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.
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.
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