This is an interview I got to do with one of my comedy heroes…
Back to Paradiiiiiise
an interview with Chuck Dubroski
Famous for his love of cheeseburgers and milkshakes and jokes about his dead parents, Chuck Dubroski rose to ethereal regions in the mid 80's and one of the best selling comedy records (the firestarter, 'Lizards for Sale") which won a grammy. We caught up with Chuck on his state fair "tour" to talk about the future, the past, and what it meant to be in "Paradiiiiiiise".
Which state fair has been your favorite so far?
Hey, honestly, they are ALL a treat...mostly cuz that's where the heart is, that's where the fun is, you know? My real fans, they are ready...after a full day of Tilt-a-Whirls and funnel cakes, where better to go than to a sweet Chuckie DUBRO set! But, the most memorable had to be the Pittsburgh Kansas one where Mudfoot Davis and His All Star Zydeco Band opened for me! Not really opened, he was on at noon and I was on at 6, but let me tell you, Mudfoot kicked up a storm and I almost got into a fight with about 6 townies [ed. - "Comedian Chuck Dubroski got into a scuffle with Jake "Mudfoot" Davis and his dog Sal at the Corn Queen Fair on Saturday after Dubroski kicked the dog into a cotton candy stand. Both men were over the legal BAC and were arrested for public drunkenness." - Pittsburgh Star, 7/23/05], but none could survive the Dubroski Pants Dance, get me??? HAH!
Is it hard to share a tour bus with country legends?
Well, Willie [Simonson] and George Jones [Johnson III] are great guys, always telling stories about the old days, but Hank [Phillips] can be a real jagoff!
Oh YEAH! Hey, you remembered another catch phrase! You did your homework! Hank [Phillips] is always hoggin' the bathroom...and hoggin' the LADIES, if you know what I mean? HAH! OH YEAH! That one never took off...
Where did you see yourself now in the mid 80's?
Well...I'm still doing what I love...over and over again for smaller houses, but hey! Who's counting? [ed. - Chuck's "Lizards for Sale" was taped in front of an audience of 25,000 at the Denver Auditorium in 1986. Chuck's last performance at Six Flags over Great America drew a crowd of 127 - 32 of which left when they found out that Dokken would not be headlining as promised.] But, really...my love is making great comedy...I hope to still have a TV sitcom, that's where a guy like me can really shine! I once pitched an idea to Fox set around one of my many characters, Chinese Man, but they said it was a bit "un-PC"...*adopts horrible Chinese patois* can you BERIEVE it???? ASOH! ME SO SOLLY!
Does your ex-wife's ownership over your catchphrase create problems with your new act?
Bonnie, how are you, how's Pedro the Pool Boy???? Kidding! Bonnie and I are on really great terms. The divorce was a bit "hostile" as the scumbags...I mean lawyers, HAH!..say. But, really, she got what she deserved [ed. - Bonnie Dubroski nee Frances lives in a 12 room mansion in Beverly Hills with comedian John Pinette. Her ownership of Dubroski's catch-phrase "I'm in PARADIIIISE!" nets her approximately $730,000 per year.] and it doesn't really affect my act at all! Listen, I'm a talker, I get paid to come up with brilliant insights into the American condition, and it takes more than catchphrases to tap into that, my friend! I'm in HEAAAAVEN!!!!! HAH!
Talk a little about your new act and the way you see it fitting into the quilt of modern American comedy.
Well, still coming out to Halen's "Runnin with the Devil"...that's a staple...a Dubroski classic. I usually warm up with local color bits, and that's where I can really show off the homework. So many young guys, the younger comics they don't take the time to get to know the places they perform. You know, off the bus, do the set, on the bus again. Hey, it's tough, I get it...but you've got to get tough! That's what it's about, these kids can't go the distance. If there's a joke about the local bar, the local BBQ joint, the mayor...you've GOT to hit that stuff. That's what the people want. I perform for them, not me. They are the paying customers. Usually after that I segue into the dead mom and dad jokes, which are screamers and I usually throw in the classics...you know, dead mom gets wet, she's called Cassie, giving dead dad the 'marvin'...but I'll keep em fresh...just to freak out the straights! HAH! But, really, what sets Dubroski apart is the way I can relate and riff with an audience. A lot of the new performers can't handle it...you're gonna get heckled pal! Better get on it!
Any performers in particular?
Dane Cook, this Dave Attell guy, the jerk from the Chipmunks movies [ed. - David Cross, star of Arrested Development and Mr. Show, two shows considered cult classics of this generation of TV comedies.], even Larry the Cable Guy...WHO I LOVE, don't get me wrong! Hey Larry! Gitrdone! But, really, I always give the crowd what they want, and more importantly what they NEED. That's the Dubroski style, and it can't be stopped. A guy starts heckling, does the crowd want you to ignore it? Hell no, they want to see that guy get shut down! We aren't paying for you pal, we've come for the Chuckmeister! And that's the diff, my man...the relationship with me and the Dubroski fans, the Chuckleheads as they call themselves!
When did you decide to replace the cheeseburgers and shakes with ramen and tea?
Well, during the 90s things were a little nuts, I started drinking a LOT and you know how it goes, you get a little older and that kinda lifestyle can catch up. So, one night, I was HAMMERED drunk at a Fair in East Barlow, Texas and I started dipping the burger in the strawberry shake ON STAGE and ate the whole thing. I tell you, passing a burger, shake, and styrofoam cup and straw is a BITCH...like my ex-wife! Kidding! AHAH! So, after a few trips to the doctor and a couple of high colonics, we decided it was best to tone it down. Saves money too! Anything to keep the Dubroski Express running smooth!
Anything really bug you?
Manbags! Really, who thought that up? Why would I want a purse? If a wallet was good enough for Gramps Dubroski, it's good enough for me! Oh, and sitcoms with no laugh track...like I need a pretentious comedy! Gimme some According To Jim and I'm ALL GOOD, YO! The worst is these new performers doing "Alt" comedy...*overenunciates* DOUBLE YOU TEE EFFF? Why would anyone sit through an hour act of someone with terrible diction, bad language, and comments about Roy Schieder's film career? This is funny? Sorry PAL, I ain't buying what you're selling. I mean, gimme some great comics ok! Robin Williams, Louie Anderson...there's a couple new guys that are good...Carlos Mencia! Love him. I mean, I was one of the trendsetters..."I don't come to where you work and knock the dick out of your mouth"...that was ME! I created that. [ed. - The first instance of this particular heckler response was in 1967 at a Lenny Bruce show in the East Village of New York.] All I do is comedy...that's all I think about...constantly trying to come out of the box with new things! MAMMA MIA, here I go again!
Finally, where did "I'm in paradise" come from?
Said it in Aspen at a ski lodge in like 1982...we were all really high on blow and it seemed appropriate. Just kinda stuck...*drawn out sigh while staring into the middle distance*
Have a safe trip.
-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach