Mick Foley could be about as close as a professional wrestler is going to get to being a renaissance man.
The WWE Hardcore star is a three-time WWE champion. He is the author of Have A Nice Day, an autobiography he wrote longhand on notebook paper (1999), and the second volume, Foley is Good (2001), both of which made the top spot on New York Times bestseller lists, as well as two more memoirs, four children’s books, and two novels. His acting resume includes appearances on 30 Rock and Boy Meets World, and voice work in Celebrity Death Match and Avatar: the Last Airbender.
He was featured in the documentary Beyond the Mat and in 2012, he appeared in an episode of Celebrity Wife Swap. He is married and the father of four, three sons and a daughter. He has been recognized for his work as an online volunteer with RAINN, a national organization that works to combat sexual violence, and had served as a member of its leadership council.
And now he’s got a new gig: stand-up comic/storyteller. The guy who built his sometimes brutal, but successful wrestling ring reputation as Cactus Jack for 11 years and later on WWE as Dude Love and Mankind, will draw on his exploits in the ring in a performance at Toledo Funny Bone on Jan. 23, a stop on his “Tales From Wrestling Past” national tour.
“It's a wrestling-centric show and stories revolve around my experiences in wrestling, but they are part of a larger theme,” he said in a telephone interview. “So the non-wrestling fans will enjoy themselves.”
Stand-up comedy has one thing in common with wrestling, he said. “I love the idea of getting reactions, so ... doing these stories on stage gives me the same feeling. It feels so much like being in the ring, without the bumps and bruises.”
His Toledo show will include material about one of his famous battles, the 1998 “Hell In a Cell” match with The Undertaker. Despite being knocked unconscious after his falls off and through the 16-foot cell, Foley managed to finish the match with one of his front teeth lodged in his nose (yes, he says this really did happen).
Foley got his start as a comedy club headliner in 2009 at the Hollywood Improv, and has performed at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Fest, and has taken his act on the road in tours in Europe, Australia, and South Korea. “Basically everything I have done has stemmed from the success I had in WWE,” the now-retired wrestler said. “I've done plenty of other things since then, but when I get recognized — which is quite a bit — it’s ‘you're Mick Foley from WWE,’ not ‘you're Mick Foley from Robot Wars.’”
But he recalls one exception, at a wrestling memorabilia show in the United Kingdom. “I had one person who went crazy because I was Mick Foley, the author of Tietam Brown (Foley's first novel). He couldn't believe the author of his favorite book was there.”
Foley’s list of guest appearances includes The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Late Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Good Morning America, Family Feud, Redeye, Larry King Live, and several appearances on Today.
“I tend to greatly outperform people’s expectations,” he said.
Mick Foley appears at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at Toledo Funny Bone at Levis Commons, 6140 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg. Tickets are $27 to $32, and can be purchased by calling 419-931-3474 or visiting funnybonecentral.com/venues/toledo.
■ More comedy
Comedian Christopher Titus performs five shows this weekend at the Toledo Funny Bone in a 21-and-older show called “The Angry Pursuit of Happiness.”
In his decade-plus career as a stand-up comic, Titus has released five comedy albums and starred in five hour-long Comedy Central specials, including Voice in My Head, which aired in October.
The comic is best known for his starring role in the somewhat autobiographical sitcom Titus, in which he dealt with his hard-drinking, several-times-divorced father played by Stacy Keach. The show ran on Fox from 2000 to 2002 and Titus was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award for a 2001 episode titled The Pendulum.
Showtimes are 8 and 10:30 tonight, 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $28 and $33 and available at funnybonecentral.com or by calling 419-931-3474.
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