by Ryan Meehan
D.C. Benny is a New York based stand up comic who has been performing his story-telling style of stand-up comedy for the last 20 years. He tells stories about his unusual life and acts out each character, which adds another dimension of comedy to his funny narratives. He has acted in multiple national commercials, television shows, and feature films while constantly writing and producing a multitude of projects in every medium. D.C. currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and animals and he’s our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: How has the world of standup comedy changed for the better over the past twenty years? In what ways is the industry worse?
DCB: I think that comedians have a lot of tools now to further their careers that they didn’t have before. It used to be, you build a following however you can and kinda still is, but now there are more ways to do it. As a general note, the industry sucks as it always has, I can’t say it’s worse. Being funny has always been something that you hope brings success but unfortunately, it’s often all about dollars; and funny takes backseat. Occasionally funny will come through though, so you just gotta root for that and work your ass off to be that guy.
RM: True or False and why: Voiceover is the easiest money in the entertainment industry.
DCB: Both. The physical act of doing a VO is pretty easy and usually pays well, but becoming one of the, like, 5 guys that books just about every VO isn’t quite so easy. Small club of working dudes that do that. Small, well-paid club.
RM: You did a pilot for NBC called “People Who Live in My Building” where you played the entire cast of characters. If that had really taken off, do you think you would have turned into a bit of a maniac?
DCB: Probably would have lost my mind if anything had taken off so early in my career; I barely have any of it left now, hah! I had deal with NBC after getting down to the wire for SNL, and I took some of that money and made my own pilot with friends. It kicked around the network a bit and things happened peripherally from it. It was a great experience to create something like this where no-one was telling you what was funny and what wasn’t and what to do and what not to do. The end result was crude and awesome. And yeah, I did play all the characters.
RM: You work on Sirius XM’s “Breuer Unleashed” starring comedian Jim Breuer doing writing work…How does that compare to other writing work that you have done? And is Jim as cool as everybody says he is?
DCB: I loved doing Breuers show. He has always cracked me up and I got to work with him and Pete, doing on air stuff, writing sketches, and just screwing around with comics I dug. I dunno if my style of comedy was ultimately a great fit for Jim’s show which changed format hourly, but I had a blast when I was working there. And Jim is cool. And perpetually baked.
RM: Was performing at the Apollo just as intimidating as you expected it to be? Did you ever think that your performance would have had such viral success?
DCB:The Apollo was my first TV gig ever and was a fluke. I was hanging out when everyone was getting booed off including both Steve Harvey, the host, and the awful toupee he wore at the time with the perfect hairline. The producer asked me if I wanted to go on. “Absolutely”. Steve gave a big speech about how black audiences shouldn’t boo black performers, since white people had wouldn’t give black people a break, or some bullshit like that, then brought me on. the crowd looked shocked. Worst intro ever. I said “surprise” and everyone laughed and off we went to the races. Then got invited back 2 more times, and the last one is the one with all the hits, the others aren’t even posted. I had no idea so many people would watch my Apollo set. It’s old material but is solid in a retro way.
RM: At any point in time did you consider moving to Los Angeles to explore the what the West Coast had to offer when it came to doing standup? What’s the biggest difference between LA and New York other than the latter had bad weather this time of year?
DCB: I’ve had many opportunities but I’m too tied to the east coast, which was definitely not a career decision, but it is what it is. My fam and life are here. LA is great place to to be when you are hot, probably the only place to be, but NYC is where you develop the craft of comedy amongst other craftsmen.
RM: Is there any way in which doing comedy and selling real estate are anything alike?
DCB: You gotta hustle with both and be able to do many things. I brought real estate into the equation for 1 reason. I was done with the road and needed some income and I had bought, renovated, and flipped properties, so it was one thing that I knew how to do well besides comedy. I have a great business partner and time to do all the comedy I need, but I don’t have to rely on a casting directors whims. I just didn’t wanna be one of those dudes that turns 60 and is still on the road, begging club owners for work, waiting for a break.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
DCB: Working on a crime fiction book, my favorite genre, with some comedic elements, Brooklyn style. I have a couple feature screenplays that I’m getting out there and just wrapped an indie film called LOVE MAGICAL, which is really funny. My first comedy film and I play a giant Mexican ex-soap opera actor who is caught up in competing for a janitorial job, that he will do anything to get. Other than that, if anyone has a property they need sold in Brooklyn, please get in touch.
Official Website: http://www.dcbenny.com/index.html
DC on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dcbenny
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