‘It’s like batting leadoff in the World Series’: Roy Wood Jr. opens ROAR!

The Comedy Central funnyman christens MGM Springfield's brand new ROAR! Comedy Club this weekend


While most of the resolutions we made at the end of 2018 have already been broken just a few days into the New Year, Roy Wood Jr. has goals for 2019 still intact. And he’s using some uncharted territory in Massachusetts as a springboard to kick it all off.

Not only will he be the first act of the year at ROAR! Comedy Club at MGM Springfield for four shows this weekend (January 4 and 5), but The Daily Show correspondent will also be captain of the brand new club’s maiden voyage — a task that has Wood excited, but not lost on the significance of the honor.

“There’s always pressure when you’re the first act at a new club, because it’s almost like you have to set the tone for that club for the rest of the year, and I’m happy to do it,” Wood Jr. tells Vanyaland. “It’s like batting leadoff in the World Series. You gotta get on base. The fact that ROAR has entrusted me with setting the tone is a responsibility I do not take lightly.”

The grand opening weekend shindig will be just the first we see of Wood Jr. in 2019, as his many irons in the fire, and consistent grinding through the last year have led to exciting possibilities as he continues to balance his stand-up dates around the country, his work with Trevor Noah and The Daily Show, hosting Comedy Central’s This Isn’t Happening, and the premiere of his latest one-hour special, No One Loves You, premiering later this month on Comedy Central on January 25.

On top of all of those gigs, Wood Jr. is also working tirelessly to get a pilot for his in-progress sitcom, titled Re-Established, polished and ready to be picked up by, you guessed it, Comedy Central later this year. He has no shortage of opportunity or involvement in many different facets of comedy, and while it looks like a lot of work from the outside, Wood Jr. finds himself grateful for the plethora of work in front of him.

“It’s all stuff that I’m happy to do, because, as a comedian, there’s a time where you’re sleeping in your car between gigs hoping you get five minutes at another open mic,” Wood Jr. says, reflecting on the path that brought him to this point in his continuously blooming career. “So the more stuff to fill my schedule, the better. Last I checked, Steve Harvey had, like, nine TV shows, so I got a ways to go.”

Another aspect that keeps the Comedy Central vet on his toes is that each avenue that he is actively involved not only feeds and nurtures his comedic voice, but each each project also brings something to different table from the rest. “I have many opportunities to express my comedic voice in a lot of different ways,” he adds. “That’s the coolest thing about all the things that I’m doing. No two things are alike. That part of it is golden.”

While 2019 is already proving to be a year of harvest for Roy Wood Jr., he’s got his eyes on the prize, but he’s also got some hope for not solely focused on seeing his own success come to fruition in the months to come: “For me, personally, I’m looking forward to getting my sitcom off the ground and getting the cameras rolling on it. But from a larger perspective about things in the world? I’m excited to see the resiliency of the american spirit in 2019, for lack of a better phrase, and see the different ways people will decide to stand up against things that don’t sit well with them.”

ROY WOOD JR. :: January 4 and 5 at ROAR! Comedy Club at MGM Springfield, 1 MGM Way, Springfield, MA :: 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. each night, $26 :: Advance tickets :: ROAR! event page :: Featured image via the artist