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Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Former Disney star Joey Bragg to perform comedy show on campus

Photo by Campus Activities Board
The event listing for former Disney star Joey Bragg.

For actor and comedian Joey Bragg, comedy is a constant uphill battle – one he’s enjoyed and had a deep love for since childhood. 


Bragg, who is best known for his performance as Joey Rooney on Disney Channel’s “Liv and Maddie,” is slated to perform a stand-up comedy routine at Point Park on April 20. 


Bragg first started performing standup comedy at just 13 years old. He grew up loving the art form, watching Comedy Central Presents with his family every Friday. 


However, it was Judd Apatow’s 2009 film “Funny People” that inspired him to try stand-up himself. 


“[Funny People] was the first time I saw how comedy was done, writing jokes and performing it on stage, and I was 13, but I was like, ‘I could do that. And I really want to do that,’” Bragg said. 


An open mic at a coffee shop in San Jose quickly snowballed into four years of performing stand-up before Bragg was cast on “Liv and Maddie.” 


“I love, more than anything, writing my own thoughts, saying my own thoughts, and then hearing immediately what people think about my silly little thoughts,” Bragg said. 


Bragg envies his younger self for his sense of confidence and certainty. 


“I am in a constant strive to be as confident now as I was then. I knew who I was, or I thought I did at least, and I didn’t second guess myself; it was awesome, and it was so rewarding,” Bragg said. 


Now, as he’s gotten older, Bragg finds he has more hesitation, or what he describes as a “constant trek with just wanting to be content,” artistically. 


“I did a show last night, and it was awesome, I felt great, I fell into a groove, I walked off stage and I was like ‘this is where I belong, this is what I should be doing’…I can feel great after a show like last night, but leading up to it, I wasn’t feeling good, and I can hold on to that feeling, but I can tell you in two days I’m going to question myself again,” Bragg said. 


Bragg sees this experience as more or less par for the course, especially for his generation. 


“I don’t think my generation is cut out for being happy all the time, I think that we’re just kind of in a constant uphill battle; it’s Sisyphus, and last night I was able to rest that rock against my back, but I’m going to push it right back up tomorrow,” Bragg said. 


In writing his sets, Bragg likes to look for topics that are relatable yet unexplored; obscure slices of life that people have thought about, but never commented on. 


“I like going on stage and having people going, ‘Oh, that’s a thought I’ve had, but I haven’t been able to articulate it’…that’s my favorite thing to do,” Bragg said. 


Bragg’s time on Disney Channel offered him the opportunity to both take a break from stand-up, as well as expand on it. When “Liv and Maddie” began, the change of pace allowed him to avoid burnout and reconnect with his passion for comedy. 


Later on, when the show entered its fourth season, Bragg had the opportunity to incorporate stand-up into his character. 


“I got my character to do stand-up comedy, my Joey Rooney [character], that was his dream; I got to perform at open mics in L.A., and I had them bring me up as Joey Rooney, and I did those jokes as Joey Rooney… ‘Liv and Maddie’ having my character do comedy was that moment for me, where I was like, ‘Oh, I forgot that I love this, and this is why I wanted to do this in the first place,’” Bragg said. 


Bragg often incorporates his experience on “Liv and Maddie” into his sets, while also spreading awareness as to the difficulties of being a child actor. 


“A lot of my material is about what people don’t talk about when you’re working on a Disney Channel show. A lot of people talk about the ‘Quiet On Set’ documentary…and the horrible things that happened to these kids, and I think there’s a part of me that wants people to know that, awful, awful [sexual assault] aside, the regular day to day mundane stuff is also very traumatizing and shapes a young mind in a way that I don’t think is necessarily positive a lot of the time,” Bragg said. 


Bragg is grateful to his experience on Disney Channel for the lasting friendships it created, citing co-stars such as Jessica Marie Garcia and Shak Ghacha. 


“All of the people from [Liv and Maddie], we’re all still such good friends…I’ve seen them at least a couple times a week for the past ten years, and I wouldn’t have them if it wasn’t for ‘Liv and Maddie’ and they are one of the most important things in my life,” Bragg said. “A lot of people talk about their college years as the best years of their life, and I was virtually college age during that run of ‘Liv and Maddie;’ how lucky would all those people who loved college be if they could look back and watch episodes of their days with their best friends?” 


Recently, in addition to his stand-up, Bragg starred in dramatic comedy “Sid Is Dead,” which he described as a valuable learning experience. 


“I had been the lead in movies before, but I hadn’t been the lead in a movie that was so catered to me and my strengths. Me and the writer were very close so a lot of it was just improv and a lot of us were trying to make things funny,” Bragg said. 


When assuming a role, Bragg tries to put as much of himself and his personality into them as possible, in order for them to feel authentic. 


“I’m just putting Joey Bragg into characters who are written by somebody else. For the most part, it’s that, I memorize something, and I’m trying so hard to make it seem like something I’m thinking of because, I mean, it sounds pompous, but I feel like, I know ‘Joey Bragg’ is interesting and likable, and I don’t know that whatever character I’m playing is going to be that if I don’t put in the only way I know how to be interesting and likable, and that’s just being Joey Bragg, so that’s all I can really do,” Bragg said. 


Bragg’s upcoming performance at Point Park is a part of the end of his North American tour with Taylor Williamson, which will be finishing in May. This was Bragg’s first stand-up tour. 


“[Touring] was awesome…it’s experience for me, I’m getting to do a half hour all over the country, and it’s awesome, it’s silly awesome, I love it so much, I keep making “life on the road” jokes…I want to get in a bus and I want to just keep on driving and doing comedy for the folks, that’s what I want,” Bragg said. 


Bragg’s Point Park show will take place this Saturday in Village Park at 7 p.m.

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    StephanApr 18, 2024 at 6:04 pm

    Great read!