Jack Vale of The Jack Vale Show: Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Professional Comedian
It will be so time-consuming that if you aren’t careful, one day you will look back on your life and wish you would have spent more quality time with your kids, without thinking about work or stopping to check emails or messages.
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jack Vale.
An original American YouTuber, Jack Vale has been viewed more than 10 billion times collectively online for his prank videos and has 5 million loyal followers between YouTube and Facebook. Many of his pranks are completed in Huntington Beach California, Vegas, and near his home in Nashville, Tennessee. Vale has performed pranks on various celebrities at the 53rd Grammy Awards and has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Fox and Friends, CNBC, The Doctors, and several other TV shows.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I’m the youngest in a family of five kids. Since I came along later in life, my siblings were pretty much married off or close to it so the youngest in my house besides me was my brother Richard who was 13. I remember sneaking up on him when I was about 5 years old and stealing the comb sticking out of his back pocket and he’d chase me around the house. When my biological dad found out my mom was pregnant with me, he suddenly had to leave town on a business trip and said he’d be back. I’m still waiting. Anyway, it was pretty much just me and my mom, but my older siblings were always there for me when I needed them. Later, my mom married a man who was almost 20 years older than her, and he became my stepdad. He was a cross between Johnny Cash and Billy Graham. He was a good, Christian man but never too “holier than thou” to ask someone to pull his finger. I’d say when it comes to comedy, I got a lot of inspiration from him. He was very funny.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path as a comedian?
Well, a lot of it was probably just from being influenced by watching some of my favorite actors. I knew I wanted to do something in entertainment. Inspiring people or making them laugh was always my favorite.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Honestly, the last 15 years have been crazy so it’s hard to think of just one. I’ve spent a good chunk of my career pranking the unsuspecting public so I could write a book about funny encounters. Until then, I can tell you the first thing that came to my mind. As a kid, I watched shows like “Candid Camera” and “Bloopers and Practical Jokes”. One day, the production company that created “Bloopers and Practical Jokes” which is Dick Clark Productions, reached out to say they were bringing the show back and wanted me to produce and star in the hidden camera segments. Dean Cain hosted it and I did all of the pranks. I remember the surreal feeling of doing the show that I watched as a kid. It inspired me to keep doing it.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’ve made quite a few. Still do sometimes. I’d say that it can be hard to know where to draw the line. Just like a standup comedian sometimes has to evaluate whether a joke is over the line or not, I have to do that with pranks. I’ve done a couple of videos that were a little off-brand for me and had to learn the hard way that it was a bad idea. My audience let me know and it helped me evaluate whether certain videos in the future were a good idea.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I used to own a small, handheld fart noise toy and it broke. One day I walked into my friend’s photography studio complaining about it and he started giving me ideas on how to fix it. I told him I’d been calling around to try and buy a new one but the company who made them went out of business and no one can get anymore. He said, “you know, you could probably just manufacture these things yourself.” My friend was Tom Kerr. And because of that conversation, a few months later I was mass producing them and earning a full-time living selling them by using them in my prank videos and capturing the reactions of the people around me. Aside from that one instance with my friend Tom, I owe virtually all my success to my family. My wife Sherry and ALL five of my kids have always been very supportive and pumped about what I do.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
Embrace failure because it will make you better. A big part of success is failing first. How can you know what to do right if you don’t know what doesn’t work? So, when you fall, get back up and move on. Persistence is the #1 ingredient for success.
You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?
I’m now doing a new podcast with my 20-year-old daughter. It’s called “The Jack Vale Show… with Madysyn” and it is a blast! It’s a father-daughter podcast where we just talk about our perspectives on life, pop culture, politics, you name it. We have guests, it’s fun! It’s available on Spotify, Apple, and wherever else you listen to podcasts. Beyond that, I’m producing films now which I love, and I see that as my future focus. That, and my podcast.
What do you do to get material to write your jokes? What is that creative process like?
I get it from real-life experience. I know everyone says that, but for me, I’m such a people watcher. Everywhere I go I notice awkwardness, sometimes someone will say something, and it will ignite an idea, etc. Watching people’s behaviors is a huge deal for my creative process.
Super. Here is our main question. What are your “Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Professional Comedian” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
Five, huh? That’s a lot.
- People will hate you. No matter what, there will be those whose sole purpose in life is to dislike everything you do, and these folks will have nothing better to do with their lives than to take all the time in the world to tell others that they should not like you also.
- Focus on your craft and DON’T read the comments.
- Sometimes you will forget to turn your mic on, and you will film for 2 hours and you will forget to check the mic completely. Then at the end of the 2 hours you will be so angry you have a bunch of footage that’s unusable so you will break the mic.
- You will meet many people who are pretending to be your friend because they want something from you. It will be hard to find actual friends.
- It will be so time-consuming that if you aren’t careful, one day you will look back on your life and wish you would have spent more quality time with your kids, without thinking about work or stopping to check emails or messages.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Animals don’t hate. And we’re supposed to be better than them.” — Elvis Presley — I’ve always loved this because it’s actually profound. I think it’s something we should live by today. However, these days “hate” means something different than it meant back when he said it. I think we can show people we care about them by simply smiling at them or telling them that they look nice.
You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
It would be to ignite a spark of laughter that would cause everyone in the world to realize how important it is that we utilize this incredible gift God gave us into our lives every single day. There are actual studies that suggest laughter has mental and physical healing qualities. Might sound ironic but…we need to take laughter more seriously.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why?
Maybe we can tag them and see what happens! Jack Black. And we would eat some toast. Jack is brilliant in everything he does. Obviously hysterical, but an incredibly dramatic actor too. I would love that.
Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Jack Vale of The Jack Vale Show: Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.