When you hear Bob Marley, I am sure you think of the reggae singer but when you think of “The Boondock Saints” series you think of Bob Marley the comedian from New England, who plays Detective Greenley. Bob has also released 20 comedy albums and have been featured on Comedy Central. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Bob to discuss his movies and his comedy acts.
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Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally get the role in “Boondock Saints”?
Bob Marley: Troy and I had a mutual friend named Tom Chabot from Maine. He was living in L.A. and hanging out at the bar that Troy worked at. And when the movie got the greenlight to begin casting he told him “you have to check this guy out, he’s really funny.” They came to see me at the Laugh Factory on the Sunset Strip at one in the morning. The place is packed and I’m on stage and this guy starts yelling at me so I’m just hammering the guy and the place is going nuts. So I walk off stage and Troy says “hey, I want you to read a script” and I’m thinking, “Jesus, everybody has got a script in Hollywood.” So I took the script and after two pages I thought “Holy Shit! This guy really DOES have a script.” The writing is brilliant. So I phone him up and tell him, “this is great.” And he tells me he’ll let me know when casting starts. But I didn’t hear from them for like three months because they were having trouble with the funding. And the casting. They (the producers) were trying to get Brad Pitt and Stallone and Steven Dorf and Troy was telling them “you just don’t get it.” So finally Troy called me and asked me to come to his apartment to read. It was the scene in the alley that I had to read. And the uncut version of that scene is four minutes of just me just going off. I was there with Troy and Chris Brinker (the producer). Chris leaves to go get some coffee and Troy asks me to do the scene. He hands me a script and I tell him I don’t need the script. It’s about a three page scene but I tell him I don’t need it. And he smiled. I ripped the whole scene apart…boom, boom, boom…and when I was done he looked at me and said “you’re the guy.” And I was like “are you shitting me?” I had lived in L.A. for eleven years and had actually had eight development deals for sitcoms but had never shot a pilot. Next thing I know I’m off to Toronto and I’m standing next to Willem Defoe.
Mike Gencarelli: We recently interviewed Brian Mahoney and he mentioned that it was almost impossible to play it serious when you were so funny. Was it hard for you to not laugh as well?
Bob Marley: I’m really the kind of guy who will bust everybody’s balls, you know…but in a good way. We had a great time. What was worse was me and Billy Connolly. The first day on the first film I went to see Billy. Remember the house that they blew up in the first film? I had scenes earlier that day, then I went to that set and Billy showed up. He had seen the rushes of my scene in the alley the day before and when he saw me he said (in a heavy Irish brogue), “Oh, fucking great!” He took me aside and we sat in the grass for two hours just talking about stand up comedy. And I’m thinking to myself, “this guy is the balls, man.” And on the last movie, when I’m laying on the floor dead, he walks in and I told him, “listen, when I’m on the ground my head is going to be tilted your way so please don’t fuck around.” And he looks at me and asks, “what do you mean?” I said, “don’t give me that fucking smirk or I’ll be done.” Thank God I was dead when he came in. And when you die they give you the option of having your eyes open or closed. I asked a friend of mine who was a cop and he said that most of the time when he comes across a dead body their eyes are closed. So I kept mine closed. When Billy walked in I couldn’t see what he was doing. Because I didn’t see him as a mob boss. I saw him as Billy Connolly.
Mike Gencarelli: Can you reflect on the fan response to the “Boondock” movies?
Bob Marley: Here’s what I can tell you…after “Boondock “ one…the radio stations are very picky about who they have on to promote comedy shows. So if the club calls the station and says “I’ve got Bob Marley coming in” they usually say “who’s Bob Marley?” And if they say “he’s from ‘The Boondock Saints’ they usually say “bring him in!” Being in the movie really buys you a first time pass with radio stations. But if you go in and you’re not funny, they won’t have you back again. It opens doors, certainly. But am I selling out shows just because of “Boondock Saints?” No. Do I have fans that come because of the film? Absolutely. But it’s pretty much a cumulative thing. I’ve done a hundred t.v. shows….Leno and Letterman…Comedy Central stuff….it all contributes to a full house!
MG: What do you love most about doing stand up comedy?
BM: I love picking little things apart. The average person when they walk around in everyday life always has that moment where they just go “what the fuck!” It’s like when you’re in a bar with your buddies and someone walks by and you go “what the fuck!” Being a comedian you can actually take that moment and bring it on stage. Like the other day I stopped a convenient store and there’s a new beef jerky product called Sasquatch Beefstick. It’s two and half pounds of beef jerky shoved into a tube with a picture of an angry Sasquatch on it. So being a wise-apple I ask the lady behind the counter if the meat is mostly meat from the Sasquatch and she says “I don’t know.” And in my head I’m thinking “how do you not know? How do you not know that Sasquatch isn’t real?” And I’m thinking “you’re the one who’s in charge of shutting the pumps down if there’s a fire and you don’t know?”
MG: Do you find it hard to come up with material? You’ve released almost 20 different comedy CDs.
BM: I’m pretty lucky because I have a good eye and I can picture out things. And I know my voice. A lot of comedians don’t know who they are on stage and they struggle to write material. But when I look at something I immediately know what my approach on stage is going to be. In fact, on September 22 I’m going for the Guiness Book of World Records for the longest comedy show. The record is 36 hours and 15 minutes of stand up. I’m doing it for a charity…for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Maine.
MG: Are you looking to do any more films in the future or focusing on the comedy?
BM: I would love to do more films. We moved out of Los Angeles about five years ago when we started having kids. We live in Maine now. I just shot an hour special that I’m trying to get on Comedy Central. The whole family went to see the second movie and my aunt, who’s 85, comes up to me and says “Bobby, you were very good. I don’t know why you don’t do more movies.” Like it’s my decision not to do any more. It’s so many crazy how many actors there are and how many movies there are. And I just don’t live out in L.A. anymore. But if something comes my way I’ll certainly do it. But between the first and second “Boondock” movies my stand up has taken off so much. So I’m keeping busy!
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