Comedians we dig: Mo Mandel

The comedian talks about working with Jackie Mason, Chelsea Handler and his new NBC pilot.

Published: April 12th 2011
in Culture » Television

Mo Mandel
Pic: Photo courtesy of Mo Mandel
Mo Mandel
Pic: Photo courtesy of Mo Mandel

Ever since he won Comedy Central’s Open Mic Fight in 2007, Mo Mandel has been doing what he does best: telling jokes. And after appearances on Chelsea Lately, the Comedy Central’s cult classic Reality Bites Back, and tours across the United States and Canada with Just For Laughs -- it’s safe to say that Mo Mandel is a funny dude. We chat with Mandel -- who was recently featured on Conan -- about working with Jackie Mason, attending Chelsea Handler’s crazy parties and his new pilot with NBC.


What got you into comedy?


Probably being needy and crazy. That and I've always had a love for writing and being in front of a crowd. I wrote novels and short stories through college and then finally got sick of writing all this stuff that no one ever read so I figured I'd do comedy, that way when I wrote something I could shout it at people from a microphone and force them to listen to it. So far so good.


Growing up, who were some of your comedic influences?


Woody Allen was my first comedic love. My dad has all these old Woody LPs and I'd listen to them with my family and memorize all the bits. I think I still have the "moose" bit down pat. I also loved Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, and Jackie Mason. When I signed with William Morris I told them how big of a fan of Jackie Mason I was as a kid, whom they also represent, and it led to me getting to play one of the leads in a movie that he starred in and produced. Working with Jackie was surreal ‘cause he sounds exactly like he did on his albums from the 80's and even uses some of the same material in his conversation.


You’re a regular guest on Chelsea Lately. Is Chelsea as funny as she seems on the show?


Chelsea is awesome. She is just as no nonsense and edgy and hilarious in person. She also takes great care of the people who work for her. She throws a f-ing great Christmas party that is always sponsored by one vodka brand or another and the drinks certainly flow. The last Christmas party she threw I saw certain famous people's bare ass cheeks out on the dance floor but I cannot legally say anything further. Let's just say it’s a good time. The rare time that I am recognized on the street it's always from the show, which is just a testament to how popular it is. I look forward to doing it again soon, though, that said, the last time I was on Lonnie Love open mouth kissed me and I still have nightmares.


What can you tell me about the new pilot you’re shooting?


I just wrapped an NBC pilot playing opposite Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn. It was an awesome experience and hopefully we'll get picked up to series and get to shoot 100 more episodes. The show is based on a British sitcom and follows the lives of two people who work together at a PR firm who start a relationship with one another after finding themselves suddenly single for different reasons. I play the office douche bag who brags about all his exploits with women which may or may not have ever really happened. In the pilot episode I convince Hank Azaria's character to come with me on a double date that does not go well. Hank Azaria does tons of voices on The Simpsons and he was cool enough to record my outgoing voice message as Moe the bartender so I could not be happier.


You made an appearance on Modern Family last year. What was that experience like?


I got to shoot a scene with Ed O'Neill aka Al Bundy in a shoe store! How amazing is that! I was a huge Married with Children fan as a kid and am a huge Modern Family fan now and so I was thrilled to get a chance to work with Ed whom I've always been a fan of. Modern Family is one of the absolute best shows on television. It remains my most emotional acting scene to date, though my crying in that scene was more comedic than dramatic. I look forward to the show going into syndication and getting lots of residual checks for years to come.


A lot of comedians use Twitter to help test out jokes and connect to their fans. Is social media important to you?


I tweet everyday and facebook all the time as well. MO MANDEL, follow me. I have lots of irrelevant yet funny online bullshit to share with the world!


You’re constantly touring -- when can we expect you in Canada?


I've now done the Montreal festival twice and hope to do it again soon. I've also headlined in Vancouver and did the Toronto festival last summer. Hopefully I will get back up there soon, but I'm waiting till the summer.


What else are you working on?


I just made an appearance last week on CONAN which was awesome and my debut CD comes out soon on Comedy Central Records. So look for that and get your pre-copy ordered today on MOMANDEL.COM. Other then that I'm just writing jokes and trying to fend off my on-setting full blown alcoholism. Oh, and praying and eating bacon.

Related articles: (Mo Mandel, comedy, Chelsea Lately, Hank Azaria, pilot)
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