Oracle of outrage
Comic Jimmy Dore scowls about the world while loving life in Pasadena
By Carl Kozlowski 06/05/2013
Jiimmy Dore has a lot to say about the state of America, and he uses many different platforms to say it. He’s a nationally headlining club comedian who has regularly performed on the Jimmy Kimmel and Craig Ferguson shows and earned the honor of having two solo one-hour Comedy Central specials. He’s also one of the pundits on Current TV’s “The Young Turks,” as well as the host of his own bitingly hilarious, nationally syndicated radio program, “The Jimmy Dore Show.”
Yet, while the radio show emanates from North Hollywood’s KPFK-FM station each week, Dore is a proud Pasadenan. He enjoys the fact that Pasadena is a cultural hub, but is even more appreciative of its distance from the behind-the-scenes game playing of the show-business scene. That combination helps him maintain the same kind of grounded life he experienced during his boyhood on the blue-collar South Side of Chicago.
“I grew up in what I like to call a very blue-collar neighborhood, very blue. I would say it was a navy-blue-collar neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago,” Dore recalls. “The people worked hard all day and then went home at night and watched reruns of Archie Bunker and laughed for all the wrong reasons.”
As the youngest of 12 kids in an Irish-Catholic family, Dore learned early on that he needed to fight for attention if he wanted to receive any, even from his parents. For him, being funny was the way to get a response, and eventually having such a large and built-in audience meant he had plenty of practice by the first time he took the stage.
“As soon as I figured out I was replaceable, I knew I had to try comedy,” Dore says. “There was an open mic night near my house at a comedy club called the Comedy Womb — ‘Where Comedians Are Born’ was their motto. I started in the early ’90s, when all you needed was a pulse and suit jacket and you could get a paying comedy gig.”
One thing that quickly helped Dore stand out was the fact that he wasn’t shy about his political views, which are often labeled as strictly progressive. But he’s actually more of a free thinker who demands the truth from our leaders and the institutions of government, with a particular focus on fighting the hypocrisy of the drug war.
Dore is a passionate advocate for ending the war on pot and legalizing medical use of marijuana. He not only was a writer-performer of the smash off-Broadway hit “The Marijuana-Logues,” but he also believes that using medical marijuana saved his sanity and possibly his life, due to its strong role in helping alleviate chronic and debilitating pain caused by problems with vertebrae.
“I describe myself as politically aware, a progressive along the lines of Teddy Roosevelt,” explains Dore. “I see that the real problems facing our country are not left-right, but top-down. The plutocrats against the rest of us, and the plutocrats are on a 30-year winning streak.”
As the Obama administration battles concurrent allegations of at least three different scandals — regarding the terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS, and the wiretappings of reporters at the Associated Press and FOX News – Dore believes that the accusations and interrogations are acting as distractions from the bigger problems facing the nation.
“Two of those three could be called ‘the scandals that weren’t,’” he says. “So a political organization applying for tax-exempt status was first given extra scrutiny before actually being granted tax-exempt status. There’s a scandal there somewhere, right?
“Of course, the real scandal is that the true criminals in our country will never be prosecuted: The criminal bankers who raped our economy and pocketed the profits while it crashed,” he continues. “And the people who ordered torture and war crimes and lied our nation into an illegal war … We don’t prosecute those crimes anymore, but we did get Martha Stewart.”
Thanks to living in a relatively laid-back state like California, Dore doesn’t have to worry much about getting arrested for using medical marijuana. Suffering from problems with his back, he can lapse into having pain so great it threatened to debilitate him a few years ago.
Even though he has the right to be prescribed marijuana, Dore finds the process of receiving it from a clinic to be utterly absurd.
“I can buy liquor at a gas station in the United States but I have to see a doctor and go to a clinic and be buzzed into a back room in order to buy a joint,” he says, with rising sarcasm. “Are you kidding me? You guys should be embarrassed to be doing this to me. You say, ‘I don’t think you’re sick enough.’ Well, you’re not sick and you can buy Everclear and no one makes you take a test to buy it. You should feel bad that you make a guy jump through hoops to get his drug of choice when you don’t have to.’”
Jimmy Dore can be heard on “The Jimmy Dore Show” at 3 p.m. Fridays on 90.7 KPFK-FM and can be seen on “The Young Turks” online on Current TV’s Web site at youtube.com/tytcomedy. His Web site is jimmydorecomedy.com.