5 Questions with Chad Daniels

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by Ryan Meehan

From Chad himself:  This is more of an AutoBio than a Bio. The truth is, most comedians write their own bios. I’m not judging. It’s a lot easier to brag about one’s own accomplishments while hiding behind third person. They are very well written. It seems comedians either 1. Have a Masters in English, or 2. A Thesaurus, and a lot of free time. I have neither. I could write things like: Chad’s devilishly naughty nature shines through like comedy gold when he takes the stage. Chad’s disarming personality allows him to push boundaries only the truly funny attempt. His edgy style usually begins by splitting the room into two equally stunned fractions and then miraculously ends up with everyone leaving the club with a new favorite comedian. But that’s lame. Or I could write: Plenty of comics have jokes about marriage and children, but few speak about the experience with such uncompromising honesty. “Babies are miracles. Think about it. When they’re born their feet are tiny. Yet, they can somehow step on all your hopes and dreams.” It’s this acidic material, cut with underlying sweetness and served up with a knowing smirk, that perfectly encapsulates Daniels’s take-no-prisoners style of comedy. Even though he was born and raised there he’s not interested in Minnesota Nice. With his onstage swagger and arsenal of incisive, uproarious material, he practically bullies the audience into loving him. Sounds awesome, but that’s not how I talk.  The truth is I’d rather you come see me to check it out for yourself.  To get you to the club I’ll tell you this:  In 2004 I performed in the New Faces show at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. I’ve been on the Late Late show on CBS with Craig Kilborn and Craig Ferguson. In 2006 I was on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham. I have three CDs. “Two Minutes for Stale Hacking” which was self-produced, “Busy Being Awesome” and my latest “You’re the Best” both on Stand-up! Records. I was named “Artist of the Year” in comedy by City Pages in 2009. I’ve been seen numerous times on “The Bob and Tom Television program”. I performed at the Aspen Comedy Festival for Rooftop Comedy and was given the award Comic’s Comic. I have a half hour special called Comedy Central Presents… Chad Daniels, which was voted #5 of all time in 2010. I am one of 13 comedians that have the honor to say they were on the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. I was invited back to the Just for laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal to perform in The Masters Show. In 2012, I won the Gilda’s Laughfest Competition, performed on Conan’s new show, and released a free one hour special called “As Is” on the internet.  I’m funny. If you’re still not willing to come to a show you’re just being difficult.   Well put, and that’s why we’re happy to have Chad Daniels as our guest today in 5 questions.    

RM:  Given that you are based out of Minnesota and one of your records is called “Two Minutes for Stale Hacking”, would I be correct in my assumption that you are a hockey fan?  What does standup comedy have in common with competitive sport?

CD: I’m a huge hockey fan.  And the MN Wild have a playoff game tonight so I need to hurry and get this done.  I think the similarities are different depending on where you live.  I’ve been to some towns where the scene is every man for themselves.  Really cut throat.  I started in Minneapolis and it was more like a team.  We’d watch each others’ sets and give constructive criticism, or let the person know if we had heard anything similar to their new bit on the road.  Plus, a lot of people don’t know this, but when someone has a great set we dump Gatorade on them backstage.

RM:  Where were you when you first realized that stand-up comedy was something that you could make a living doing; and what was your profession at that point in your life?  Was it easy for you to make the transition at first or did it take some time for you to feel really comfortable with the decision you made?

CD: I still haven’t come to the conclusion that you can make a living doing comedy.  I realized your family can eat if you do it enough throughout the year.  When I was growing up watching comedy I thought that if you were on TV you were the richest person in the world.  I think I get around $200 for doing Conan after I pay my taxes and AFTRA dues.  Ha.

RM:  What can you tell us about your new CD “Natural Selection” and what has it been like to join forces with Standup Records?  How many of your labelmates have you had the pleasure of working with on the road?  Do you have any great stories from doing shows with some of those comics?

CD: Well, it’s my fourth CD (third with StandUp! Records).  It’s the first one where I just kind of let loose.  On the first three, and my special As Is, I was so concerned with getting all of the jokes I wanted on them that I felt a little robotic.  If you’ve ever seen me live you know that’s not the real me.  So, I just kind of went with the flow on this one. Dan Schlissel, the head guy at SUR, is great.  It’s been nice to work with someone like that. This is kind of embarrassing, but I don’t know much about who else is on the label.  I have a 10 year old daughter and 14 year old son so I don’t have a lot of “meet other people” time.  I love Dan’s taste so I know they’re great.  I’m leaving for the Akumal Comedy Fest in Mexico on Monday (put on by SUR) so I’m sure I’ll meet some then.

RM:  How is this record different from your previous three discs?  Is there anything that you did differently as far as writing material for the album?

CD: No. The writing is the same.  Obviously the material morphs as my kids and I get older, but it’s the same old me.

RM:  What is the most cliché topic discussed on stage today?  How to you avoid discussing that, especially when it comes up when you are doing crowd work?  Do you think it will ever go away?

CD: I’m not sure.  It’s 2014.  Everything seems cliche.  It’s just a matter of putting your stamp on it (which is probably a cliche phrase).  I talk about my kids a lot and my parenting style as a father.  I would imagine a lot of guys do.  I just count on my attitude being a little different.  I don’t think parallel thinking will ever go away.  There are no new thoughts.  Whoa, I must have fallen asleep during a Kung Fu movie and heard that.

RM:  Do you use Twitter as a notepad for jokes or bits that you think might be too short for your act?  And do you think that a lot of comedians overuse Twitter or any of the other social networking sites?

CD: I think comedians use social media how it should be used.  I’ve never had to read about what a comic had for lunch.  And if I have I’m sure it’s a “comic by night, something by else by day” situation.  I kind of think that you’re not truly a comedian unless that’s what it says on your taxes, but that may just be me remembering driving all over the country to get into this.  It always makes me laugh when people from LA consider getting to the club an hour early to sign up for open mic paying dues.  Let me step off of my soap box here and answer your question.  I’ll throw out a line on twitter and if it gets positive feedback I might expand it onstage.

Official Website:  http://chaddaniels.com/

Chad on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/chaddaniels34

Chad on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/chad-daniels/87987120651

Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.

Meehan

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