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Paul F Tompkins (Part Two): “My anger is saved for injustice”

Paul F Tompkins (Part Two): “My anger is saved for injustice”
Sofie Hagen
  • On April 5, 2013

Paul F Tompkins is an American stand-up comedian, voice-over artist, podcaster, actor and comedy writer – basically, a can-do-and-does-it-all kinda guy. He is currently doing his show “Crying and Driving” in London and Comedy Chords got a chance to chat to him to talk about his career, stand-up and future plans.

In your show “Freak Wharf” you started improvising. Today, how much of your show is scripted?

I have an hour’s worth of material that I have done before and is honed over time. There is a lot of room for spontaneity. I like to open the show by improvising, to kind of warming up the crowd so I don’t open cold on material. You know, sort of fooling around with everybody before I get into the prepared stuff. The beginning of every show will be different.

What has changed since your latest album “Laboring under Delusions”?

I’m continuing on the creative revolutionary path I’ve been on, which is to draw more on the personal stuff. So that album was all about jobs that I’ve had and the emotional life behind that. This will lead into my personal life. So it’s a little bit of a deepening of that.

It also seems as if you’re becoming less angry?

Ha, I hope that is the case. As I’ve gotten older and I’ve developed and matured more, and I feel more empathy, my anger is saved for injustice – the big issues that affect all of us as a culture, and as a species on the planet – instead of things that are just irritations.

How has the internet affected the way you do comedy?

It hasn’t affected it creatively, but it has affected the business aspect of it. The good thing about it has been to find out that you are connecting with people. There’s a real demonstrable evidence that yes, people are hearing what you have to say and you are reaching people in different ways. So that’s really reassuring. You’re not talking into a void, there’s people listening. With the London gig, the only promotion that I’ve done is from Twitter and from being on podcasts and I can see that the tickets are selling. There will be people who are coming to see me who know who I am. To see that people are already on board is nice to know.

You seem to be doing everything – stand-up, podcasts, movies, characters, voice-over-work, tv – Have you always wanted to be able to do it all, or did things just happen?

Since I was a kid, I’ve been a performer. I’ve always loved making people laugh and I’ve loved performing in all different kinds of ways, whether it’s stand-up, acting or doing character stuff. So at this point of my life I’m very fortunate that I get to do everything really. It’s been great. It’s a wonderful time for creative people because there are so many various outlets for performing.

What is the next new thing you want to try?

I did this live variety show in Los Angeles for many years, almost a decade, and I had to eventually take a break from it because it was a lot of work. I would love to share that with as many people as possible. Next year I might do a Kickstarter to shoot it – to make it a culture film and put it out there for purchase. I love the concept of Kickstarter, where you can convert from the usual gatekeepers and make a new thing – both with and for the audience.

And do you have other things planned?

I have lots of things, mostly television. If more movies come along, I’ll do it, but it’s just not as fun as other stuff. I love making movies, but the process of making movies is not as fun.

I know! (I didn’t.)

The Dead Authors Podcast


It’s a lot of waiting. It can be very tedious. A lot of technical stuff and a lot of waiting around. I get more bored than I am comfortable with. Television is great because it’s more immediate and podcasts are also great because you tend to be able to do it at home instead of having to travel. Other than that, I’m just really looking forward to performing in London.

And we are looking forward to having you! Thank you and good luck, Mr. Tompkins!

For more Paul F Tompkins, go to

Or follow @PFTompkins on Twitter

Paul F.Tompkins at the Soho Theatre from 2nd -14th April visit

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