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Al Isaacs Interview

Conducted by Jeremy Hartley for TWC Online
Transcribed by Earl Oliver

Jeremy Hartley: As usual I'm just going to start at the beginning and then we'll work our way to the present. I'm always interested, with anyone I interview, as to what turned them on to this sports entertainment of professional wrestling and then what made you decide to pursue this as somewhat of a line of work, Scoops has become a major player in Internet wrestling - so take us from the beginning here and tell us what turned you onto wrestling in general.

Al Isaacs: Well, first, thanks for the compliment there. My dad was a big fan. As far back as I can remember, I would be sitting at the dinner table and he would be in the living room and I could hear Gordon Solie talking about "the Omni"...

Jeremy Hartley: Oh yes...you're talking at that point about Georgia Championship Wrestling...

Al Isaacs: Yeah. It seemed like everything was at the Omni...

Jeremy Hartley: The Omni or in Columbus, Ohio...

Al Isaacs: (laughs) My dad took me, I don't even remember being there, but he tells me that he took me to see Larry Sammartino and Larry Zbyszco at Shea Stadium.

Jeremy Hartley: Wow!

Al Isaacs: I wish I remembered it. I was in single digits so I don't remember, but I do remember him taking me when I was around twelve to Nassau Coliseum - the main event was Don Muraco and Tony Atlas in a steel cage. And you know, I really never watched it before then but I really got turned on by it and every since them I've been a fan. It was always in our area - either at the Garden or the Coliseum, and I would watch it on Saturday mornings. The was Scoops came about was a complete and total accident.

Jeremy Hartley: (laughs)

Al Isaacs: Uh...I had no plans, there was no great scheme going on. What happened was, I was doing a Hotline in the City (NY) purely as a voice-over job - you can tell by my nasel voice right now what a great voice-over expert I am - and I had gotten in touch with my, now partner, Rene Ortega, with BizArt Studios on a separate project completely. During our first meeting our mutual friend mentioned that I was doing this wrestling line, and he literally said, "We have some extra space, would you consider making a wrestling site?" At that point it was an interesting idea, but I honestly didn't take it too seriously because I had contributed a story to one other site, to MiCasa, I reported on the last night that Hall and Nash were in the WWF at Madison Sqaure Garden when they broke kayfabe. I wrote an article for them on that and Charles Maclauren with Bagpipe Report was helping me out with the Hotline stuff. So, I mean, they're great and I had no intention of trying to replace anyone. So I said, "We really don't need another one otu there..." I mean, here we are now and there are literally tens of thousands of sites (Editors Note: wrestling sites comes and go, I doubt that there are more then 800 to 1000 at any one time) - but at that time those were the big two - so I said, "If we're going to do this I would want to do it a bit differently..." - add some personality to it, maybe some humor. We started doing it with Tabloid Wrestling Federation and a lot of stuff with the Email Federations, which I got a big kick out of - and the rest, I don't know how it happened but here we are...

Jeremy Hartley: So you were saying you were in your single digits so you are now in your twenties..?

Al Isaacs: Yeah, I'm 28.

Jeremy Hartley: So now we have this major boom of wrestling web sites, it seems like every time you turn around...

Al Isaacs: Everyone with a little space...

Jeremy Hartley: And you know, that makes sites such as your and the one that Bob Ryder put together...you do have some credible wrestling sources, but where do you think the Internet wrestling scene is going? We just saw the WCW Boston Brawl Internet pay-per-view happen, which didn't work out well, and for which now nobody is going to have to pay for, as a result of some bad planning - but what I was getting too, if you caught any of the audio, or if you could even stomach listening to it - both of the big two seem to put the folks on the Internet assignments that, it almost seems like they are attempting to run it into the ground - I mean Mark Madden and "Deli Boy", I mean give me a break, I understand that Gene Okerlund was supposedly sick. I think having Mean Gene on there would have harkened back to the old days of wrestling radio and that would have been fine, these guys don't seem to really enjoy wrestling for what it is, they just seem to enjoy the fact tha they are in "the business" and it frustrates me as a fan and someone who has talked to many folks in the wrestling indutry, as I know you have, because we both know that most of those wrestlers, they never use terms like "shoot", they just talk like normal people - but again, my point (in a round about way) is - where do you think we're headed as a wrestling Internet community?

Al Isaacs: You know it's interesting, someone else asked me that and, also as a stand-up comedian, I saw something similar happen there. I started doing comedy about ten years ago when I was 18 and it was a time when comedy was kind of like what disco was ten years earlier when everyone with a strobe light all of a sudden opened up a disco. They did the same thing with comedy, every restaurant threw up a microphone and had an open mic night, they were everywhere, and everyone who had ever stood up and told a joke at a party decided they were a comedian, you know you've seen it a hundred times...

Jeremy Hartley: Sure...

Al Isaacs: ...and I think a lot of it's the same way now. You know, anyone who has access to a telephone can call a Hotline and pass off the information as their own and throw up their own web page. And I think the same thing that happened with comedy is going to happen with the wrestling sites on the web in that the smaller ones are going to fall by the wayside, people who were in it for a lark, and the one who are really dedicated to it and really love the sport are going to stick around. I mean, I know how much work gets put into this, its tough, and that's one of the things that bothered me was when Bob Ryder announced a while back that he was going to have to start charging people - there was this huge backlash - and that was, I think, really wrong on the part of the fans. There's a mentality that "if it's on the web it should be free"...

Jeremy Hartley: Exactly.

Al Isaacs: I know how much it costs us to keep the web site up every month just for maintenance alone. When you start adding in the cost of having video feeds, and all that it really really gets expensive. And sure these people can say, "Well, why pay for something we can get for free?" Well, you're getting for free from people who are stealing it from somebody else.

Jeremy Hartley: Right. And the thing is, and I can understand about the costs, I am the web host of the Wrestling Channel Online, to try to keep them afloat every day so that nothing happens and to try and continuously monitor the system and supply their RealAudio demands and whatnot - it does - it gets very costly. But I think that people would just sit down and realize something, there very lucky, and I'm very lucky that I haven't had to charge for this show. Because we've had a lot of good guests on this show by the grace of the Internet web gods, or whatever - they've been getting it for free and I hope that it can continue that way.

Al Isaacs: Right, and you know they point to other sites that give the stuff away for free but what they fail to see is that a lot of these other sites are just an offshoot of something else, the Internet isn't their main source of income, they're not relying on people buying merchandise or any of this other stuff to keep them afloat. They just have a small profit margin so they can throw up the web site.

Jeremy Hartley: So you're basically saying "fluff" verses real substance...

Al Isaacs: Exactly, there are thousands out there but it is essentially free space. When you start pulling in the numbers that we have been fortunate enough to get, the bandwidth starts costing a lot of money. It's like comparing the Internet to television. You know, we get television for free but you have all that advertising there - and unless advertisers are willing to take a chance on a medium, I mean wrestling, that is not looked upon favorably by the general public - it's tough.

Jeremy Hartley: Right.

Al Isaacs: I mean you can throw numbers at these people all day long, and the demographics, you know people between the ages of 12 and 30 - males, with such and such income - we know all that, and yet their not willing to take a chance on it, so it's gotta come from somewhere. Unfortunately Bob had to take the first step and he felt the backlash.

Jeremy Hartley: Yep... Yeah, he felt the backlash but I also think he felt some of the better support that any site has had. It kind of works both ways, and you know, I'll be watching it of course, you know, having a vested interest in what's going to happen... But just on a side note, for those who have not visited Scoops, which has now taken on somewhat of a new name, to Scoopcentral.com, but describe to a newcomer, or somone who hasn't been around for a while, the layout of your page - what types of things that you offer to the fans and to the general public - you know, just sort of give a plug here (laughs).

Al Isaacs: Okay! Well, I guess the heart of Scoops is the Daily News, which we have up by 7:30 AM every day (except for Sundays) we use that day to recuperate (laughs) - and that's coming from varied sources that I have mostly within the big two. We have the written word section, which is a variety of writers that we've picked up over the last year or so - which kind of crosses different demographics. We have woman writers, we have different ages, from different areas of the country and of the world really. We have the TWF - the Tabloid Wrestling Federation - which is kind of a bizarre, celebrity wrestling matches which we started a couple of years back when we first started Scoops. That's a lot of fun. That kind of allowed me to cross over my comedy to wrestling a little bit. The latest thing, the one I'm most excited about is our PowerSlam Profiles, which, as we've been getting a lot more inside with WCW and the WWF they've been giving us a lot more access to the talent - so we have interviews with Buff Bagwell, I just did one with Arn Anderson that went up this weekend, Bret Hart will be going up, Marc Mero, so that area has been expanding a lot lately. We have Scoops Direct, which is more then a links page, it's more kind of a sports directory because while it's focused on wrestling, we are kind of broadening it so that you find resources for almost any sport on there. We have the mailbox page, daily answering mail from our readers because it got crazy trying to answer our mail. You know, 300 emails a day, which we try and kind of select the ones that cover the most of what eveyone's asking and get it up there.

Jeremy Hartley: Sure...

Al Isaacs: We have Time Killers, you know, games for folks who are at work and just want to kill a few minutes. You know, like a hangman game and a couple of other things. We have a pretty nice variety and we have a lot more in store for people. You know, we've been negotiating with a couple different companies and there are a couple of things in the works that people are going to be seeing over the next few weeks as far as us expanding into other areas. I wish I could reveal a little bit more, but readers will find out soon enough.

Jeremy Hartley: Sure. I can definitely respect the fact that negotiations are not always the easiest things in the world and, as I mentioned to you in email, I've done about 15 of these interviews and when you have to do your own negotiating, it's tough. I've been in contact with the publisher of the Arn Anderson and Ted Dibiasi autobiographies (Bob Blackburn) to do some ads for them and I understand that they have an agreement with you now and you have been quite fortunate, of course you've put in a lot of hard work, but one of the things that impressed me is the fact that you are able to get these negotiations and it's nothing to sneeze at...

Al Isaacs: I'm really fortunate in a couple of respects in that I have a great partner, Rene Ortega, who handles all of the business while I'm trying to, you know, keep a roof over my head off working. And I guess what has impresses me is that the people in the business saw that I wasn't out to get anyone. You know, if you look at my page, and the news that I've written over the past two years, I've never gone after anyone, I've never had a bad word to say about another web page, I have never tried to skewer one wrestler or federation because, you know I look at - they're reading this page and if I attack anyone, then no one's going to want to work with me. It's like if I go after this guy today, then maybe it will be me tomorrow. I have the most respect for these guys and they've picked up on it, and I was glad to be "picked up on", you know, otherwise I was wasting my time. When I was approached to work on Arn's book and help them out with that, I mean, I couldn't be more flattered with what they asked me to do. I have a background in publishing and stuff, but they didn't even know that - that was just a bonus.

Jeremy Hartley: Right. Now you were instrumental in putting up the excerpts of another gentleman who I just had the pleasure of interviewing, and it's on the page, it's the Lou Thesz autobiography, and that must have been a real thrill. You were able to online publish the first five chapters of the book...

Al Isaacs: Lou and his wife Charlie are just wonderful people. They sent me a Christmas card this year, and that was such a huge, huge thrill for me because my grandfather was a boxer and he used to sit and tell me stories. Lou was his favorite wrestler, and one of his favorite memories was that, while he was working out at a gym in Brooklyn, Lou Thesz walked in to work out, and it was the biggest thrill of his life. And here I am, you know, so many years later and all of a sudden I'm working with Lou Thesz. That was just unbelievable. To say that he has helped me is an extreme understatement. When I got a call last January from the folks in Oregon, when they were having problems with their boxing and wrestling commission, they hadn't had a live show there in a decade, and they were going in front of the committees trying to reformat their entire boxing commission. I turned to Lou and within days I already had letters from people in the Cauliflower Alley Club, the folks who really made this business what it is, showing their support for people who wanted to get live wrestling back in the great State of Oregon. And that was really instrumental in getting it back, I am really thankful for him. He really...working with his really kind of made me feel like I was doing the right thing when I started working on Scoops.

Jeremy Hartley: Sure, you need that, we all do. When you go to the trouble to put this stuff up for the public, you always have little doubts, "Well, are people really going to take to this? Is it going to be the biggest flop known to man?" But when you work with somebody like a Lou Thesz, or Les Thatcher or somebody in that vein, and they give you their undying support, and they are always there for you, it makes you think, "Wow!I guess I am..."

Al Isaacs: ...I guess I am doing the right thing... Yeah, I just interviewed Bret Hart a while back and I told him, "You know when I first started Scoops I told my wife that there were three people I hoped I woud get to talk to and tell them how much I admired and respected them, and that was Lou Thesz, Bruno Sammartino and Bret Hart. And I got to do it. I got the "trifecta"...um...so I can die happy now.

Jeremy Hartley: (laughs) That's it, you've accomplished...

Al Isaacs: (laughs) That's it...game over...everything beyond this, you know, is just icing on the cake. And the funny thing was, I had told Bret Hart I had set up an interview with him a couple of weeks back, and you know how this is when you're trying to get someone to do something, it kind of fell through and the next thing after I had hung up with him I got the phone call from Arn Anderson, so I told Bret Hart, "Look, I was supposed to talk to you but you weren't there so I asked Arn all of your questions, so if you don't mind, what was it like being with the Minnesota Wrecking Crew..?"

Jeremy Hartley: (laughs) Yeah, what was it like being "Ole's brother"..?

Al Isaacs: (laughs) Yeah, I got that out of the way. But it really is amazing to see this side of the business. I mean, I've always appreciated the athleticism and whatnot but to see what really makes these guys tick is just incredible. And it's great when they actually turn around and appreciate what I'm doing. And know that I'm not out to hurt anyone. My partner always says that a lot of site are out there sort of being the "National Enquirer" of wrestling. And we look at ourselves as kind of the "TV Guide" of wrestling. There have been a lot of times when we have had stories run across my desk that I haven't gone with because I've thought that it really is no one's business - this is their personal life and it really doesn't affect them in the ring...

Jeremy Hartley: Yeah, nobody really needs to know about this stuff. I spoke to a couple of people in the business about this a couple of days ago and I said, "You know, the amount of smarts that it doesn't take to put up a web site - the new breed of wrestling fans seems to think that it is their right to know everything a wrestler does, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - I try to still be a fan even though I might have my own ideas about what is going to happen. But you see a lot of these people who claim to be "in the know" - and those are the one who say "...oh, this is going to be a terrible event..." and I have to ask, "Then why are you a fan? Why are you involved anyway..?"

Al Isaacs: Yeah, I have never understood that. I honestly don't. It's tough, as much as this business has changed since, say, the late eighties, it's had it's ups and it's had it's downs, there are a lot of positives and a lot of negatives. You look at first, how the business its now, where there is no true good and evil anymore. There are so many shades of gray, and the fans are definitely a jaded group. It is amazing how jaded they are, because if you watch the tapes of the original couple of WrestleMania's and first PPV's, everyone cheered for the same guy, everyone booed the same guy...

Jeremy Hartley: That's right...

Al Isaacs: ...and you booed him, you didn't say he "sucked", there weren't the signs. Where so many fans today consider themselves to be "smart" - they don't seem to know where that "line" is, they keep crossing it, I mean, throwing stuff in the ring...and um...it's gotten a little bit scary - the idea that anyone would still want to be a wrestler anymore. These house show events have really gotten out of hand in the last couple of months. I find it incredible that anyone would even want to be a heel these days (laughs) because now you're not just getting people crazy in their seats booing you, but you are almost putting your life on the line...

Jeremy Hartley: Exactly. You know there's been a couple of incidents of that, dating all the way back, you know, certain stabbing incidents and so forth, but those were few and far between. You had Ole Anderson a couple of times, Ron Wright a couple of times. But those were guys who were just doing their job. You've talked with Ted Dibiasi and some of those guys who talk about the fact that they loved being a heel. And why did they love being heels? Be cause that was where the creative control was. You could be more creative because you had to incite people - you had to create the heat. To be a successful heel, at that point, you were the cream of the crop of your profession. I think now, even the "faces" (to use a "smartmark" term) - they can be heels as well. Guys like Steve Austin, I don't know if when I was growing up watching wrestling that I would cheer for somebody like that. Now they're rabid dogs. Steve Austin is one of the complete packages - one of the great workers of the modern era - he had a lot of people to draw from, Terry Funk, Dick Murdoch, there's Dusty Rhodes - now people get into the business and shave their heads trying to be just like Steve Austin - failing to realize that there is only one Steve Austin, just like there was only one Dusty Rhodes, one Terry Funk...

Al Isaacs: Yeah. I think that a big problem with a lot of these guys is that, maybe the best way to put it is that, instead of creating heat they are creating hate - they don't know how to work a mic correctly, and they cross the line too with the crowd. I mean, look at guys like (Jerry) Lawler, Roddy Piper who really knew how to get a crowd crazy but without, I don't know, getting obscene?

Jeremy Hartley: Right, they did it in a "scholarly" manner, the way I always put it, they were the scholarly performers, even though they didn't profess to be. Guys like Eddie Gilbert, and Brian Pillman was good at that. Other guys, Gino Hernandez from the Dallas area. All those guys were good at that, but you know what? I just named several people who are no longer with us and I think that makes a huge difference. I think we've suffered. Adrian Adonis was good at what he did and other guys no longer...Bruiser Brody, another guy who died young, So, we suffered a death of an era, I don't think there is any question about it. What do you think it's going to take for wrestling to get back to the more intellegent heels, the more intellegent angle...or do you think it ever will?

Al Isaacs: Okay. I'll draw the parallel once again to comedy. You know, when I started doing comedy, everyone was doing very observational stuff, you know, everyday living kind of thing. And then along came Andrew Dice Clay. And everyone wanted "f..." this and "f..." that every other word out of your mouth had to be that, everything had to be quick, quick, quick, one liners after one liner and as filthy as possible then get off. And then all of a sudden, along came Jerry Seinfeld. And in my opinion Seinfeld saved the industry for guys like me who liked to tell stories and liked to embellish.

Jeremy Hartley: Yeah...

Al Isaacs: You know, here we are in a time when there is more wrestling on television right now then ever before. Between Nitro, Thunder, RAW - forget even the syndicated programs - if you have a PPV you're talking about ten hours of wrestling! And yet, so little of the substance that you used to have. When you have a PPV every month, instead of having one every other month or every third month - you have to set-up the next feud in thiry days. Everything has to be so amplified, you don't have the time to really build up yourself as a heel or as a face (to use the terms) - you have to do the one thing to either shock the people to say, "My God! Is he evil!" or vice versa - it's tough on everyone. It's tough on the talent that have to do this, it's tough on the bookers - My God! When you have two companies competing with each other you're fighting for that air time, you don't want to give a chance to the other guy, so you have to have like two top guys in the ring at all times - how many different combinations of those, say, top 16 guys, can you put on every week?

Jeremy Hartley: Right...

Al Isaacs: I think what it's going to take is for the companies to kind of take a step back and really look at thing because they're going to burn themnselves out. Put it this way: You couldn't have had a wrestling web site a few years ago. You couldn't do what Scoops does or what Micasa does or any of them. There were no "insiders" - they didn't let people back. You had all the kayfabe - it was highly protected - and I don't think that people were starving to know all of this stuff. You know, everyone wanted the big surprises. I mean, there were some great times, some great shocks when...at the Royal Rumble, all of a sudden, Axe and Smash are number one and number two...

Jeremy Hartley: Exactly...

Al Isaacs: The shock value was great. And that was a big part of it. Now it's sad how hard these guys have to work to put as match over. I mean ECW has raised the bar of what people want to see and unfoortunately there are a lot of hospital bills that are the result.

Jeremy Hartley: A lot of hospital bills, a lot of short careers and a lot of guys that aren't going to be remembered.

Al Isaacs: When I was talking to Arn Anderson he was saying that you're not going to see any of these guys have a thirty year career. You know, someone like Sean Waltman, or any of these other guys who, in order to put a match over, are risking everything. That's a shame, that they have to be 110%. You remember when it used to be that Saturday morning, if you were watching, they were using it to promote the house show...

Jeremy Hartley: Sure. They had the little cut-ins, and the event centers, and the private interviews...

Al Isaacs: Which were great!

Jeremy Hartley: Yes , they were.

Al Isaacs: You got to know the wrestler...

Jeremy Hartley: Right...

Al Isaacs: ...and you got to understand the feuds, and you couldn't wait for these two guys to get it on. Now you see the same match four or five times with screwjob endings. And you watch not so much to see who wins and who loses because you know going in that either of them could win because this guys has a match coming up at this PPV - and that guy has a different feud going on...so it will be a double count out, you know befoore hand - and that's a shame. Those days...the "ham and eggers" as Heenan used to say, the jobbers...you knew that Iron Mike Sharp was never going to win!

Jeremy Hartley: Right. But you knew he was going to try, and you knew that he was probably going to come up with something to screw it up.

Al Isaacs: It was so great to watch that and I do miss that about the sport.

Jeremy Hartley: You know, I used to go to TV tapings...there were a couple of them in my area...and it was always fun to watch. You know, they would tape programs for three or four weeks- and about the third or fourth time a jobber would come out they would be cheering him and giving him a standing ovation, and it was really funny. But you don't see that now. Houses...I haven't been to a house show in years, frankly because they don't really promote them like they used to. Especially in this area, the San Francisco Bay area, which used to be a hotbed of wrestling action, it was incredible. You had the Oakland Coliseaum and the San Francisco Cow Palace and a lot of other arenas where they used to pack 'em in every month. Now they have the San Jose Arena every three months and that's about it. Houses have changed, and I think a good example would be the Boston Brawl Internet PPV which was really a house show - but you didn't even have the house show caliber of matches that you used to have with the feuds. Lets say if you had Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage were going to get it on, they weren't in a six man tag match - they were in a steel cage, or a Texas Death match or something similar - you don't see that anymore at these house shows.

Al Isaacs: You used to have the progression. If Hogan was getting ready to fight, say, the Big Boss Man - Akeem would attack Hogan and then the Big Boss Man would attack. There would be the run-ins and you'd have the match itself and maybe, if there was a screwjob ending, then you knew that the steel cage match was next. There was a natural progression. But now it's thirty days - bing, bang, boom. You're in , you have the feud, you get out. And that's too bad because there were so many classic matches and longstanding feuds that would go on for eight and nine months...

Jeremy Hartley: Well, and even rival organizations. I always thought the funniest one, that had a lot of impact but most people don't even know about, when Chris Adams and Terry Taylor had a feud in another organization and then showed up in the World Class Championship Wrestling and renewed it there, then went to another promotion and took it there. When you got those two guys together...well, like Savage and Steamboat. When they were in a room together there was always this question...can they be trusted. Orndorff and Hogan - there was always these kinds of things...

Al Isaacs: Yeah, the two guys who you just knew that even if they weren't feuding at the time, that there was bad blood there. And unfortunately, you know what I think changed that was in the WWF when Earthquake feuded with Jake Roberts, and he sat on his snake, squished the snake, and then two weeks later Roberst turned heel and teamed with Earthquake! Now I don't care if I'm good or bad - you crushed my snake!! You know, what am I doing teaming with you?? And that kind of ruined it for me... I mean, I used to love it when someone would turn good or evil, and what we were talking about a moment ago - there were truely good and bad guys and now with the shades of gray - it's not as effective anymore. The most hated guys were the guys you loved the most! When Andre the Giant turned...Oh my God! How could he turn??

Jeremy Hartley: Yes. It shook the whole foundation, it shocked everybody...

Al Isaacs: And when you were the most hated and turned good...when Roddy Piper all of a sudden turned good and teamed with Hogan, the same thing, the effect was dynamic - and now it's not so much. Now it's, ...oh yeah, now he's going to fight so and so..." The ultimate example would be Ahmed Johnson. He went NOD - well, you know who cares...and then, rather then give him a chance to be put over as a heel and then turn back again - instead of him attacking NOD they had NOD kick him out! So why do I cheer for you, you're a good guy but you didn't even want to be a good guy...

Jeremy Hartley: Exactly! Ray Traylor too, a lot of wasted air time for us fans. But another thing. You've been making some parallels to the comedy aspect and so I just want to get into that a little bit. You are into stand-up comedy, as well as wrestling, and I think now wrestling has turned into something like stand-up comedy...but is there anywhere on the Scoops site where people can listen to some of your comedy material?

Al Isaacs: Nah...I more then ever kind of try to separate the two worlds. I mean I used to talk about when I was going to be somewhere, and I had a couple of scary incidents with people showing up with Scoops signs in the audience - I said, "You know what, this ain't a westling match..." and I put the signs down and said to myself, you know, if they know about it that's fine but I don't want to mix the two. You know, I never talk about wrestling on stage, so I'm not going to put my comedy on a wrestling site. I try to inject a little bit of humor into the news where it's applicable but the two different things I do are two different parts of my life.

Jeremy Hartley: Right...

Al Isaacs: I think one of the funniest things that happened was when I had a wrestler call me up and ask me for some lines. He said, "They have me picking a fight with a guy in the audience and he's a fat guy and I don't like what they've given me to work with, could you write me some jokes?" And I said, "My God! My two worlds have collided! I'm doing material for wrestling now!" And that was pretty funny. But they are two different things that I do and they don't necessarily mix well. I mean, I've seen a couple of times when things were very very funny that they have done in wrestling, but then stuff like, you know, when the Bushwackers had their own manager, and the Gobbledegooker - I mean I just groan...and say, "What are they thinking? Who wrote this??"

Jeremy Hartley: So you're from the New York area, where wrestling has been a very big deal. I mean that's Vince McMahon, Sr. country there. Is it still a big thing there? Or have a lot of the fans just said, "Forget it, we're going to watch the Yankees..?"

Al Isaacs: No...I mean, you're right it is WWF country, I grew up on the WWF. I very rarely was exposed to NWA and WCW. You know, the one or two times that they were able to sneak into the Coliseum or to the Paramount at Madison Square Garden, I was there, those were neat - but, I mean, right now they're trying to get Nitro into the Yankee Stadium, so hey, I mean, it's still big out here. They still have huge crowds in the Coliseum and I think even more so, families out here that I see a lot on television. A lot of times on TV you see, I guess, college age guys mostly, but out here you still see a lot of families going to it, which is great. You have the Coliseum, you have Madison Square Garden and you have the Meadowlands which isn't far away either, they still pack 'em in.

Jeremy Hartley: Wow! That's really interesting to know because you always hear these reports, saying, you know, "This house was down, this house was a failure..." but what I'm gathering from what you are saying is that - sure, the houses may be down but it is still considered somewhat of a staple.

Al Isaacs: I think so, I mean, I don't know if they could still do what they did a few years ago but they are literally here every month...

Jeremy Hartley: No, they don't have the talent, to be honest with you, the New York crowds and houses and the buildings don't deserve the type of talent that's being served up at this point...

Al Isaacs: It again goes back to comedy, where the downfall of that was cable television, because why should I leave the house and pay $15 at the door and $2 drink minimum to see comedy that was sub-par when I could sit at home and see it on TV for free? So the same thing applies. Why go to a house show when I have Nitro, RAW, Thunder, PPV's. Why get up and go and risk getting pelted in the head with a beer when I can sit here at home and my wife can pelt me with a beer...

Jeremy Hartley: (laughs)

Al Isaacs: But I think there's going to be a swing around again with that too because, as I tell people about comedy, "Try it" only because it is a completely different experience to be sitting there watching comedy or watching wrestling. When you're there, there is nothing like the energy of a packed Madison Square Garden during a main event, you will never feel...I took my wife to one of her first PPV's - WrestleMania X - and man oh man, when that main event went on that place just rocked, and there is nothing like it.

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