“John Roy loves TV but prefers you see him live.”

By Jason Tanamor

John Roy used his stand-up comedy experience to get his life together. No, he didn’t quit and get a real job. Rather he just paid attention during a particular night he was working a gig. “The most depressing moment I had was sitting in the off track betting parlor/motel where my bar gig was that week, in some horrific part of Ohio, watching my alcoholic headliner get drunk in an empty bar betting on horse races he knew nothing about just to pass the time,” said Roy. “I thought, ‘Man, I gotta get serious about getting better or I’ll end up like that guy!’”

So that’s what he did. He got serious. The Chicago native whose self-describing act is “a young Chicago white guy who grew up in a multi ethnic neighborhood’s look at life,” first started doing comedy because the band he was jamming with wasn’t really that good. “My friend who was already a stand-up said my band sucked and I should give it (comedy) a try. He gave me a week to write five minutes and go to an open mike with him,” Roy said.

And thank goodness for that. That’s because, since Roy dedicated himself to comedy, he has appeared on several television shows including ‘Star Search,’ in 2003, in which he was the show’s first champion, earning $100,000 dollars and a development deal with CBS. He’s also been a square on ‘Hollywood Squares’ and Comedy Central’s ‘Premium Blend.’

Part of Roy’s success can be credited to his writing. “If I see, say, or hear something funny, I’ll write it down, and then later, I’ll think, How would I get this out to someone who didn’t know the conversation or moment it came from? How would I get to this same laugh going from zero to sixty?” said Roy. “Then I’ll write it down and get the wording right. Usually, more lines will come after doing it on stage for a while.”

About his live shows, Roy said, “I love performing on television, but live performance is the way to experience stand-up comedy, and I urge everyone to come out and see a show, as you can’t get that extra energy from any media.”


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous."

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