Joey Bragg performs his own stand-up on tonight's Liv and Maddie
From the touching moments to hilarious jokes, we're savoring every last second of the final season of Liv and Maddie. The LOLs, in particular, have been turned up this season—especially on tonight's episode—and that's all thanks to Joey Bragg. On tonight's ep, his character, Joey Rooney, performs stand-up that IRL Joey himself wrote. We caught up with the jokester to get the DL on his comedy inspo, how he shakes off the nerves and what his girlfriend thinks of all this funny business.
Girls' Life: What first inspired you to begin performing stand-up?
Joey Bragg: It was always in the back of my head because my family watches stand-up so much. I watched all the comedy specials that my parents showed me like Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Pryor and all those classics. I loved the positive attention I would get when I would make people laugh. You write jokes and then you go up and you perform those jokes. You craft it. I went up [to do stand-up for the first time] at a coffee house in Santa Fe after a guy doing a slam poem about his dog and a reggae band—and I think I did well! Once I did it for the first time I couldn't stop. I did it every night for years and years and years.
GL: That sounds super fun. How do you even write stand-up material?
JB: Well, a lot of it is crafted on stage. The actual wording of it comes from the energy you get. It's just—there's just something different about it. You can't predict in your head when writing a joke how it's going to go. I write a joke kind of bare bones and I don't think of a script when I first perform it. With my Liv and Maddie stand-up, it's a different audience I'm performing to because it's not a comedy club audience. It's the audience that watches the show and you can't go out and practice in front of fans of the show. There's no comedy club that's solely Liv and Maddie fans. So I used versions of a joke I did before Liv and Maddie and performed those as much as I could in comedy clubs and got feel of what would work. I just implemented different words in some cases and more Joey Rooney perspective for the show.
GL: What would you say inspires the bits you do on the show? Do the fans inspire your material?
JB: I've been Joey Rooney for four years and writing jokes and doing stand-up comes naturally to me. To be able to write the stand-up from the other perspective—not from Joey Bragg's perspective, but Joey Rooney's perspective—is pretty much the same but there are so many different aspects. Especially in season four when he moves to LA from Wisconsin. I moved to LA from San Francisco and I get the kind of culture shock (or the lack thereof) of moving to LA. It's a difference, but I can't imagine what that difference is coming from the Midwest to LA. My girlfriend is from the Midwest so I kind of know. I've been to the Midwest a bunch and it was just really fun to write from that kind of "person coming to California and now we're living here" perspective.
GL: Does your girlfriend inspire any of your stand-up comedy bits?
JB: So far I have tried some [about our relationship]. I mean we've been dating for four years so that's, like, there's gold in there, I'm sure, if I really look for it. I don't think that she would get upset but also, I don't know. I have yet to embarrass her but you never know! Never say never!
GL: Very true, in the words of Justin Bieber... So your character gets super nervous to perform stand up in tonight's episode. Does that ever happen when you're performing in real life?
JB: Yeah, I mean it's natural to get nervous, especially if there's no one to fall back on. Stand-up is—you have no one else to blame but yourself. You wrote it and you're the only one performing it. If you're in a band and the audience hates you, you can go, "Well, our bassist stinks and he's a weird looking dude and they don't like us because of him," and then you can feel good about your lead vocals and guitar. I remember my first time I went to the open mic I couldn't even go up because I was so nervous. I didn't go up on stage, look at the audience's face and go, "Oh, I can't do this!" like on the show, but I went there with the intent to go up and perform, got there and was too nervous to even put my name on the list.
GL: It's so awesome that you've grown out of the nerves and been able to shake them off as you've gotten more experience.
JB: You know, I love attention so as soon as I am getting positive attention from people, I could just keep milking that for all it's worth!
GL: What do you feel that fans are loving the most about Cali Style?
JB: From a selfish perspective, I would say Falcon is what they're liking the most, Joey's alter ego. But from a non-selfish, big picture perspective, I would probably also say Falcon!
GL: We're definitely loving him. You guys *are* done filming, but what will you miss most about the show when it's completely over?
JB: Oh man, this is gonna be such a cliché answer, but I think just working with all of [the cast and crew] everyday and getting to do something as fun as this. Everybody is just being as creative as they possibly can to make the best product. There's just nothing that tops that. I'm liking the unemployed life for different reasons, but you don't get as many chances to be creative, and so I think that's probably what I miss.
What's your favorite episode of Liv and Maddie? Sound off in the comments!