Growing up in Rochester, comic Jamie Lissow is very familiar with Buffalo. Now a co-star and writer on Rob Schneider’s mock reality show on Netflix, “Real Rob,” Lissow returns to Helium Comedy Club in Buffalo for a weekend of shows May 19-21.
Question: Even though you grew up in Rochester, the first time you did comedy was in Buffalo?
Answer: Yeah man. I took a comedy class at the Buffalo Funny Bone when it was at the Boulevard Mall. I’ve been itching to do stand-up and had been writing a little bit. I thought how great would it be to not only work on writing but also make a bunch of contacts. That literally ended up being the beginning of my comedy career, because it was not only the first stand-up that I did, but also the first weekend of work I did at a national club a year after that class.
I was going to summer school at Buffalo State. It was a night school, and I would blow it off and go to the comedy clubs like the Comix Café and the Funny Bone. I ended up failing class because of comedy. That’s how I ended up finding out about the class at the Funny Bone.
Q: When you were growing up, did you have any comedy inspirations that helped you develop your sense of humor?
A: My dad was the funniest guy I’ve ever met. I had all the old Bill Cosby tapes and that was my first introductions to comedy. I grew up at a time when, maybe in the sixth grade or so, you could sneak (watch) some HBO when they had the Young Comedian specials. Those were a big deal.
It was such an insane thing to see as a kid, and it never occurred to me that it was a job you could have. It was so bizarre that you were watching people trying to make (others) laugh. At our house, that’s all we ever did: try to make people laugh.
Q: You’re working on the “Real Rob” Netflix show with Rob Schneider and his actual wife Patricia. What’s it like working with a married couple? Do you feel like a third wheel?
A: I sort of feel like the third and fourth wheel that steadies the car. I’m like a moderator. We sometimes write (together), but more so, I write with Rob, then I write with (Patricia). It’s Rob’s actual wife in the show, and I’m playing Rob’s assistant, so everybody thinks I’m Rob’s assistant.
I’m beaten up a lot on the show, and my mom, and very smart people, will say, “Hey, I love your show and we’re happy for your success, but I don’t like the way Rob treats you.” I’m like, “Mom, Johnny Depp is not really a pirate.”
Q: How are you adapting to acting?
A: I did a bunch of commercials, but this is my first actual big role. The amazing thing is that it’s trial by fire. When we got in there, we were new actors and finding our way. By episode eight, I feel like I went to Juilliard. Our acting days were almost like stand-up comedy. There was a scene with Rob and me were doing a scene and we were ad-libbing. People behind the camera were crying trying not to laugh. We stopped, and they applauded. Rob turned to me and said, “Dude, I feel like we’re a comedy team.” It was amazing.
We’re all acting in life. It’s like I was talking to my wife and pretending I cared about this thing she bought at the show.
Q: Anything else you wanted to mention before we close?
A: I’m super excited about working on season two. I feel bad that people think all I do is stuff with Rob Schneider, but if anybody wants to learn about my projects, you can go to my website.
Who: Jamie Lissow
When: 8 p.m. May 19, 7:30 and 10 p.m. May 20 and 21
Where: Helium Comedy Club, 30 Mississippi St.