I don’t normally interview entertainers on this site. The closest I come to comedy is when I quote the editorial board of the Dayton Daily News- and they really aren’t funny. So when a publicist asks if I’d like to interview comedian Paul Mecurio- I first have to look him up- because I’m usually too busy writing stuff for you to have time to watch Comedy Central- or TV at all.
But one thing in his bio interested me. Here’s a guy who left Wall Street to do stand-up:
A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Paul Mecurio graduated with high honors from Georgetown Law School and began his career on Wall Street as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer at the law firm of Willkie, Farr and Gallagher and later as an investment banker at CS First Boston. All the while, Paul was honing a secret, second career writing and performing comedy in New York City. After several years on Wall Street, Paul moved center stage, leaving Wall Street and starting his career as a stand-up comedian.
I got in touch with him as he was driving back from Indy where he’d been on the Bob & Tom show. He’s in Dayton at the Funny Bone until Sunday- so if you want to hear the guy who writes jokes for everyone from Leno to Jon Stewart- get your tickets now.
One has to wonder about a guy who goes to Georgetown Law and leaves a high-paying, relatively safe job on Wall Street to become a comic.
I’m not a shrink, but I’m pretty sure his parents needed one when they heard the news. Obviously, after the mess the boys on Wall Street made of the country- we know who is laughing now. Paul had some interesting views on politics- including the one I share- that we’d do better to pay for the campaigns, give them 3 debates and 2 town halls and get done with it. When I asked about his favorite political fodder- his first response was our own John Boehner- followed by the easily mocked Sarah Palin- and he lamented the loss of George W. Bush with his remarkable ability to smirk at all the wrong times- which Mecurio blamed on…. well, either listen to the recording when I get it up- or go see him.
He thinks Al Franken has as much of a right to be in Congress as the rest of us- and reminded me that you have to be pretty bright to do satire well. He credits the Socratic method from law school for great prep to be a comic. Asked if he would ever consider running for office, he said the bodies in his trunk would probably come back to haunt him- which is unfortunate, because the clowns we elect now don’t have the witty comebacks. The fact that so many of these goofballs- the latest being the former Congressman from New York, Christopher “Craigslist” Lee- can’t seem to do their jobs is laughable, but hardly funny.
At one point Paul, after learning I was in advertising for my full-time job- tried to blame my industry for the current crop of weirdness that we elect- to which I had to correct him- it’s not the ad industry making money off campaigns, most reputable ad agencies don’t touch political work, it’s the media companies- the newspapers, radio, television networks that love the boost that comes to their bottom line every two years.
I don’t get out much these days- but, if I was going to catch a comedy show this weekend- I’d head over to see Paul Mecurio at the Funny Bone. Face it- he gave up billions in bonuses to become a stand-up, and for that- we should try to help boost his bottom line.