Chris Franjola talks comedy, Netflix, spoils the end of Sons of Anarchy
The comedian has been a regular fixture on E!'s Chelsea Lately, and this past season hosted the post-show for Sons of Anarchy, Anarchy Afterwards. What fans may not know is that Franjola is an accomplished standup comedian with 20 years of stage time to his name.
This weekend, the darling of cable comedy brings his act to Mystic Lake Casino's comedy club for five shows, where fans can see Franjola in his natural element. Before he lands in Minnesota, we sat down with the comic to talk about Chelsea Handler, comedy, and why he isn't into putting his comedy sets on TV.
Let's start with your online Sons of Anarchy after-show, Anarchy Afterwards. Were you a fan of that show before you got the hosting gig?
A little bit. I actually prefer watching them in bulk after the season is over.
How did you actually end up getting the hosting job?
[Sons creator] Kurt Sutter wanted the after show to be a little bit lighter and loose so that people could see the cast having fun together. I actually knew Kurt from his early days as a standup something like 15 years ago, which is another reason I got the job.
If you read interviews with him online, Sutter can come off kind of abrasive sometimes. What was your experience working with him?
Yeah, I'd heard some of that stuff too, but he's always great and super nice to me and the other guys from the cast who have been on the show with us.
Between him and Chelsea Handler, who's the bigger bad-ass?
Chelsea. No question.
Last summer you said in an interview that you didn't like putting your comedy on television. That's like the complete opposite of most standups.
I'm starting to soften on that a little bit. My thing is that I'm on TV all the time; I don't need my act on television. Don't get me wrong, I like being on TV. I just don't need my act out there. I don't want people judging my comedy based on some 12-year-old YouTube video they saw online. But I'm starting to come around, and I actually might do an hour special on Netflix in either January or February.
What made you change your mind?
It's the way TV is evolving. Take Sons, for example. Kurt himself will tell you that it probably wouldn't have the incredible following that it has if people wouldn't have had the ability to binge watch it through Netflix. Comedy is sort of the same way now. You've got guys like Bill Burr and Aziz who are putting their stuff out on Netflix before they do traditional release, and that helps get it in front of more people. Then you can drive them into the clubs to see you live, so I think it's a huge benefit.
When people do come see you live, do you think they expect you to be your persona that they see on Chelsea Lately or Anarchy Afterwards?
Probably a little bit. The great thing about being on Chelsea is that it helps the panelist establish a bigger audience for our live shows. My act is edgier and a little dirtier than the stuff I do on TV, but I've been doing this for 20 years. I've got a solid act, and people seem to really like it, even if they don't know any of my standup going in.
Next season is the end of Sons of Anarchy. Do you have any insider info on how it ends?
Remember the finale of Seinfeld? Exactly like that.
IF YOU GO:
Saturday, December 27-29
7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. (Sunday 7 p.m. only)
Mystic Lake Comedy Club
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