With a new special on Comedy Central called Road Work (that premiered April 12th) and a new series called Comedy Underground, Dave Attell is back with a bang and is darker, dirtier, and simply more tremendous than ever. Totally unedited (much like Dave), both shows were met with rave reviews and if that double dose of Attell wasn't enough for you (and how could it be?), you're in luck because this Friday and Saturday he'll be all up in our town headlining at the Brea Improv. Just for you (OK, and for us too because we LOVE this comic), we hit Dave up before his gig goes down to find out his thoughts on the new special and to get the scoop on his new series.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I've watched Road Work four times already, it's truly fantastic. How long did it take you to film it?
Dave Attell: Oh, thanks. We shot over a couple of months with two shows at every club. It was the editing that took the longest. My poor editor Jeremy had to go through every twist and turn in my mind before we settled on anything. If we didn't settle on it, we'd still be editing it because I'm that kind of guy. If you look at the show, it was 10 days of shooting but like five or six months of editing.
I loved the concept of having someone in the audience hold a camera. It made you feel like you were really in the crowd. I mean, you were great too but that aspect was really cool.
I was a small part of it and I think the cameras were the stars. They need an audience camera award. [Laughs.] It's something that I wanted to do and giving them the cameras to hold was the most organic way to do it. That's the last time I use the word organic.
Organic? Wow, who are you? It was pretty bold of Comedy Central to let you get away with the content as well. Did you have to tickle some balls to make that happen?
[Laughs.] Yes and yes. I think they want comics to do specials the way we want to do them. Everyone knows that late-night TV used to be way cooler and way more adult. I think they're trying to give it a shot and I think that's why it's so important for them to have the Comedy Underground show. It's a place for them to have a late-night dirty show. It's no new fantastical idea, it's the same idea they've had a couple of other times but this time, it's uncensored and more hardcore punchline comedy. It's like a dying breed now. There's a lot more storytelling and other versions of comedy and a lot of that has to do with political correctness. People have kind of forgotten about the kind of comedy where there's a setup and punchline, you know?
Yeah, I totally get that. Care to name drop a few people we'll see this season?
Some of the special guests are Amy Schumer, Jim Norton, Artie Lange, Jeff Ross, Ron Jeremy drops by, and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. I mean, these people are just the ones who stop in. I can't thank them enough for supporting the show. The cool thing about it is, it's kind of like what "An Evening at the Improv" did where the newer guys get a chance to go out there and the older guys, like myself, get a place to drop in and do dirty jokes too. That's the whole thing, there's network television where it's heavily filtered and then there's doing an hour special on Comedy Central. There is really nowhere in between where you get to do blue material and let jokes fly the way you want to.
It was awesome that the special and show premiered back-to-back because it was an Attell overload. From a fans perspective, we were elated. What's the feedback been like?
You're too nice. I'm like a dinosaur on the web. I'm a web-a-phobe or something, so I'm not into it. The people who work for me were like, it's been great feedback. I did look at some of it and most of it amazed me because I never thought that people would get what I'm doing. I'm really not a theater comic, I'm a club comic so I wanted to show the clubs and people really got that and liked all of the elements. You're a professor of comedy and you know comics so you get what I'm saying but for the regular comedy fans to get it, I wanted to show that style. There's no reason to get upset about any of the topics because I'm working with the audience, I'm not making fun of them. It shows them old school club comedy and I think the fans were into it and the new comedy fans were blown away like, ohhh that's what a comedy club looks like? It looks like a fun place to go!
I love that and I do hope new fans will be inspired to hit up comedy clubs now. So will you be working on a set for "Road Work Part 2" in Brea?
[Laughs.] No. I'm working on new material always but I'm not working on a new special. I guess what I'm pumping right now is Operation Purple which is a charity that I give money to and I'm hoping to give money again depending on downloads. They send military kids to a special camp where they get to hang with each other. A lot of these military families have had loved ones that have been deployed multiple times so it's important for them to connect with each other. I knew that I'd be able to promote these programs because as you know, I'm not a promoter but, I figured if I tied it in with a good cause I could do something more. I did give personally and we need people to keep supporting the troops no matter what. So anyway, [Laughs.], I will not be doing another special for a long time. I plan on coming out with new material and hitting the road as much as possible. If Comedy Underground takes off, maybe we can even take that on the road. I'd love to do a bigger version of it, that'd be so much fun.
Well I'll just have to wear this one out then but another special…you know…it'd be awesome.
I really respect those comics that can put out a new special every year or year and half like Jimmy, Louis CK, and Doug Stanhope. That's a lot of material! For me I was like, this is my one hit so I figured I might as well put it out the way I wanted to do it. I knew I was kind of ready and the material got better…I was lucky because I got to shoot multiple times.
Ha. You're so hard on yourself! You're a fucking legend and Road Work is superb. You kill me.
I'm not that great of a comic but I know what I know how to do so I figured if I put it together myself, it'd look the best way it could rather than giving it over to another place. You know, you guys have been really cool to me. You especially. You're always rooting for the comics so if you say it's good, I'll go with your opinion.
Dave Attell performs at the Brea Improv April 25th and 26th, 120 South Brea Blvd. Brea, CA 92821. (714) 482-0700. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. Catch Comedy Underground on Comedy Central Saturday's at 1am and you can do your part to support Operation Purple by downloading Road Work for only $5 at CC: Stand-up Direct. For more info, check out www.DaveAttell.com and follow him on Twitter @Attell.