Comedian, writer, and actor Rob Delaney just wrapped the final season of his award-winning series, Catastrophe. But maybe you know him from his recent roles in action blockbuster Hobbs & Shaw or political drama Bombshell. In any case, for as great a year as this was for Delaney, the future might be even bigger for the funnyman.
Later this year he’ll be appearing in an adaptation of the best-selling book The Good House alongside Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver, as well as the live-action/animated comedy Tom and Jerry. He’s working on the new reboot of Home Alone for Disney Plus alongside former Office actress Ellie Kemper. And he just debuted his second stand-up comedy special Jackie on Amazon Prime Video.
In his new special, Delaney hits subjects he’s become best known for: politics, family, sobriety, fatherhood, and emotional hardships. Many of Delaney’s funniest stories come straight from his personal life (including the time he had to chaperone a field trip for his six-year-old son—only to have his son get sick the day of the trip, leaving Delaney solo).
“For me, my favorite stand-up specials that I’ve watched are often more collections of jokes and stories, and I wanted mine to be like that. ” Delaney tells Men’s Journal. “To me, that’s what I want to see and as long as people are laughing, you know you’re on the right track. I wanted to be sure there was no thematic through-line and no one learned anything [laughs].”
— Prime Video (@PrimeVideo) January 17, 2020
Here’s what Delaney has to say about his new Amazon stand-up special Jackie, working on his award-winning show Catastrophe, and why he loves Yosemite National Park.
How did you decide what to focus on in the special?
I typically start with smaller stuff, like observational humor, then [get] into bigger stuff, the more emotional stuff. The best stand up for me is judged by: “Did I laugh?” That’s a little bit of how I do things. I hope that people enjoy the special, I had a lot of fun making it. Life is difficult and I hope they can enjoy an hour and take some time off with my silly jokes.
Your show Catastrophe was very well received by fans and critics. How did that feel?
I can’t believe we got to make that show—and, genuinely, I am so grateful for the response. Creatively, it was such a blast. We basically wrote whatever we wanted. We were able to tell the story we wanted to tell, espouse our views on family and kids, the challenges of that, the wonders of that, and so many other important topics. I am just very happy and 100 percent cognizant of how lucky I was to do it—and to do it with Sharon [Horgan], and work with so many great people.
You had a role in Bombshell. What was it like being in a film that was so timely and part of the awards conversation?
It was great. The team literally created the Fox News offices, and I got to work with so many great people. The makeup team for Charlize Theron—turning her into Megyn Kelly—was bananas. She looked just like her. The first time I saw her on set, I thought it was actually her. Jay Roach did an amazing job directing. He was really calm, cool, and collected. It was excellent getting to observe him work.
Is directing something you’d ever want to do?
Maybe I would in the future. I really love to write and produce. I like to hire directors. After writing something, I really like to hear what a director has to say about the material. One thing about TV that’s great is that it’s very collaborative. I’m very particular about what I write. I’m very specific about that—but with getting it on screen, I like ‘the more the merrier’ attitude. Maybe one day I’ll direct, but for now I’m loving writing and producing.
You have The Good House coming up with an incredible cast in Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline. What was it like working on that project?
It’s an awesome cast and was an amazing amount of fun to do. I genuinely can’t wait for people to see it. It’s based on a book by Ann Leary, and it’s just such a potent New England story. It combines elements of a thriller comedy, mystery, and the supernatural—it’s a wonderful explosion of things. When I read the script, I was like, “I have to do this.” Being from Massachusetts originally, I’m comfortable in the New England area.
Did you enjoy your cameo appearances in Deadpool 2 and Hobbs & Shaw?
[That was] incredibly fun and a dream come true. I did get some great prep work acting alongside Sharon Horgan and Carrie Fisher on Catastrophe to get me ready to be opposite guys like Ryan Reynolds and The Rock [laughs]. They have a high power rating, but they’re funny. You can’t quantify that talent. In my own show I got to work with incredible people, so it made stepping into those a little less terrifying.
Are there any roles or archetypes you’re interested in portraying?
I’d like to play a bad guy one time. I really just want to do good stuff. It would be amazing to work with someone like David Lynch… in that realm where a filmmaker tells stories in such a unique way, a bit more oblique than other people. I’m always learning and trying to work with good people, but it would be fun to play a bad guy and get to mess around with a role like that.
Where’s your favorite place to travel?
I like France a lot. I speak French well enough that I can function there, and I’m doing a movie in Montreal now, so that helps too. I travel a bit more than some and less than others, but I really do love to be out on a beach or in the woods or mountains somewhere. Honestly, if I could live adjacent to Yosemite National Park, that would be amazing. My wife and kids would be ecstatic, although I’d have to travel for every job [laughs]. If you live in New York, London, or L.A., you only have to travel for half your jobs. But Yosemite, yeah, I just love it there.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I think my favorite one is: “It takes just as much time to be nice as it does to be an asshole.” That’s probably my operating creed. Just because it’s the high-rolling world of Hollywood, it doesn’t mean you can’t be nice, it makes everyone’s day easier.
Delaney’s Amazon Prime Video comedy special ‘Jackie’ is now streaming.
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