Jimmy Pardo is a gentleman. He prefers nice slacks and a hard shoe on a man. He is dismayed by the thoughtless actions of “hill people.” A faction of the comedian’s fans even started a Facebook page called Jimmy Pardo Taught Me to Be a Gentleman! His fans are loyal. Hence the rise of the #pardoday Twitter hashtag.
With the ninth season of his podcast Never Not Funny underway, we asked Pardo about what it means to be a gentleman. The quick-witted stand-up — he is the warm-up act for Conan O’Brien — was game.
MADE MAN: You wear a suit when you warm up the crowd for Conan. Why go the extra mile?
JIMMY PARDO: I think that the performer should dress differently than the audience. It’s still show business. Nobody wants to see a guy in jeans and a T-shirt. They don’t want to see a mechanic. They came to be entertained.
MM: How should a gentleman dress in public?
JP: A gentleman always wears something with sleeves, be they short or long, sleeves are imperative. A hard shoe – a shoe with a toe is what I mean by a hard shoe. I don’t want to see your toes. I don’t want to hear you flip-flopping through Target. I want a shoe. A gentleman has sleeves and a shoe.
MM: They say there are things a gentleman never discusses. What are those things?
JP: A gentleman would not discuss what happened the night before with a lady. That’s a given. Save that for the locker room, you hill-person. That’s what a roided up freak would do. I don’t think a gentleman would discuss what his car payment is. I may have just made that one up. I think a gentleman never discusses finances, in general. Keep it close to the vest.
MM: I sat in a restaurant in Chicago and overheard a man telling a woman, during a date, how much money he makes.
JP: Having lived in Chicago for 28 years, I don’t know if there’s a more insecure city, where every guy feels the need to tell you how great he’s doing. It doesn’t surprise me that you heard that. It’s very specific to that area of people wanting to impress the other people, even though we all live in the same world.
MM: When a gentleman courts a lady, how should he act?
JP: A gentleman opens up a car door for her, certainly. He waits for her to get in. She says she’s in. He closes the door. A gentleman doesn’t close the door on a leg. You know what a gentleman doesn’t do? A gentleman doesn’t sit on the same side of the booth at the restaurant. A gentleman sits across the booth. You make eye contact and be engaging.
MM: My fiancée prefers that I sit closer to her, but I like to sit across from her.
JP: Don’t you think it’s creepy when it’s just the two of you going out and you sit on the same side of the booth?
MM: Not a fan. I need eye contact.
JP: I need space.
MM: People require 18 inches of personal space.
JP: This is the dance in the movie Footloose. Got to have a little breathing room … What else would a gentleman do? He would bring some flowers. He tips his hat. A gentleman always puts his jacket over a puddle. You know that.
MM: You don’t see that one much anymore.
JP: I can’t imagine any guy doing that.
MM: You’re currently the warm-up act for Conan O’Brien. What has Conan taught you about being a gentleman?
JP: Keep your beard trim. None of this ZZ Top/Grizzly Adams nonsense. The truth is, he’s such a great guy, it’s nice to see somebody famous just treat people like human beings. You know what? A gentleman leads by example and what’s what Conan does.
MM: What has Andy Richter taught you about being a gentleman?
JP: Absolutely nothing. With exclamation points!
MM: I’d like to hit you with a few situations and find out how a gentleman would react. You’re in a movie theater. You’re trying to enjoy King’s Speech and someone nearby starts texting during the movie, causing an obvious distraction to you and the people around you. What does a gentleman do?
JP: What do I do or what does a gentleman do?
JP: A gentleman goes over and whispers quietly, ‘Please put your phone away. We’re trying to enjoy the movie.’ Jimmy Pardo stews through the trailers and says, ‘If this guy does it once in the movie, I’m going to say something to him.’ Then he does it once in the movie and I go, ‘I’ll give him one more time.’ Then he does it a second time and Jimmy Pardo leaves the theater like a pussy.
MM: A gentleman meets a nice lady. There’s a bit of a spark. She gives him her phone number. How long does a gentleman wait to call?
JP: A gentleman calls that woman back the next day and lets her know he’s interested. A gentleman doesn’t play games!
MM: A gentleman is at the DMV. Someone cuts in front of him in line. How does a gentleman handle a breach of line etiquette?
JP: A gentleman would go, ‘Sir, the line starts over there.’ What Jimmy Pardo would do is hope someone else says something.
MM: You’ve had a lot of great guests on Never Not Funny. Who is the biggest gentleman of them all?
JP: Paul F. Tompkins – the guy shows up to do a radio show in a suit. The guy wears a blazer on a bicycle. How do you top that?
Check out Never Not Funny at http://pardcast.com/
Lead photo by Bruce Smith, second photo by Robyn Von Swank, third photo by Bruce Smith