. They're the [00:31:00] nicest, greatest guys, and I'm so happy for their success. They've completely blown up over the past year. They got this huge Netflix show coming out. Their podcast, Going Deep, is doing really well. Again, two guys who, quote unquote, cut the line and are doing it themselves now and are making really funny content and are just really good dudes, which is just a blessing that, I got to open. We are doing some shows in Michigan and that was, it was such a blast and hopefully I'll get to collaborate some more. I'm just riding a lot of people's coat tails, Paul. It's the way to do it.
Paul Vato: You know what, it sounds like it, but you're bringing something, trust me, you're bringing something to the game because if you weren't, they wouldn't have you around it, it's almost the world needs, pardon the way I'm saying this, the straight man, you need the guy that's on the straight and narrow .
Andrew Roffe: Yeah.
Paul Vato: People can bounce ideas off of you and you can make them better. I can see you as somebody that might punch up other people's material and things like that. I don't know if that's true or not.
Andrew Roffe: I [00:32:00] was lucky that I had been a comedy writer for a long time before I was doing standup. I'm become a much better writer since doing it cause I'm doing it all the time. Like the movie, Purpose Over Prison, I was a joke writer on that. I've been writing jokes for a long time. I'm on stuff. It's definitely when people bounce ideas by me or things like that. I love collaborating and finding when the joke finally hits, it's a really great feeling. It's like building a puzzle and when the pieces all connect, it's great.
Paul Vato: Wonderful. Purpose Over Prison, is that where you met? Tijuana?
Andrew Roffe: Tijuana Jackson. Romany Malco has an alter ego named Tijuana Jackson, ex-convict turned motivational speaker. So of course a suburban white gay Jew would be the perfect person to write that movie with him. Romany, he's the smartest, spiritually deep, man, I think I've ever known. He's a visionary of a human being. He started this on YouTube or [00:33:00] Funny or Die way before people were doing this and he's built this following. He did this movie, it won a bunch of different awards on the circuit festival. People can rent it on Amazon or iTunes or all that stuff. He's doing these real financial courses as his character. He's a Renaissance man. He knows something about everything. He's really savvy financially. He was running really successful companies before he was an actor. I've learned so much from him. I've helped with his courses and stuff like that. There's been talk about doing a Tijuana Jackson series. He's very tied up with a million little things. I think they're doing one more season on ABC. And he's got a family that he's a really present father for. He's a nomad. I've known him for a decade and I swear to you he's lived in like 10 or 12 different cities, Puerto Rico, he's lived in New York, Los Angeles. He's in Vancouver now, Florida. He's just always all over the world. He's an amazing guy.
Paul Vato: I hope that you and I maybe get to collaborate on [00:34:00] something.
Andrew Roffe: Absolutely.
In the future. I love sketch. I love improv. I think, comedy is what's sorely needed in the world, especially today. It's nice to work with other people from the Midwest, especially with that background.
Who was on the Main Stage when you were at Second City?
Paul Vato: That would've been at first, and then they either had just left or were still on there. People like Kevin Dorff.
Andrew Roffe: Yeah.
Paul Vato: Tammy Sager, Rachel Dratch, I think Tina Fay had just left. Yeah, I, yeah, she had already left. Amy Pohler was maybe either on there or just leaving had also maybe then made her move to New York for Upright Citizen's Brigade, Rich Talarico, who wrote for MADtv and Saturday Night Live. He and I have remained friends. Craig Cackowski...
Andrew Roffe: Yeah.
Paul Vato: Was on the Main Stage when I was there, Haratio Sanz was on ETC and then went to SNL. I went to his first show. He was nice enough to invite me and a few people to visit New York and go see his first show [00:35:00] where I met Cameron Diaz, she was the host and Smashing Pumpkins were the band. It was it was amazing.
Andrew Roffe: I did a movie with Horatio Sanz, a bunch of years ago, called Year One.
Paul Vato: Oh yeah.
Andrew Roffe: Towards the end of college, I was introduced to Harold Ramis. I was his intern and he became a really dear friend of mine. I miss him every day. He said to me like, yeah, if I, we make this movie year, why I'll put you in it? And he did. I was at Second City at the time and nobody was coming to our shows and all of a sudden, I'm in New Mexico working with Jack Black and Michael Cera, Olivia Wilde wasn't there.
Juno Temple was there and oh man, my gosh I'm blanking her name now. June Raphael was part of it too. Super nice. That was such a great experience. Harold, he really walked on water,man. He was the greatest human being ever. To have these mentors like, Harold Ramis and Romany Malco and Charlie I've just been really blessed and all these amazing people. Harold definitely just gone too soon. People always say don't meet your heroes, but if Harold Ramis was your hero, you wanted to meet that [00:36:00] guy. He was everything you thought he'd be more, the most gentle kind, no ego, just the greatest.
Paul Vato: He really was. I met him when, at Dell Close's.
Andrew Roffe: Yeah.
Paul Vato: Going away party. If you look,
Andrew Roffe: I've seen the video of that.
Paul Vato: I'm in it. I'm at the end. I look much younger, obviously, I think I had long hair. Did I? I don't remember. In the documentary, For Mad Men Only they show that video and I'm in the last scene. I'm like, I should have at least gotten credit for that. But yeah, that's when I first met Harold Ramis and Bill Murray was there. It was a beautiful ceremony for Del and, a couple days later he was gone.
Andrew Roffe: Brian Stack, I've known Brian a really long time. He's like the nicest guy. My mom is a Broadway musical producer and lives in Chicago. She's been working in New York going back and forth for two decades now. Whenever we'd go, I'd go to Conan and then when Conan was doing the tonight show, he'd always invite us backstage. Norm Holly, who was the director of The [00:37:00] Second City Training Center, I don't know if, is he still?
Paul Vato: That, I don't know. I don't believe so.
Andrew Roffe: I don't think he's either .
Paul Vato: If he's able to work, he should be cuz yeah. I think I studied with norm.
Andrew Roffe: He was wonderful. Norm Holly had this hilarious story about how Brian was like nice to a fault. He'd be like, yeah, I'm sitting in a room talking about how horrible Adolf Hitler was and then it'd get to Brian stack and he'd be like, I didn't know the guy, so I just, I don't wanna say anything bad about him, I didn't know him. You almost at first think he's making fun of you, and then you're like, oh no, he is like that kind. I remember when I was finishing college, I was in New York and on his day off from working at Conan, he met me at 30 Rock in his office to talk about comedy for two hours. Just the sweetest guy ever.
Paul Vato: He really is. He was on the main stage as well. Sorry, I forgot Brian Stack on the Main Stage when I was there and then soon went to Conan. And then the story goes, Kevin went to New York, because I ran into him when [00:38:00]I went to Saturday Night Live to see her Horatio's show. Kevin went to New York and Brian was showing him around the offices, and then he goes here you go, Buddy, if you want, this is your desk and Kevin was like, wait, what? He goes. Yeah. If you wanna work here is your desk. That's how he told Kevin he was hired at Conan. I ran into him years later, probably like mid two thousands in LA. And I was like, Hey Brian, I'm. He goes, Hey, Paul, how are you, buddy? Yeah, I was like, what? Like, how does he even remember my name? And I wouldn't doubt, I don't wanna put it on him, but I wouldn't doubt that if I ran into him today and I wouldn't be upset if he wasn't, but I wouldn't doubt that he'd go, Hey, Paul, how are you? The memory on this guy? But the nicest man, I think that you could ever meet.
Andrew Roffe: Yeah, no, he really is. I think he's been at Colbert for a long time now and back in New York. Whenever I get to New York, I always try and hit him up. Just to say "hello" if I can. Yeah he's a total mensch.
Paul Vato: That's the definition of what Brian Stack is.
Andrew Roffe: Yeah. Yeah.
Paul Vato: That's wonderful. I'm [00:39:00] glad that you changed your work ethic.
Andrew Roffe: Yeah, me too, man.
Paul Vato: I'm so glad because all these connections that you've made, you've made them, you deserve all the success that's come your way and that is coming your way. Buddy you know, we're from the Midwest. We have this work ethic.
Andrew Roffe: I know. Yeah. Midwest is best. Chicago in the summertime, it's so special, man. It's home. Do you have a Cubs thing going on back there?
Paul Vato: I do. I just put photos up that are important to my life.
Andrew Roffe: I have this whole shrine, I dunno if you can see to the Cubs.
Paul Vato: Yeah. I love it.
Andrew Roffe: Did you hear that we won the World Series?
Paul Vato: What's that?
Andrew Roffe: Did you hear that the Cubs won the world series?
Paul Vato: When?
Andrew Roffe: 2016 and I have everything, anything that says World Series Cubs, I own. If they made Tampax World Series Cubs, I would just have it, you never know you.
Paul Vato: You never know. One day, I've got a story for you of how I was almost in a Tampax commercial. Can you imagine my face on your BOX. Of Tampax? I cried.
Andrew Roffe: That's a great pickup line for a woman at a bar. Can you imagine my face on your box?[00:40:00]
Paul Vato: Of Tampax?
Andrew Roffe: No, just box.
Paul Vato: Okay. Thank you. I was sitting at The D Casino in Vegas and when they won I was tearing up and people were like, are you crying?
I'm like, I'm there's dust in the air. I don't know what's going on. It was such an emotional moment that we got to see it in our lifetime and experience it. Man, it was a very special moment. Were you in LA when that happened?
Andrew Roffe: I flew back for the games and they lost game three and I was like, I can't go anymore. So I gave up my tickets and then after they won game five, I flew back to LA and I watched game six and seven alone. In game seven, I was like, I was a certifiable, crazy person. I never, ever want to be that invested in a game like that ever again. But yeah I didn't cry after they won. I honestly thought I was gonna pass out, it was just too much, but thank God they did win.
Paul Vato: I teared up. I couldn't help, but I, it wasn't.
Andrew Roffe: No, I wish I [00:41:00] would've, it would've been great. It was really special. It was an amazing time. Yeah it was so cool. I could talk for hours about the Cubs. People ask me what my backup plan is of comedy doesn't work and it's to own the Cubs. So no, I'm not a delusional person at all. I am a diehard baseball fan like Field of Dreams. I don't know if it's my favorite movie all time, but it does things to me that other movies can't do. Not only do I like follow the Cubs, but I like all their minor league teams, I know what's going on on and this is just a very roundabout way of saying I am very single.
Paul Vato: I almost said, ladies!
Andrew Roffe: I know, right? People are like, were you dropped on your head as a kid? And I actually was, my dad dropped me down escalator when I was two at the Miami airport. That might be it. I'm serious.
Paul Vato: You think? Wait, that's what turned you gay?
Andrew Roffe: I think that's not what turned me gay, but that's what like made me like, like too hetero, like, gay, but with too many hetero,
Paul Vato: Tendencies.
Andrew Roffe: [00:42:00] Interests and tendencies. I know it's just this weird mix. On a serious note like I do think that I have a distinctive voice because there's so much of gay comedy is like, and I'm not knocking it, but I'm saying so much of gay comedy is like queer performance art that's very targeted to a very niche gay audience. There's guys like Matteo Lane, who's a very popular comic, he's a Chicago guy. He's one of the biggest, I'd say gay comic going right now. I always thought of myself, and I could be totally wrong, but like more of a gay comic for a straight audience. I don't know if that changes or not, but there aren't in, in terms of like gay male standups, there, aren't a lot of guys who talk about what I talk about, which I think is great because I get to carve that niche. Oh yeah, he's the, he's that guy. Especially in the last three, four months when I first started making content I made another, I don't know if it's a mistake, but I was like, Charlie was like, you gotta focus on the Jewish and the gay, the Jewish and the gay. [00:43:00] No, I wanna be universally understood and this, and again he was right. I'm contractually obligated to say he was right in public. I have to say that. Over the last few months, I've really focused on Jewish content or gay content, and then I'm mixing in other things too. I have seen my following grow a bunch. I'm very popular with gay bears, which are big burly gay men, which is very flattering. Maybe I'll just have a show with lots of gay bears.
Paul Vato: Yeah. Yeah. It sounds the more you niche down though, the more universal you become, I think.
Andrew Roffe: It totally is. Charlie is the textbook example of really focusing on Wisconsin. And then he started branched out to Midwest and now he's branching out to more universal like cities and states, like bordering Midwest and outside of it and bringing in again, Bill Doucette who's from Boston. Dude Dad who's in Colorado. He's done stuff with Trevor Wallace in California. He is branching out a lot more.
Paul Vato: At least let's use this platform for good. What's [00:44:00] your ideal partner? What's your ideal guy, man?
Andrew Roffe: Oh, this has become Tinder now?
Grindr, but yeah.
Grindr. Yeah. I am definitely more of a romantic sort of old fashioned. I might describe it as vanilla, but I don't know. Someone who wants to settle down and have kids and have a boring family, I'd say mid twenties, mid thirties, who doesn't have to love baseball, but they can't hate it or all sports. I'm a dire sports fan. I always felt like a school teacher would be like a great type of partner for me. Definitely not someone in the entertainment business. No way am I doing that! One of the reasons I actually moved back to Chicago was, I just wasn't connecting with the dating scene in LA as much and I just thought like people in Chicago, Midwest or more my speed. Yeah, if someone's looking for a nice Jewish boy, they can find me on social.
Paul Vato: There you go, just reach out.
Andrew Roffe: I love that you said we're gonna do something for good. Do you wanna plug a charity? [00:45:00]Technically me talking about my dating life is charity so we actually did kill two birds with one stone.
Paul Vato: Fine fine. Fine. Do you wanna plug a gay charity? No. I'm kidding. Do you wanna plug a charity? Do you wanna plug anything?
Andrew Roffe: The Andrew Roffe Foundation.
Paul Vato: Final thoughts and anything that you'd like to promote give out your social media which I put into the fortune cookie, which is right below us people.
Andrew Roffe: I could be found Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok ASAPRoffe, which is just a really fun play on A$AP Rocky that seven people understand, but yeah, find me there. I'm on tour with Charlie this summer. We're gonna be all over Illinois and Wisconsin. I think we'll be in Ohio, in August. Just doing shows that way. If you wanna book me for some comedy, look me up and let's make it happen.
Paul Vato: Let's make it happen. That's wonderful. Andrew, thank you, buddy. Thank you so much for taking time.
Andrew Roffe: I appreciate it. Thank you for the conversation. It's been great talking to you.
Paul Vato: Likewise. Likewise, it's been such a pleasure. I'm glad to see more and more people from the [00:46:00]Chicagoland area. It makes me miss home and I wanna come out for a visit and I definitely wanna come out and support your shows.
Andrew Roffe: Thank you. Giordano's on me whenever you want it.
Paul Vato: Giordano's, oh, come on! Maybe we'll get some EYEtalian beefsss.
Andrew Roffe: There you go my friend. Beef and sausage, some peppers.
Paul Vato: We're blessed, we're from Chicaaago where we don't got an accent. All right. If anyone's in here please, a round of applause for Mr. Andrew Roffe.
Andrew Roffe: No, sit sit, no, please.
Paul Vato: No please. Wonderful. Wonderful Andrew. Thank you. And let's connect again. I would love to do this again and promote any of your new projects. So thanks again for being here.
Andrew Roffe: Appreciate it. Thank you.
Paul Vato: Have a wonderful rest of the weekend.
Andrew Roffe: Thank you so much.
Actor / Improvisor / Comedian / Writer
Andrew Roffe graduated from the famed Second City Conservatory in Chicago. Some of his TV/Film credits include Year One, Think Like a Man, Maron, and Trophy Wife. He is a comedy writer on the award-winning film Purpose Over Prison starring Romany Malco and Regina Hall.
Andrew performs across the country with internet sensation Charlie Berens.
He can be found on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / TikTok at @ASAP_Roffe