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Dan Soder

“I love laughter, it’s the best”

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Dan Soder

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Jonathan Zapf, Reporter

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Dan Soder best describes his life, in sandwich form of course, as a turkey BLT. Explaining that like himself, at first it can be a little hard to chew, but worth it once you get to the turkey and bacon, pulled together nicely by a healthy helping of mayo to make the perfect “middle-class delight.”

He credits his comedic genes to a mixture of both his parents. With his raw sense of humor coming from his dad, and his delivery and theatrics from his mom. For Dan, comedy started as a fun hobby in college, but after nearly twenty years on stage, the world’s best hobby has turned into the world’s best job. Without comedy, he explains, he would probably have some job that he would hate, working solely for the paycheck, day after day. He’s optimistic that even in a more technologically advanced future, stand up will always be present in our lives because “like live theatre, it may not be as prevalent or successful, but it will always be around.”

With a recurring character on HBO’s Billions, and a spot on a new show on Netflix, The Standups, Dan is undoubtedly a successful comedian, but he feels like some of his best work has gone relatively unnoticed. He wishes that his stand up special on Comedy Central, Not Special, which aired in 2016, had gained more attention. Although he holds himself accountable as a poor self-promoter, Comedy Central, as a cable network was only able to air the special 3-4 times and it, therefore, fell under the radar. Fortunately, the hour-long special can still be found online at Comedy Central and even without an account, their free 24-hour test will give you plenty of time to watch it.

Although extremely impressive, he doesn’t attribute any of these accomplishments to “making it,” as he believes that the idea of making it is entirely relative. “Although this industry will make you think there is some way to ‘make it’ in comedy, if you’re a comic, you’ve already made it because you get to do the job you love.” Although many young Hollywood hopefuls see making it as getting a significant role in a movie or cashing in a nice paycheck, Dan explains that to him, “If you get to do it, it just becomes about self-improvement, not money or a specific gig.” Dan recommends Dana Gould’s keynote speech at Just for Laughs 2015 as a fantastic explanation of how you should approach being a comic, and why you have to accept your failures just as graciously as your successes.

Not every night will be completely sold out, and there is no way tell whether for that specific crowd you are going to kill or bomb, you just give it your all every time. On one occasion, Dan remembers a night in Seattle with maybe 25 people on a Thursday night, not all that special, which unexpectedly turned into one of his favorite memories from a show. He recalls beginning his set when a woman in the front row began to heckle him. At first, it was annoying, she was obviously drunk, but then it turned into a hysterical 45-minute conversation between the two where covered such subjects as her kids, and why she was at a comedy club on a Thursday night getting hammered. By far it is Dan’s favorite experience with a heckler, and he actually ended up picking up her drink tab at the end of their conversation.

Small things like that are little, but essential aspects of being a comic to enjoy. There was no massive paycheck at the end of the night, or a big crowd to see the hilarious conversation, but that’s okay.

If the earth was visited by aliens, and Dan had the pleasure of performing for them, he wouldn’t try some cheap knock-knock joke or play down to the aliens assuming they wouldn’t understand his sense of humor. He explains that he would tell them his joke talking about how people who don’t believe in aliens do so because they don’t want to admit the fact that aliens wouldn’t want to hang out with us, and that he gets it because “we suck.” That kind of straight forward humor is just one one of the aspects of Dan Soder’s stand up that helps set him apart of the pack. To see Dan for yourself, visit his website https://dansoder.com/ for his tour schedule, his sets on Conan and Comedy Central, performances on Inside Amy Schumer, and on his radio podcast The Bonfire with fellow stand up Big Jay Oakerson.

 

If there’s one quick piece advice that Dan can share with a young comic, taken from his personal experiences, it is, “Don’t approach your heroes like they know who you are. Don’t walk up to a person you have seen on TV like you know them,” because it can be tough and discouraging if they turn out to be kind of a jerk.

 

Twitter and Instagram: @DanSoder

 

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Dan Soder