Former World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler recently sat down with Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated to talk about comedy, SummerSlam, Total Divas, and more. Below is the entire Q&A interview between the two.
SI.com: You are a huge comedy fan. How did that start?
Ziggler: When I was 5 years old I wanted to be a WWE superstar. When I was 8 years old I watched Saturday Night Live and I always wanted to be on there and be an entertainer. I’ve be a student of comedy for 20 years now, I just study and watch and go to comedy clubs and open mics and write my own material and try out my material. I’ve actually done stand up a couple of times and I love it. Not only the challenge of it, but the entertainment aspect. I wanna study great guys and wonder why they got the reaction that they did when they did, why are they so successful. Why are guys who are kind of funny getting great reactions, but guys who are really funny not always getting them.
SI.com: Which is harder to do: Comedy or wrestle in the WWE?
Ziggler: I would say they’re both pretty cut throa,t and sometimes you’re not gonna hear any reaction and that’s the worst thing that can ever happen. But at least in the WWE, you have another guy out there with you who you can blame. Last year, 80,000 people at WrestleMania, I was having the time of my life, living it up, not nervous at all, just having a great time. A couple of months ago I did my first standup set in front of about 50 people and I was literally shaking when I went on the stage.
SI.com: How did the stand up go? What go big laughs?
Ziggler: Believe it or not, it went really well. Basically I just told a story that was half made up and half real life about going to Chipotle and ordering a burrito and it got a great reaction.
SI.com: Who is your all-time favorite Saturday Night Live cast member?
Ziggler: I’m a huge Jon Lovitz fan. I had the chance to meet him and we ended up talking for an hour and a half and it was the coolest thing. I had all these questions for him about Saturday Night Live. He stood up and did a routine that he said didn’t make it to air. He had all these questions for me. It was cool.
SI.com: Who are your favorite stand-up comedians?
Ziggler: I like the guys who don’t get all the glory or movie roles, but are still known as being great.Louis CK before he got his show. Patton Oswalt, who is respected by everyone.
SI.com: How important is doing comedy in your wrestling life?
Ziggler: It’s the WWE, it’s Vince McMahon‘s show. He lays out what he wants from you. It’s not always going to be what I want. I want to be out there being myself. You want to entrain first and foremost. The more I get a chance to be on the microphone, the more I get to put in comedy into it. If everybody’s doing the same thing it’s boring. I appreciate that some people are told what to do. Some people like me, though, go out there and I’m writing and thinking and worrying about if i’m in this situation, how can i put my spin on it.
SI.com: Who is the funniest wrestler of all time?
Ziggler: Bobby “The Brain” Heenan was better than anyone else at making me laugh. He was sooo good. So damn good at this. He was “The Brain” because he was so smart as a manager, as a commentator as a performer. He could do it all. He knew what to do, not just tell a couple of jokes. He was smart, and that is such a turn on to me as someone you look up to. His job was almost always to make other people look better than they were and he did it better than anyone else.
SI.com: Who are your favorite in-ring performers of all time?
Ziggler: At first, as a kid, Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior. When it came down to me studying it, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect. You could tell those guys controlled everything that happened int he match, on the outside. They controlled the pace and when they’re involved it was better than anyone else’s stuff.
SI.com: What are your thoughts on SummerSlam this Sunday?
Ziggler: My thoughts going in are that I love this week that we have in L.A. I’m gonna try to do some standup. There’s a buzz about being in L.A. I love it. Staples Center is gonna be sold out. Crowd is gonna be hot. We look forward to it. I’m looking forward to seeing C.M. Punk vs. Brock Lesnar. I would like to see Daniel Bryan beat John Cena, because no one seems to beat him.
SI.com: What do you think about the new Total Divas show? Would you want to do a reality show?
Ziggler: Even knowing all those people, I think it’s a very intriguing show. When I first watched it, I was like “Wow, I can get into this show.” I would think about doing a reality show. However, as much as I want to be in TV, movies and crossover, I saw those cameras around for a couple of months and it’s huge invasion of your privacy. I’d have to think about it. I wouldn’t mind being a guest star or a bit player, but I’d need 24 hours at home in silence sometimes.
SI.com: I need to compliment you on this brilliant you tweet you recently sent to your 800,000-plus followers:
bout to RT some compliments…. JK JK my parents loved me JK JK
— Dolph Ziggler (@HEELZiggler) August 5, 2013
Ziggler: I’ve said it for years, but I don’t think I ever tweeted it out. sometimes it’s your hero on twitter doing that and your’e like “Noooooo, you’re better than that.”
You can see Ziggler team up with former Divas Champion Kaitlyn to take on Big E. Langston and the current Divas Champion A.J. Lee this Sunday night at SummerSlam.
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