If you’ve spent any time with Fancy Ray McCloney, the self-proclaimed “Best Looking Man in Comedy,” you can empathize with the suffering of his high school teacher Michael McClure.
“I was quite truculent, and one time Mr. McClure told me, ‘Ray, we need a break. We need a break from each other.’ Unbeknown to him, I had signed up for his art class,” McCloney said. “I walked in and said, ‘Mr. McClure, here I am!’ He walked straight to the principal’s office and had me removed from his class. Can you believe that?”
Yes, I can. What I can’t believe is that McClure is the only high school teacher McCloney’s still in touch with, considering him a friend.
“At his 50th birthday party, I was the only former student there,” McCloney said. “He’s a good guy.”
McClure wasn’t successful with a Ray-ectomy. Neither was I.
Q: What would you do for a living if you weren’t a comedian?
A: I would either be a teacher or an astronaut.
Q: What makes you think you could be an astronaut?
A: They tell me I’m out of this world. [Laughs at his own joke.] I just can’t think of anything that would be more fascinating and fantastic than to do that. When I was a kid I also wanted to be a philosopher. I studied philosophy.
Q: How much time did you spend in the principal’s office?
A: I can’t remember. I was truculent. I thought a lot of myself and didn’t mind sharing that with people.
Q: Do you shoot and edit those commercials for So Low Grocery?
A: I oversee the production. I’m the boss. I’m the producer, the director, the writer and, of course, I star in them. Aren’t they fantastic?
Q: Some of them are kind of amusing. I enjoy the shoppers. Do you rehearse with them, or are their lines spontaneous?
A: They are 100% natural, spontaneous and real.
Q: How do you pay your bills in reality?
A: I have a magic mirror.
Q: So you don’t have a regular 9-to-5 job?
A: The last time I had a job was in 1989.
Q: You support yourself entirely by doing commercials and comedy?
A: I do ads around here and in Phoenix, St. Louis, Memphis, all over the country, Rockville, Illinois. In addition, I am a wedding consultant and officiant. I’ve got a wedding I am doing a consultation for tomorrow.
Q: How many weddings do you officiate in a year?
A: Oh, it varies. No wedding matters until I do yours.
Q: Well, according to protocol, the second time you say “I do” is not a wedding ceremony, it’s a marriage ceremony. I’ve had a wedding and will never have a marriage ceremony. I want to know when you’re getting married.
A: That’s a really good question. It’s getting close.
Q: Really? By the way, I didn’t print the name you gave for your fiancée because I figured out it was fake, back when I wrote about you performing with Mark Arneson’s band.
A: Yeah, ah. Let me wait on that one. Let’s not talk about that one yet. We’re getting close.
Q: Have you ever told me something that you knew full well wasn’t something I was going to put in print?
A: [Long laugh.] Let me think about that. We’ve had a long history. I’m sure I’ve had some.
Q: Oh, you have asked me to bite on a lot of duds. How often are you successful?
A: Same batting average I have had in getting you to fall in love with me — about 20%.
Q: You are striking out when it comes to me having romantic feelings for you.
A: One time that was a goal of mine.
Q: Under no circumstance.
A: Something might happen. You’ll go, “Oh, that’s a brand of chocolate I like.” And the best chocolate in the world is Fancy chocolate.
Q: I ran into your mom, Toni McCloney, at Costco. We had a funny chat. She said you were taking your fiancée and your son Trevon to a family reunion in Texas. Your mom said you didn’t know if Trevon was going, even though you had bought him a ticket. I asked if Trevon was unpredictable and your mom playfully said: “Yep. I don’t know where he got that.”
A: [Long laugh.] Sometimes the mirror does not fall far from the spotlight. He didn’t go, but I am proud to say he paid me back; I went and got the money.
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.