Many people know comedian Jimmy Pardo through his roles on Conan O’Brien’s late night shows.
Not only did he warm up the crowd for Conan’s shows, using completely off-the-cuff, non put-down comedy, but he also did ambush dressing-room interviews with guests of the show in his segment “Pardo Patrol.”
Pardo’s career as a comedian, however, stretches as far back as the 80’s when he came up with many other comics during a boom for the profession. And now he’s back, mostly on his own, and trying to leverage his own new-found national recognition into succeeding with personal television programs.
In advance of his sets in Madison this weekend, The Badger Herald was able to chat with Pardo about the nature of his standup, his new projects, his podcast and playoff baseball.
The Badger Herald: Why did you leave Conan back in 2015, and what have you been up to since?
Jimmy Pardo: Last year I ended up hosting a [game] show called Race to Escape on the Science Channel, and I had to miss a couple of days of Conan to host my own show. [Then] it was kind of a realization on my part, Conan’s part, everybody’s part that it was time for Jimmy Pardo to move on from Conan.
I’ve gotten development deals with Conan’s [production] company, so we’ve been going and pitching any variety of Jimmy Pardo projects to networks with Conan O’Brien producing.
BH: Could you go into detail on any of those projects?
JP: I really can’t without giving stuff away. They’re mostly game shows, because I love hosting game shows. Anything that we’re developing, it’s using those skills, me as the host interacting with real people, whether it be game or some sort of reality thing.
BH: Why is your stand-up comedy as improvised as possible?
JP: I can’t write jokes. I don’t want to say I’m a storyteller, that sounds too pretentious. If I tell the stories, I go off on tangents, I’ll interact with the audience, but it’s not put-down comedy.
I just prefer that because it’s more fun for me, and I keep using this pretentious phrase, buy that’s my skill set. I can’t write the great Anthony Jeselnik type of jokes, and he doesn’t do what I do. It’s like ice cream where there’s a bunch of different type of flavors. And you can like one, or you can like them all.
BH: To talk about your podcast, “Never Not Funny,” you’ve been involved in making a comedic for a while now, and it seems like recently there’s been a big boom of them. Why do you think that is, and how have you seen the genre change over the years?
JP: Like you said, there weren’t that many [comedy] podcasts back then. When we first started it was my show, Ricky Gervais and the Onion, and the three of us would battle it out for the number one spot on iTunes on a daily basis.
As time went on, more and more comics started making podcasts. It went from me asking people, “Hey, would you be on my podcast?” and them responding, “What’s a podcast?” to now [them saying] “Well let me see, I’ve already got these 900 other ones scheduled.”
Luckily, we’ve been around for a while, so when we reach out to people who have already been on the show they know how much fun it is. Or, my reputation is such that people are like “Oh yeah, I want to go on Jimmy Pardo!” I don’t have do any stupid [interview], we could talk about mail boxes for 45 minutes straight.
BH: We understand you’re a big baseball fan, who do you have winning the World Series this year?
JP: I think anybody who is not picking the Cubs to make the World Series this year is trying to be interesting. They are certainly one of the best teams in baseball this year, if not one of the best teams in the last decade, or longer. So, I’ve got to pick the Cubs.