Greg Proops lives on another plane of existence. His knowledge about the world is out of this world. Perhaps that is why he is The Smartest Man in the World. At least according to his podcast. Touching on everything from baseball to his left-wing feminist politics, Proops leaves no synapse unused when it comes to pontificating and promogulating his love of esoteric and historical culture.
Of course, one may recognise the Proopster from the many incarnations of Whose Line Is It Anyway? But he also has a substantial amount of work outside the realm of improv. In addition to the aforementioned podcast, he also voiced the title character in Bob The Builder for six years and has appeared on two live action sitcoms – True Jackson, VP as Max and Easy To Assemble, where he starred as Ben the Agent opposite Illeana Douglas. Plus, the dude leant his talent to Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace and Nightmare Before Christmas.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Proopmaster can now add author to his long list of accomplishments. The book in question is The Smartest Book in The World, which functions as a compendium of sorts to his podcast. It is not a memoir and it is not fiction. Rather, it is a book of lists. Everything from poetry to Satchel Paige makes an appearance. Proops runs the gamut.
I have always been someone who has had the reputation of knowing everything (this according to my former classmates). Yet, Proops puts me to shame with his Einsteinian brain. Being constantly on the road, he gorges on a gargantuan smorgasbord of books, movies, music and whatever else he can get his hands on. He even talks about grammatical notation and his dislike for both the Oxford comma and the exclamation point.
The book itself is a bit pedantic and yet that is entirely the point. Chapters on the histocracy of Alexander, the life of Caesar, as well as Proops’ general ramblings try our literary patience while simultaneously driving our curiosity and inspiring us to become more intelligent – however one can quantify that.
I had a chance to speak with Proops and we reminisced about favourite Whose Line memories (Drew Carey calling Africa a country stands out for the both of us) but mostly we talked about baseball, which we both share an obsessive love for. While yours truly grew up idolizing Hall of Fame Second Basemen Robbie Alomar and Craig Biggio, Greg’s favourite player was and is The Say Hey Kid Willie Mays (whom he actually got to see play in 1967). He shared some thoughts on instant reply (get rid of it), Bonds, Clemens et. al (let them into the hall) and good ol Harvey Haddix (the greatest game ever pitched should be included on the list of perfect games. Greg says we can put an asterisk beside it, along with Ernie Shore and Pedro Martinez). While we’re at it, let’s have women umpires, minority owners and make tickets ten dollars; currently baseball’s fans are old white men.
One thing Proops is prone to doing is making baseball teams composed of famous people from different categories – my favourite one from his book is the all-dictator team. He also has one made up of authors. Being an avid reader – and budding writer – I stole this idea and created a team of my own. While Greg’s team is more clever and widely read, here is his competition:
On the mound: Tom Robbins – his novels are like knuckleballs; wild, unpredictable and you don’t know where they’re going.
Catcher: Oscar Wilde – not afraid to get dirty. King of zingers. He will throw back anything you hurl at him. And don’t even try to steal.
1st Base: Chuck Palahniuk (Chuck P). He’s a tall man who can handle balls in the dirt.
2nd: Samuel Beckett because he’s just such a natural.
Shortstop: Victor Hugo – any man who writes novels that long has to be able to go deep in the hole.
3rd Base – Marcel Proust. He will stop hot line drives in mid flight with his philosophising ways.
LF – Gore Vidal. Left fielders are showman and Vidal is the biggest showman of all. He will be naked, engaged in debates with multiple fans and be able to catch a sinking fly while wanking off three men at once.
Centre: Dr. Seuss because his books are simple yet profound which makes him quick on his feet.
RF: John Hughes – a Hollywood republican who constantly wrote about and seemed to be stuck in his teens. Pretty much every right fielder ever.
In relief – Mary Shelley because she knows how to finish the story. And if we lose, she’ll just beat you up and kill you.
DH: controversial yes it’s true. But it’s Douglas Adams. He was satirical in nature; many traditionalists said the same thing about the designated hitter.
Manager: Christopher Hitchens. He’ll win an argument with anybody. Don’t even try. Umpires have reversed many a call because of Hitch.
Owner: Lady Murasaki Shikibu. She’s an Asian female, which the league needs more of. Plus she invented the novel and so if it weren’t for her none of these fuckers would have jobs.
Before we go – Proops is also on team Hilary. Though he is thrilled Bernie sanders – a socialist Jew – is in the race; the U.S. could do with a swift kick to the left.
You can find all things Greg Proops at gregproops.com and you can download The Smartest Man In The World on iTunes.
The Smartest Book In The World was published on May 5, 2015.
This post was written and sent from my iPhone.