As the intimate crowd of fans are ushered into the cozy theatre, nestled inside "The PIT", (People's Improve Theater), in New York City, the first Monday night of each month, the staff of writers and producers, of TruTV's "Impractical Jokers", along with guest comedians, prepare to take the stage, with one of the masterminds of "Staff Infection", Jay Miller, leading off the hysterically, riotous, showcase.
Associate producer, and writer for the hit series, "The Impractical Jokers", and probably one of the funniest men in America, has been doing stand-up, as well as heading his own cable show for some time. After much coaxing and threatening, I was able to have "literally", a conversation with Jay Miller, however I'm still unsure if it became an interview, or merely a plea for a personal assistant on his behalf.....
I can't believe that you actually called....
You're so surprised; I'm just bad at committing to things. I need other people to tell me, "You're doing this thing tomorrow"... I need an assistant!
You do, you also need a girlfriend.
I'm doing just fine. If I had the choice right now of a girlfriend or an assistant, I'd take the assistant.
Can't they be one in the same?
Can this interview be really just an ad for an assistant?
It can be, but let's talk about "Staff Infection" a little.
I'm not going to be at the one in April. I'm going to London. We're shooting an episode in London.
So what exactly is it that you do?
Right now I'm driving around Staten Island, and enjoying the weather. I'm stopping into "Planet Wings", and I'm going to get myself some wings" if I promote Planet Wings, I should get a discount.
(At which point Jay proceeded to order his wings, followed by a walk next door to Carvel).
I've been a comedian for a bunch of years. I do a public access talk show on Manhattan and Staten Island cable, called "Mid Evenings with Jay Miller". It's just a weird-ass talk show, and then I became a writer/comedy producer for "Impractical Jokers". Now I'm an Associate Producer.
How did you get the job?
I started doing "Mid Evenings", a bunch of years ago, and when I was doing it, I met Sal from "Impractical Jokers", and I knew that he did comedy, ......(What's that....you're hungry? ....and you have no money?.....but you're wearing new sneakers.....This kid's asking for money, but he's got brand new sneakers on....honestly I have zero cash on me....I'm sorry, I don't even have change on me......he's asking for money, but he doesn't deserve it, he has brand new sneakers on...but I want to look good for this interview).....I'm in Carvel now, I never really liked Carvel. It always looks good, but then you get it, and it's disappointing. Maybe I'll get a shake. An Oreo shake sounds delicious....
Then get it, you only live once.
So I asked Sal if he wanted to be involved in my show. So we worked on "Mid Evenings" for a while. We would do comedy bits. Then "The Impractical Jokers" picked up and became a thing. After a few seasons he asked me to write on the show.
So Sal hired you?
Well no, actually Sal asked me to submit. So I had to write a packet, and it went to all the guys, and all the guys approved it....all the guys thought I was a funny mother f**ker, which I am, and boom....hired. I'm a television producer, before that I was a teacher, working with special needs children...
Yeah, the world is a weird place. I worked with special needs kids. I worked with autistic kids for about eight years, which I liked a lot. I love kids, I love working with kids. That's why I'm lucky, if this thing ever falls through, I can just go back to being a teacher, which I'm pretty happy about.
That's sweet. So currently every first Monday of the month you do "Staff Infection".
Every Monday of the month I watch wrestling. I've been watching it every Monday for about 16 years. I love wrestling.
That could be a good comedy skit.
No...It's not funny. It's very serious! ....So there are so many people who work on the show who are super talented. We have writers, improv people, music, .....gimme like a chocolate shake, like not a thick shake, one that I can drink. A small is good......I didn't even tell him what flavor I want...so we have so many people on our crew who are super talented, and I wanted to do something where we get to perform. Where we get to show off the people behind the show, and how talented we are also. We've been doing it for 6 or 7 months so far......I'm pretty sure this man just made me chocolate milk, $5 chocolate milk....We do it at "The PIT Theater in Manhattan. We get to do improv, I get to work on new stand up material, and everyone gets to try stuff out. We get to try new stuff that we've been working on.....you know for real, I just paid 5 bucks for a chocolate milk. I got ripped off by Carvel. I'm going to feel awful about myself when I eat 10 wings, and very cold chocolate milk. It's going to be a rough night.
What's next for you?
I don't know, continue doing stand-up, .... I need an assistant; I need someone to just tell me to do things. I have a hard time committing to anything. I need an assistant, I don't have money, but this will be the perks of the job: they get to talk to me, which is nice, I'm like funny...I give good advice, I have an infinite knowledge of wrestling......they can maybe come with me to wrestling events. They would have to buy their own ticket.
Do you prefer a boy or girl assistant?
I don't care. First I'd like a girl assistant but then you don't want it to become weird.
How about an older girl assistant then?
Yeah, that would be great. No, but I don't want it to seem like I'm being racist...I just don't want sexual tension to get in the way that's all. If she's attractive she can do it too, but then she might get fired as my assistant and get hired as my girlfriend. I feel like being my girlfriend has less perks than being my assistant.
You're probably right. Do you find "Staff Infection" to be fun?
Yes I do, or I wouldn't keep on going. I do think it's funny and I enjoy it, and that's why we are having this conversation. Most of the time the skits are really funny.
Even the skits that aren't funny are interesting. While it might not be a laugh a minute, it's still an enjoyable show from beginning to end.
Is the improv rehearsed at all?
The improv at the end is completely made up. The show is supposed to be an hour of improv, but I am not confident in my improv skills, and so I wanted to do some other things to start the show, where we get to do stand-up, little bits, so the show is like half and half.
It's perfect the way you do it. I don't think I could take an hour of just improv.
Nobody can.....so who is your favorite performer out of our group?
You are Jay. Then Casey.
Are you saying that because....
No. You should know that I say what's on my mind.
Out of everyone in that group, I'm your favorite?
You're my favorite, followed by Casey.
Wow, that's wild. Ok, thank you.
So how do you get the "Jokers" to go? Do they just show up via surprise?
Well we like to have special guests. We've offered it to the "Jokers", it's on their calendars. We never announce special guests are on the show. We never announce if the Jokers are coming, because we want the people to come for us. If a "Joker" shows up, that's great. But if they don't, that's great too. I don't want people to be disappointed because they didn't show up, it's not their show.
But it looks like you have a steady fan base and it gets bigger each time.
Anytime the "Jokers" have come, they've really enjoyed it. It's different for them, because now they're performing in front of a small audience, which is nice. They get to do improv which they haven't done in many, many years. Sal did it for us for the first time last month.....I'm going to put this milk shake into the freezer and try and turn it in to something. I'm walking into my house. I have a whole box of "Blue Apron"..... Can we talk about my "Periscope"?
I'm trying to figure out a way to make "Periscope" a fun thing, and I've been cooking on my "Periscope", and people see me, and they really like it. People are sending me cooking supplies. I have no idea how to cook. I literally have no idea what I'm doing. I think all of these girls are watching me, and feel so bad for me. I think that's what they're enjoying. I'm trying to get "Blue Apron" to hire me to put on a show where I cook.
What is "Blue Apron"?
Today I got a box of food. You pay for it every week, they give you three meals, and then it gives you the exact serving amount for your recipe. It tells you step by step how to make it. That's what I need. I can't measure, or do all this stuff.
So you not only need an assistant, you need a chef.
Yeah, it's all hand n' hand. I eat out...I eat "Planet Wings", and "Carvel". So I've been trying to make "Periscope" fun, and it's been going really well. I do it for an hour and a half, but people sit through it and watch it. It's crazy. Sometimes then I'll sit on the computer and watch "Cam Girls", do you know what they are?
No, what are they?
"Cam Girls" are girls who sit in front of the camera and take their clothes off. So I was thinking of becoming a "Cam Boy". That's my next career.
I'd like to see that.
You'd have to pay, I'm not taking my clothes off for free.
It would be worth it.
That's crazy, I've seen myself naked. It's not worth it.
I meant for the humor.
Oh for a laugh......
You can find Jay Miller on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Periscope by following these links:
Periscope @JayMillerCamGirl and @midevenings