Interview with Guy Torry of "Dancing Fools" on ABC Family - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Krista

Interview with Guy Torry of "Dancing Fools" on ABC Family 6/19/13

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
Dancing Fools

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 audience actually.

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 flow?

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 that.

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 the community.

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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