Detroit native John Heffron has had a lot of success in his comedy career. He's got CDs, comedy specials and successful tours; he won Last Comic Standing; and he even his own game! The bottom line is, when John Heffron breezes into town and puts on a show, you gotta be prepared to laugh. What? You need a good laugh, you say? I've got a secret you'll want to tell all of your friends. John Heffron is going to be at the Irvine Improv tonight through Sunday, so whether you choose to laugh at him or laugh with him, there will be laughter.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I read you studied psychology. Do you plan to factor what you've learned into your parenting?
John Heffron: You know I'm actually a geek when it comes to mind stuff. I'm certified in NLP, which is like a life strategies certification, so I think it doesn't hurt to have a "one up" if you have a kid. You can use the force on them without them really knowing.
So are you planning on having any kids so you can use this "force"?
Well, right now, I have a step-daughter who is 16. As for having my own, if I remember correctly back to fifth grade when they separated the boys and the girls and we had the little talk, I distinctively remember having to be in the same room to make that happen. I travel so much that it tends to make things difficult.
This is 2011, though; I'm sure you can make that happen! I'm sure there is an app for that.
[Laughs.] Yeah, there's gotta be a website or some type of Apple Cloud that I could store it in.
What has been the best place you've performed? You'll want to say Orange County right here . . .
Yeah, I'm going to say Orange County. Say, the Irvine area? I like it because I get the added bonus of feeling like I was traveling because where I live in the valley, I get to drive on the 405. So it feels like a full flight day, but then I get to sleep in my own bed. And you can get a caramel apple and do a little shopping. You really get the whole gamut when you're going there.
So what do you do while you're stuck in traffic on the love/hate 405 freeway?
It's true. Some days, it's taken three hours to get down there. Sometimes, I get home in 42 minutes. You never know. Usually, I either catch up on every phone call I've never called back, or I call every friend I haven't talked to in years to see if they want to go to the show. I want to take advantage of the carpool lane.
That is very smart of you. Have you been keeping up with your Shake Weight workout?
Yes! I think it is the greatest invention ever. I never get sick of it, and I love that people always have these Shake Weight videos online. It just never gets not funny to me. The Shake Weight certification that I did literally took, like, five seconds to shoot. I just ran around and did every exercise I could.
You did radio for five years. How was it, working with Danny Bonaduce?
It was interesting. Some mornings, you didn't know what kind of guy you were going to get . . . which made it fun. If you're on his good side, he is a really cool guy. We definitely had some gamey moments, but we were friends on the show, and we remain friends afterward. He's an interesting guy to know.
Were there some songs you remember playing over and over and wanted to die from?
There is a Celine Dion song that I don't know the name of. It starts like, "You are the thiiing that I never knewwww."
Ughh, is it "Because You Loved me?" I'm sad I know that. . . .
Yes! I'd hear that every morning at 5:30 and that song by Eric Clapton, "Tears In Heaven." Who wants to hear that at 5:30 in the morning? Our boss would always say, "It tests well, and we did a lot of research, and people like that song." Maybe at six at night, but not in the morning! I also did radio in the Hanson era.
Yes! I gotta say I'm a big Hanson fan. In the land of Justin Bieber, I'm a fan of the Hanson brothers.
So you are saying that you do not, in fact, have "Bieber Fever"?
I've never caught it. I got a shot about five years ago to protect me from "Bieber Fever" because I had to travel to Canada. Luckily. Not a lot of people know, but if we had universal health care, then we would have been protected.
When's your next CD due to come out?
You know, I had a special that came out last summer, and it's one of those things where it's kind of a weird time that you have to keep cranking out material so you have new presence on the web. At the same time, I don't know if I want to just blast it out there. I enjoy my live shows, and people who show up at my live shows have a great time, so I almost want to keep that a "little thing." It's something I have to think about whether I want to "shoot my wad," as they say, and crank out another special.
I can only say I'll be looking forward to it. I mean, as long as it's good. The special, not the wad. Just so we're clear.
[Laughs.] I've always prided myself in having different shows than what people see on TV in order to keep it fresh. The problem is, you don't want to perform certain things because you'll think, oh, man, people have already heard this stuff. I find that you can never figure it out or you'll go insane. I've had some people say, "Oh, he did that same joke on there." Yeah, me and, like, every other comic. Then you have people say, "I brought 15 people to the show, and you didn't do that one thing about blahhh." I keep a really good mix of old and new stuff.
I hear ya; you can't win them all. Speaking of, who you taking in the Super Bowl?
I would probably say the Detroit Lions?
Bad news for you. . . .
What? The whole season is on my TiVo. Don't tell me!!
Mum's the word. I heard you wanted to have your sitcom--true or false?
I did many years ago. These days, you have to be an exterminator, a tanning-booth owner, married to a rich guy, or give out parking tickets to have a show. I'm definitely in the wrong field to get on TV.
But if you did have your own sitcom, do you have a name picked out?
No, no, I don't. Maybe that's my problem. Maybe I'm not a good goal setter. Maybe that's what I need to do. I know you have to have your name in it, though. Maybe I'd call it Go See John Heffron Live When He Comes to a Town Near You.
You can follow John Heffron on Twitter (@JohnHeffron) and see more of him and pick up some CDs on his website. Go see him perform at the Improv, 71 Fortune Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-5455; www.improv.com.Jan. 28-30. See website for show times and ticket prices. 21+.