Exclusive: Joey Bragg talks pranks and what it takes to be funny
Joey Bragg is always making us crack up as the funny guy brother on Disney Channel's Liv and Maddie—and he doesn't just tell jokes on screen. We talked to the 19-year-old comedian about stand up, pulling off a good prank and why silly string never goes out of style.
Check it out.
GL: April Fools' Day is coming up and we're looking for some prank-spiration. Got any good stories about pranks you've pulled on the Liv and Maddie set?
Joey: I'm usually the prankster, but I actually got pranked pretty good the other day. When I went on set and got to my dressing room, someone had silly stringed the whole thing—and signed it ATL, with a dollar sign over the T. I found out later that the A was for Amar [M. Wooten] who plays Finch, the T for Tenzing [Norgay Trainor] who plays Parker and the L for Lauren [Lindsey Donzis] who plays Ruby, but at first because of the dollar sign I thought it said ASL and that I'm somehow managed to upset the American Sign Language community! It started a total war, though, and I silly stringed Amar, Tenzing and Lauren's stuff right back.
GL: Silly string is a classic.
Joey: It'll never go out of style. I love to spray it on things people have to clean up, because it's pretty harmless but also so obnoxious to try to get rid of.
GL: Definitely. Do you ever play pranks at home?
Joey: I try, but I think my family has a hard time believing anything I say anymore. One year I called my parents from school and was like, "Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I got into this fight and the other guy isn't waking up, so I'm in the principal's office and I just wanted to let you know that I probably won't be home for a while," and my parents were just like, "You couldn't beat anyone up."
GL: Ouch, instant karma on that one. Have you ever pulled one over on your girlfriend, Audrey Whitby?
Joey: She's kind of hard to trick that same way, but I've actually gotten really good at scaring her. I learned from a young age that when it comes to scaring someone, simply popping aronud a corner and shouting, "Boo!" usually does the trick just fine. One time I took it a step further and turned all the lights off while Audrey was in the bathroom. When she came out, I started crawling towards her on all fours—and when she saw me she totally freaked.
GL: We bet!
Joey: And it wasn't just a scared kind of freaked, it was an in tears, bawling kind of freaked. And then I got scared too, because she thought I was a demon and I thought she was going to break up with me.
GL: That's hilarious. Speaking of, we hear your real skills shine in a stand-up comedy set.
Joey: Oh yeah, I think that is my real passion. I love the creative writing aspect of it all. Writing and editing my own stuff—it's awesome.
GL: When did you know you wanted to be a comedian?
Joey: Well, I had thought about it. In the fifth grade one of my teachers wrote in my yearbook that my jokes were so good and that I should be a comedian when I grew up, and that always stuck with me. I just became obsessed with stand up and watching shows constantly, writing jokes and reaching out to other comics for advice and then I finally started to go on stage at an open mic night at a coffee house.
GL: That's awesome, but it sounds kind of scary. Have you ever had a joke fall flat?
Joey: That happens a lot. I wrote this joke I loved last year that's like, "I was like where TV is going. I love how I can watch TV on demand and I can see any show where I want and whenever I want. I don’t know if you guys have ever tried it, but I was trying to watch my new favorite ABC comedy and I hit play and the screen was just kind of black-ish."
GL: Like Black-ish! That's hilarious.
Joey: I thought so, too! The audience didn't. Sometimes you misfire and you just have to keep trying.
GL: Got any advice for our reader who want to go into comedy?
Joey: I think the most important thing is to have your own voice. If you're relaxed and confident, you'll do the best job that you can. I have this thing where I constantly tell myself that I'm the funniest person in the room, and when you tell yourself that, and you believe than no one is funnier than you, you'll make the best comedy choices you can without getting stuck second guessing yourself.
What do you think of Joey's jokes? Have you planned your April Fool's Day prank yet?
Photo credit: Disney Channel