by Kevin D’Hooge
Comedy and wrestling go hand in hand. How else can you compensate for getting hit with steel chairs on a nightly basis?
WWE superstar Dolph Ziggler openly states he is a stand-up comedian who wrestles to pay the bills. John Cena has also been showing an interest in comedy. He had a movie-stealing performance opposite Amy Schumer in the 2015 comedy hit Trainwreck.
Hardcore wrestling legend and WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley has now turned into a seasoned comedy veteran.
I had the privilege of seeing Foley perform live at the Kowloon Restaurant in Saugus, MA last Friday night.
Foley candidly stated he does not consider himself to be a comedian; he’s a spoken word artist who tells stories. Said stories just happen to end in humorous fashion.
Mick said the shift from wrestling to comedy was logical. Both arts require the performer to stand center stage and entertain an audience.
The mark of a true comedian, or a wrestler like Mick for that matter, is his or her ability to adjust on the fly when things go off script.
Little did Mick know he would have to use his improvisational skills on that fateful night in Saugus.
Near the opening of the show, Mick polled the audience by asking if there were any non-wrestling fans in attendance. A single table of two couples, sitting front and center, were the only ones to raise their hands at the sold out show. This should have been a dead giveaway of what was to come.
Minutes into the show, various chatter and phone-checking from the table became evident to Foley. This led him to ask why they attended in the first place.
One couple from the table answered that they had seen Foley on Wife Swap and liked his work on that program (???).
Foley carried along until the restlessness from the aforementioned table ignited to a boil.
One of the couples at the table got into a Mai Tai-infused verbal disagreement. Like “good sports” the couple decided to air their drama for all in attendance.
The boyfriend in the couple was first to leave. He didn’t go silently. He made sure to scream out and make his best attempts to heckle Foley.
This is really where Foley’s knack for improvisation shined: he quipped “NAH-NAH-NAH-NAH! NAH-NAH-NAH-NAH! HEY-HEY-HEY! GOODBYE!” The entire audience sang along.
Soon after, Foley pointed out that he wished he had Kurt Angle’s old theme song queued up to antagonize the wannabe heckler.
As the other members of the table departed the building, Mick delivered possibly the two lines of the night. First he said, “You didn’t pay your [food and drink] bill!”
He followed this with, “This isn’t the first time a couple has broken up at one of my shows…”
To make light of the situation, Mick opined that if anybody had to walk out of his show, he was happy it was them.
Mick smoothly carried along like a professional and told glorious, side-splitting stories involving his extreme battles with Terry Funk in Japan, his infamous Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker, countless backstage anecdotes involving Mr. McMahon and more!
Foley stuck around for a question and answer session and was accompanied by former wrestler Chris Nowinski, who is the author of Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis. Nowinski is also the co-founder of Sports Legacy Institute, which advocates medical research into brain trauma.
Foley and Nowinski answered questions from the audience and also led a discussion about the seriousness of brain injuries in sports.
Proving what a class act he is, Foley held a meet and greet session at the conclusion of the show. He signed autographs, posed for pictures and spoke with all in attendance.
Mick Foley will continue touring the United States, in addition to Canada and Europe, for the remainder of 2015. Dates and times for the tour can be found at realmickfoley.com.