Comedian Greg Proops has been on your television a lot, both as an improv star on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and as the voice of Bob the Builder.
For the past four years, he’s been reinventing himself as a podcaster with “The Smartest Man in the World,” where he opines about any of his favorite topics, from baseball to ancient history to music.
“The connection I made with the audience has changed how I feel about comedy, it’s changed how the audience feels about me,” Proops says. “I’ve been around a while and to reinvent again has been inescapably meaningful to me.”
From the podcast comes Proops’ new book, “The Smart Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, A Rancorous Reportage, A Concise Curriculum of Cool.”
amNY spoke with Proops, 55, about the book.
How has the podcast been received?
After I did the first one … my wife said to me, “This is the best thing you’ve ever done.” This was after one show. I’m like, I’ve been doing stand-up for 30 years and improv forever, and she’s like, “No, no no, this is really funny. You communicate. This is you. Sitting at a table drunk talking about the stuff like. It is what you should be doing.” So I took it on faith that she was right, and I kept on doing it.
Why do a book?
I thought it would be nice for me to be disciplined for once in my feckless life.
Where does all this knowledge come from?
Oh, it’s just a lifetime of reading. I’m in an improv group with Ryan Stiles from “Whose Line” and we’ve been on the road for 15 years and I have bored everyone in the group to death with all my stories. … Ryan finally said to me, “Why don’t you write a book where you talk about history like you do with us?” I think he said it so I’d quit talking about history.
You’ve done the podcast at the Bell House a few times now. How do you like the Brooklyn crowd?
In Brooklyn, I can get 300 people in on a Tuesday or Wednesday. I keep the price low, I think it’s $15 to see me. When you get into [a higher price range], you’re limiting your audience. I’d rather fill the place. The response is amazing.
If you go: Greg Proops will be chatting with actor John Fugelsang Monday night at 7 at Strand Bookstore. Must muy book or $15 gift card. 828 Broadway, 212-473-1452. Proops will be at The Bell House on Thursday at 8 p.m. recording an episode of his podcast “The Smartest Man in the World,” 149 Seventh St., Gowanus, 718-643-6510, $15.