Stand-up comic and actor Bob Marley admits that sharing a name with a certain reggae superstar has had its ups and downs. “When I was junior high, I started getting a lot of flack about it,” says the comedian, 42. “I was like, ‘What is this? I don’t understand. I said to my dad, who was a six-foot-three, 380-pound Irish guy, ‘What’s the deal?’ He said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m not into “reggie” music.'” If Marley is unlikely to ever eclipse his namesake fame-wise, he is a sizable draw on the stand-up circuit and from next week he will front his own weekly show on Sirius’ Raw Dog Comedy channel for five weeks. Bob Marley’s Wicked Awesome Show is the latest in the channel’s “Residency” series, which has previously been hosted by Judah Friedlander, and Kristen Schaal from Flight of the Conchords. Meanwhile, Oct. 30 sees the release of Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, the long delayed sequel to the cult 2000 action movie, in which Marley reprises the role of none-too-bright Boston cop Detective Greenly.
After the break, the comedian talks about all of the above—plus the possibility of becoming Billy Connolly’s son-in-law.
Entertainment Weekly: Tell us about the Sirius show.
The show’s going to be live on Tuesdays, starting October 27 at 5pm.
Very nicely plugged, sir! What’s the format?
My mind just doesn’t shut off. So I’ll probably put new bits in, and talk about stuff that’s happened that week, and take calls from fans, and talk a little bit about Boondock Saints. I have a new CD and DVD that’s coming out next month, and we’ll talk about that a little bit. But really, what I bring to it is a voice from New England, which is like a slowed down, less angry, Boston accent. People are always amused by that when I get going. I think people really enjoy that average, blue-collar, New England voice.
Have you ever received checks for the other Bob Marley?
Occasionally. Bob Marley was in AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and I got a check once for almost $6,000 for History of Rock Part I. I looked at it and thought, “I don’t recall doing that, unless I was a back-up singer in Cream.” So I called the union and sent it back. I was on the Late Show on CBS with Ziggy (Marley) probably two months later, and I told him the story and he gave me big hug and he was like, “I really appreciate that.” I’ve never really made a big deal out of it. But it is my name. It’s very strange.
When did you realize the original Boondock Saints had developed this cult following?
I would go around the country and do stand-up, and the next thing you’d know, people would come to the shows and start yelling stuff at me from the movie. One of the lines was, ‘‘You’re going nowhere!” So, I’m in Tempe, Arizona, and I get up onstage and there’s, like, 50 guys with Boondock Saints shirts on, and they all stand up and go, “You’re going nowhere!” Some lady in the audience said, “Give him a chance, he hasn’t even told a joke!”
You play a detective in the Boondock movies. Is it true that you have law-enforcement training?
Yeah, I went to college for a couple of years and I was going to become a police officer. It’s funny, because now all my friends are police officers, and I can’t really hang out with them because I’m always doing stupid things. You know, if we go to the grocery store I’ll be in the produce section with my pants pulled up to my nipples walking around looking at zucchinis and asking people dumb questions. And my friend’s like, “Come on, I’m the chief of police!”
So, how did you go from trainee cop to actual comedian?
I started doing stand-up in my junior year in college, and then that took off and I told my parents I was going to be a comedian. My mother is Irish-Catholic and she did the sign of the cross. She’s like, “Benefits? Any benefits?” She’s changed her tune quite a bit. She was at the Boondock Saints II premiere on Monday, literally standing four feet from Billy Connolly, taking pictures of me during the Q&A. I’m like, “Mom, could you just back off a little bit?” Billy Connolly gave her a big hug and a kiss and she goes, “Oh my god, he’s so handsome. Is he going to be at the after party? ‘Cos your father passed away five years ago, so…'”