Just for Laughs exclusive - Dave Attell interview Part 2

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CAC: One of the things you do incredibly well is that you have these trademark comparisons, for example, the night I saw you in the Cellar you made a comparison with a guy in the crowd who walked by with his friend and said, "Oh look, a male model, and the guy that does his website," you've described Insomniac as "Wild On for ugly people," and when you did my podcast before you said it was "Like Comic Con without the costumes."  
DA: I'm a big analogy guy.  Analogies are great, because then you don't really have to say anything.  

CAC:  Is that something you were naturally doing early on, or did it take a while to hone?
DA: Analogies are for people who don't actually have time to write jokes, that's what I do. "Hey, you look like a whatever," that's crowd work, it's all that is.  There's no science to it.  I guess that's just from the New York scene.  All the clubs in New York are loud and all the people are moving around and talking and stuff like that.  If you go on late you see a lot more of it.  That's not just New York, that's being on the road all these years, you see all these different situations and you kind of have to make the best of it.  But the problem is that eventually people want to hear what you have to say and then you're like, "Ut oh, I wish somebody would yell something."  But it does break up the flow and I like that.  I kind of got used to that it's never going to be people sitting there like a recital and that you have to make the best of the situation.  Now these kids are better at being quiet, they're on their Droids and Blackberries the whole time, so it's kind of different.  They're quiet, but they're networking and doing something else while they're there.  So you feel like you're holding them there, it's weird.  But that's cool you're into Comedy, man.  4 years in is tough.  That's like the make or break year.  How old are you now?

CAC: I'm 26.  
DA: Alright, well as you keep doing Comedy you'll think about all those other jobs that are slowly... You know you get too old for the other jobs.  For me it was like, "Alright, I'm 26, I can still join the Navy, and maybe take like the police test."  And then you get to 36 and you're like "Alright, I don't know, I can maybe go to Devry or something.  I may be too old for those city jobs I was hoping for.  I definitely can't go back to school, that would just be weird."

CAC: Maybe a Black Jack dealer.
DA: Yeah, that's always a good back up.  That's a very good job.  You can work late too, you can work that really sad late shift, that 12 - 6, when you're just standing there in front of a table.  You can do, what do you call it?  The guy that drives a van and brings people to events.

CAC: A child molester?
DA: Yeah... A child what!?

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CAC: I took a Facebook question from fans.  One of my buddies is a comedian who is moving to LA.  He wants to know, "What advice do you have for a comic moving to Hollywood?"

DA: In LA you have to be really really thin, or really really fat.  If you're really really thin, you know, for acting work.  Otherwise you have to be incredibly fat to be the fat guy on a sitcom and in movies, you can't be in between.  You can't be kind of in shape.  

CAC: Why do you think that is?  Do you think Hollywood just sees America as either attractive people or grotesque people?  
DA: I think that people are trained in their minds to see what people look like in a movie.  As ugly as we think we are, we're not.  In movies, whenever you watch movies you're like, "I don't understand this woman's problem, she's really hot," or, "This guy could never be alone, look how hot this guy is."  I guess we connect with them somehow, because they're the best of us.  We can talk about movies all day long, but that's not gonna help us get in one.  I was never into acting, so if you're going out for acting, it's a lot of driving to an audition to where you get to see people who you've either done Comedy with or have seen on TV, and it's really weird to sit there waiting.  It's like, "Oh my God, that guy has to audition for stuff? Wasn't he on Welcome Back Kotter?  or House, or something?"  Hollywood is great for like 35 people.  Everybody else is struggling their asses off all the time.  And for movies and stuff like that, I don't know how people do them because not only do you do the movie, but then you have to promote the movie for a whole year if you're the star of the movie.  If you're like a loser, like me, a guy who gets 2 lines, you can kind of walk away, that's great.  But for people where it's their movie they gotta promote it and keep talking about it and talking about it.  It really is like reverse therapy.  It's hard to be a comic there too, there's only a few clubs.  But Chicago, back when I first started, working Chicago is always great because it's a great drinking town, you got Zanies, the Improv... the Lakeshore Theater was really cool. The cool thing about Lakeshore was that they never knew if they could pay you because they're struggling to keep the club open.  It was kind of cool because you never knew if you were doing a show or a benefit.  Chicago is a really good Comedy town.  It's rare that I got to perform in Chicago.  I give you credit man, it's hard to start in a town where there's only a few clubs.

CAC: You mentioned movies earlier.  I think that you and Norm MacDonald had the funniest part in the movie Funny People.
DA: Norm is naturally a great actor.  Have you seen his new show?

CAC: It's great.
DA: The great thing about that show is when it doesn't work, Norm is so good at that awkward stuff.  He's not a dirty comic, you know.  The best thing he did on his special is say, "I have a Comedy Central special, it's 1 of 40."  The Comedy Central special is the new...

CAC: Premium Blend?  
Da:  Yes!  Good one.  Good joke, Premium Blend.

CAC:  What do you love most about Chicago?
DA: I guess the food, being an old, fat man.  The food is really good.  But I also like the extremes in temperature, it's either really really cold, or really really hot.  Unless you're shooting a John Hughes movie there, then it's just right.  

CAC: What do you hate most about Chicago?
DA: I guess it would be being in the wrong gang in the wrong neighborhood.  You just want to go to the Pottery Barn, you know, you're wearing the wrong colors and you're shot.  The problem with Chicago is like anywhere else, there's no parking.  I feel sorry for the crowd because they gotta buy the tickets to these shows and it's a certain price, and they have all these added online prices which, believe me, I don't get any of that money.  Then there's the parking, and you can't just go see a show, you have to get a couple drinks, there's that, and then by the end of the night you've spent 100 grand and they're kicking you out of your house.  it's a lot of money, I appreciate people coming out to see it.  Honestly dude, there's really no reason to leave your house anymore thanks to Xbox.  

CAC: Yeah, every Comedy Central special is on Netflix.
DA: Comedy Central is great with all that stuff.  It's good that they're giving all these guys specials.  Hopefully that'll get them road work, or an audition.  

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Dave with Daniel Tosh and pornstar Bree Olson http://tosh.comedycentral.com/blog/files/2009/05/9623177.jpg

CAC: I think it's great that they give a younger guy like Tosh a chance and he hits a home run and they give an older guy like Norm a chance and he hits a home run.  

DA: Daniel Tosh is 1 of the best comics I have ever seen.  I knew him in the beginning and he was really good.  I worked with him a couple times and he always had great, great material. He's been working the clubs for a long time before he started doing that show.  That's when people rediscover your act, once you get a TV show.  I hope it's going good for him, because that's a hard show to do.  

CAC: Anything you want to plug?
DA: I did an episode of the Green Room (with Paul Provenza) with Dough Stanhope, who is my favorite comic.  And the reason he's my favorite comic is he really does what comics say they want to do.  Like he honestly does not care.  Every comic says "I don't care," but he honestly does not care.  When you go see Doug do his act, you feel like you've been transported back to the Wild West, like the saloon, people, any minute someone could be shot, something crazy is gonna happen, because he really does not care.  I asked once if I was doing a joke that was hacky and he said, "I don't even do jokes anymore.  I'm just up there trying to talk about whatever I'm talking about, I just let it roll that way."  If you talk about guys who are under-appreciated, but need to be known, it's him, Doug Stanhope.  Him, Richard Belzer, and Geneane Garofalo are on the show.  That's coming out in July (on Showtime).  Paul is a very good dude, he's like the Noah of Comedy, he brings us all together, into an ark.  He's the Schindler of Comedy.  He's saving a few comics at a time, not all of them.  

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You can see Dave Attell, Jim Norton, Jim Breuer, and Bill Burr at the Chicago Theatre Wednesday, June 15th at 7:30 PM as part of TBS' Just for Laughs festival.  BUY TIX
The comics from that show will also join Jo Koy and Nick Vatterott for a live broadcast of Jim Breuer's XM radio show Fridays with Breuer at Rockit Bar and Grill (22 West Hubbard) at 1:00 PM Wednesday, June 15th before the show. Rockit's Website


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  • Great interview but just out of curiosity, why do you capitalize the word "comedy"?

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