You Won't Believe What His Favorite Joke Is! Interview: Recovery Comic Dave Landau
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Working the road nonstop since his 21st birthday, Dave Landau has grown into a true comedic juggernaut. Finding himself much in-demand among audiences and club owners due to his deadpan demeanor and those jokes — my God, those jokes — that fluidly fly forth with breakneck pacing and perfect timing. Dave, it can be said with all due respect, is a throwback to another era of comedy. The entertaining everyman. Innocent enough at first blush; as he states his case, you begin to see where you and he have quite a bit in common. A wife, a house. An odd sense of calm in an increasingly crazy world. You’re on a tour of the familiar and prosaic, with Dave Landau as the bus driver.
Then he drops his foot on the accelerator. And things start to get wild. You see, Dave Landau might appear to be just like you, but he’s not really. His mind goes to places that angels would fear to tread, and he has no problem telling you about it. The mark of a great comedian, it is said, is the ability to find jokes where others would find tears. Dave find jokes everywhere; with his own foibles and faults, to his family, to pop culture and the state of the world today.

Cutting his comedic teeth as a teenager in Detroit in the Second City’s Conservatory, Dave Landau has risen to become one of the most in-demand headliners working today. He’s appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live At Gotham” as well as being featured prominently on three seasons of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” He’s become a regular on the nationally-syndicated “Bob & Tom” radio show, and was honored as one of the top 21 club comics of today at HBO’s Las Vegas Comedy Festival.

Recovery Comedy:  What were you like as a kid?

Dave Landau:  I was a very creative kid who was constantly making movies, skits etc...with my Dad's video camera. I loved to make people laugh. Then my Dad got diagnosed with brain cancer and to cope I discovered drugs and alcohol. I was a very rebellious teen alcoholic.  I spent time in and out of recovery, institutions and jail. I was arrested 12 times between the ages of 15-19, fortunately the local police didn't charge me every time. I eventually completed high school after 5 years and started pulling my life together a little bit after that.   

Recovery Comedy:  What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian and how long have you been performing?

Dave Landau:  I joined The Second City Comedy Theater in Detroit when I was 19 (2002). Also at the time I was attending film school. Two classmates (1 being the wonderful woman I married, the other my friend Marty) both encouraged me to try stand-up comedy because they felt I would be great at it. I had always loved stand up and my best friend from childhood, Jimmy, always thought I should do it too. I grew up listening to albums my Dad had (Dangerfield, Carlin, Rickles, Joan Rivers) and even though I loved stand-up, I never thought I could actually do it for a living. In April of 2004 I took the stage at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle in Detroit, and I have been doing it ever since. I was instantly hooked. Finally my addictive personality led to something positive!

Recovery Comedy:  Were you performing stand-up comedy before you got into recovery?

Dave Landau:  Yes I was. But I have never been as good or honest as I am now that I'm sober.

Recovery Comedy:  Does your comedy have a message and if so what is it?

Dave Landau:  That everything's funny and not to take life too seriously. It's okay to laugh at your mistakes, we're all human.

Recovery Comedy:  Who are your comedy idols?

Dave Landau:  #1 is Dave Chappelle. Also Robert Schimmel, Eddie Murphy, Bernie Mac, George Carlin, Joan Rivers and Rodney Dangerfield are my tops.

Recovery Comedy:  Where does your inspiration for material come from?

Dave Landau:  Life: Marriage, failures, friends, pop culture... everywhere. Comedy is all around us.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your joke writing process?

Dave Landau:  I dedicate time to write almost every day and then I work out the material on stage.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your kryptonite?

Dave Landau:  Alcohol, depression, sensitivity (from others and myself).

Recovery Comedy:  Is your family supportive of your comedy career?

Dave Landau:  My Dad passed away before I ever did stand-up. But his last words to me were about joining second city.  He said "I proud of you that you're following your dreams of making people laugh." My Mom and all my other relatives (especially my wife) are beyond supportive. I think if I chose to do anything positive instead of fucking my life up they would've been.

Recovery Comedy:  Is comedy part of your healing process?

Dave Landau:  It certainly is. Laughing and making people laugh is amazing. When someone comes up to me after the show and says that I connected with them in a way when I was talking about a breathalyzer (example) in my car, I feel good. And so do they. They finally laughed about something that maybe society thinks isn't "okay" to laugh about. Connecting with people is a wonderful thing. 

Recovery Comedy:  What was your worst experience performing comedy?

Dave Landau:  I've had many but the first time I got paid sticks out. I was at a sports bar during some playoff game that also happened to be the same night as comedy. I was scheduled to host. I took the stage and as they shut off the TV, the whole bar starting booing. I walked out and said "How's everybody doing tonight?" They booed and a bottle appeared, missed me by a millimeter then shattered on the wall behind me. I said "Goodnight, everybody!" and walked off. They turned the TVs back on. It may not be the worst experience but it stands out because I had finally worked hard enough to get paid and I got a bottle chucked at me by some drunken sports fan.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your best experience performing comedy?

Dave Landau:  The first time I opened for my hero, Dave Chappelle. It was in 2005 and I opened at an arena for 7,000 people. It was amazing and I'm eternally grateful. The other would be the first time I appeared on Comedy Central. I always watched those shows in college and when I finally appeared on one, I felt like I really did find my calling.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your favorite joke?

Dave Landau:  Street joke: What's the difference between a baby and a bag of Cocaine? Eric Clapton would never let a bag of cocaine fall out a window. My favorite stand-up bit is probably Dave Chappelle's bit about AIDs being created by a man having sex with a monkey. "Do you know how hard it was to get this thing to suck my dick without peeling it?"

Recovery Comedy:  What is your comedy dream?

Dave Landau:  To reach people with more personal material. Also to produce a movie and appear on TV and I am damn lucky I did both of those things. Damn lucky. I wrote and produced a movie called "The King" based on my youth. It's currently in post-production. It was filmed in Detroit in the summer of 2013.

To find out more information about Dave Landau or to book him for your next Recovery Event just click here!
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Her Comedy has a Message, but It's Buried Under Many Many Jokes: Recovery Comic Alicia Dattner
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Mentored by several talented comedians over the years, W. Kamau Bell (HBO, FX), Eugene Mirman (Flight of the Conchords), and Bill Santiago (Huffington Post, CNN, Comedy Central), Alicia's been knocking audiences out (not literally) at clubs and theaters from San Francisco to New York, Hollywood to London, and even Bombay.

After a dozen years of doing standup comedy (and ten years in recovery), she’s now racking up awards for her funny, insightful one-woman shows. The SF Bay Guardian called her “Goofy, messy, and fun!” The LA Theater Review says she’s “Charming, likable, and funny!” Sold-out hit shows and extended runs have garnered her a number of awards, including:

“Best Storyteller” -Off-Broadway NY Solo Festival

“Best of the Fringe” -SF Fringe Fest [twice, for two shows]

Voted “Best Comedian” -SF Weekly Best of the Bay Reader’s Poll 2013

Voted “Best Comedian” -SF Bay Guardian Best of the Bay Reader’s Poll 2014

Alicia has appeared on NPR, The Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle, East Bay Express, The Lady Brain Show, J Magazine, BeliefNET, Elephant Journal, Elevate, Inspyr, Integral Yoga Magazine, The Mindful Word, Awaken.com, Taoish.com, and more.

Recovery Comedy:  What were you like as a kid?

Alicia Dattner:  I used to climb up and dance on our brown velvet couch in the living room and sing Sinatra's New York, New York. I was pretty silly. And a bit introspective. Fiery. I wanted to save the world. I just wasn't sure how. Ah, those were the days. Passion. Vision. What happened? Kidding.

Recovery Comedy:  What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian and how long have you been performing?

Alicia Dattner:  You know how some kids watch The Princess Bride or Dora the Explorer over and over again? When I was about 8, we had a VHS recording of first Comic Relief benefit to raise money for the homeless on HBO, and I used to watch that tape (and The Breakfast Club) over and over and over again. Robin, Billy, and Whoopie hosting, along with a parade of comics... George Carlin, Sid Caesar... that they were just standing up there creating something from nothing--and raising money. That you could make people laugh and change the world at the same time was very exciting.
I've been performing for 18 years now. And if you look at my headshot, yes, mathematically I would have had to start when I was 8.

Recovery Comedy:  Were you performing stand-up comedy before you got into recovery?

Alicia Dattner:  I was. I started doing standup when I was 18 and I got into recovery when I was 26. Comedy was part life-aspiration, part fuel for my addiction. If he was funny, I wanted to date him. Maybe some of his funny would rub off on me. It got so I couldn't walk into a club without counting how many of the comics there I had dated. It was a badge of honor.

Getting into recovery, I realized I really didn't like the energy of club comedy. I'd walk into the club and feel anxious and excited all over my body, but I didn't like that feeling any more. It was kinda dark. And not in the good way. So I started writing one-woman shows that were funny but also had a theme and an arc. Then I could perform in theaters, which I love. I'm doing standup again, too, but now I'm doing more private shows, festivals, and places where people are coming for something more than just a beer and a larf.

Recovery Comedy:  Does your comedy have a message and if so what is it?

Alicia Dattner:  Sure, it has a message. But I like to bury it under as many jokes as possible, so it doesn't really hit you until later that you've been inculcated...
It's really about waking up and seeing that all there is, is love and connection. And part of that is accepting that we are messy, flawed humans, and it's all ok. Get over it, celebrate, and enjoy something. And then contribute something!
My mission in life is to share The Grand Cosmic Joke: that pain exists for us to take ourselves less seriously, to laugh, and to experience the joy and wonder of an infinitely perfect, infinitely connected universe.

Recovery Comedy:  Who are your comedy idols?

Alicia Dattner:  Definitely Woody Allen and Steve Martin and Stephen Wright. Of course Bill Hicks. Marc Maron and Maria Bamford. Louis CK. I spent a lot of time writing with W. Kamau Bell, and I'd consider him one of my main mentors.

Recovery Comedy:  Where does your inspiration for material come from?

Alicia Dattner:  Dating and relationships. That's where I'm at my funniest. I love turning the challenge into the chuckle.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your joke writing process?

Alicia Dattner:  I remember when I started doing comedy and was totally In It, going to open mics and seeing shows five or six nights a week, writing in cafes during the day, slogging it out in a very solitary way. One day about six months in, a comic I was dating invited me to an informal writing session. I arrive at the cafe, and there are nine other male comics there, all of whom I know, all funny! They all take turns sharing their premises and everyone is throwing out possible punchlines or questions or angles. I was like, "No wonder why guys are funnier on stage! You're all secretly helping each other!" I didn't even know this was a thing you could do!
I have a daily writing practice, but my writing happens in conversation with people I feel comfortable with. I'll say something that makes one of us laugh and then put it in Evernote and develop it later. Then, I like to bounce ideas around with other comics. Or occasionally tuck new bits of material into conversation and see what happens. I don't do a ton of open mics any more, so sometimes I have to get sneaky. Sue me.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your kryptonite?

Alicia Dattner:  Rejection.
Also, memorization. I have to get people to hang out while I rehearse to make sure I do it. What I love about that is that it's yet another place I realize I don't have to be alone and I don't have to be good at everything in order to do what I love. I have recovery as well as Tim Ferriss to thank for teaching me this.

Recovery Comedy:  Is your family supportive of your comedy career?

Alicia Dattner:  Yes, when I'm not making fun of them.
They're really proud of me. And they have always wanted me to have a Plan B. Some suggestions from various family members have included: teaching. Substitute teaching. Separating hair plugs for hair replacement surgery. Aesthetician. Why did nobody suggest "Doctor. Mathematician. Professor."? I always figured Plan B would be therapist. I figure, every time I decide not to be a therapist it is a triumph for audiences everywhere. Or patients everywhere. Either way, we're better off. I do teach comedy workshops, which kind of feels like therapy.

Recovery Comedy:  Is comedy part of your healing process?

Alicia Dattner:  Funny you should ask. I've had times in my life when my comedy mentor and my therapist would, week by week, each be asking me the same exact questions. One to find healing, one to find funny. In typical contrarian fashion, I would usually make my therapist laugh and piss off my mentor.
I need comedy for self-expression. It's the one place where I can really say what I'm terrified of saying to real people in real life! Maybe it's where I practice being authentic.
Comedy is one of the most healing processes I know. Where else can you legally say exactly what you think and feel for free and not pay $225 per hour or have your head chopped off? Did you see the headline in the news a couple weeks ago? It literally said, "Princeton Study finds United States No Longer an Actual Democracy" Scary. I imagine the rebuttal headline to be something like, "United States Study finds Princeton No Longer an Actual University".

Recovery Comedy:  What was your worst experience performing comedy?

Alicia Dattner:  There was one gig outside Santa Rosa... the show is kind of in the round... people are literally sitting behind me. I never realize how privileged and white my material was until I was heckled by a black audience. No one laughing. People started yelling, "You suck." I abandoned my material, started walking out into the audience and just talking to them. Everything changed. It got interesting and fun. There was even some laughter. So I went back on stage to my material again and it sucked again. So I got off stage. I wanted to cry. But I knew I had grown. And people afterward, including the guy who yelled "You suck", came up to shake my hand afterward.
Oh, and there was that time so many years ago that I was comedically hitting on a guy in the audience, and his girlfriend turned out to be sitting next to him and threatened to kick my ass in front of everyone, and I thought she might. That was the closest I got to actual dying on stage.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your best experience performing comedy?

Alicia Dattner:  One night when I was performing my show Eat, Pray, Laugh! (about traveling in India), maybe a couple months into the run of the show, we had this really hot audience, and I was doing a very physically-based bit about trying to use the toilets in India. People are laughing really hard, and I'm having so much fun, I sort of started hovering slightly above my body as I was performing, watching it all happen. Moments like that are why I do it.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your favorite joke?

Alicia Dattner:  I love the one where the Rabbi walks into the temple one Saturday morning, falls to his knees, worshiping God, "Oh mighty one, I am but a speck of dust on the flower on the hem of the great coat of your universe. Praise be to you, Hashem." And then the wealthy business man walks in, falls to his knees, puts his hand to his heart, "Great unknowable one, I am but a drop in your ocean. Before you I am humble as the dirt." The pauper of the town is of course Jewish, too, and he walks in, kneels to pray (it's a very reverent shtetl). The rich guy whispers to the Rabbi, "Look who thinks he's nothing."

Recovery Comedy:  What is your comedy dream?

Alicia Dattner:  Just totally letting go on stage. Being spontaneous, alive, hilarious, and real. Doing it for the sake of pure joy and connection, with nothing to prove and nothing to hide. Honing my craft. Doing it often, for people who are excited to be part of it. Creating irreverent, sacred Moments where we're really all together in an experience that alters how we go back into our lives.
Maybe a couple TV specials. And maybe a concert in, like, Jerusalem, where we just make jokes and laugh and hang out together, until there's some understanding and peace in the Middle East. You know, no big deal.

To find out more information about Alicia Dattner or to book her for your next Recovery Event just click here!
Drink coffee like a boss at your next meeting with the Recovery Comedy Coffee Mug, “One Sip At A Time!”
If you like what we are doing here at Recovery Comedy please tell your friends and help us spread the word. Without you and your support none of this is possible. Also, don’t forget to follow or like us on these lovely social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and YouTube
 

He Got Into Recovery Almost Before He Was Out of Diapers: Recovery Comic Will Spottedbear's Story
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A second-generation member, Will has been clean since before he hit puberty; he was so advanced he hit bottom before most people started using. Literally growing up in recovery, Will has an unusual perspective on life. Rarely has any member been so clean and so dirty at the same time. In the Air Force, Will travelled the world, and developed a lethal sense of humor. After leaving the military, Will started pursuing stand-up comedy and quickly became a popular and sought-after comic in the Midwest.

Will has had a very diverse life, travelling from the Middle East to the Midwest. Will covers a turbulent childhood, life in the military and life afterward, as well as learning about his father’s family and Native American heritage. His no-holds-barred look at his world is wildly entertaining, and his personable attitude makes him well-received by any audience.

Will has a personable demeanor that off sets his rather rugged look (Rugged for the Midwest at least). His unforgiving material may sometimes be offensive, but is always hilarious. Will’s casual style and sharp material have proven to be greatly appreciated by his audiences, young and old; he can work any type of show.

Recovery Comedy:  What were you like as a kid?

Will Spottedbear:  So messed up I had to get clean. I’m not youth in recovery. I’m prepubescent in recovery.

Recovery Comedy:  What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian and how long have you been performing?

Will Spottedbear:  Everyone told me that I should do comedy and I live my life by anyone that double dares me.

Recovery Comedy:  Were you performing stand-up comedy before you got into recovery?

Will Spottedbear:  No. I started stand-up because of comedy. I had to learn to tell jokes because my stories were so depressing I needed a way to make them funny so I could share them.

Recovery Comedy:  Does your comedy have a message and if so what is it?

Will Spottedbear:  I talk about recovery and make fun of everything.

Recovery Comedy:  Who are your comedy idols?

Will Spottedbear:  Don Rickles, Richard Pryor, Christopher Titus, and George Carlin

Recovery Comedy:  Where does your inspiration for material come from?

Will Spottedbear:  People, life, death, relationships, Addicts and other dumb things

Recovery Comedy:  What is your joke writing process?

Will Spottedbear:  Pretty laid back and conversational. I talk about the most serious things in the least serious manner.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your kryptonite?

Will Spottedbear:  The pain and suffering that people inflict on themselves. The sadness that people bring upon themselves is an awful thing to see……Also gummy worms.

Recovery Comedy:  Is your family supportive of your comedy career?

Will Spottedbear:  Most are. Comedy is a weird thing because it can be looked at very positively or negatively. You can say “Wow you are living your dream and doing what you love” or you can just as easily say “So you didn’t become a Lawyer”.

Recovery Comedy:  Is comedy part of your healing process?

Will Spottedbear:  No I am dead inside and all my jokes reflect this.  I joke about the pain of life, love and the recovery process. Luckily my Sponsor and support group are all sociopaths so I get all the recovery without all the feelings.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your worst experience performing comedy?

Will Spottedbear:  I had a woman have an asthma attack during one of my shows. I was worried that I was actually going to kill her. Not sure how I could make an amends for literally killing during my show. 

Recovery Comedy:  What was your best experience performing comedy?

Will Spottedbear:  Every time I do a show and no one needs medical attention. So I am about 60/40.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your favorite joke?

Will Spottedbear:  That I used to be a Military Policeman. If you knew me, you’d get how funny it is.

Recovery Comedy:  What is your comedy dream?

Will Spottedbear:  Do die in a funny way. I imagine I will get shot by a sponsee’s girlfriend during a meeting. I’m guessing he will tell her he has to wait a year and I’ll get shot for it. It’ll be a funny way to go.

To find out more information about Will Spottedbear or to book him for your next Recovery Event just click here!

Drink coffee like a boss at your next meeting with the Recovery Comedy Coffee Mug, “One Sip At A Time!”

If you like what we are doing here at Recovery Comedy please tell your friends and help us spread the word. Without you and your support none of this is possible. Also, don’t forget to follow or like us on these lovely social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and YouTube

Mark Lundholm of the Addicts Comedy Tour Talks About Hitting Rock Bottom
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In this video Mark Lundholm takes a moment to talk about his experiences hitting rock bottom and starting his journey of recovery.  He has become a successful recovery comedian who can relate and share his experiences to the whole world and find humor in a place that for many is a place of sadness.

To find out where the Addicts Comedy Tour will be appearing next or to purchase tickets to the next show just check out our Addicts Comedy Tour Calendar.  If you're interested in booking the Addicts Comedy Tour for your own event, we'd love to hear from you: Book the Addicts Comedy Tour!


Highlights of the Addicts Comedy Tour Appearances in Denver, CO and Kansas City, MO
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The Addicts Comedy Tour recently got back from two awesome shows in Denver, CO and Kansas City, MO.  As usual the energy was amazing and Mark Lundholm and Kurtis Matthews were grateful to be surrounded by awesome brothers and sisters in recovery ready for a roller coaster night of funny and at times tear jerking recovery comedy.  Take a look at the highlight video and hopefully we'll see you at one of our upcoming shows. To find out where the Addicts Comedy Tour will be appearing next or to purchase tickets to the next show just check out our Addicts Comedy Tour Calendar.  If you're interested in booking the Addicts Comedy Tour for your own event, we'd love to hear from you: Book the Addicts Comedy Tour!