Wrestling champ brings comedy to Golden Gecko

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

July 9, 2014 at 2:09 a.m.

He's a three-time World Wrestling Entertainment champion and a best-selling author of adult and children's books. Mick Foley, 49, surged to superstardom in the 1990s under stage names like Cactus Jack and Mankind with hoards of screaming fans following his every move.

But now in full retirement, he's touring the nation with a softer, more comedic message about living well and enjoying the ride.

Foley is coming to the Golden Gecko on Friday for a one-night-only show at 9 p.m.

The Advocate caught up with Foley to talk about life after wrestling and moving to the comedy stage.

How does a three-time WWE champion turn to stand-up comedy? And are you funny?

I know I call it stand-up, but it's more like storytelling. And yes, I tend to be funny.

So, have you always had a sense of humor?

My sense of humor grew out of necessity. I was pretty banged up after wrestling, and I had to find another way of connecting with audiences. I wanted to make people laugh.

Do you ever feel the need to wrestle anyone - any hecklers - in the audience?

Never. My audiences are really well behaved. I'd say I deal with a lot less than most.

Describe what you're like on stage.

When I retired, I was told I had the knees of an 80-year-old, and that was 10 years ago. I'm 49 now. But when I'm on stage, I'm almost catlike. I love being up there. It's so similar to how I used to feel when I was in the ring.

And what do you talk about? What's your material?

Since I'm in Texas, I'll throw down my President George W. Bush story. It's a fun, unique story that I won't give up here. But it's mostly an autobiographical journey about how my past led me to an unlikely success and how I managed to stay afloat. I talk about a guy who is able to strike fear into most people who possessed no natural physical talents.

And how have you manage to achieve continued success?

You work really hard, and you don't listen to people who think they know better than you. And you learn that great success do not come without big failures. I talk about some of these things in my show, and it sounds almost like a motivational talk, but it's meant to entertain.

You've had much success in wrestling, and you've written a few books, and you've done some acting. Do you have an artistic medium that you prefer?

In wrestling, there's something called being addicted to the "Pop," which is known as the audience reaction. I need an outlet because I have an addiction to their reactions. Most guys are kind of in a different situation when they retire, wondering where they'll get a paycheck dose of the pop. But I was smart and figured out early that I can get the same reaction from writing a book or reading a children's book to children that I wrote.

Do you get the pop from your stand-up?

Doing these shows, I get that sense every night. It doesn't matter that's it's a couple hundred people rather than thousands.

What message do you hope to relay to your Victoria fans?

I want to tell people we need to treat each other nicely. I specifically go out of my way to make my nonfans - and by that, I mean females - feel comfortable. There is no misogyny in my show.

Whether I'm wrestling, writing or promoting Santa Claus or storytelling in shows, I'm all about making the world a better place. And if people are on the fence about whether to come out, I'd tell them to come because it's much better than they would guess. I don't spend this much time away from my family for it not to be good.



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