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You Won't Believe What His Favorite Joke Is! Interview: Recovery Comic Dave Landau
Recovery Comedians, Comics Anonymous, Recovery Comedy, Recovery Comic, Clean and Sober Comedy
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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