In an episode of the now-defunct IFC comedy “Maron,” comedian/podcaster Marc Maron invites an African-American comedian on his podcast in an attempt to show that Maron (the character) isn’t uncomfortable with having black guests on his show.
That comedian is Bruce Bruce, the veteran comic known for his dapper attire. (It should be noted that the comedian still has not been interviewed on Maron’s actual “WTF with Marc Maron” podcast.)
“He picked me for that part, and he’s very, very fun to work with,” says the 55-year-old comedian, whose real name is Bruce Church. On the episode, Bruce shows up with an entourage Maron later assumes took his laptop (which they didn’t).
“It was so funny when he was doing it, because when they said, ‘Cut!’ he would bust out laughing, because he couldn’t believe he was playing that character of being a racist,” Bruce recalls.
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Anyone who has seen Bruce do standup, whether it’s been on Comedy Central, “Def Comedy Jam” or the two years where he hosted BET’s “Comic View” in the early aughts, knows that making people uncomfortable is not his thing. Usually hitting the stage in a dapper suit, Bruce is always fun and jovial on the mike, unloading joke after joke like a dreadlocked Rodney Dangerfield.
This weekend, he’ll be at Goodnights Comedy Club for several performances.
His material can focus on everything from his Southern upbringing to his oh-so-country family to his everyday struggles as a portly, African-American gentleman.
That last part definitely has been something he’s been working on for years. In the past, he lost 100 pounds and, just a few months ago, he went vegan.
“It’s just something I decided to do, just to stay healthy,” he says. “It wasn’t a scare or, you know, my life was threatened or anything like that. It was just time to lose weight.”
While the character of Bruce on “Maron” was – pardon the expression – living large in Los Angeles, taking up residence at Ray Romano’s old place, Bruce, the comedian, still calls his Atlanta birthplace his home.
And while he’s always on the road doing standup, Bruce continues to look for opportunities to branch out in other forms of media.
On the big screen, he’s been in films such as “xXx: State of the Union,” “Think Like a Man” and “Top Five.” On the small screen, he’s done commercials for Popeyes. And 12 years ago, he wrote his first book of personal stories and comic observations, titled “Baby James Brown.”
“I thought I was James Brown when I was a kid, because I was such a fan of his,” he says. “When you read the book, it’s gonna make you laugh. It’s gonna make you smile. It’s gonna make you think. It might bring a tear. Then, it’s gonna make you laugh again.”
These days, Bruce wants to appear on TV in his own reality show. He’s already filmed episodes for it, titled “The Bruce Bruce Reality Show.” Now, he’s shopping the show to networks.
Bruce is also planning to do a podcast – called “The Bruce Bruce Podcast.” From the way Bruce tells it, Bruce and his actual entourage can talk and hang – without worrying about making others uncomfortable.
“I think we’re gonna come out real good with it, too,” he says, “because we’re gonna be raw and uncut.”
Who: Bruce Bruce
When: 8 p.m. Thursday; 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday; 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Goodnights Comedy Club, 861 W. Morgan St., Raleigh
Cost: $30 ($25 Thursday and Sunday)
Details: 919-828-5233; goodnightscomedy.com