by Ryan Meehan
Hailing from Chicago IL, Bil Dwyer, like many hearty Midwesterners, is a very private person and likes to keep things to himself. Unlike many hearty Midwesterners, he is forced to compose bios of himself written in the third person. Bil’s career has covered many facets of show business, from performing to writing to commercial voiceover work. Bil is an accomplished standup comic, who has appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn” and his very own half hour stand-up special “Comedy Central Presents: Bil Dwyer.” His takes on marriage, kids and family are hip and sardonic, and yet beneath lies a certain odd sweetness. Bil has hosted GSN’s “I’ve Got A Secret,” Comedy Central’s “Battlebots,” FOX Sports’ “Ultimate Fan Leagure,” PAX-TV’s “Dirty Rotten Cheaters,” GSN’s “Extreme Dodgeball” and MTV’s “The 70’s House (as mock game show host Bert Van Styles).
Besides appearing on great television shows like “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Ally McBeal,” Bil has also been in such forgettable films as “Ski School 2,” “The Bogus Witch Project” and “What Planet are You From?.” Writing with sitcom star/television producer Christopher Titus, Bil co-created a show based on his stand-up comedy called “Back After This” for Sony Pictures Television. A regular commentator on various cable shows, he is most often recognized for his work on VH1’s highly-rated “I Love the…” series. Bil was also seen as a finalist on Season 4 of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and starred in Cartoon Network’s live action/animation hybrid series “Out of Jimmy’s Head.” He currently recurs as Valerie Bertinelli’s ex-husband on the highly-rated TV Land sitcom “Hot in Cleveland.” And if all of that weren’t enough, he’s our guest today in 5 Questions.
FOH: How did you get you start doing comedy? Was it something that you tried while you were still at SIU-Carbondale? What was your first gig like?
BD: I came in third in our college’s “Catch a Rising Star” standup competition. First place was Joey Gutierrez, who went on to create “Still Standing,” and second place was Peggy Kuzinski, who does sports at NBC Channel 5 in Chicago. I got a sweet satin jacket out of it.
FOH: What were you able to take away (if anything) from being a part of the fourth season of “Last Comic Standing”? What’s your take on what overall effect that show has on standup comedy?
BD: Well, comedy is subjective, but comics love contests, and audiences aren’t set up for everybody, so…. I took nothing away from that fourth season. I do like those people, though, and they’re all really strong comics. And I don’t mind a show that showcases standup comedy, although it’s rarely funny when it’s a standup competition. And if they have us living together, there’s never any drama, thank god. That’s because standup comics are husks, always searching for love and acceptance. Except me. And Larry Reeb.
FOH: What was your initial reaction when your agent told you Comedy Central was looking for an analyst on a show where robots mauled each other? Were you into building stuff like that when you were younger?
BD: Well, it’s a perfect fit- robots and Comedy Central- because robots are naturally hilarious- they’re programmed that way- and it’s a really simple loop program, about 10 lines- and Comedy Central is always on the lookout for the “funny.” But to answer your question, my initial reaction was rage. But that’s me. I rage.
Not a builder growing up, but a decent bullshitter and a good host. But I loved those robots. So cool. Up close, they blow your mind. Literally. Every season, we had hundreds of robot-caused deaths. Comedy Central covered them all up. In a funny way, of course.
FOH: Could you tell us a little bit about the character that you voice on Cartoon Network’s “Out of Jimmy’s Head”? Is it true that voiceover work is the easiest work in Hollywood?
BD: “Out of Jimmy’s Head” was the first live action/animation show on Cartoon Network, and I played Jimmy’s dad, and also his school’s guidance counselor. So that wasn’t voiceover. But voiceover work, from what I’ve seen, is a world of deep-voiced guys in sweatpants. Always sweatpants.
FOH: What do you feel is the best thing going on in the world of standup comedy at the moment? What do you view as the biggest threat to the standup comedy community?
BD: I guess the biggest thing is that dog ventriloquist guy that won “America’s Got Talent.” So, dog ventriloquism is the biggest thing in standup comedy right and also its biggest threat. In the future, smaller and smaller animals will be used for ventriloquism, and audiences will be given some sort of opera binoculars in order to enjoy “Robbie and his Nutty Snails.” They may move slow, but they think fast!!!!!!
FOH: Out of all of the jobs within the entertainment industry, is there anything that you’d really like to try that you haven’t had the opportunity to do yet?
BD: I should probably go full-frontal pretty soon. Before it gets weird.
FOH: What’s next for Bil Dwyer in the twelve months to come? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
BD: What are you, a cop? Is there a drone following me? I’ve actually been doing a live game show called “StarDumb!” and I invite six celebrity guests on stage, and I ask them questions about their careers, and I award points. It’s tremendously great. Next show features Will Sasso, Andy Kindler, Natasha Leggero, Laura House, Zach Selwyn, and the great Eddie Pepitone. Come on!
Bil on Twitter: @BilDwyer
Bil’s golfing show: http://www.therangeshow.com/
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