FRIARS CLUB: You travel extensively inciting wild fits of laughter in people of ages around this rapidly spinning planet. Where’s the farthest, or most exotic place comedy has brought you?
STEVEN SCOTT: I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to almost 100 countries and all 7 continents… I’d say Antarctica would qualify as farthest and most exotic.
FC: How cool. What brought you there?
SS: Well, I got off the wrong exit on the NJ Turnpike-- there was a detour, signs were confusing… I hate when that happens!
FC: I blame Chris Christie… For real, though, is there a military outpost there or something?
SS: More like a penguin outpost. And what lovely audiences they are. Always in formal attire. But seriously folks… What brought me there was a cruise ship.
FC: Business or pleasure?
SS: Luckily for me, my business is pleasure, so both. I was hired to headline this cruise. So basically I got paid to go on vacation.
FC: Steven Scott: International Man of Comedy.
SS: Well, when ya think about it, its kind of like being James Bond: I’m sent on special missions to exotic locales around the world, where I meet beautiful women… and all with a license to kill! ...Onstage at least.
FC: You’re known for incorporating some unique vocal talents into your comedy, celebrity voices and even vocal sound effects. Who was the first voice you ever did, and when did you realize you had an ear for it?
SS: First voice was my little sister, Jill. When we were about 6 and 3 years old, our Dad, who was a newscaster, did a 10pm broadcast and wasn’t home by bedtime, so he’d call in from work to say goodnight. On some occasions, Jill would already be asleep, so he and I would talk a few minutes, and then he’d say, “Alright, put your sister on.” I’d say, “Okay,” pause a sec, and in a baby girl voice say, “Hehwoh Dahh-deee!” And he’d say “Hellooo sweeeetheart…” And we’d carry on a conversation, while my Mom was doubled over, trying not to laugh and ruin the gag.
FC: Did dad ever find out?
SS: He will now. Thanks for outing me. Haha! ...No, we eventually told him… and yet, he continued to fall for it. I figured if I can repeatedly fool a parent, it was a good sign I had talent. Shortly there after, I began imitating TV and cartoon characters, President Jimmy Carter, the list goes on.
FC: Speaking of leaders of the free world, you do our current president with uncanny accuracy. Have you used your Trump voice for anything useful lately?
SS: I started doing Trump in 2004, after the 1st season of The Apprentice. So I had a big head start on everybody-and-their-dog now doing him. I have it down so authentically that I’ve fooled people into thinking it’s really him.
FC: For real?
SS: Last October, my Dad produced a Friars show called “Electile Dysfunction.” I was supposed to do a cameo but booked a gig in LA and couldn’t go. So I did it as a call-in bit as if it really was Trump on the phone from the campaign trail… and people bought it… until my Dad announced it was me. I even got a mention the next day on ‘Page Six.’
FC: It’s not inconceivable, as Trump is a Friar.
SS: Exactly. And he knows my Dad, who’s the most senior news correspondent in NYC. So ever since then, our Executive Director, Michael Gyure, will call me on speaker phone, asking for Trump, to impress/fool whomever he’s entertaining at the club. After all, it’s not inconceivable, right?!
FC: If we could get the phone numbers of a few politicians and world leaders--
SS: Oh, I’d have serious fun doing that… So long as the Secret Service doesn’t find out.
FC: We won’t tell if you don’t… So how did you get involved with the Friars, and why did they accept someone like you as a member?
SS: My father was a member, so I guess it was inevitable, since I kind of grew up there. I didn’t really know any better!
FC: When did you actually join?
SS: 22 years ago… when I was 7!
FC: I guess that was before there was a drinking age?
SS: Okay, not quite… but I’ve been going to the club since I was 7, with my Dad. Years later when I began my comedy career, members who knew me said I should become a member in my own right, and so I did.
FC: Has the club been helpful for your career?
SS: It’s provided me an avenue to become friendly with some great people in the business, as well as afford me the opportunity not only to perform, but also produce shows and events, at which I’ve got pretty good.
FC: You served on the Board of Governors at one point. How did you go from performing and producing to getting involved in club leadership?
SS: I had sat on a few committees, even started a couple. Then, in an effort to have young blood on the board, I was asked to run. After losing my first election by three votes, I was appointed to a one-year term with the understanding I’d run the following year for a full term, which I did and won. So I served four years total and got off early for good behavior. At the time, I was the youngest person to ever serve on the Board of Governors.
FC: And you were recently made a Goodwill Ambassador. What is that exactly?
SS: First and foremost, it’s a nice honor. It’s about promoting Friarly goodwill and positivity both within and outside of the club, and doing what I can to help keep the club relevant.
FC: So you’ve gone from being a Governor to an Ambassador. What’s next?
FC: I’d vote for you… Out of curiosity, if you weren’t a comedian yourself, what else might you be doing?
SS: I’d probably be a criminal. Haha! I majored in Criminology and Criminal Justice in college, so I tell people I was studying to be a criminal and it didn’t work out, so I became a comedian. Truth is, if I wasn’t a comedian, I might very well be somewhere in the alphabet soup of federal law enforcement: FBI, ATF, DEA, ICE, etc.
FC: So which comedians influenced you most as a kid?
SS: Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and George Carlin would top my list. I’d be 11 years old watching them on HBO, thinking, “These guys are getting paid to do the same stuff I’m getting punished for in school?”
FC: You must have been a class clown.
SS: I might have been, had I gone to class...
FC: Writers often talk about writer’s block. Do comedians ever get comedy block?
SS: Absolutely. We’re not always in the mood to be funny. Sometimes bad s**t happens right before a show and ya still have to go on.
FC: What was the worst?
SS: Early in my career, on my way to a show, I witnessed a car accident where a drunk driver in a pickup truck plowed threw a red light, broadsided two cars and flipped end-over-end into a bus. It was like a Hollywood stunt. I ran over to help. It was a grizzly scene—people screaming, crying, bleeding. I had so much blood on me that once the rescue crews arrived, EMTs were giving me medical attention. I had to tell them, “It’s not my blood!” My girlfriend began pulling me away saying, “C’mon Steven, help is here, you’re onstage in 30 minutes.”
FC: Talk about a warm-up.
SS: My mind was a mess, so it wasn’t easy, but I pulled myself together enough to go on, and with bloodstains still on my sport jacket, I found a way to turn the negative emotions into fuel for comedy and got the job done. It’s what we do.
FC: Really inspiring… Do you have anything exciting in the creative pipeline?
SS: I recently filmed a pilot for a comedy travel show I created for Travel Channel. I hope it’s picked up because it was a lot of fun and I need my own TV show already. I’ve “shot so many pilots” in my career, I now get recruitment letters from ISIS.
FC: Nice to know you’ve got something to fall back on. Last question, and answer honestly. If you were a deli sandwich, what kind would you be, and why?
SS: What are you the poor-man’s Barbara Walters? We’ve gone from “What kind of a tree would you be,” to “What kind of deli sandwich?
FC: Barbara who?
SS: Right. Hmm, let’s see… well, since I am definitely a ‘ham’ (which doesn’t make me kosher)… who can act like a bit of a ‘turkey’ at times… and is occasionally full of ‘baloney’… sometimes ‘corny’, though never ‘cheesy’-- I’d say it’d be a ham, turkey & baloney sandwich with corned beef and no cheese… and of course a very large pickle (ohh beeehhhaaave!) And one thing’s fore sure: I’d be DELICIOUS, damn it!!