Comedian, host, podcaster, and dapper gentleman Paul F. Tompkins is a veritable jack of all comedic trades. After getting his start in comedy at Philadelphia’s Comedy Works in 1986, the native East Coaster moved to Los Angeles in 1994 and gained national attention via Bob Odenkirk and David Cross’ Mr. Show. Since then, Tompkins has hosted VH1’s Best Week Ever series, played minor roles in the films of Paul Thomas Anderson and Adam McKay, and became a podcasting deity.
If that sounds like a lot of work, well… it is. However, juggling these projects and more isn’t too much for Tompkins, whose new stand-up special on Comedy Central, Crying and Driving, premieres this Saturday, October 10 at 11 p.m. EST. So, while mere mortals might think that putting out a new comedy hour, preparing for a fourth season of No, You Shut Up! on Fusion, and joining Odenkirk and Cross for Netflix’s upcoming Mr. Show revival is a bit much, Tompkins disagrees. All you have to do, he says, is learn how “to be a grownup.”
Like your podcasts, you tend to do more longform work. There aren’t many short, punchy jokes in Crying and Driving.
It’s just a natural evolution of style. When I started out, there was definitely more shortform stuff, but then I really started to enjoy the storytelling aspect of it. Trusting that the audience would follow me on a little journey. It’s so much more rewarding to connect with an audience in that way. A real way. To share my emotional life with people in a way that they could relate to, not in a way that would make people uncomfortable. We all do dumb things and we all have tearful moments. That sort of thing.