Comic Dave Attell, who is coming to the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre for two shows on Saturday, claims he went into comedy because he wasn’t good at anything else.
“The most fun you can have is hanging out, spit-balling jokes,” Attell says. “I never thought I’d make a living at it, but I loved comedy (growing up), listening to Richard Pryor in the basement. I loved watching the Carson show. But I never thought I would be a comic.”
After graduating from New York University, the Queens native started attending open mic nights.
“I got sucked into the world of the New York comedy scene. I always liked late night jobs,” he says. “You work your way through open mics, then you get spots on weekends and after that, late night TV shows. You get on ‘Letterman’ and then your parents think you are a real comedian five to seven years in.”
Attell claims he wasn’t a natural at comedy.
“It took me a long time to feel comfortable doing it. The first couple of years were terrifying,” he says. “Back then there was this thing called heckling. Now, people sit quietly and go home and post nasty comments on the web.”
Now in his mid-50s, Attell has gained a reputation and a cult following, thanks to his Comedy Central TV show, “Insomnia with Dave Attell.”
Comics Patton Oswald and Bill Burr have both called Attell the greatest off-color comedian alive.
“Off-color? I like to think I’m more risqué,” Attell says with a chuckle.” It’s a personal thing, you go where the comedy takes you.”
His is definitely an 18 years and older show.
“I am not really political. A little saucy, a little randy,” Attell says. “I talk about everything and nothing.”
He is not politically correct.
“Yeah, I get a lot of groaning and moaning in the crowd. With today’s environment, people are at work all day and they have a filter up. Part of the job (for me) now is to let them know they can laugh at things. It’s a joke. I’m not changing the world.”
After 30 years in the business, Attell still loves performing.
“As I get older, the travel gets to me, but never the show. I’m pumped for it,” he says.
Being older changes his comedy too.
“I like the challenge when you get older,” he says. “I don’t drink or party anymore. I’m spending time with my mother and being old myself, it’s like an AARP commercial — a long, extended AARP commercial.”
Attell is bringing a fellow comedian with him. He enjoys working with other comics. It eases some of the loneliness being on the road.
“The other comic is a lot younger than me. We’ll do a tag-team show and at the end we’ll go on together and mix it up.”
He can’t say what he’ll be talking about.
“I read the energy of the audience and go where it takes me.”