Interviews

Actor Michael Rapaport Has Always Embraced His Disruptive Personality

Michael Rapaport in stand-up action.
Michael Rapaport in stand-up action. Amanda Haynes PR
Comedian and actor Michael Rapaport is taking over the stage at Stand Up Live’s downtown Phoenix location for three nights, November 19 to 21. And if you thought the guy who raged his way through the Trump presidency is done talking politics since the 2020 election, think again.

“I try to make it (the whole show) as personal as possible. I talk about myself, who I am, how I got here. I talk about marriage and divorce, and I definitely talk about politics," he says.

Biden being elected gave him a little room to breathe, but he’s undoubtedly not spitting rainbows.

“I got peace for me, but I think the damage is done,” he tells Phoenix New Times. “The divisiveness — that’s going to take a long time to go away. I don’t think Biden is by any means perfect; I don’t think any politicians are perfect or totally trustable. Sometimes, to be honest, I enjoyed it better when I was comfortable ignorant to it. Now I’m not ignorant to it, and it’s always worrisome.”


He’s not just talking about politics on stage or his I Am Rapaport Stereo Podcast. Recently, he, along with Progressive Super PAC MeidasTouch, produced the film The Supporters, now streaming. It stars Jason Selvig and Davram Stiefler, a.k.a. The Good Liars sketch comedy duo, as a couple of mega MAGA fans who want to become Fox News hosts. Pre-election, these pranksters pulled some Borat-style stunts that offer a simultaneously funny and terrifying look at blind faith in the political arena.

Rapaport’s excited about the project. “The movie is great, outlandish, and fun while being very important. I think it’s one of the best documentaries of the year, and I’m very proud to be a producer.”

Rapaport has been nothing if not prolific since he started doing stand-up and acting in the early '90s. He’s appeared in a slew of movies, from True Romance to The Heat. Plenty of TV shows, too: Justified, My Name is Earl, and Prison Break are a few. He likes mixing it up, and though he can remember a time in showbiz that actors were told to have more of a solitary focus, that was never going to be his mode of operation.

“Earlier in my career, you’d hear, ‘Movie people don’t do TV’ and it was looked down upon to do TV. Everyone on TV wanted to do movies. If you started doing TV, it looked like your movie career was over. Now, it’s all melded together, and I think that’s great. There are many ways to diversify your talents, like podcasting, new networks, so many forums. Everybody and their mother have a podcast now; the biggest stars in the world are on social media. The rules are blurred now, and you don’t have to be put into a box.”


His fearless nature when it comes to hollering about whatever is on his mind is nothing new. The Rapaport that you see (and, of course, hear) getting vocal about everything from sports to The Real Housewives to feelings about his recent colonoscopy — that guy is who the comic says he’s always been.

“I’ve always been very open and self-effacing. I have always been a talker. I have been a disruptive personality since before I even started school as I’ve gotten older. I’ve embraced that more and just like to present myself honestly. I’m not an animal, I’m a trained professional, but I don’t ever try to present myself in a way that’s not relatively honest to who I am.”

He knows he might not be for everyone, and he’s okay with that. “There might be some people that are a little bit scared of me, but for the most part, it’s all working out. I never thought I’d be guest hosting The Wendy Williams Show, but that’s among one of the different things I’ve done lately.”

Rapaport can also be seen in the upcoming Hulu show Life and Beth, created by Amy Schumer. He doesn’t reveal too much about the show except that it’s “a dark comedy that I think people will love.”

He says that he is excited about enjoying some Arizona weather and that audiences should know he plans to bring it every night. “I try to give it all, whether you’re hearing me on a podcast or seeing me on stage. I don’t think I could give any more, to be honest with you. Every time you hear me or see me, I try to leave blood on the floor."

Michael Rapaport. 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Friday, November 19; 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, November 20; and 7 p.m. on Sunday, November 21. Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Tickets are $30 to $40.
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Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young