“I wasn’t thinkin’!” said the new fit and trim comedian Michael “Wheels” Parise when I asked him why he picked the coldest time of the year to start his comedy tour in the North East.
“And after I took the date, [February 6 and 7] I thought about it, I said, ‘Well, I’m going to do it anyway.’ I have to be out in March; I’m going on tour on the East coast. I wanted to launch it at Uncle Vinnie’s. You know what? I’m an East coast guy anyway, so it’s not a big deal for me to put on a winter coat. I’ll actually have fun doing it,” he said from the contrasting warmth of his Nevada home near Vegas.
Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey is actually so much more than dinner and laughs. In recent years it’s brought in a selection of entertainment and stars that really speaks to a diverse crowd. It’s no wonder why Parise wanted to start off his tour here.
“Wheels” is at the top of his game with his new podcast out called “The Way I See It” and he’s hitting ShowTime in 2015, too. “The Way I See It” is about “everything” – comedy, food, healthy eating, healthy cooking, juicing, and well – the way he sees it! It’s not as explicit as his comedic act, and is appropriate for ages 18 and up.
““The Blue Show” is a ShowTime special called “Andrew Dice Clay Presents The Blue Show” and he presents his favorite comedians,” explains Parise. “Andrew is one of Rodney [Dangerfield]’s favorite comedians. This show is where Andrew is presenting his favorite blue comedians (meaning edgy), for ShowTime and the world to see, and I was one of the top ones, actually. I’m the main one on the show. It’s going to be a fantastic show. We filmed it in Santa Barbara. It was wonderful. I got the call from Scott Montoya, and Andrew wanted me to be in the show. I was very happy about it. It’s going to be a big deal. This is going to be a big launching pad for the new me.”
The “new” Wheels. Who exactly is the “new” Wheels?
“I’m going to be 50 years old. I did 50 years of my life as ‘the fat guy’, and I figured I would just do the other 50 years as the well-fit, trim, good-looking muscular guy,” proudly shares funny guy Michael “Wheels” Parise.
You may know him as the chubby comedian who opened for Dice back in the day. Now he performs with Dice on stage about 30 weeks a year. He only opens for him in Las Vegas because he headlines the rest of the country on his own now.
Wheels and Dice still have “Rollin’ with Dice and Wheels” podcast, too, for those who are fans of the duo.
“[Dice] He’s my best friend. He and I know each other’s secrets through and through. You know how you have a best friend, that one person you can confide in, well he would be that to me, and I would be that to him. We’ve just been best friends since 1990. Our friendship grew, of course. I was not the main one back then. As time went by I became his closest confidant. We have an amazing relationship,” shares Parise about his relationship with Dice on and off stage.
“We spend tons of time –we spend a lot of holidays together - whether it be at my house or his house in LA. We hang out all the time. We work out together when he’s in town. We go to shows together. Our families hang. We’re all good friends. It’s a very tight knit group. I like doing both. I like working with him on stage, and I like the podcast. It’s all a brand. It’s all a company. We are a company. The Podcast is a company, and I’m a company, and he’s a company separately. We work well together, and we have fun doing it. If it wasn’t fun, we wouldn’t be doing it. That’s the reason why we keep on doing the podcast because we’re having a lot of fun doing it.”
I had a few moments alone with the now svelte, muscular Wheels, and he had a lot to say about his physical transformation and how the process actually allows him to interact and influence others as a motivational speaker. Food still actually plays a major part in his life, too! You should see his photos on Instagram of his culinary creations! [and he agreed to share his mouth watering Italian Wedding Soup recipe here with you, too!]
Just because he has a passion for cooking doesn’t mean he can’t take it to the next level when making it healthier to eat, too!
“I like American comfort foods; I also like healthy takes on American comfort foods, where you can actually take something that’s a comfort food like jambalaya which is a New Orleans or Creole dish, and I like to take that jambalaya and put a healthy twist on it – by replacing pork with chicken and by doing different things to the dish and tweaking it – maybe using certain grains.”
Parise’s transformation isn’t just physical, it was a psychological one, too, which led him to succeed in the weight loss and fitness goals he set for himself.
TheLadyinRed: What placed you on the path for becoming a healthier version of yourself? Was there a specific event?
Wheels: “No, not an event at all. When I set my mind to something and I focus, I do it. I don’t let anything stand in my way. When I decided to live, I had to figure out how I was going to do that. The only way to really do that is to dive into it. If you want to live and not die, you have to start immediately. These are the things you have to do. You have to change your diet. You have to change your working out habits – how you exercise. You have to change the way you think about food and the way you think about life. There’s a lot of emotional and logical things you have to put together psychologically to focus and gear yourself up for to live the second part of your life. A lot of my friends and acquaintances that I went to school with that are my age, to be honest with you, they look terrible now because they just don’t take care of themselves and they are giving up on life. I’m better now than when I was in high school. I can do so much more."
TheLadyinRed: Do you notice a difference in how your fans respond to you now that you are slimmer and trimmer? What about those you work with in the entertainment industry? How do they react to the new you?
Wheels: “The new me – it’s amazing. I didn’t drop the weight all in six months. It took me years to do this, so people just got used to me (he laughs). I kind of blended right in without being too shocking to the system, I would say. My fans have been overwhelmingly supportive. It’s just amazing. I’ve been selling out shows wherever I am now, because I do talk a little bit about that. People like to ask me questions after my show, and I motivate them – because I am a motivational speaker as well. I would have to say they’ve been very supportive of the slimmer and trimmer me. The entertainment industry has been embracing me ever since.”
TheLadyinRed: What do you like best about yourself now after taking so much time and dedication to get into shape?
Wheels: “I’ve never lacked confidence. What I like about myself has nothing to do with vanity. I’ve always thought very highly of myself as far as looks go, even at my heaviest weight. What I do like about myself now is that my endurance levels are out the roof, my testosterone is out the roof, and my energy is out the roof. I can do a lot more as far as that goes. I can shop off the rack. I’m in a 36 jean now. I can actually go into Express and shop off the rack, you know. I can get good jeans now. I can spend $180 for a pair of jeans now because they’ll fit the way I like them. That’s what I like more about myself now. And just self-accomplishment! That I did it!”
TheLadyinRed: You lost 160 pounds and reinvented yourself, but can your fans expect a reinvented version of you as a comedian too?
Wheels: “Well, Michael Parise and Michael “Wheels” Parise are two completely different people. Wheels will always be the brash fat guy on stage. No matter how thin I get, I can convince people, mentally, because I’m a master of mind manipulation. When I’m on stage I’m in total control of what I’m doing at all times. I can convince people to believe what I’m saying is real. That is the character who Wheels is."
"Wheels is that tough street guy on the corner who doesn’t eat healthy. He doesn’t do anything right. He talks about juicing veal parmesan. That’s a big thing for him – to juice that. He don’t even know what juicing means. All of a sudden my accent changes - everything “Wheels” pops out, because he’s a character. So yes it’s very believable. They’ll love it no matter what. I still talk about it on stage – I always say, I lost 160 pounds, don’t worry people, it was a phase I was going through, I’ll put it right back. Hold tight.” I’ll always talk that way. I still think like a fat guy and they buy it. They love it. And I am also able to incorporate other jokes into my act now that are normal – more normal – not talk about being fat as much.”
TheLadyinRed: You became successful and your size didn’t matter – why did it matter now?
Wheels: “It doesn’t matter now either. I was going to be successful no matter what. Whether it was my size or where I live, it didn’t matter. Either you are going to be successful in life, or you’re not. It was destined to me to be, and I am. So it has nothing to do with the way I look. I was a successful fat guy, and I’m a successful fitter guy. I used my fat lifestyle to make money and comedy, and make money in different things in my world, I’m now using the fitter trimmer me to do the same thing and make a ton of money that way now too. I’m inspiring people, I’m going to be writing a book, I’m on television, there are a lot of things going on with me, and it’s all because of the weight loss. Being fat was positive and being thinner is positive as well.”
TheLadyinRed: For those out there wanting to change the way they eat and become healthier, or as you call it – go from “fat to fit” - what advice can you offer them?
Wheels: “My advice would be do it right now. Don’t say ‘I’m going to start next week’. You start making changes in your life now. And like I say, make small changes, and before you know it those small changes turn into large results. Deciding is the biggest factor. Deciding to be healthier. Deciding to never let fatty foods get in your way again, or sodas or processed foods. To say “no” – to stop smoking. To pay yourself, you have to pay yourself."
"What I mean by pay yourself is that you get up and every day you exercise. And you start out at your pace. Don’t have someone tell you ‘You have to do this…’ You start out at your pace and every day, up it. By exercising you are paying yourself. You are saying “I love me so much, I’m going to keep myself in good condition by exercising, eating right and taking care of myself," - good grooming and think positive. And that is paying yourself; you’re taking care of yourself. The biggest thing to do is decide when you want to do that and execute it. Don’t say you’re starting tomorrow; start now.”
That philosophy pretty much applies to everything in life. If you want to do something, don’t start tomorrow, start right now! And why not start by going to see Wheels perform at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club February 6 and 7 in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey! Get your tickets here!
Where: Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club
518 Arnold Ave.
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
When: February 6 & 7
How: Get your tickets here or call 732.899.3900
Why: Because you will laugh so hard you will cry!