Bruce Bruce Talks Krispy Kreme, James Brown, Dieting, Rednecks, and Airplanes

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Bruce Bruce has been living large in the world of comedy for decades, and not just because he's been known to rock XXXL-size threads. 

The Atlanta-born stand-up comedian -- who clocks in at six feet and around 300 pounds, has performed on such legendary programs as Showtime at the Apollo and Def Comedy Jam, appeared in flicks like Who's Your Caddy? and Idlewild -- has been known to make a few cameos in the music videos of such hip-hop superstars as Ludacris. 

Bruce Bruce also works gigs in clubs across the country, including his upcoming appearance at Stand Up Live in downtown Phoenix this weekend. The 43-year-old will likely drop plenty of humor, jokes about food, and some choice barbs. Although Bruce Bruce works pretty clean, that doesn't make him any less funny, as the comedian relies on his well-honed improv skills and quick-witted punch lines instead of an endless stream of F-bombs.

Jackalope Ranch recently got a chance to speak with Bruce Bruce and heard plenty of jokes about his size, his comedy, and his appetite. 

How would you describe your particular brand of comedy?
It's stuff about everyday life mixed with family stuff and me picking on people. I don't do too many [jokes] about current affairs, because almost every comedian always does that. So I take a different route than what they're talking about.

You generally work pretty clean in your sets, right? Does that make it hard to get laughs sometimes?
Sometimes I can do a pretty clean show, since I perform at churches all the time. And sometimes I might use a "damn" or "shit" that comes out. But there's nothing that's vulgar or disrespectful. It's all good and it's all still funny, though. And I don't care what color the crowd is -- black, white, Asian, whoever. It don't matter. Funny's funny and I'm gonna get them to laugh.

You call yourself "The Baby James Brown" in your book. How come?
Because I was such a James Bown fan when I was young. Nowadays, kids like a bunch rappers like Lil Wayne and Ludacris, but in my era it was all about James Brown. I was a fanatic and used to do a dance called the James Brown back in the day. So they called me Baby James Brown. I'm not the hardest working man in showbiz yet, but I'm getting there (laugh).

Speaking of rappers, you've starred in the videos of such hip-hop artists like Outkast and The Ying-Yang Twins. Why is that?
I'm in a lot of those videos because those guys are all from my hometown of Atlanta. And I knew them when they started back in the day and I'm older than them, so they've always looked at me as their big brother. So they call me whenever they're doing something big. They also give me shout outs in their songs. It's just there way of showing me some love. Too $hort even told all the skinny girls to let me "hit it" in one song.

You crack a lot of jokes about your size. Does being a larger man in the entertainment industry limit your job opportunities?
Being a bigger person, whether you're male or female, in entertainment, it can hurt your chances. Because people look to you to be a so-called superstar. Perfect body, perfect figure, good looking, and smart. And larger people, we have to fit in anywhere we can and the best way we can, so to speak. The way the world looks at you at being perfect, and nobody's perfect.

Food has been a part of your comedy routines, like your joke about how Krispy Kreme donuts might cause you to wreck your car.
Yyou know what, being a big man, I don't have one favorite food. I like all food. Krispy Kreme's one of my favorites though. They're still huge in the south, where I'm from.

They're all closing down here in Phoenix.
Man, there's no way I could deal with that. I couldn't take it.

Speaking of the South, you've joked about how you're afraid of rednecks. Is that still the case?
I used to be, but not anymore. They're cool. When you hear them talk about how they ain't scared of nothing and nobody, that can be terrifying. But once you get to know them, and who they are and how they talk, they can be really good people. Just good ol' boys (laughs). Hell, I'm still in the south. I'm at the airport right now, waiting to get on a flight to Dallas, Texas.

Are you flying first class?
Of course I am. Big boys like myself have to be in the front where the seats are big enough for us. In coach, if you got in the middle seat, you're gonna catch it. All the elbow bumps, people climbing over you.

When other passengers see you coming, do they get nervous?
Yeah, they get jittery. I've been losing weight lately.

What's your secret?
I've got a personal trainer who's bipolar, so I don't know whether he's happy or sad. So I'm always trying to make him happy. I also cut out sodas and bread and all that. Most time I eat what I want, I've just cutting back a lot. Like when I went to Popeye's, I used to eat six or seven pieces, and now I just have a wing or two. That's hard.

You've joked a lot about cheating in relationships. Is cheating on a diet the same thing as cheating on a girlfriend?
Yeah, it's the same thing, because somebody's gonna lose, and it's usually you.

Let's image that you and a few, uh...larger comedians like John Pinette, Ralphie May, and Lavell Crawford are involved in an eating contest. Who wins?
I would beat 'em, because I can eat more than those guys. If Lavell's involved, he'd probably win. He's bigger.

Has losing weight made you any less funny?
Nope, not at all. People think you might lose your edge, but you don't. It encourages you to joke about other things.

Bruce Bruce is scheduled to perform at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street, this Friday through Sunday. Showtimes vary. Admission is $25 (plus a two drink minimum). Click here for ticket info.

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.