Mick Foley’s career as Dude Love, Cactus Jack, and Mankind was legendary. Since his retirement from wrestling, he has developed a show he calls Tales of Wrestling Past and he has taken it on the road via the comedy club circuit. It’s more spoken word than straight comedy. He recently performed at The Comedy Zone in Jacksonville to a nearly full house on a Sunday night.
“I’m not actually a naturally gifted athlete,” he said. That was a big part of his appeal as a wrestler. He wasn’t just another pumped up bodybuilder and that’s one of the reasons people loved to watch him. They could identify with someone who looked like a regular guy. Making the most of his skills and his intelligence, he rose to the top of the wrestling world.
He may not be a natural athlete, but I’d wager he was telling stories shortly after he learned to speak. Foley loves to perform and it showed in the telling of his tales. He incorporates humor in his stories very effectively. His timing was on the money and he hit his punchlines perfectly. He walks with a limp, but that didn’t keep him from moving around on stage. Not surprisingly, he knew exactly how to use the space available to him. He sat down occasionally, but never for long.
The Comedy Zone crowd was mostly made up of wrestling fans, but there were a number of non-wrestling fans who enjoyed the show as well. Mick clearly enjoyed interacting with members of the audience. “You gonna eat those cheese-sticks?” he asked one person near the front. There were stories about his encounters with wrestlers including The Rock, Chris Jericho, Kane, and others. And, also… Al Snow.
One of his best stories was of the cage match he had with The Undertaker in which he took two long falls from the top. Although the cage may not have been quite as high as it appeared on TV, it was still, according to Foley, “A legitimate sixteen feet,” from the top to the arena floor. Even with a table to break his first fall, that’s a long way down, especially for a guy as big as Mick.
He was being carried off on a stretcher when he decided to climb back to the top of the cage and finish the match. The Undertaker slammed him through the top of the cage for a second long fall, mercifully to the canvas instead of the arena floor. He was out cold for 92 seconds. “See if he’s alive,” The Undertaker said.
Foley got a big laugh when he told The Comedy Zone audience, “Pro wrestling is the only sport that continues even when one of the participants is unconscious.” The show must go on, right?
Unlike other celebrities who use ghostwriters, Mick writes his own books. “When we live in a world where the president of the U.S. is having his book ghostwritten, but a professional wrestler is writing his own — we’re all in a lot of trouble,” he joked at a recent performance in Gainesville.
Two of his books hit number one on the New York Times list of bestsellers. He made note of the fact that Kurt Angle’s books haven’t quite gotten there yet.