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Interview with Guy Torry of "Dancing Fools" on ABC Family
The two questions that I asked below are:
"What kind of music do you like to dance to?" and "Who are
some of your favorite stand-up comedians?"
ABC Familyís Q&A with Guy Torry
Moderator: What made you decide to be a part of this show?
G. Torry: Well, it was a different type of a show for me. Iím
a standup comic who is usually late-night, after dark
comedy, but I love dancing and I love watching dance clips
on the internet all day so this was a perfect marriage
between me and the show. It opened me up to a whole new
Moderator: How close do you get with the contestants; do you
get pretty familiar with them?
G. Torry: I try to. I usually see them during the show, and
then after the show just to get a little bit more about
them, but before the show I really donít interact with them
at all. I donít think itís fair to actually because we do
have the studio audience who votes. Itís a real vote and I
know people out in the world or Viewerland, they always
think that shows are rigged or things like that, but no we
actually have a live studio audience and their decision
determines who wins the show. Just to put the dancers at
ease I just donít interact with them before the show because
I donít want them to think that thereís any bias.
Moderator: How would you describe Dancing Fools as different
from other dance competition shows?
G. Torry: Itís fun. Itís more interactive. Even on Dancing
with the Stars theyíre professional dancers mixed with
celebreties. These are people like everyday people, real
people out in the world who just do it for fun. They donít
really put their videos on the internet to win money. They
just do it because itís fun, and we select them, and I think
thatís what makes it different. But it makes people who are
not in the entertainment industry and out there in the real
world just say, ďHey, you know what? I have a chance to be
on that show,Ē and they have their 5-minutes of fame or
15-minutes of fame or turn it in to a career. I think it
makes it different that way because it relates to everybody.
Everybody loves to dance, and most of us are fools.
Moderator: Whatís your favorite part of working on the show?
G. Torry: Working with [host] Melissa [Peterman]. I mean she
is really talented. I had no idea how talented she was, how
funny she is, how quick-witted she is, and how generous she
is. You know we have the four really good dancers on the
show and their job really was just to dance us in and out of
break. It was Melissaís idea to really include them in to
the show so America could know who they are. They have names
and theyíre professionals and the skits that they do were
really all Melissaís idea. Sheís a very generous and
gracious host, and you donít find that a lot in Hollywood.
Itís all about me, me, me, me and nobody wanting to share
the spotlight, but she was really generous and to see that
was just great. Working with her was really a treat.
Moderator: Is there anything special that you do to prepare
yourself before an episode of Dancing Fools?
G. Torry: I dance myself, man, in my dressing room. I listen
to my playlist and I just kind of get in to the groove. I
have these videos of some DJs of mine out of St. Louis.
Theyíre VJs actually, and I kind of put those on and kind of
get revved up and kind of get in to it in my dressing room
before we go out and tape. Just to get my energy up and so I
can be festive when I hit the stage.
Moderator: Do you find that you still get nervous in front of
a live audience?
G. Torry: Always; even in my standup. Iíve been doing standup
for 20 years, going on 21 years this September, but Iím
always nervous because I believe in this. Iíve turned
negatives in to positives but nervous energy is as good if
you use it the right way. I feel like this: if you stop
getting nervous then you donít care anymore. When youíre
nervous then you care about the small details. You care
about what youíre doing, and you love what youíre doing.
When youíre not nervous then I think you just meld in.
Youíre dialed in and you donít really care. Nervous energy
for me is great energy.
Moderator: Can you tell us a little bit about the content and
who it is for? Is it more for adults or children or is it
all-around family friendly?
G. Torry: Itís on ABC Family and thatís who itís for to me;
itís for everyone, but I think the audience of ABC Family is
good [all] around family. I think adults can watch it with
their kids, and they donít have to worry about any content
that they donít want them to see. Itís a fun viral video
show that puts the everyday American or someone abroad in to
your living room and just acting a fool. Iím so glad that
people love to dance, people love to act a fool, and we have
technology to share with the world. We put it all in one
cute show, and we have a beautiful tall blonde to introduce
the clips and a crazy VJ who plays the videos, and itís just
fun. Itís a party. Itís a family party.
Moderator: How did a guy like you get to the bright lights
and big city of L.A.?
G. Torry: It started out with standup. I actually moved out
to L.A. not to even get in to the entertainment industry. I
was going to finish my school and get a marketing degree,
but I always loved attention. I always loved the class
clown, the campus clown, and because of Def Comedy Jam, and
my brother was in the business a few years prior to me, so I
tried my hand at standup and that was the hub. Everything
else kind of sprouted from there.
Moderator: And youíve got your own place now right?
G. Torry: My own comedy club yeah. Iím co-owner now with Kim
Coles, a talented comedian/actress. The club was going to
close and I didnít want to see it close because a lot of
black comedians need a spot in L.A. A lot of them are not
known enough or good enough to go to the Hollywood clubs yet
so for this club to close would have been a travesty to
young black comedians that are coming up. I didnít come up
through this club, but I came up through clubs like this
club. I know how important it was to my career so itís kind
of my way of trying to give back to the future of comedy,
period. Even though weíre a black owned club we have really
a diverse audience and a diverse line-up.
Moderator: On your show is it a long filming day or do you
guys have a lot of like blooper-type things to hold it up or
is it pretty much since itís a lot of video pretty cut and
G. Torry: Itís funny because it could be a long day if I
wasnít having fun and if Melissa wasnít as good as she is it
would be a long day, but itís not really a long day. It goes
by actually pretty quick and itís really an easy day. Itís
not taxing at all. I remember one day we shot kind of all
day and I had Rolling Stones tickets, and I was like, ďMan I
hope I get out in time to go see the Stones.Ē Iíd never seen
them live but I was able to shoot a couple of shows, and
then go to the concert and still had energy. Actually I
think doing Dancing Fools helped me get my energy up for the
Rolling Stones concert. Watching Mick and those guys was a
treat. Itís not a long day at all not for me.
Moderator: What kind of music do you like to dance to?
G. Torry: If you look at my iPod I have everything honestly
from Andrea Bocelli to Snoop to Two Chainz and anybody in
between. From jazz to a little bit of country, a little bit
of rock, old R&B, new R&B. I like mashups because like I
said, that I am friends with these VJs out in St. Louis
called Screen Works, and they do these mashup videos with
some of everything, every genre of music. I just love
watching those but they kind of put it in the club beat
mode. I donít want to say techno but the club beat so
everything from Sting to Nelly to Snoop to you name it,
Creed and anybody else, so itís a lot of fun.
Moderator: Who are some of your favorite standup comedians?
G. Torry: I will say Def Comedy Jam really inspired me to do
standup but definitely Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Eddie
Murphy, Lenny Bruce is one of my favorites. I think he was
before his time. Chris Rock, my brother Joe, Martin
Lawrence, Moms Mabley, Red Fox from my home town, Dick
Gregory. The list goes on and on. Steven Wright. Chappelle.
My comedy is like a pot of gumbo; itís kind of a mixture.
George Carlin too is another one. Bernie Mac, I study all of
them. I have at least about 150 vinyl albums of comics that
I just listen to and study.
Moderator: Do you have any plans to work on another comedy
tour or another standup special?
G. Torry: Iím working on a special right now. Iím touring the
Improv and Funnybone around the country and along with other
comedy chains, and Iím looking to put together my special
but do so myself so I can own it and shop it to whatever
network Iíd like to, whoever gives me the best deal and I
see that can put me in the best light. Yeah I havenít done a
cable special yet.
Iíve done a couple of DVDs earlier in my career, but I think
now Iím readyóIím very picky. I just donít want to be on TV
just to be on TV, and if Iím going to put some product on
TV, itís got to be worth it. I look at a lot of specials
these days and some of them, they just donít look
well-written or well-put together. I may be shooting myself
in my own foot or standing in my own way, but Iíd rather put
out a quality product rather than to just be on TV to be on
TV. But definitely look for a special in the near future and
also a documentary Iím actually shooting on standup comedy.
Moderator: How does your age affect your career or is that
not even a factor?
G. Torry: Not a factor. Not a factor at all. I still, thank
God, look relatively young, which is a blessing from my
parents, but it doesnít affect me at all. I believe your
career is your career; it doesnít matter what age you are,
you can do anything. This is America and I donít believe in
excuses. I donít believe in systems and all that other stuff
people want to say to hold them back. I think you create
your own destiny and you mind your lane.
You find your audience who digs you and you worry about the
audience. Donít worry about those that donít like you. Focus
on ones that do like you because what can happen is if you
focus on those that donít like you, you might lose the fan
base you already have and now youíre out there without a fan
base at all. Being 44, I love it. To live and to just be
alive every morning is great to me so I donít let anything
determine where Iím going in this business.
Moderator: Dealing with a live audience do you have a lot of
bloopers and how do you handle them?
G. Torry: The funny thing about it is because itís such a
tight ship, and I know I keep talking about Melissa and how
good she is - sheís really good and we donít have a lot of
bloopers. If we do, I may have one or two, but you have
bloopers, thatís what happens, but there are very little
bloopers unfortunately, and itís just a well-produced show.
The dancers are great. Melissa is great. I have fun and the
audiences are great, and Iím the guy who keeps the audience
informed and their energy up. Itís really very little
bloopers unfortunately for viewers.
Moderator: Who is the biggest prankster on the set?
G. Torry: We havenít done that yet. Weíre still growing as a
family to get that comfortable with each other, but I think
Melissa will probably be. Iím not that much of a prankster,
but as we grow and get to know each other and become more
and more friends and more of a family, I think some pranks
will happen for sure.
Moderator: Can you discuss your charity work a little bit?
G. Torry: Itís funny you say that because just yesterday I
think I said to myself ďI want to do even more.Ē My brother
has a foundation in St. Louis, Giving Back the Love
Foundation is my brotherís charity, but I help out when I
can help him get celebrities or donate money or things like
Every Wednesday a group of actors and dancers and comedians
and professional athletes, we go down to skid row in L.A.,
in downtown L.A., and we feed the homeless. We go to
different restaurants like Panera Bread and Trader Joes and
places like that the night before and they donate food for
us, and sometimes we just purchase food out of our pocket.
We do that basically every Wednesday downtown L.A.
I just had two meetings with a charity that wants to do a
comedy show for charity for kids with AIDs and bring
awareness to that. I just had another meeting yesterday
about bone marrow awareness, and donating marrow, and Iím
putting together a blood drive at my comedy club for donors
because a lot of Latino children and black children are
dying of sickle cell because thereís not enough black donors
or Latino donors. Iím putting together a blood drive and get
my celebrity friends out there to come out and either donate
blood or help us assist people who want to donate blood to
Charity is something that I think itís not anything to be
turning cartwheels over and be happy about, because I think
itís something that we should be doing. I think itís par for
the course. As weíre put on this earth to serve. Itís not
something I want to toot my horn about or anybody should for
that matter; itís just helping your fellow human beings out
no matter what their ethnicity or gender.
Moderator: What does it mean personally to you to be able to
give back like that?
G. Torry: Itís a blessing. I think itís my duty whether I was
in Hollywood or in the entertainment industry or not. I just
think as a human itís what weíre supposed to do, and Iím
blessed enough to be able to have whatever celebrity I have
to lend to whatever cause that can bring awareness or people
may pay attention to. I may get a little bit more attention
than someone who is not in the business and if that little
bit of attention helps bring awareness to a worthy cause,
then I think itís my duty to use it for that.
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Page updated 9/10/13