Tracker Pixel for Entry

Fargo Audiences Come to Papa

Humor | February 27th, 2019

Tom Papa

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being broadcast in their direction. A talented comedian, however, can seem conversational even within the traditional confines of the stand-up genre.

Take Tom Papa, for example. With an impish grin on his face and a mischievous lilt in his voice, Papa regales us, the audience, with his wry observations of life and family. We feel drawn in, as if Papa was sitting with us at a bar, an arm wrapped around our shoulder while he relates life stories and personal wisdom, an eyebrow cocked as if to suggest he’s asking us, “Can you believe that” or “Am I right?”

It is this sort of innate charisma that has allowed Papa to succeed and thrive as a comedian since he started cutting his comedic teeth at New York City open mics in the mid-90s. From there, he would go on to tour with Jerry Seinfeld. In 2005 he released his debut comedy album “Calm, Cool, & Collected.” He recorded three comedy specials for Comedy Central, including one directed by musician and film director Rob Zombie. He has made appearances on Leno, Letterman, and Conan. On top of that there have been numerous other film and television appearances, a show on Food Network, podcasts, radio shows, and consistent touring.

Papa’s upcoming show at the Fargo Theatre marks his first visit to Fargo, North Dakota. The show will consist of material he has been working on for the last year and a half that he plans to polish into a new special. “I’m constantly touring and evolving,” he said. “I’m never not on tour.” His visit to Fargo, put on by local promoter Jade Presents, was originally slated for October 2018 but due to other projects he is now regaling us with his comedy stylings in the dead of winter. During our interview I half-jokingly, half-seriously suggested to him that he will definitely want to make sure that he bundles up, telling him about our recent sub-zero temperatures. He responded with a tinge of disbelief and chuckled as he told me he had almost considered not going out on a morning jog at his California home the other morning because it was only sixty degrees.

One of my first exposures to Papa’s unique, hilarious brand of stand-up was through a comedy special I watched directed by none other than shock rocker turned film director Rob Zombie, who was so obviously impressed with Papa’s powers as a comedian that not only did he direct one of Papa’s comedy specials but cast him as the titular wisecracking, lecherous luchador protagonist in his raunchy animated feature “The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.” I asked him how that meeting of the minds occurred, considering Papa’s stand-up is (usually) pretty clean. “It happened organically through a mutual friend,” said Papa. They greatly respected each other’s talent and quickly forged a friendship with each other. “He gives me some street cred,” chuckled Papa, contrasting his “wholesome comedy” with Zombie being a “bad ass rocker”.

In fact, Papa has a small part in a new upcoming feature from Rob Zombie called “Three From Hell.” “I always wanted to die in film,” Papa chuckled. When he asked Zombie whether he would die in the new movie, Zombie told him, “It depends on whether or not you can live without a face.”

On top of the upcoming project with Zombie and the touring, Papa has been keeping himself busy with “The Official Podcast”, which grew out of his earlier Sirius Radio show “Come to Papa”. He stated that he was absolutely thrilled with the success of the podcast and expressed amazement at how popular the format has become in recent history, which led us on to the subject matter of his current show.

A good portion of his new show revolves around the changes brought about in our collective lives by the ubiquitous advent of social media in daily life. He observed that social media has driven us to live maxed-out lives. Because of social media, he said, “We’re all public figures.”

“We’ve been putting so much pressure on ourselves to excel,” he said, and forgetting that we’re only human and that there is nothing wrong with taking a break occasionally. In fact, it’s necessary. “We forget that we’re in these funny, gassy bodies,” he quipped, worrying about bills and work and always doing the best we can. “Sometimes we need a nap,” he said, “while we’re figuring it all out.”

“We should be eating bread and not beating ourselves up,” he said, referring to his strong love for bread, something that led him to landing the show “Baked” on Food Network. “I started baking sourdough bread a couple years ago,” he said, and from there it evolved into a passion for visiting bakeries on his comedy tours and relating his adventures in baked goods on his podcast.

We can all benefit from Papa’s advice about occasionally taking a load off, and what better way than to get your funny, gassy body to the Fargo Theatre and have a ton of laughs with an incredible comedian. Oh, and while you’re there, make sure to tell him about local bakeries.

IF YOU GO:

Tom Papa with Paul Morrissey

Friday, March 8, 7 p.m.

Fargo Theatre, 314 N Broadway, Fargo

Recently in:

By Alicia Underlee Nelson and Sabrina Hornungalicia@hpr1.com                                                             sabrina@hpr1.comThe friendly folks at Drekker Brewing company have something exciting brewing, in fact,…

MayKenny Wayne Shepherd KWS creates genre-defining rock n' roll.Fargo Theatre, Sunday, May 1,…

May 14, 7am - 11amForest River Park in Fargohttps://fargoparks.com/events-and-deadlines/fargo-birding-festivalHike the wooded trails, learn from experts and look for dozens of different migrating birds during this free,…

By Kaylah Stangler  kaylahstangler@hotmail.comGuest editorial: You say you want a revolution Five years ago, my husband and I bought our first home in…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.com How Can We Know Democracy When We Have Never Experienced It?Some Americans have said we had democracy when one rich man wrote that all men were “created equal and endowed by their Creator with…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.comEgg bake is about as North Dakota as knoephla soup. You betcha! Two local breakfast bests serve different versions of this dish. Let’s taste which restaurant’s bake is the most…

By Jim Fugliejimfuglie920@gmail.comUkrainians are much on our minds right now, with the Last World War apparently beginning in their country. North Dakota has a smattering of them. I’m going to tell you the best Ukrainian story…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comPhoto credit: Amazon StudiosAmy Poehler’s nonfiction feature debut as director is a solid and informative account of the inextricably linked personal and professional lives of two visionary…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comPlains Art Museum celebrates silver anniversary1997 was a big year. The Spice Girls were the hottest thing since sliced bread, George Clooney was voted the sexiest man alive, we lost Princess…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comDrag shows, for me, feel like a celebration of artistry, esthetic, music, and camaraderie. With a dash of confetti thrown in.The local drag community is a close-knit family. Giving back to affiliated…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comCharlie Berens is a man of many hats. The creator of the “Manitowoc Minute” is a newsman, comedian, writer and musician. We had the opportunity to speak with the Wisconsin native about his new…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Lonna Whitinglonnawhiting@gmail.com When we talk about the healthcare system being broken or failing us, what does that actually mean? It’s a question I’ve been grappling with since 2013 when my mom was diagnosed with…

By Curt Stofferahn  https://drcinfo.orgRecent news about proposed economic development strategies in North Dakota had me thinking that…