The self-proclaimed “Best Lookin’ Man in Comedy” and a comic “rat” from the Adam’s Pest Control commercials were repeatedly upstaged by an accidental audience.
I had tried to pick an off-peak time to shoot a video interview at Market BBQ with Fancy Ray and Chris Shaw, who are now in the midst of a 30-cities-in-30-days “Humor for Heroes Comedy Tour.” It’s a fundraiser for the Lone Survivor Foundation (www.loneSurvivorFoundation.org).
Shaw has been doing comedy at Lone Survivor events for a while. “When I was in Texas last spring they were showing me a map of where the veterans and service people go to their retreats at centers they have. There were several in Minnesota. I said, ‘I would love bring some awareness to Minnesota about what you guys do.’ ”
Shaw ran this by his buddy Rob Benton, who said he had been considering trying a new version of The Rat Pack, called the “The That Pack.” Benton had four guys in mind, including himself, Shaw, Fancy Ray and John Bush, a singer/emcee type. Benton has since mostly been sidelined by doctor’s orders.
As they were telling me about their Lone Survivor act, Fancy Ray ran into competition. Another diner claimed he was prettier. Another diner broke in to say he was looking for “a lady from Spain.”
Fancy Ray, you’re on: “I am the lady from Spain. How many times have I been mistaken for a lady from Spain? Or just a lady, period.” As if that wasn’t interruption enough, an MPD cop arrived, which caused Shaw to “assume the position.”
Had I known Fancy would introduce me to this particular rat, I’d have invited Adam’s Pest President Todd Leyse to come snap his fingers. Be sure to check out the video beyond the credit.
Q: Chris, how long have you known this fool?
Chris: Oh my gosh, 30 years probably.
Fancy Ray: Hold on, you knew my momma. You know I’m 29. That’s true. If he said 30 years, I’ve been here 29. The math works.
Q: And 29 is also your IQ.
Fancy Ray: It’s my something else. Come on now, I’m talking about the size of my [hair] curlers.
Q: Is there more to your humor, Chris, than that Kermit the Frog face you make?
Chris: There is. There actually are some very serious things to think about in it. Earlier I was in the restroom. There is this sign in there that says “Employees Must Wash Hands.” [Pause] So after about 20 minutes I just said “Screw it, I’ve got an interview. I’m going to wash my own damn hands.” And I came out here.
Q: That’s not bad. What is your area of humor, Chris?
Chris: “The Dude,” this character I do is really kind of a lost babe in the woods, a man child. [Interruption by the guy who was looking for the “lady from Spain.”]
Q: I was with your ex-girlfriend the other night, the one who still does your hair, Fancy Ray. She’s doing less hair than she once did.
Chris: Oh well, age before beauty. It’s going to be interesting to [take Fancy Ray] out on the road, trying to find someone in these small towns to do his hair. It’s going to be like “Bill’s Bait & Hair.”
Q: Fancy Ray, how have you grown as a comedian in the last 10 years?
Fancy Ray: As I have matured, the comedy [based] on the foundation of beauty [has evolved and] I do more spiritual work, intellectual work, self-improvement work. The comedy has a message. My biggest gift is I make folks feel good. I have a vibration about me that touches people. [More frog faces from Chris] And so I incorporate that in my comedy. I talk at churches, do the wedding officiating to bring all the comedy all the humor, to lift folks up because you’ve been in the presence of greatness. My greatness touches their greatness.
Q: Chris, you have been married but Fancy Ray hasn’t?
Fancy Ray: Hold on, C.J., if you’re proposing to me you need to get on one knee. [Chris laughed]
I told Fancy Ray, not if he was the last man on Earth and future of the species depended on it.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.