Multi-time Trials winner Joe Rau (87 kg, Minnesota Storm) embarked on a little breathe-out period following the 2018 US Open in Las Vegas. For those familiar with Rau’s interests off the mat, what he chose to do with this time-out should come as no surprise.
A few days after the Nationals, Rau flew over to the famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles where he wound up going onstage to participate in a bit that saw him wrestle a guy from the audience. “Wrestle” might be too strong of a word. Starting from bottom in folkstyle referee’s position, Rau immediately peeled the wrist, reversed the stranger, and flipped him over for the pin. It all began — and ended — in mere seconds.
When he isn’t gearing up for competition as one of the United States’ most fearsome Greco-Roman athletes, Rau immerses himself in stand-up comedy and has performed sets in Illinois, Minnesota, and elsewhere around the country. So in other words, his appearance in the video below makes perfect sense given his level of enthusiasm for the genre.
The evening’s festivities were hosted by well-known comic Don Barris, who works on The Jimmy Kimmel Show and has also appeared in several films. The gist is this: Rau was in the audience throughout the night sitting in the front row, occasionally being teased by several of the comedians due to his attire (“I was dressed like a wrestler,” Rau says). Barris took over the room for the late night show and found out about Rau’s wrestling career. One thing led to another and the banter resulted in Rau hopping onstage as part of the act.
“While I was in Vegas, I met Andrew Dice Clay’s opener, Eleanor Kerrigan,” explains Rau. “We talked for a long time after her set because we bumped into each other. She’s been a pro wrestler. So she told me to come to The Comedy Store the next Monday, which I was already planning on doing as a fan. It’s exactly why I go to California after every Vegas tournament. So she told me to stop by and try to get onstage for The Kiltony Show, because he loves wrestling and would probably get me on for the open mic. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to get onstage at that place considering all of the legends who came through there. To me, it’s Holy ground.
“Unfortunately, due to bad traffic and poor planning, I got there too late to sign up and over a hundred comedians had already done so. I was a little bummed I couldn’t get on that stage, but I sat and watched comedy from about 7:00pm to 3:00am — or later, I don’t even know. At the end of the night, I still wound up getting on that stage! Maybe it was for comedy, maybe it was for wrestling. Both, I guess. It’s funny how the very thing I believe holding my comedy back, wrestling, is what actually got me up there, not my jokes. Maybe I should start doing stand-up in a singlet.”
Rau is next scheduled to compete at the 2018 US World Team Trials in June.
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE