Drew Carey is working a double-shift these days. By day, the veteran actor-comedian is the host of the classic game show “The Price Is Right” on CBS. Many nights, he’s on the road performing his stand-up act.
“I feel like I’m back to my roots — it’s something I should be doing,” says Carey, who performs 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, referring to his stand-up act. “I just love it. I wish I kept it up, but I feel like I’m really back in the groove.”
The longtime fixture on the small screen put aside his stand-up during the height of his primetime fame.
In the mid-’90s, he co-created and starred in “The Drew Carey Show,” a sitcom that ran for nine seasons on ABC, and he enjoyed another major hit with his ABC improv show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Carey is also the author of a best-selling memoir, “Dirty Jokes and Beer: Tales of the Unrefined.”
Ahead of his return to A.C., Carey talks about getting personal in his act and why he likes casino audiences best of all.
Q: How does “The Price Is Right” fit with your stand-up, or are they two separate things?
A: I do talk about “The Price Is Right” in my act. People have to know and people are are aware that I’m a different person than what you see on “The Price Is Right.”
The person is not the job. When I do stand-up, I say whatever I want. I don’t do stand-up comedy as “The Price Is Right” host. I just do it as me, because that’s the best thing I can do to entertain the audience.
Q: So your act is much more personal?
A: It has to be. Lately, the best comedy to me is personal. The more personal it is, the funnier it is. The style of comedy lately is a very personal style. Just to be current, you want to be super personal. I just do my own thing when I do stand-up, and hopefully they accept it or not.
If you come see my act, you’ll know all about me when you’re done, as much as I’m comfortable talking about.
Q: You used to make much of your being overweight, but cut out a lot of that material after you shed 80 pounds. How do you decide what material works –– or doesn’t — in your act?
A: A group of people is always much stronger than one person. I trust the crowd to tell me if something is good or something isn’t. That’s one good thing about stand-up comedy, the crowd will always tell you yes or no. You can think it’s funny or your friends can think it’s funny, but if the crowd of people isn’t laughing, that’s not funny.
Q: How is A.C. for crowd-sourcing?
A: Casino audiences are always pretty good audiences. Everybody goes to Atlantic City. You’re going to get a pretty good cross-section of people. I look forward to playing Vegas or Atlantic City. It’s like a TV crowd. You can’t go wrong doing a show there.
Q: Will you get topical?
A: I try not to be very topical. It’s a lot of hard work to write jokes in the first place, and then to write them and think I can only use this joke for a week or two weeks ... A month ago, or whenever the VMAs were, a Miley Cyrus joke would have been great. Now I don’t want to hear anything more about it. It’s so old, and that was only a few weeks ago. Already, it’s like this thing that blew up.
I would have written a three-minute Miley Cyrus bit. I would introduce the subject and would hear people go, “Oh God.” You can hear the audience go, “Oh, Jesus,” out loud because they don’t want to interact with you.
All you want is to get a laugh. A round of applause isn’t as good as laughter. What you want is people laughing. There are a lot of guys that do super-topical stuff. Sometimes, it’s not funny — it’s just them complaining. I’m always aware I don’t want to be a crotchety man on stage railing at the world.