Daily Show’s Al Madrigal Is a Fantasy Fiend!

The “About a Boy” star and diehard 49ers fan—currently in Montreal performing standup at the Just For Laughs festival—talks punchlines and pigskin.

So you just got to Montreal?
Yeah, it’s awesome. It’s comedy headliner summer camp. You get to see all your friends that you don’t normally get to see, because everyone’s out working.

Is Just for Laughs specifically a standup festival?
It’s mostly standup comics, but they do all these things around it. There’s a lot of podcasts now, all things associated with standup comedy. Andy Samberg and the cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine are here, I saw that. So it’s all things comedy related.

Can you tell us a little about your show?
I’ve always been a storyteller, and this show has my favorite three stories in it I’ve ever told. Two of them are new, which I’m very excited about. It’s hard to do standup when you’re working; the Daily Show had me pretty busy, so it was difficult to do standup then, and now that I’m on this NBC show, About a Boy, I have a little bit more standup time. So, I don’t know, it’s hard for me to exactly describe what I’m doing, but I’m a storyteller and somebody who really takes pride in this.

You’re performing at Seth Rogen’s gala on Saturday?
Yeah, that’s such a cool show to be a part of, because the lineup has so many of my friends and comics that I like, so it’s Jerrod Carmichael, who’s awesome, Hannibal Buress, Joe Mande, myself, and it’s just a good gala to be a part of. Hopefully some people come out. It’s always nice to do standup when people are there.

Word is you’re a huge 49ers fan
I am a 49ers fan, correct, yes. I grew up in San Francisco proper, in the city. A lot of people say San Francisco when they’re from suburbs, and that bothers people from the city.

Were you always a 49ers fan?
Yeah, growing up it was ridiculous; it was just ingrained in us. My dad had tickets from an older stadium, the one they played at prior to when they played at Candlestick Park, and so as soon as I was old enough to go to games, he started taking me. He made us sit through all of the bad years, and we didn’t have much money, so he paid so much for the tickets that he made us stay for every minute of the game. So they’d be getting their asses kicked, 35-7, and it’d be raining and you’d look around and me and my brother and my dad were the only people there. We didn’t have rain jackets so we brought garbage bags, Glad bags, and he would have to rip a hole in the Glad bag and you’d put that around yourself. We looked like three raisins just sitting there by ourselves. We were not allowed to leave early, so that’s why all these years are so sweet. The Jim Harbaugh and Jed York era, Trent Baalke…it was all worth it. It’s that much more enjoyable because you really paid your dues. It’s the same thing with standup, you know. All the bad shows make the great ones that much better.

How do you think the 49ers are looking?
I think they look great, I think Baalke had one of the best drafts, clearly, and you know report cards come out hours after—which is fucking ridiculous I think—but just looking at it, I was very, very happy with what they did and who they got. They always get some guys that are almost like redshirts, a lot of folks, so now who we have coming on to our team is like Marcus Lattimore and Eric Reid and some of these guys who are injured that maybe dropped in the draft, we picked up a couple of those guys. We got a linebacker from Ohio State that’s gonna come in and replace NaVorro Bowman when he’s out with that gruesome injury that he suffered, so we are going to be looking pretty good. I feel good. I feel great about the wide receivers.

Do you do fantasy?
You are talking to the winner of the Daily Show’s fantasy! So I do not just do fantasy, I kick people’s ass with a mediocre team. I’m making some moves...so I’m excited about doing fantasy again this year. I’m just really fired up about the whole NFL season. It’s my favorite sport; I just bought a new TV, re-upped my TV package, I own a ticket with some people, we have 16 seats. Luckily, because of my relationship with the 49ers, they found out I was a fan and flew me out to a game to do a show before we played the Redskins last year, so on a Sunday night I did a show in Arlington, VA. The Niners did a whole piece on it, and I got to sit in the friends and family section. It was awesome. As a result of that, I got a call from Trent Baalke’s wife and got to roast Trent as a surprise on his 50th birthday. Trent Dilfer was there, Tom Rathman, Keena Turner, the entire organization, Jed York was there—he’s one of the coolest dudes ever—that’s why I think we’re in great hands. I’ve gotten to meet these guys from the COO to the President Paraag, and everybody really is committed to doing it. And then I got to talk to them all at length and give them the business and it was a really fun time.

As the Daily Show fantasy champion, do you have any advice?
I think people get locked in to who they’re gonna pick. I win, well, I’ve won just recently, because I traded a lot. I was constantly monitoring the waiver wire, I was adjusting my team on a regular basis, I was really playing against bad defenses, and so I was picking guys up to play. I was adjusting. There are people projected to do well who did well the year before that are just gonna be busts, and if you get stuck with a couple of them, I think it’s important that you abandon them right away and start picking up players who are playing against horrible defenses. That’s how I did it, and I won easily.

Do you think people get too sentimental?
Look, I have a lot of Niners on my team. I did. I traded a great QB for Colin Kaepernick, who did not have a great fantasy year. Passing wise, they were running more, so he was not a good fantasy QB. I looked like a genius in the first game, because he just came out and killed people and had an amazing fantasy week. But then we played Seattle and he got like -2, he was horrible and lost me points. But yeah, I think people do. I don’t like fantasy for the reason that it has me rooting for players that we’re playing against. I never will start anybody on my team that the Niners are playing. I’m a 49er fan first, and I’d rather lose all of it. I don’t wanna root for fucking Cobb. He catches a pass and I’m happy? No, I want his legs to be broken. OK, obviously I don’t want anybody’s legs to be broken, but I don’t wanna root against the Niners. There’s this comedian, David Huntsberger, and he’s a huge 49ers fan, and he was coming over and he goes “Hey! Thanks for inviting us over, but do you mind if I bring a Packers fan?” And we’re playing the Packers and I go, “Yeah! What are you fucking thinking? I don’t want that in my house. I don’t want guy in in a Packers jersey!” Like some guy in a Farve jersey sitting down and rooting for the other team…absolutely not! I’m almost gonna ban you for even suggesting it. I’ve banned people from my house, and I don’t want any opposing team’s fans in my home. They don’t get to come in.

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