My Favourite Game

The US standup on videogame es­capism, fight­ing demons, and how Amy Schumer’s mum helped land him a role in GTAV

EDGE - - SECTIONS - Joe DeRosa

Standup comic Joe DeRosa on es­capism, demons and GTAV

Standup co­me­dian Joe DeRosa is also an ac­tor who’s ap­peared in TV shows in­clud­ing Bet­ter Call Saul, In­side Amy Schumer, Louie and Bored To Death. Grand Theft Auto V play­ers will also recog­nise him from his voice work in Rock­star’s game, as sleazy Hol­ly­wood agent Ru­fus Bel­lows.

How did the GTA role come about?

There was a na­tional ra­dio show called Opie And An­thony, and I was one of the reg­u­lar guests. La­zlow [Jones, Rock­star pro­ducer and writer, di­rec­tor and talk­show host] was a big fan of the show. I ended up meet­ing him at a bar­be­cue at Amy Schumer’s mum’s house on July 4, years be­fore Amy was the most fa­mous per­son in the world. And he goes, “Hey, man, I like you on the show. Why don’t you come by, and we can get you in Grand Theft Auto V?” And I was like, “Er, yeah...” try­ing to play it re­ally cool while in­side I was freak­ing out.

How did it go?

We had a lunch meet­ing and he said he was think­ing I could be one of the DJs on the ra­dio sta­tions. So I went in and had to sign all these pa­pers to say I wouldn’t speak of any­thing I saw within the walls of Rock­star Games. Then they told me they had to fit this thing on my head and put this light in my face and all this stuff. And I was like, “Sorry, what’s hap­pen­ing?” And they said they had to cap­ture my face for the game. It was like show­ing up to be a Storm Trooper in Star Wars and then be­ing told to take the mask off and be­ing given lines: “Here’s Luke – just stand next to him!”

Were you al­ready a fan of the se­ries?

I re­mem­ber play­ing the orig­i­nal ones in col­lege, and they re­minded me of this game called APB that I used to play in the ar­cade as a kid. But I’d never felt as im­mersed in a game be­fore GTAIII.

You’re a fan of hor­ror and sci­encefic­tion – is that re­flected in the games you’re drawn to­wards?

I’m a big fan of Stephen King, Richard Mathe­son, Harlan El­li­son and writ­ers like that, and I’m a huge hor­ror movie fan. So, yeah, that af­fects the videogames I play 110 per cent. I’m play­ing the new Doom right now, and it’s great – I love fight­ing demons and any­thing with mon­sters in it. I was re­ally dis­ap­pointed when the new Silent Hill never ma­te­ri­alised! And I re­ally like ul­tra­vi­o­lent games like Ninja Gaiden 2. I’m not look­ing for vi­o­lence, but an es­cape – it’s dumb fun. I want to jump in, en­joy fast and fu­ri­ous ac­tion, and then get out again. I hate the Fall­out games – they’re mas­ter­pieces, but I don’t want to walk around a waste­land col­lect­ing cans. I have an old-school men­tal­ity – a very ar­cade-cen­tric men­tal­ity. And for some rea­son the games that cap­ture that best for me are usu­ally hor­ror or stuff like Gears Of War and God Of War. I’m like, “Just tell me who I am and let’s go!”

You men­tion Mor­tal Kom­bat in one of your standup rou­tines – have you fol­lowed the fight­ing-game scene?

“I hate the Fall­out games – they’re mas­ter­pieces, but I don’t want to walk around col­lect­ing cans”

I was ob­sessed with Street Fighter II, as ev­ery kid was. I’m 38, so I was right in the sweet spot when the game came out. I re­mem­ber my cousin bring­ing me to the ar­cade to show me it for the first time. The whole time be­fore we got there I was like, “Street Fighter is one of the worst games I’ve played – there’s no way this game is go­ing to be good.” And he’s like, “Trust me!” And, of course, when we got there the line was prac­ti­cally out of the door to play it, and it was mind blow­ing. But Mor­tal Kom­bat reeled me in be­cause of the gore, and the fact that Liu Kang seemed to be mod­elled quite in­ten­tion­ally af­ter Bruce Lee. Mor­tal Kom­bat was the rea­son I got a Gen­e­sis in­stead of Su­per Nin­tendo, be­cause Gen­e­sis had the blood code… I was like, “Fuck you, Nin­tendo, I’m 14!”

And which game is your ab­so­lute favourite?

Res­i­dent Evil 4. I was one of the ten peo­ple who chose to buy Game­Cube over PlayS­ta­tion, and it was an ex­clu­sive that came out when a lot of peo­ple were talk­ing shit about the con­sole. It was like, “Fuck you – we got one!” I was re­ally mad when they ported it to PlayS­ta­tion [laughs]. I’d never been a huge fan of the se­ries – it was a lit­tle too slow for me. So I just bought it be­cause it was an ex­clu­sive, not ex­pect­ing much, and within ten min­utes of play­ing I was like, “This is amaz­ing.” It bal­anced ac­tion, story and puz­zle­solv­ing bet­ter than any game I’ve ever played, and it’s one of the few games I’ve re­vis­ited mul­ti­ple times.

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