Denis Leary and his famous funny friends will once again take over the TD Garden at this weekend's Comics Come Home.
The annual event, which raises funds for the Cam Neely Foundation, had a bit of a hiccup last year as a rowdy crowd booed comedian Wanda Sykes after she cracked jokes about then-newly elected president Donald Trump. While Leary tells Metro that the 2016 show was "an anomaly," don't expect the Worcester native to back off from politics on stage, as he recently released "Why We Don't Suck," a new book that hopes to bridge the political divide.
Ahead of Saturday night's show, we caught up with the Boston-bred comic to get his thoughts on last year's debacle, how he's feeling about Trump and why more celebrities should run for office.
Since it was right after the election, things got a little crazy at last year's Comics Come Home.
We’ve been doing this show for 23 years and that was truly an anomaly. Not to mention, I opened that show with about 20 minutes of material that was anti-Trump and anti-Hillary and the crowd was explosively laughing. I think they recognized the common ground in terms of how uncivil and ridiculous the election had actually been. I think the trouble was, in Nick DiPaolo’s case, he went completely anti-Hillary, and in Wanda’s case, she went anti-Trump and the crowd felt like they were crossing lines. That’s an anomaly. That was just because of the year and the emotion in the air.
How are you feeling about Trump and the world now that we're a year into his presidency?
I’m really excited because I’ve already called dibs on the Kellyanne Conway part when they do the HBO Trump biopic, so if I get nothing else out of Trump’s presidency, I want that part because I think that’s going to be my Emmy.
You make the case for having celebrities run for office in your new book. What do you make of politics in 2017?
I’m trying to make everybody laugh their asses off about all the subjects that seem to be bubbling up to the top right now–racism, sexism, fake news, guns, everything–to remind everybody that there’s a lot of common ground. Nothing’s getting done while everybody is rage tweeting. Democrats are rage tweeting against Republicans and Republicans are bash-tweeting Democrats and we’re at a stalemate. I wanted to remind everybody that one of the great things about this country is that you can fire the people in Washington, in some cases every couple years, and in the case of the president, every four years.
If Democrats want to take over, they better find somebody who can beat Trump. It ain’t Bernie Sanders and it ain’t Elizabeth Warren. It might have to be Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. That’s the reality we’re living with right now.
You've also talked about wanting Oprah Winfrey to run for president.
She says no but I’d love to have her because we’d get free stuff every three weeks like cars, toasters. But listen man, it’s no joke. Trump changed the game. If Oprah threw her hat in the ring, believe me, he’d be sweating bullets. Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock is an unbeatable ticket, I’m telling you right now. Jimmy Fallon and Questlove would scare Trump. It sounds like a joke, but it’s half-joking now in the reality we’re living in.
Has Trump been a good or bad thing for comedy?
Our job is always the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s politics or if it’s some of the stuff I cover in the book like racism, sexism, free speech, all that stuff. Our job is to pop the pretentious bubbles. It’s pretentious, but it speaks truth to power. The most democratic form of democracy is comedy. People vote in the moment with their mouths and their stomachs. They actually make an audible sound if they think it’s funny.
That’s why I think this whole politically correct atmosphere is bad for young comics, but it’s the part of the job for veterans like myself and Chris Rock and other guys. People cut us more slack because they already expect us to be politically incorrect when it comes to politics and everything else. I think it’s important.
If you go:
Nov. 18, 8 p.m., TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, $50+, tdgarden.com