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Joe Mande Is Definitely Not the 'Drake of Comedy'

He's a comedian and disgruntled former unofficial sparkling water spokesman, and he's got thoughts on Canadian politicians' looks.

Still courtesy Daily VICE

Joe Mande is a stand-up comedian and writer who works out of LA. He's written for Kroll Show and Parks and Recreation, which he also periodically appeared on. With both shows wrapped up, Mande is writing a new TV pilot to be produced by Parks and Rec star Adam Scott, as well as performing stand-up.

He was in Toronto at the end of September for JFL42, the Toronto branch of Montreal's world-famous Just for Laughs comedy festival. Between performing under the moniker "the Drake of Comedy," begging the real Drake to attend his shows, and opening for headliner John Mulaney, Mande stopped by the VICE office to crack wise about wine, his ill-fated run as a sparkling water company's unofficial spokesperson, and the Canadian election.


Footage courtesy Daily VICE

VICE: I feel like a middle-aged divorcee [drinking these white wine spritzers].
Joe Mande: I know, that's what I said. It's very menopausal.

Especially at, like, noon on a Friday. Could watch some Say Yes to the Dress, cry a little.
Let's do it. Bridezilla.

So I guess we can start with Drake. Your show here is called "The Drake of Comedy," which is a great name.
Thanks. Yeah, I'm clearly just pandering.

I was gonna ask if you're doing that to just pander [to Toronto audiences], or if you like to consider yourself the Drake of comedy.
Certainly not. I mean, I—this is what happened. I got an email from my agent saying, "The festival wants to know what the title of your show is." And I wrote back, as a joke, "I don't know, say I'm the Drake of comedy." And then he did, and then they announced the lineup and I'm the only person, the only comic, who has a title of his show. So I just embraced it, and I've been tweeting Drake every day, saying, "You should come, you should bring me Jordans."

Did he go last night to your first show?
I didn't see him. But if he came he would probably be in the back, like in a hoodie…

Taking some sad Instagrams.

Simone [Daily VICE producer] went to your show last night, and she was saying that you came on stage to some Spanish Drake covers?
Yeah, I've been really into that, actually. There's Spanish translations of Drake songs. They do it in the same style, and it's like word-for-word translations. I'm in love with it.


How did you find them?
I think 8-Track posted something on Twitter last week that was the "Hotline Bling" Spanish translation, and then I just went down a rabbit hole, and I have like—I have more Spanish Drake on my phone than English, original Drake.

Is Spanish Drake going to be the new Drake?
I hope so! I think his name is Fuego, which is Spanish for Drake. So I wish him all the luck.

"Fuego" is catchier than "Drake," I think. Name-wise.
I gotta say, yeah.

I wanted to ask about—you claim to be the unofficial spokesperson of LaCroix ["la-kwah"] Water.
Well, it's LaCroix ["la-croy"], and we're no longer affiliated. We had a bad breakup.

Can you talk about that a bit?
Yeah, I certainly can. I—so I really used to like, used to like, LaCroix Sparkling Water. Mostly just the grapefruit flavor, pamplemousse. The rest are bad, I can say that now. I'm not binded… bound? Yeah, so then I claimed that I was their spokesperson. They were cool with it, they sent me a bunch of water and they would play along with it. They endorsed my album when it came out, and told people to go buy it, which was very strange. And then I said a joke onstage when I was in Texas, about Senator Ted Cruz, that was inappropriate, and people in the audience started tweeting what I said, and that started a Twitter campaign to boycott LaCroix because people didn't understand what "unofficial" meant. [I was] an unofficial spokesperson. Do you know who Michelle Malkin is?


Roughly, yeah. [This is her.]
She's a monster. She got her followers to start a write-in campaign to LaCroix to ban me and get me—boycott LaCroix until they kick me off as their spokesperson, which I wasn't. And then they sent me a cease and desist letter from their lawyer, saying that I could no longer claim to be their spokesperson. I wrote them back and said, "I'm the best thing that ever happened to you. Now it's my mission to destroy LaCroix." So don't, it's poison. Don't drink LaCroix.

So the stuff with LaCroix, and then you bought a million Twitter followers a little while ago. I feel like you… I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I feel like you're kind of playing with the concept of brands, celebrity, which is arguably people becoming brands.
Yeah. I mean, the Twitter followers thing is just, like, I find "internet fame" ridiculous and not… real. So yeah, when I found out you can buy—Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, like half of their followers are fake. I was like, I want in on that. And I did. It's very easy. You just buy them off these black markets in Moldova, or whatever.

And it wasn't even that expensive, was it?
Like $400.

That's pretty good for a million people.
Yeah. It's definitely—it's great. It's already paid for itself, because even though it says [in my Twitter bio] they're fake, people actually think I have a million followers. I'm an influencer, technically.


You're a thinkfluencer.
A thinkpiecefluencer. So this is Drake's favorite drink? [drinks white wine spritzer]

Yes. White wine spritzers, apparently, are Drake's favorite drink.
Does he put codeine in it or anything?

I don't know.
This is very, like, menopausal woman. I don't imagine a lot of rappers—I mean, … I'm liking it. I'm the Drake of comed—I'm not, though. I said that as a joke. I think, like, Aziz [Ansari] is probably the Drake of comedy, you know what I mean? I'm at best the J. Cole.

That's not too bad.
It's not great, but it's all right. I'll take it. Cheers. [drinks] It definitely needs something harder. Like Rémy Martin or something. But we'll fix it, we'll talk to him.

What's next for you?
I don't know, I think I might get into Scientology.

That's a good move, career-wise.
Yeah, especially if it was the 90s. That would be key. No, I don't know man, I'm writing a pilot for NBC. Adam Scott's producing it, so we'll see how that goes.

That sounds very promising.
I hope so, yeah. It's about weed, man.

Sweet. Weed's having a moment!
Yeah. This is our moment. Our. I'm speaking for weed.

You are weed.
I am weed! I'm the weed of comedy. I think, yeah. Also, when you say "the Drake of comedy," people assume I'm just going to talk about Drake for an hour. So I don't want—that's a misconception. I only talk about him for, like, 45 minutes.

Solid 10-15 minutes of non-Drake.
Yeah. And then I talk for 15 minutes about Fuego, and just the subtle differences. Between Drake and Fuego.


And then you pass out your dissertation on the differences between Drake and Fuego.
It's a whole reading list. I have noticed recently that all I do is talk about documentaries I've seen, that no one else has seen. And I just end up recommending documentaries from the stage. I don't know if that's the best way to go about being a performer.

I mean, it sounds like my kind of stand-up.
Right. Maybe I'm just, like, the best film school professor. That's what I should be doing.

[both sip the wine spritzers] This is hip-hop. This is like some Bethenny Frankel shit. You know? What is it, noon? On a Friday, just drinking white wine spritzers on a rooftop.

Watching Bethenny.
She's a hero.

She's… something.
She is something. She's an entrepreneur, that's what she says.

Was she on one of the "Real Housewives" series?
She was, yeah. New York.

Okay. Because she has a talk show, too, and that's the only way I know her.
She's also the CEO of Skinny Girl Margarita Mix, or whatever.

That's good to know. So she's just, like, an all-around success.
Superstar, yeah. I gotta get in on that, that low-calorie drink mix game. Mix it with some non-LaCroix seltzer, mm. Mm!

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