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Mick Foley’s Tales From Wrestling Past – Storytelling Excellence

GG & MickMick Foley has always been a great storyteller — both in a wrestling ring and in book form. Starting with his first autobiography, “Have A Nice Day”, the stories he told were so good that I always wondered what they would sound like if he read them aloud. On Thursday night at Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco, that wonder became reality.

As a longtime Mick Foley/Cactus Jack/Mankind fan (and hey, Dude Love has always been good with me), I had to check him out. The great Cactus Jim of this very website and my friend Tommy Walton came as well. Before the show, I spotted Dave Meltzer who came with former Bay Area WWF ring announcer Stu Ganz and they sat near us. I got Dave’s ear about what was going on in wrestling and MMA. If you are a wrestling or MMA fan and get a chance to talk shop with Dave Meltzer, like the Nike slogan says, “Just do it.” I always have a great time when I get a chance to talk to Dave and he’s always obliged, no matter how annoying us wrestling fans can be.

Before the show, Foley held a meet and greet. He mentioned later in the show that he usually does them after the show, but he had a red eye to catch. He had some old school Cactus Jack t-shirts for sale and some photos to sign, but I just took a picture with him as you can see above. Cactus Jim did the “Bang, bang” pose, but I wanted the later Foley pose which was the culmination of a dramatic promo that ended with a “Yeah~!” and a thumbs up.

I wouldn’t necessarily categorize Foley as a standup and I don’t think he would either. The marquee wouldn’t necessarily say, “Mick Foley comedy.” The guy who came on before him, Sal, is a standup. Sal told quick hitting jokes with definitive punchlines and he moved quickly. He told a very funny joke about Hulk Hogan’s sex tape that Foley said he would later steal for sure.

Mick Foley is a storyteller. I’d met Foley once in person but he was sitting behind a table at Comic-Con, so I didn’t really get to see how big he was. He’s not just a large man. He’s also a very tall man. He uses his physicality in his storytelling. He’s not violent as he looks like a big teddy bear, but it’s hard to not notice how big of a guy he is. It makes him even more substantial.

His timing and understanding of the beats of the audience is impeccable, but that shouldn’t be surprising since that was always one of his strengths as a wrestling promo. I’m not sure how intentional it was, but he was able to wrap his entire PG-13 show around a very non-PG story about watching live sex in Germany with the Rock and Al Snow. He said he wasn’t going to mention names, but one of the guys is the star of GI Joe. That popped the crowd. He told a story of a gay, injured man performing like a star by having sex with a young woman in front of a large crowd. What a worker! In the end, he said his inspiration for finishing his match in Hell In A Cell was the gay, injured man who he hadn’t seen since 1996. And he brought “him” out and they had a nice hug to end the show.

Other highlights:
– He told a story about life on the road with a naked DDP that he’d also written in one of his books. Watching him tell the story in person was a highlight even though I knew the punchline.
– He mentioned his favorite Paul Bearer moment and making it to his funeral.
– He talked about Madison Square Garden and going into the Hall of Fame.
– His cheap pop meeter was at least at three or four.
– He told a really funny Jake the Snake story during his religious gimmick.
– And of course, he talked about Hell In A Cell.

Foley still has the charisma of ten men and he just understands how to talk to an audience. If you’re a wrestling fan and Mick Foley comes to your town, don’t hesitate to buy a ticket and see him. You’ll surely, “Have a nice day!”

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