Roy Wood Jr. Talks Touring, Travel Tech, and Why He Overpacks

The actor and comedian explores how to feel at home on the road.

Roy Wood Jr.
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist / Photo by Jim McCambridge
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist / Photo by Jim McCambridge
Have you ever wondered how celebrities pack for vacation? What go-to snacks are tucked away in famous people’s carry-ons? Or what beauty products they swear by to combat jet-lagged skin? Wander Musts takes up residence behind the security X-ray machine to give you an inside look at celebrities’ travel tips, tricks, and can’t-live-without essentials.

In this installment, comedian, actor, and recent Daily Show alum Roy Wood Jr. tells Sam Eifling about hitting the road with fellow funnyman Jordan Klepper, how he packs for a trip, and ways to stay on track when dealing with a dreaded flight delay.

For the first nine years of my career, I was on the road 45 to 50 weeks a year. Clubs, bars, Elks Lodges, whatever. Is there a microphone and money? I’ll see you there, sir, thanks for booking me. I put 300,000 miles on my first car. I drove that Ford Focus literally until the wheels fell off. Then I got a Kia Sorento and drove that one 250,000 miles. When I rent, I don’t accept cars with out-of-state plates. That’s the one thing that makes me uncomfortable and more susceptible to getting pulled over. I want a rental car with the tags of the state I’m driving in, just in case.

It’s inevitable that when you perform, you’re going to learn every nook and cranny as you come back to places. I can, by memory, go to a barbershop in Charleston, West Virginia, that used to be my spot to get a haircut when I was north of Tennessee. I can’t name the barbershop, but I can tell you the exit. My favorite place in a new town is always the mall. Malls are agnostic of demographics; everybody goes. On the road, I used to write material in mall food courts—get my Panda Express and people watch. So then I could go on stage and make references to what I saw, and the audience would go, “Wow, he really knows us.”

Now that I have a son and he’s old enough to miss me, I take fewer trips. But I still feel most at home on the road. To me, true calm is a hotel room in a strange place. I can travel more often now that I’m not on The Daily Show anymore. The past few months I’ve been on a tour with Jordan Klepper, another ex-Daily Show correspondent, that we call America for the Last Time. We phoned each other up—“Hey, do you want to go goof off in a couple of cities?”

If I’m flying somewhere, I take the first flight out. The plane is already there; you’re not waiting on aircraft to come in. The crew is for sure rested. On the day of a performance, taking the first flight out gives me more contingency options if there are issues. That includes jumping to another carrier. I’ve been on a plane that was delayed, actively buying a ticket for another carrier because I knew they were about to deplane us. While everybody else is running and crying and screaming to customer service, I get to the gig.

Rapid fire

Window, middle, or aisle seat?

Window, so I can lean and get better rest. I’m a leaner when I sleep, and I don’t like leaning on other people, or leaning forward. I don’t believe in reclining my seat, either.

Pack light or overpack?

I don’t like not having stuff. I want to be ready for different scenarios. I’m the guy who’s going to bring a carry-on bag with the zipper expander activated, and I have my backpack stuffed to the brim.

Favorite way to pass time on a plane

If I’m not asleep, I’m on a laptop or on my Nintendo Switch. I don’t know who these people are who can just sit on a plane with no headphones, no TVs, no nothing.

Biggest travel fear

It’s not that I’m scared of a plane crash. I’m scared of dying in a plane crash where there’s someone more famous than me on the plane and then I don’t get mentioned in the article. If a plane goes down, I don’t want to be second billing. The worst would be if Klepper and I died in a plane crash and the headline just said “former Daily Show correspondents.”

Best tip for fighting jet lag

Don’t take the nap when you land. Wait it out and go to bed at the right time, or maybe an hour early. You’ve got to reset your clock.

Favorite travel snack

I like the Planters M&M's trail mix where it’s just nuts and chocolate and raisins. And Smartfood popcorn. Sweet and salty.

Go-to drink order on a plane

If anything, I might have a Coke with ice. I don’t understand people on planes trying to order Long Island Iced Teas. No part of flight attendant training is bartending, right?

Must-have travel items

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo

I play MLB: The Show, Mario Kart, and a little bit of Red Dead Redemption.

Tumi luggage
Tumi

I’ve fallen in love with Tumi luggage. It’s sturdy and the repairs are quick when there’s a wheel issue or something.

Nomad kevlar universal charging cable
Nomad

I’m a gadget guy. I’ve run through a lot of cords over the years. This is probably the sturdiest and doesn’t fray or short.

Ray-Ban Meta glasses
Ray-Ban

The video is crystal-clear; it’s beautiful. I’m looking at new ways to do social and POV stand-up clips from stage, things like that.

8BitDo controller
8BitDo

Ronny Chieng put me onto the concept of video game emulators. I’ll play games from way back in the day on my computer. That’s a once-every-couple-of-weeks treat if I’m caught up on work and writing.

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Sam Eifling is a former Thrillist editor, and has reported or edited for such reputable publications as the Associated Press, The New Republic, Deadspin, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald, the Oxford American, the Arkansas Times, ESPN, Popular ScienceSports Illustrated, Slate, Grantland, Pacific Standard, and New Times Broward-Palm Beach.