Comedian Q&A: Erin Foley on sports and babies

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From the March 28, 2013 edition

Erin Foley has had a number of accomplishments as a standup comedian and actress. She’s performed on “Conan” and had a supporting role in “Almost Famous.” Even with her success, she still wants more because it’s the only way Foley, a huge sports fan, can play catch with Eli Manning.

How do you come up with material for your standup?

I just observe all the ridiculous behavior and stuff that happens. You just become a magnet for ridiculousness. Anywhere and everywhere, it just happens all around you.

It’s fun to be in the cities, too. When I was living in New York you could just walk down the street and see something ridiculous.

Does your comedic perspective make you more aware of the ridiculous?

Funny things happen to people all the time, and they’re not like, “I should write that down.” I don’t say that in front of people because I want them to be normal around me. But in fact I am, secretly.

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen lately?

While I was in my car I was contemplating that I’m at a certain age where I want a kid. I was thinking I need to have one immediately. As soon as I thought it, I hit a pothole and my hubcap flew over the car. Well, that’s hilarious. I can’t even keep four hubcaps on the car; I’m not really sure I can have a child.

Have you ever been to Columbus?

I’ve been to Cleveland and Cincinnati, but never Columbus. It’s weird; my mom was born like 20 minutes outside Columbus. It’s getting back to the roots. I’m very excited.

Do you have any upcoming projects?

I’m starting a podcast — shocker, no other comedian has ever done a podcast. I’m doing it with Rebecca Corry and we’re talking about sports. I’m a crazy, insane sports fan and she [is too]. I know people’s jersey numbers from 1988. It’s a problem.

Rebecca is so funny and played sports, too. So why don’t we just talk about sports once a week? We just fired up a couple last week.

Did you fill out a March Madness bracket?

Oh my god, yeah. I was on a plane [Thursday] so I watched like seven games in a row. I can’t stop. I love it. I’m going to Florida tomorrow for my mom’s birthday and my parents are raging March Madness fans.

What team do you have winning it all?

Well, I went with Louisville. I don’t want Louisville to win — I know a lot of people picked Indiana; Michigan is right up there — but I feel like this may be a year where a three, four or five-seed wins it all. I feel like there are five, six teams that could win. No one is so dominant like Kentucky last year. St. Louis looks really good. I just don’t know. I hope it’s a year where none of the No. 1 seeds win.

 

What’s your favorite team?

My favorite team of all-time is the New York Giants because I’m from New York and I’m a raging football fan. People ask me, “What are your goals in standup comedy?” I say to catch a ball from Eli Manning on the field. Or play catch with Derek Jeter. If the standup keeps working and if I’m successful then I can get on the Giants’ field. I mean I can’t play for them professionally — which has been a real dream crusher — but if I could play catch with Manning that would be cool.

I have to ask because it’s one of my favorite movies. What was it like working on “Almost Famous” as the fact-checker at “Rolling Stone” magazine?

I hadn’t acted or anything. I got a manager pretty early on when I started doing standup and then I was doing standup on-and-off. I got set up on this audition and I think I got it because I was so naïve. But Cameron Crowe loves comics and improvising and I felt super comfortable improvising. He was just wonderful.

I randomly got hired and was on this major movie set. How did I get here? What is happening? It’s pretty crazy when you’re nervous to have to say fact-check. I would say, “feck chet, flack check, fat check.” I thought I was going to get fired.

Do you see more acting in your future?

Back then I was like, “Should I act? What am I doing?” I was in my twenties. I kind of stumbled into this career. I was in New York City and going to go to grad school to teach. Then I was like, “Am I gay?” It was the most overwhelming time of my life. I feel like I kind of stepped in s--- on that one, but it was an amazing time of my life. I’ll never do it again, but it was pretty great.

I’m not seeking it out, but living in Los Angeles and having managers and agents, it’s not my strong suit, but I do enjoy it. I do audition, not a lot, but if something comes up. I see myself writing a lot more and continuing to do standup because I don’t have this huge acting background.

I’ve written a couple sitcoms and I’m starting to get into the writing field, which I love. Standup sort of lends itself better to writing. I think I’m going to do a lot more of that than acting.