You know Dolph Ziggler as The Showoff, a former World Champion whose grit and perseverance has earned him a level of respect with the WWE Universe that few other Superstars enjoy. What you might not know is that Ziggler has a somewhat secret second career as a standup comedian. When he’s not stealing the show in WWE, Dolph’s performing on comedy stages, gobbling up niche alt-comedy programs like “Kroll Show,” and constantly scribbling jokes on airplane napkins. Now, in a candid conversation, Ziggler talks about the first time he tried out standup, the comedians who inspired him, and what he thought of ex-girlfriend Amy Schumer’s comments about their relationship on Howard Stern’s radio show.
WWE.COM: Did you have a moment growing up that ignited your interest in comedy?
DOLPH ZIGGLER: There are a few that pop into my head. My dad used to work a night shift when I was five years old, so I would get up when he went to work and watch Johnny Carson. I remember not knowing what was going on, but loving it. A couple of years later, I had a friend who had Cheech & Chong records. And my uncle who had shown me Ric Flair had SCTV episodes. I really enjoyed all that stuff. And even “SNL” reruns on Nick at Nite, which were “best of’s” from the first few seasons. And later on, movies like “Fletch”, “[National Lampoon’s] Vacation” and “Caddyshack.” Those are some of my favorite movies of all time.
WWE.COM: Every comedy fan has an “SNL” cast that they love. Who was in your cast?
ZIGGLER: When I started to get the jokes, it was the mid-late ’80s. I was a huge fan of Jon Lovitz, Dana Carvey, Jan Hooks, obviously Phil Hartman, and a very young Adam Sandler. I knew it was so funny and cool. It was art.
WWE.COM: Was there a figure in the comedy world that you looked up to or idolized more than others?
ZIGGLER: Two of the first I ever saw were George Wallace and Brian Regan on “The Sunday Comics” on Fox when Fox was a new network. I see them once in a while, because they’ll do things with WWE like Tribute to the Troops, and I’ll tell them, “You were the first comic I ever saw, and it made me keep watching comedy.” I also remember Johnny Carson talking about Don Rickles and mentioning, “You need to hear this album,” which was “Hello Dummy!” from 1968. It’s him live in Vegas, and it is so great. I listened to the entire thing. He made fun of every possible person there was to make fun of, but at the end, brought it around to say, “The reason I do this is because it’s all ridiculous, and we all need to get along.” It’s so hard to bury everybody and have them applaud you on the way out, but that’s what he did. It was such a great thing. He probably had about 10 minutes of written material, but ended up doing an hour. One guy wearing a red sweater ended up being a 15-minute bit for him.
WWE.COM: Is that the first comedy album you started memorizing all the words and jokes to?
ZIGGLER: Yes, that’s exactly what I was doing. I would listen to it going to bed with headphones on in my room, and one way or another, that’s led me to be able to insult somebody at the drop of the hat. I got to see Rickles two years ago in Phoenix, and he was still throwing it out there to everybody. He’s the last of those guys from cool Vegas. Continue reading