Over the last few years, comedy lovers have happily followed Rob Delaney on his amazing journey from Twitter phenom to respected writer and stand-up comedian. And this month, there’s a huge payoff for us, as if his constant stream of brilliantly tweets wasn’t enough. The Boston-bred, Los Angeles-based comic’s first stand-up comedy special Rob Delaney: Live at the Bowery Ballroom is now currently available via digital download for $5, which has become the going rate for self-released fair ever since Louis C.K. started the trend at the end of last year followed by Jim Gaffigan and Aziz Ansari. I recently had a chance to chat with Rob about the new special, his new family life, his athletic-like napping prowess, Slayer and much more. Check it out below.
So, you’ve self-released your first stand-up comedy special. What are your expectations?
The only important one is to learn. I don’t have a financial goal beyond that it would be nice to make back the money that I spent.
The number one goal is to get my stand-up in front of more people and then the number two is to learn what this online community that I’ve been so fortunate to build up capable of?
Yeah, and you’ve got quite a bit to work with—nearly 600,000 Twitter followers alone.
Yeah, it looks like the ground is fertile and time will tell but I wouldn’t have done it if it didn’t seem like a good idea.
I don’t know if it’s too early to talk about or if it’s just too early to tell. Is there going be televised version of the special?
Down the road, it’s likely.
But too early to say exactly who and when?
Yeah, at this point— because that’s not finalized yet.
Do you think people are going to have a hard time kind of reconciling the Rob Delaney on Twitter and the Rob Delaney on stage when they watch the special?
No, I don’t, because thousands and thousands of people, thank goodness, have come to see me live, so that question has already been answered in that people have been able to reconcile my online dilly-dallying with my stand-up. That’s sort of tested and the results have been positive. You can’t ask for more than that.
I wanted to talk a little bit about the status of your book. Are you completely done writing it?
The first draft is written and the publisher is reading it, or not reading it, but editing it, and I will then proceed with shaping it up after that.
Writing a book, to me, has always seemed beyond daunting. I can’t imagine writing anything more than a few pages. What’s been the biggest challenge working on a project like that?
Really just getting in the headspace where you sit down to pound out the words. I enjoy writing. I don’t enjoy procrastinating. I do it, but I hate the way I feel when I do it. I don’t like thinking about writing. I don’t like talking about writing. So there’s a lot of activity, or rather inactivity, that surrounds the act of writing, and that stuff is acutely painful and I hate it. But once you sort of force yourself to shut out the outside world and produce, it’s really not bad and I even enjoy it.
So your motivation is to not put yourself in a situation where you’re procrastinating because procrastinating is so painful to you.
What sort of things have you to procrastinate?
Jerk off. Eat. Take naps. Go online. Write anything other than what I’m supposed to be writing– like write an article for a magazine, but I should be writing a book. It’s just ridiculous.
I can’t imagine taking a nap in that situation? You’re able to calm yourself down enough that you can actually fall asleep?
Yeah, I can sleep under any circumstances. I’m so good at sleeping. My favorite naps I take in my car. I take naps in my car ALL the time.
Are you serious?
Dead serious. Because in LA, you’re driving from thing to thing, you have a meeting at 1:00 and then another one at 3:30, and they’re in the same area of town and you live somewhere else. I don’t know what other people do. I take a fucking nap. I pull onto a shady side street and I nap in my car.
Has anybody ever interrupted your nap? Because usually if you see a grown man, napping in a car, you’d assume that he’s nodding off from heroine or something.
Yeah, which I think is a safe assumption. I don’t do heroine, but I live my life like a heroine addict. Yeah, I sleep really well in my car, too. I love it.
What kind of car do you drive?
I don’t want to say. It’s a cheap car. But forgive me not saying the make of the car that I drive, as weird as that is.
That’s ok. I was just curious to see if I could maybe attempt a nap in a similar car.
I’ll say this. It’s an OLD Japanese sedan.
You have a son, who’s a year-and-half now. Can you sleep through his screaming?
No, certainly not. If I’m home and we’re both home at the same time, and he naps I will also nap. If he’s crying or whatever, I’ll be awake to figure out whatever I can do to make him not cry.
You’re on the road a good amount and out late doing spots in LA when you’re not traveling. And you’re a husband and father. How’s your life?
I would describe my life as good. I’m happy with it. I love my family very much and I love doing stand-up very much. I enjoy the tension between having those things that I love very much. That’s how it is. My marriage and my family are extremely important to me. So I don’t make any sort of career decisions, including even buying a plane ticket or scheduling an out-of-town gig without checking with them. My time with them is so precious. A theater in another state or a producer can wait for me to figure out what I’m doing with my family before I agree to anything else. I just make sure to filter every possible decision through my family so I can see how it would affect people other than me.
That’s a really healthy attitude.
Yeah, well, they also make me funnier. There’s also a selfish comic element to it. So, if I lost them, then I don’t know what I would talk about, you know? To me the most fascinating things in the world are my child and my wife, and so much of my comedy comes from my family and my relationship with them that, you know, they’re not, a snap-on part of my life. They are my life.
What’s the one website, not counting anything related to social media, you have to visit every single day?
Lately, it’s been Pandora. Does that count?
Sure, that counts.
And I like to listen to desert rock, and stoner rock, and doom metal on Pandora and discoving new, weird bands.
That’s awesome. I grew up playing in metal bands and listening to metal. Who’s your old favorite and who are some of the bands you discovered on Pandora?
Well, I mean, the super-enduring old favorite for metal is Slayer, no one can really touch them. And then for new metal, it’s High on Fire. I listen to High on Fire every day, very loud, in my home and in my car; they’re a band I’m crazy about.
When was the last time you cried?
I’m sure it was recently because I cry somewhat frequently. What did I last cry about? It’s coming to me. Give me a second.
Take your time.
Ok. Oh yeah, I was in London [a few weeks ago] for like 60 hours. I went from LA, and I did like four shows in three days and I was so tired and fucked up, that when I was riding the tube, which is the subway in London, and I just thought about my family, I started crying on the train.
Because I was too tired to handle missing them, you know? So I cried.
For more info on Rob and to download his stand-up comedy special Rob Delaney: Live at the Bowery Ballroom head over to RobDelaney.com.