If there were any question as to the power of Twitter, look no further than comedian Rob Delaney, who brings his stand-up to Comedy Zone on Wednesday. You may not know his name, but more than 900,000 Twitter followers – including celebrities who frequently retweet his observations – do.
“I joined in the beginning of 2009 when comedians were starting to use it to promote shows and joke around with each other,” he says of Twitter. “I discovered early on it was a fantastic place to post jokes, so I shied away from just using it as a mass text service to tell people what flavor ice cream I was eating.
“I didn’t have a nickel when I started tweeting. I was submitting to every late night show trying to get hired as a writer. Now, I’m able to make a living doing comedy. It’s unbelievable and wonderful. I certainly couldn’t have predicted a fraction of it.”
Delaney’s Twitter feed and “Live at The Bowery Ballroom” special can certainly wrangle belly laughs, but it’s his conflicting layers that make him really interesting. His humor is crass and silly, but he’s friendly with one of his favorite authors – Margaret Atwood – while sporting Danzig T-shirts and listening to sludgy stoner rock like Kyuss, High on Fire, and Yawning Man.
“I met (Queens of the Stone Age’s) Josh Homme, and he knew who I was,” he says.
“I really think it’s a note-for-note masterpiece,” he adds of QOTSA’s new album. “I think everybody should print out its lyrics and make a suit out of them and wear it.”
His humor delves into sex and bodily functions, but he’s becoming more known for intelligent, frank articles for publications such as Vice magazine on depression and addiction. (He tackled sobriety after crashing a car into the L.A. Department of Water and Power and ending up in jail and in a wheelchair, with broken arms and busted knees.)
His recent column on abortion for the Guardian attracted lots of attention not because it’s funny, but because in it, he explains that he’s a father of two children younger than 3 and that he cringes at the thought of abortion, yet recognizes the need for it to remain safe and legal.
“I think I used to be pro-choice, but I thought abortion was taught to be avoided if ever possible. The more I learned, my position became more nuanced. I know – having watched my wife go through two pregnancies – the problems that can arise even with a healthy person. I would like there to be less abortion and more contraception and education,” he says.
“I more am a champion to women’s access to easy and affordable reproductive health care. I have difficulty imagining a world where no abortion happens. So I’d like to it to be less.”
He’s not above slamming North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Twitter (his wife’s family lives here), and he’s long championed Obamacare.
“A 36-year-old extraordinarily healthy marathon runner is denied the right to purchase and pay for insurance out of his own pocket because of a pre-existing condition. I’ve been sober for 11 years, but because of things that happened 11 years ago, I’ve been denied coverage. My own story is why I got interested in the issue,” he says.
“Why is there a little girl in Mississippi who can’t get dialysis in her hometown because her moron governor ... says no to Medicaid dollars and she has to drive hours away and gets a flat tire and dies?”
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