'Annoying Fan Theatre' with Rich Vos

Author’s Note: During my interview with Rich Vos (which can be found here), a fan e-mailed Vos about the possibility of the comedian appearing on his podcast. The request leads to Vos’ thoughts on internet bullies and entitlement in the internet age.

Kevin Stairiker: With each year, it seems like comedians are putting out material in different ways and formats. Do you think the concept of the “special” or “half hour” is becoming old-fashioned?

Rich Vos: No, not really, because no one is going to sit and watch an hour on Youtube. Now, Louie [C.K.] put his out as a download which is basically watching a special. Anything you download on your computer you can then watch it on your TV. He was just cutting out the middle man. Youtube is for little two minute videos. You know, I watched this video yesterday on Youtube, it’s so funny, the cops pull over this guy and ask him “where’s the little girl?” Have you seen it?

KS: No, I haven’t.

RV: It’s so funny. Just go to Youtube and type in “where’s the little girl?” I was watching it again yesterday. I do think more people are getting the material because there’s more avenues. That’s why it seems like it’s a thing of the past because so there’s so many places. I mean Epix, HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central and who knows who else is doing them? Oh wow, this guy just e-mailed me: ‘Would you be willing to call in to our podcast?’ He used to be a listener of Opie & Anthony. He was a listener! So the last time he asked me, I said ‘not now, too busy.’ He goes ‘are you available this Friday?’ I’m going to put ‘no, and never.’ Is that too much?

KS: No, not at all.

RV: I’m never going to do it. You know, we have our own podcast that’s pretty popular, and I have my own radio show. Why would I do a podcast from a guy who used to be a fan of the radio show? Shut up!

KS: Especially when you take calls on your own podcast, he could just call you.

RV: Yes.

KS: Though that could be a back end way for him to get you on his podcast by calling from his own, I guess be wary of that.

RV: Yeah, that’s true.

KS: Here’s another super tough one: do you have any tried and true pre-set rituals?

RV: None whatsoever. (laughs) I pop some anxiety medicine and then…no. I’ve been doing this so long, you know? Who has a ritual? Yeah, I sacrifice a lamb. Oh wait, let’s see what this guy wrote back: ‘Oh well, I thought selling merch meant we were friends.’ Shut up, stupid! (laughs)

KS: Wow. Do you run into fans like that often? Since you have such a rabid fan base where they’re calling in and talking with you all the time.

RV: Well, yeah. This guy used to come on the radio show, but we’re not friends. I don’t call him, I don’t talk to him. You know what the problem is? The people listen to the radio too much. They really think they’re a part of your life because, you know, you’re really spilling your guts on the radio. So they think they know you or are a part of it. And they’ll say things like they’re part of our gang on Twitter, and I just block them. They’re not funny, and a lot of them are mean-spirited people. They think they’re us. And don’t get me wrong, a lot of them come to the shows and support comedy and those people are great.

KS: It seems like such a thin line. Like, you have a rabid fan who appreciates you and buys your stuff, but then that means that they’re in your life.

RV: Yeah. I’ve been on the radio for 14 years, so they really think that they can talk to me the way I let my friends talk to me. They’re not my friends.

KS: Longtime caller, first-time friend.

RV: Yeah, they’re the worst, some of them. You know, I alienate my fan base all the time by telling them how much I fucking hate them.

KS: Does that extend to offstage and after the show as well?

RV: No, no, the ones that comes to shows are usually good. It’s the ones that troll the internet, you know, they tweet you and it’s all negative. They think they’re funny. The ones that come to the show and support and buy CDs and watch movies are great because they’re true comedy fans. And there’s so many good ones. Actually, it’s only a small percentage that are just fucking idiots. You know, that’s what’s wrong with the internet, it gives people a platform that shouldn’t have one. It’s funny, with comics, people will write “that guy stinks” or “that person wasn’t funny.” Like, if I didn’t like an actor, I would never write to them and say ‘I don’t like you.’ If I don’t like something, I just don’t like it. I’m not going to sit there and write a fucking review about it. Who would do that?

KS: A lot of people, it turns out.

RV: Yeah, but why? Why would you send that personally to somebody? Maybe in a review, but who would personally send that to someone? “I don’t think you’re good.” Well tough shit, don’t fucking listen! I could never do that, I could never get the balls to write someone like that.

KS: And usually it’s not offering constructive criticism as help, it’s just tearing someone down immediately.

RV: Well, yeah. It just makes no sense that people think that their fucking opinions matter. It doesn’t. No one gives a shit.

KS: It seems to be the worst on Twitter.

RV: It’s the whole arrogance of it. People are so arrogant and the computer makes them more arrogant and you’re more accessible to deal with their stupid arrogance.

KS: It seems like people think that the internet neutralizes everyone. And with that example just now, where you had a fan who started a podcast wanted you on theirs.

RV: Right, my friend? Like, if you were fucking drowning and I was playing golf, I would finish the hole first and then maybe go try to save you. He was just a dummy, a dummy who thought we were friends. Shut up (laughs). I didn’t get a birthday card from you, pal.

Rich Vos performs at the Harrisburg Comedy Zone (110 Limekiln Rd, New Cumberland, PA 17070 ) on January 22 and 23 at 9 p.m. and 8 p.m. respectively. Visit Harrisburgcomedyzone.com for ticket information.



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Kevin Stairiker is a features writer for Fly. He is a graduate of Temple University and enjoys writing in third person. When he isn't writing, he's probably playing guitar for a litany of bands, reading comics or providing well-needed muscle at The Double Deuce.

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