Paul Mecurio is Wall Street Lawyer turned comedian who has won an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award for his work on The Daily Show. Paul also does some hilarious stand up and is developing his own show that looks to be to Sports Center what The Daily Show was to the news.
When you graduated law school from Georgetown did you have any inkling that you might want to make comedyyour career? No, I thought I would eventually leave the law and pursue my true love of competitive Bedazzling but alas, carpal tunnel made that a mere dream.
Actually, truth be told, I had written some short film ideas while in law school that I intended to make (which I did) once I got some money but no, I never intended to make comedy a career.
When did you decide that comedy, not Wall Street was your thing? There wasn’t a definitive moment but I started to think seriously about it after I saw Jay Leno perform one of my jokes on “The Tonight Show.” Even though I was working on mergers and acquisition deals on Wall Street as a lawyer first, then as an investment banker, seeing Jay do that joke was the most powerful thing that ever happened to me. I’d say that was the start of the comedy career path.
Were you a good lawyer? If by good you mean six malpractice suits … one pending … then I was EXCELLENT.
How much work did you have to do before you were invited to write on The Daily Show? Craig Kilborn, the original host, needed someone to prepare his morning yogurt and melon and I had the knack. What can I say? The rest is history.
Ok, what really happened was, I was a pretty green comic, working as a stand-up. One of the creators of the show, Lizz Winstead, knew me from stand-up and thought I might have the right sensibility for the show so she asked me to do a writing submission and I was hired. So the work I had been doing on my own stand-up and in my short films helped get me in a position to be considered for the show.
What was it like to watch the show grow into what it is now? Amazing. In the beginning not too many people were watching. The critics were kind early on and that helped the show gain momentum, and the network gave us free reign to be bold and try new things, but when it really took off none of us could believe what a hit it had become. What’s really interesting is fans range from 15 year-old kids to the elderly. It’s really cool that it resonates with such a wide spectrum of people.
Are you currently involved with The Daily Show? Yes, I am the warm-up comedian for the show and … of course, I prepare JON STEWART’s morning yogurt and melon. Old habits die hard.
What late night television show appearance was the most fun? I really liked doing my Half Hour Special for Comedy Central. You get to do a long set of material and that allows you to talk about a variety of material and really craft a story.
You can catch my half hour on my website or on myspace.
Do you prefer stand up or television?
I like them both equally for different reasons. The rush of a live show that is going well is amazing. The fun of producing and performing something on TV that reaches a big audience at one time is a rush of a different kind. Plus, it’s pretty cool to see yourself on TV.
Sports humor or political humor? I like both equally. For me the focus is on the personalities in those respective worlds and there are always some great characters who will make great fodder for comedy.
I’m VERY excited about the sports comedy show I shot called “Sports Central.” It’s a satire of all the bad off-the-field behavior, the excesses, etc. that plague sports. We have gotten great feedback on the show and people think it’s going to be a breakout hit. No one is doing a show like this and I feel it’s a show that is right for the times. People can see an episode of the show on my website.
American or cheddar? Cheddar. But I love America and support our troops.
To date, which one of your accomplishments are you the most proud of? I tied for 6th in the semi-pro Bedazzling Championships in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
What is next for Paul Mecurio? I have a nice feature article that recently came out about me in “Penthouse Magazine” (insert your own joke here). I am working on finalizing details that will get my sports show off the ground. And I’ll be back out on the road, doing clubs and theaters. I am VERY psyched about a tour I'm doing with, “The Bob & Tom Radio Show.” A group of stand-ups will be touring the country doing theaters as part of this tour. It’s going to be a blast!!!
I also have a regular segment on “The Bob and Tom Show” where I am an image makeover expert who gives advice to famous people who have trashed their public image.
Folks can check out my entire tour schedule, my “Penthouse" article, and video clips at www.paulmecurio.com. And please join my e-mail list when you go to my site so I can let you know when I’ll be coming to your town. Also, add me as a friend on myspace!
So that’s what’s next … oh yeah … and yogurt and melon!
Thanks a lot, Paul. It was great talking with you! Now, you heard the man! Go to his website! Add him on myspace!