Q&A: Aries Spears
Comedian Aries Spears appeared on 198 episodes of MADtv, where he developed a knack for doing impersonations such as rappers Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and LL Cool J and actors Eddie Murphy and Denzel Washington. Ahead of his Nov. 27-28 shows at The Orleans, Spears talked to Las Vegas Magazine’s Susan Stapleton about some of his newest work.
Do you think of yourself as more of a comedian or an impressionist? Because I have to say, your impressions are spot on.
Definitely a comedian that happens to do impressions.
Your impression of the Robert De Niro-Al Pacino standoff in Heat using Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger is still one of my favorites. Is that a staple in your show?
You know, it was at one point. Being a comedian ain’t like being a singer. You can’t just go to a show and do all the classics. People always want to see something new. Once you kind of televise a joke, it’s time to move on.
You have a lengthy list of people you’ve impersonated. Who’s your favorite?
Oh, man, you know, I don’t know that I have a favorite. I’ve kind of always treated the impressions I do like a mother on welfare. I love all of my children. All of them.
Do you have a process you go through before you try out a new voice in front of an audience?
No, not really. I might try some things out on Twitter, kind of like throwing the bait in the water and seeing if I get some bites. I might throw it on a couple people who are close personal friends of mine and see what their response is. That’s probably about as deep as it goes.
What are some of your most recent impressions?
Oh, man, not many new ones. Maybe Stallone, Tom Brokaw and Jason Statham.
Jason Statham? That’s kind of out of left field.
Those are the best ones, the ones that people don’t see coming.
Has anyone ever gotten mad when you do an impression of them?
I heard DMX wasn’t too flattered. I ran into him a couple times but he didn’t assault me, so it couldn’t have been too bad.
What about Mike Tyson?
You know, I caught Mike in a transition period. When I got up with Mike he wasn’t ear-biting Mike anymore. He was feng shui, I’m-trying-to-find-my-new inner-peace Mike Tyson. He’s kind of completely turned his thing around.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen in Las Vegas?
The craziest thing I’ve ever seen? I was there for the Tyson ear bite. I was at that fight. Outside of that, I think for you to see anything crazy, you got to be trying to buy drugs at four in the morning in some back alley. I know where not to go. I don’t want to go wherever it is that you can do cocaine and sex pills and pass out.
What can we expect from your show?
I pretty much give a no holds-barred, anything goes, offend anyone and everyone, extremely truthful comedy show. I’m no Wayne Brady. Just because it’s Las Vegas doesn’t mean I’m not going to tell the same jokes just with a lot more Liberace diamond-studded wardrobe. It’s the same wardrobe and the same jokes you hear in any other city.