Shortly after celebrating its third year in business, local comedy club and music venue, The Secret Group is hosting the 5th Come and Take It Comedy Festival (CATI). This year’s festival will include headliners Josh Wolf, Dulce Sloan, The Goddamn Comedy Jam, Andy Kindler, Joe Derosa, Daniel Van Kirk, Kiran Deol, Chingo Bling, Nore Davis, Andrew Orolfo and over 50 other comics.
Byline Houston was granted exclusive access to a few of the festival’s headlining comedians and are excited to share our multi-part interview series in anticipation of this year’s festivities. In only a short amount of time this festival has managed to attract some of the biggest names in comedy and put on remarkably original shows. This year’s festivities are no exception, and one of the heavy hitters on the bill is the illustrious Josh Wolf!
Known for his numerous appearances on Chelsea Lately, his wildly popular podcasts, and his New York Times best selling book, Josh Wolf is truly a jack of all trades that was made for this era of entertainment. His career has spanned so many different mediums and avenues it makes a compelling case for human cloning. Who has the time to both write and star in several sitcoms, sell a script to Adam Sandler’s production company, and write a book while raising three kids by yourself (which is also what the book is about)?!
But probably the most compelling part of Josh and his brand of comedy is that he seems to have fun doing it all. You’d expect someone with his level of creative output to be constantly drained and jaded, but Wolf’s happy-go-lucky demeanor is hardly just a part of his stage persona. He spoke about the importance of balance and being able to take stock in the things one actually values in their life. It’s this kind of adherence to equilibrium that helps him maintain both a high output of digital content and a heavy live touring schedule while find ways to make time for his beloved family.
We sat down with the funny father of three while he was at home doing some laundry to talk comedy, his process, and even a little Astro’s baseball.
Radu Bondar: What does a regular day look like for someone like you?
Josh Wolf: Well, it would be really hard for me to tell you, because there are no regular days, right? So there’s no like, this is when I’m home—this is what I do because, it’s just the nature of this business, you know what I mean? Where the nature of this business tells you that there is no regular workday, because some days I have meetings, some days I don’t. Some days I have shows. Some days I don’t. Some days I’m doing a bunch of podcast. Some days I’m just writing. Like it’s truly you… you’re Bruce Lee. You’ve got to be like water. Yeah. There’s no normal day, but that is really what I like about my job.
I think it’s also more a sign of the times right, where everybody… Not too long ago you were either a comic or you were an actor or you are a musician or… It was not “AND”, it was you were a writer or you were a director or you were a creator. You know what I mean? And now it is just a bunch of “Ands”.
Radu Bondar: Do you prefer things the way they are now?
Josh Wolf: Me, personally, I do. I have a little problem focusing on one thing for a long time. So it’s good for me to have a bunch of things. I would tell you not just as an entertainer, as a person, it is my biggest strength, and my biggest weakness. I’ve got a little bit everything. I’ve written and sold TV shows and I’ve written and sold movies, and I’ve written on TV shows as part of staff. I’ve been on TV shows. I’ve been on panels. I’ve written a bestselling book, I’ve done podcasts, I’ve created my own online shows. I’ve obviously done standup. And in my standup, I’ve done storytelling, I play guitar. I get bored pretty easily. At the same time, I would tell you, pick any of those standup, whatever… I’m not for along as I think I could be because, I didn’t laser focus in on one thing. So it depends how you judge all of that stuff and what success is and all that shit, you know. For a long time I was kind of bummed at the way I did that because I was like oh I should have done this, I should’ve done that. I’d be further along here, further along there. But the truth of the matter is as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I wouldn’t have been happy doing that. And I may not have been good at it because I don’t know if I can sit down and do one thing and just one thing only.
Radu Bondar: You actually took time off from standup in 2003. Was it hard to stop? Or to come back?
Josh Wolf: You know, I missed it even when writing on Chelsea’s show. I toured, but I didn’t perform in town. You know, one of the things that I’ve always thought was really important was balance. I have kids, and there were times during the whole Chelsea run where my agents and managers were like, hey, lets push you out and do this and do this because now is the time to capitalize, but it would have left me with no time at home with my family, and we all know how that ends. And so for me, that sacrifice wasn’t worth it. So when I took time off, it was because I was writing on TV shows. I wrote on a couple of sitcoms, and I was working so much in the office. So it wasn’t like I took time off because I didn’t like it or I needed some a break. It was just I needed to keep balance. And the idea of working and then going after work, to work was not balance of course.
Radu Bondar: You have some experience with Texas having lived here before right?
Josh Wolf: I went to college in San Antonio, a place called Trinity. A bunch of my college friends are still there so I got to get my liver up and running. Made sure that I put it in training a little bit this week so it’s ready to roll. But I love coming out there, you know the first thing I’m gonna do when I get to Texas? I’m gonna leave that airport, I’ma drive to talk Taco Cabana, I’m gonna get two bean and cheese tacos with the side of Queso and Im gonna eat the shit out of that.
Radu Bondar: A mutual friend of ours told me to ask you about the time you threw a first pitch after a war hero at a baseball game, whats that story about?
Josh Wolf: Oh my God in Oakland, I followed a war hero and they booed the shit out of me. It was so… I mean I threw a strike, but as he was walking out to the mound they kept listing his accolades, one after another, after another after another. And the cheer just, (imitates crowd noise) And then it was Josh Wolf. And I was like, oh, my, God. And then “booooooo.” Slow boo on the way to the mound. Just what the fuck. That was brutal. But at Fenway when I threw out the first pitch they didn’t even say my name. They called me John Wolf. The truth of the matter is, it was a first pitch at Fenway, they could of called me Hoo Haa Boo Haa. When they asked me, hey, what size jersey do you want us to get you? I said, just one that’s long enough to cover up my boner cause I’m on the inside excited to be out there.
Radu Bondar: You’re a sports guy, do the Astros take it tonight? (This was before Game 7 of the world series)
Josh Wolf: Not a chance. It’s got nothing to do with anybody else on the team except Zach Grienke verse, Max Scherzer. I don’t know how you could possibly pick Greinke.
The Come and Take it Comedy Festival is back Nov 7th thru the 9th at the Secret Group in Houston’s East End.