Erik Griffin is recognizable to fans of Comedy Central’s Workaholics as Montez, but he’s also a veteran stand-up comedian who’s playing a stand-up comedian and a Vietnam veteran in the Showtime series about comedy in the 1970s, I’m Dying Up Here. I sat down with Griffin in LA’s iconic Canter’s Deli to talk about his career path, what it’s like to fictionalize stand-up comedy for TV, and the making of his first one-hour special, The Ugly Truth, which premieres on Showtime this July.

So let’s get to it!