Jeremy Piven has been referred to as “Ari Gold,” “Spence Kovak” or “Mr. Selfridge,” all consequences of his successful acting career. When he
brings his stand-up tour to CB Live in Desert Ridge Friday, February 8, and Saturday, February 9, fans will get to truly see the man behind the characters.
“I have gotten a chance to play a lot of fictional characters and it’s been incredible, but this is a chance for people to see who I actually am,” says Piven, who has starred in Wisdom of the Crowd, Mr. Selfridge and cult classic Entourage.
During his comedy shows, Piven shares funny stories and impersonations that trace his journey to standup. For example, Piven talks about how he has rehearsed with his family.
“Imagine screaming as Ari Gold and having your mother run lines with you,” Piven says about the fictional aggressive Hollywood agent. “Everything I said as Ari Gold, my mother witnessed. That was very funny and surreal, and I talk about that on stage.”
Piven’s background is in theater, having attended Harand Theater Camp in Wisconsin, trained at his parents’ Piven Theatre Workshop, and studied at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts. His comedy career was inspired by the likes of Richard Pryor. It amazes him how one person can enrapture an audience like a comedian.
“It seems like a magic trick to be able to do it by yourself,” Piven says. “I’ve always been mesmerized by the fact that someone can transform the space by themselves.”
Stand-up helps keep him fresh between projects.
“When I go back and do a film or TV, I don’t have any rust on me because I’ve been performing the whole time,” says Piven, whose upcoming projects includes All-Star Weekend, directed and written by Jamie Foxx and starring Gerard Butler, Robert Downey Jr. and Benicio del Toro.
Piven is passionate about performing and tries to make every character fit.
“It’s my job to play them as authentically as possible and to never judge them, even though I may not agree with him,” Piven adds. “If you do it right, the audience should not be able to see anyone else in that role. “Every movie and TV show I’ve done has been a unique experience. I’m really proud of all of them. Every time you perform, it is a great opportunity and you should never take anything for granted.”
He considers stand-up comedy an “incredible outlet” that uses a different muscle and discipline. It’s the only form in which he can rehearse and perform concurrently.
“One thing I learned from standup is we’re all very much alike,” Piven says. “It’s very easy to think you know someone, but I think it’s important to be open to who they really are.
“I think after the show, you will have more of a sense of who I really am and hopefully I’ll make you laugh.”
Jeremy Piven, CB Live, 21001 N. Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix, 602.910.5161, cblive.com, 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 8, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, February 9, $30 general admission, $55 VIP.