Lots of unpacking and catching up to do on my end of the Internet, but wanted to let you know that if your end of the Internet happens to be in the Los Angeles area tonight, then you can catch a free taping of Dov Davidoff's newest stand-up special.
Davidoff will tape shows at 7 and 9 p.m. tonight at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood, Calif. Details here.
Apple did not tell me how it came up with its list of Best of Comedy 2008 in iTunes, so I cannot tell you if this lineup is based on sales, judged rankings or something else entirely. But I can tell you who made the iTunes cut in 2008 (I've reviewed half of these CDs, which means I still have some work to do). Whom do you think they overlooked?
Robert Kelly, Just the Tip
Steve Byrne, Happy Hour
Gabriel Iglesias, Hot and Fluffy
Josh Sneed, Unacceptable
Lisa Landry, Put Your Keys in the Keybowl
Pablo Francisco, Ouch! (Live from San Jose)
Jimmy Dore, Citizen Jimmy
Dov Davidoff, The Point Is
Bill Burr, Why Do I Do This?
Jeffrey Ross: No Offense, Live from New Jersey
Today marks the release of Dov Davidoff's first CD, "The Point Is..." on Comedy Central Records. Davidoff, who grew up in New Jersey and currently makes his home in Los Angeles, took a few minutes last week to talk with The Comic's Comic about the CD. Dov Davidoff recorded the set live in October at the Comedy Works in Denver. "It's just a really good club and good acoustics. It's the closest thing I've seen to the Comedy Cellar. It's a much bigger room but it has a much similar vibe. It's a good room," he said.
The press kits and standard bios for him always mention upfront that he grew up with a "world-traveling hippie mother" who was a psychologist and a father with a junkyard. That obviously had an impact on his comedic outlook, which live or on CD, tends to sound like a man observing how crazy the world is, sometimes deciding to fight crazy with crazy. As he says in his act, "two crazy people cancel each other out."
"It was huge," he said of his parents' impact. "Because dealing with that world made me so uncomfortable that I had to develop psychological defense mechanisms, so there you go."
The energetic persona and voice he carries onstage, though, sharply contrasts with his calm demeanor over the phone with me. "It was never a choice," he said. "It was an organic thing. When I get into a story and get into it, it just flows." What about the choice to ask people in the audience their names and then address them repeatedly to open his bits? It's certainly unlike most comedians who use crowd work as a way to fill time, improvise or set up jokes. "I don't know. I like to connect with people. Instead of just getting up and saying jokes. I like interacting with people….you connect with certain parts of the crowd. They seem more engaged. I mean live, sometimes I'll really talk to them. It's not to spin it. It's to talk. And it makes it more interesting to me, too," Davidoff said. "You build a rapport."
They really boo you on the CD when you say you no longer smoke pot. Is there always that kind of visceral reaction? "Every now and then they do," he said. "It's a strange reaction. Especially comedy club crowds, it's usually a liberal crowd. I don't know how many of them are high, but supposedly they're not into me quitting. They don't want to hear that I'm not getting high!"
When did you take acting classes (he trained at William Esper Studio and has had supporting roles in movies (Invincible) and TV (Raines))? "It was after I was doing stand-up," Davidoff said. "It made sense to me on some level. Because stand-up can be a little isolating." Did it influence your stand-up persona or presentation? "I don't know that it did. The thing, the interesting aspect of acting, once you cut out all the nonsense, it's about making a connection," he said. "If you're in a scene and not listening, you're not in it. And no one is going to hire you. As a stand-up you have to listen."
On the CD you mention briefly that you got kicked out of high school. What happened there? "I threw an explosive in the commons area, and apparently loud noises...It was like an M80. I'd always been in trouble. That was the straw that broke the camel's back," he said. You'd never guess that looking at your various haircuts in photos displayed within the CD! "I know, I seemed so ph.D bound with those haircuts, that to get thrown out for explosives seems so ironic."
Want to buy his new CD? Click and purchase via Amazon.com or iTunes below!