2013 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Mick Foley has followed up his career of theater and violence as a pro wrestler with the less physically demanding world of stand-up comedy.
Foley's strikingly diverse resume includes stints as a children's author, voice actor, radio host, activist, WWE Champion and most recently, stand-up comedian. From Ohio to Australia, Foley has traveled the world, jokes in hand.
He won't challenge Patton Oswalt or Katt Williams as America's best comedian, but he's a solid performer with a good sense of comic timing.
If Foley were not a famous former wrestler, he'd likely be working open mics by night and waiting tables by day.
The inescapable fact, though, is that he is indeed a famous former wrestler and that means he has an immediate following. It means he is judged by different standards and that he was a wealth of interesting wrestling-related stories to tell.
He makes WWE references only fans will get. He tells stories of being on the road as a wrestler that only wrestling fans will fully appreciate.
Foley has embraced the limits of his audience and has done well mixing the world of wrestling and comedy. In a WWE Outside the Ring segment, Foley discusses coming to terms with this idea.
He also discusses his desire to improve as a comedian.
The work ethic that earned him WWE success despite his physical limitations is the same trait that will likely have Foley get better with every stand-up show. Like most art forms, one sharpens his/her craft over several years, practice and experience working to elevate the art.
While Foley did entertain WWE fans using a microphone during his days as Cactus Jack, Dude Love, Mankind or Mick Foley, comedy is a different world altogether.
There isn't as much opportunity to play off someone else. Foley isn't going to have The Rock to banter with at his shows. His WWE days also offered violence as a means to bolster his word-based entertainment.
He likely won't get the chance to smack someone with a steel chair on his comedy tour, either.
There are however, elements Foley can borrow from his WWE life.
The Marriage of Comedy and Wrestling
His charisma and sense of timing have aided his comedy. His ability to improve, to tell a story and to work despite being exhausted from travel give him an edge over a typical green comedian.
His performance at the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival shows how well he has melded wrestling and comedy.
(NSFW warning: The comedy gets a bit adult at times.)
Foley enters to his old entrance music. He wears essentially what he wore during the later stages of his career.
He makes reference to a cheap pop, brings in a mighty good Steve Austin impersonator and uses Kurt Angle's entrance music to embarrass a heckler.
Foley has turned his comedy act into somewhat of a spin-off of his WWE run.
To a non-WWE fan, Foley is speaking quite a bit of gibberish. For the fans he's aiming at, Foley's comedy act is entertaining. Much like his biographies, he has a knack for living and retelling wrestling stories that beg to be heard.
He’s a likable guy who both seems like a big star and a buddy you might have a bite with.
Foley is already better than some stand-up comedians who have been in the business for years, Jeff Dunham, for example. He probably won't ever be among comedy's elite, but he doesn't need to be.
It's rare that someone is a worthy of the Hall of Fame in two such different undertakings as wrestling and comedy.
He's funny, especially to those fans who his little slice of the comedy world is designed for. Foley has once again found a way to succeed in a non-WWE environment. He has traded in a world of broken bones and dislocated joints for one where the pain is instead caused by an unresponsive crowd.