Interview - Al Isaacs

Interview: Al Isaacs, Founder of Smarts - The Pro Wrestling Cartoon, Journalist and Comedian - 7th June 2003

What's your background?

Well, Smarks - The Pro Wrestling Cartoon is a meeting of my two backgrounds. I was a pro wrestling journalist for about seven years with, and I've been a comedian for the last 15 years.

How did Smarks evolve?

To make a long story short, I was looking for a platform to share all the great stories that pro wrestlers have told me over the years. The backstage stuff, road tales, how the business affected their private lives. This seemed like the right medium at the right time. It's three years later, so we must be doing something right!

What media outlets have you operated on before?

As I mentioned, was my site for some time. As a comedian I've done several television shows on American television, and a ton of radio. We're in the process of developing Smarks into an animated series, so that seems to be the next great leap.

When did you discover your creative side?

I started doing improvisational comedy when I was 18. That's probably where I started to tap that side of things, at least as far as humor goes. Before that I did much more as a musician...I've been a drummer for most of my natural life!

How did the Terry Taylor connection come about?

A mutual friend put us in touch. Terry is an EXTREMELY funny guy, and has lived on both sides of the camera in the wrestling world. Aside from the wealth of material he has, I also wanted to be sure that I had someone from within the industry to keep things as accurate and respectful as possible. The last thing I want to do is insult this business that I love.

Who have been your biggest supporters?

There have been so many! If you mean from within the industry, Diamond Dallas Page, Tatanka, B Brian Blair, a host of others and a huge amount of support from indy guys. We also received a lot of praise from the entertainment industry. My proudest was probably hearing from Nancy "Bart Simpson" Cartwright. That was a real thrill.

Do any wrestlers not find your cartoons funny, and if so, what happened?

I've never heard anything negative...not yet at least. As I said, not disrespecting the industry is at the top of my priorities. Most of the stories are twists on actual incidents, and I hopefully do more justice to these guys than most mainstream entertainment. Presenting them as real people with actual personalities, families, not to mention intelligence.

Where have your works featured?

We've had a few magazine pieces done, and the toon itself in syndicated on over 40 other sites. Everywhere from DDP's official page to several radio station sites, online newspapers, and indy feds.

How has the internet helped you?

It's nearly impossible to launch a syndicated cartoon strip these days. To put in plainly, no internet, no Smarks!

Who built your website?

I did. The Scoops site was a real education in web building and graphics work. I try to keep it somewhat simple, since I don't have as much time to maintain things as I once did. When I get bored I suppose I'll overhaul everything again, but for now I'm happy with it.

What are your tools of the trade?

Photoshop and Illustrator primarily.

What other talents do you have?

That's for my wife to know :)

What motivates you?

It depends on the day. Overall the feedback from readers has been the biggest motivator. Without them, what's the point?!?! And I am passionate for pro wrestling. I get to be booker, talent, promoter, and everything else!

What are your current projects?

I'm also teaching a course in improv comedy here in New York that is doing very well. I took two of my top students and we've been hitting the road as 'Some Assembly Required'. It's very satisfying. My other current project is my first baby...and that's the biggest production of my life!

What are your challenges?

I knew going in that this wasn't an easy industry to crack. Every studio is filled with people who have their own ideas, impressions, and prejudices. Some good, some bad. Weighing out the benefits of working with one group over another, taking risks, and sticking to that fine line between 'compromise' and plain 'selling out'. That's the tough part. The creative part is far easier than the business end. But that's what my lawyers are for!

How much assistance do you received with Smarks?

Plenty. Any wrestler I've asked for stories, and comedians who have contributed to scripts in progress. Most of all from my very supportive wife, Theresa, who kicks my butt out of bed on those days when I'm just not motivated. She's the best.

What else would you like to achieve?

Global domination. And enough money to repair my hammock in the back yard.

What's your motto?

'A Coincidence is God's way of Remaining Anonymous'.

What other important information can you tell us?

Just stop by Smarks at and drop me a line to let me know what you think. Honestly, what's there is just the tip of the iceberg. So much more to come once we get animated!!!!



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