The Fearless Weirdness of Comedian Rory Scovel - OZY | A Modern Media Company

The Fearless Weirdness of Comedian Rory Scovel

The Fearless Weirdness of Comedian Rory Scovel

By Jim Knipfel

Actor Rory Scovel speaks onstage at Variety's 5th annual Power of Comedy presented by TBS at The Belasco Theater on December 11, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
SourceJohnathan Leibson/Getty


You probably haven’t laughed enough today. If you have, please don’t rub it in our faces.

By Jim Knipfel

First time I saw Rory Scovel, he did his entire routine with just the lightest hint of a German accent. There didn’t seem anything strange or outrageous or put on about it, he wasn’t making Nazi jokes or anything, so I came away thinking, obviously enough, he was a German. It was no big deal. “Rory” wasn’t the kind of name you’d usually expect to find attached to a German, but hey, in this day and age with all the global media and what have you, who knows? The next time I saw him he did his entire act as an equally believable good ol’ boy. Having forgotten the German and not connecting the names, I figured I was seeing an honest to goodness (and extremely funny) redneck comedian.

Then a couple times I saw him morph into a loud developmentally disabled man, though admittedly that usually only happened when he was mocking his sometime partner, comic Jon Dore. Funny thing is, I saw him perform as all those characters long before finally seeing him do an act in what I’m guessing (but only guessing) was his actual voice. Even then it was a completely different kind of act, this time complete with piano accompaniment. Point being, I guess, that with Rory Scovel you never know exactly what or who you’re going to get.

Scovel as himself curses more and isn’t afraid to venture into the world of bodily functions.

The interesting thing is, and Scovel deserves credit for this, all those characters approach comedy in a different way. The German is calm, philosophical, even scientific (“Ever think about energy? Where it comes from, how it works, who started it?”). The good ol’ boy seems fairly naïve but good-hearted, though he can get awfully confused and angry when confronted with life’s assorted bafflements, like Lunchables or seeing the moon in the sky when it’s still daylight. The retarded man is, well, he’s kinda like one of the Gumbys. And Scovel himself is more wide-ranging and more on a par with what we’ve come to expect in terms of contemporary stand-up, which I guess means he curses more than the others and isn’t afraid to venture into the world of bodily functions if need be.

Scovel was raised in Greenville, South Carolina, and began his stand-up career after moving to Washington, D.C., then New York for a spell before settling in Los Angeles. In recent years he’s been making assorted forays into television and film acting, which only makes sense given the array of roles he took on as a comedian. 

The question is: Who is the real Rory Scovel, anyway? Maybe it simply doesn’t matter.


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