Jonah Ray: Human giant from Hawaii

photo courtesy Jonah Ray 
Mess with Texas | live music and comedy in Austin, Texas
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Jonah Ray is a rising star. He has a successful series on Super Deluxe, appears in Adult Swim’s Saul of the Molemen, has a comedy record on the way, and just taped a set for Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham. Now he’s coming to Austin to perform during both days of the Mess with Texas party, a two-day live comedy and music mini-festival (March 16–17). Not bad for a giant from Hawaii.

That Other Paper How did you get involved with Saul of the Molemen?

Jonah Ray I was asked to be a part of Saul of the Molemen by Tom Stern. I met him while writing on The Andy Milonakis Show. He’s a great guy and an amazing director. Even if he farts waaaay too much.

TOP How can we tell which of the molemen you are?

JR I’m the hot one with the confident strut.

photo courtesy Jonah Ray 

TOP How did The Freeloaders Guide to Easy Living come to be?

JR The Freeloaders Guide came out of a life spent being broke. I had picked up a few tips on how to get free drinks and whatnot. So when Dan Pasternak came to me asking if I had any short ideas, I figured a how-to guide would be the best way to go. I don’t freeload as much anymore, but my ears still perk up when I hear “open bar from 10 to 11.”

TOP There’s a lot of “broadband TV” sites popping up. What separates Super Deluxe from the competition?

JR Super Deluxe has some of the nicest, funniest people working in all aspects of the job. They can pick what’s funny because they are funny people and they know what they like. Plus Super Deluxe has Brad Neely, a genius.

TOP What are some other projects that you’re currently involved in?

JR I’ve been busy acting a lot lately; I shot a scene on a new movie called Mama’s Boy starring Jon Heder, Jeff Daniels, and Diane Keaton. I’ll be in an episode of the new Human Giant show on MTV2, which is great because those guys are some of the funniest in comedy. I will be shooting a movie in May with the director of the Freeloaders Guide, Peter Atencio. It’ll be shot in Louisiana on an oil platform. It’s a horror movie with an amazing monster that kills me in the end… It’s like a dream come true.

TOP When 9/11 happened, you were a college student. How did you react?

JR I went for two months and dropped out thinking the world was going to end. I had no plan other than comedy.

TOP Do you now fear terrorist acts?

JR I LOVE terrorist cats!

photo courtesy Jonah Ray 

TOP What are some other things that you fear?

JR In a way I’m scared for the zombie apocalypse, but at the same time, I’m very excited for when it happens because I’m fucking prepared.

TOP You grew up in Hawaii. Were you living under constant fear of volcano eruption?

JR No active volcanoes on my island.

TOP What sort of interaction did you have with the natives?

JR They would beat me up for being white.

TOP What was your village like?

JR It was a town called Kailua… Wait, is that question sarcastic?

TOP What sort of creative outlets did you have?

JR Playing drums and watching Mystery Science Theater 3000.

TOP You went from Hawaii to writing for television shows in a matter of years. How can people live as comfortably as you do?

JR They can’t unless they want to live an apathetic, lazy life.

TOP What sort of freeloading did you do in New York when you filmed your Live at Gotham set?

JR They had some sweet free food at the wrap party. And it was free drinks at the bar all night long!

TOP Were you the tallest comic there?

JR Probably. I don’t feel comfortable talking about my birth defect.

TOP How do you react when people ask you, “How’s the weather up there?”

JR I usually just say, “Shut the fuck up, Dad.”

TOP How much basketball do you play?

JR Now you’re just being a dick. It’s an ailment! Leave me alone about it.

TOP And what sort of freeloading do you plan to do when you come to Austin for the Mess with Texas party?

JR As of now? A Levis party, to get some free pants. Hopefully some free veggie BBQ will be in my future as well.


More Mess with Texas coverage

Read more interviews with comics appearing at this year’s Mess with Texas party.