Dan Naturman Sits Down For Comedic Interview at The Comedy Cellar
Written by Joseph Santiago
Dan Naturman sat down with Best Comedy Tickets at the legendary Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village in New York City. We discuss the comedy business, finding inspiration, and developing new jokes and more.
What do you wish someone had told you about show business before you entered it?
Wish someone had told me that great jokes aren’t enough. you need to be unique in some way. actually, my friend Lewis Schaffer did tell me that. But I didn’t listen cause he was also an open miker at the time and I figured he didn’t know shit.
Where do you get your material?
I get my material from life like everyone else I assume. Things that happen to me personally and things that go on in the world in general.
How often do you write material and how do you find inspiration?
I don’t really “write” in the sense of pen and paper. None of my jokes are written down. I think. And I do that all the time. Always on the lookout for a new idea to craft into a joke.
What happens if they don’t laugh
If they don’t laugh I rework the joke and try it again. I may decide the whole idea doesn’t work and throw it out. But if I think it’s a good premise I’ll keep reworking it.
How often do you perform comedy per week?
I perform on average 5 shows a week. Used to do more. Getting tired.
What are you favorite comedy clubs that you perform at?
The comedy cellar is my favorite club. Always full and the audiences are usually very good. Plus the restaurant upstairs is a great hang.
When did you feel like you were a pro comedian?
I felt like a pro when I started getting paid about three years in. Wasn’t good but was technically a pro. Didn’t start actually making a living at it till ten years in.
How did you know you wanted to be a comedian or did it just happen?
I’ve wanted to be a comedian at least since 10 years old. Always enjoyed making the class laugh, and very occasionally I made the teacher laugh.
Who would you say are your influences are in the comedy world?
My main influence is Woody Allen. His personal life is less of an influence.
What is one of your more embarrassing memories from childhood?
Embarrassing memory from childhood? Once I split my pants in sixth grade and I had to wait in the bathroom while the teacher sewed them in front of the class.
What are the most important rules you live by?
I try to live by the Golden Rule. Do unto others etc. Also, I try to be grateful for what I have because I have more than most. I try to do these things but fail often.
What was your favorite book as a kid, and what does that say about you?
As a kid, i hated reading. The only thing I enjoyed was the Guinness book of records. Guys with super long fingernails, the smallest man in the world etc. Don’t know what that says about me. You tell me.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
The best advice I’ve ever gotten was to never send an email in anger. Wait 10 minutes.
Given your feelings about the state of our culture, how do you avoid despair?
Who says I avoid despair? But I don’t despair about our culture. I worry more about my own mortality. I”ll be 50 in a few years!
What three things you would you take with you to a deserted island?
I’d take my iPhone to the deserted island assuming there’s reception there. a coffee maker and I guess the coffee to go with it.
Do you have any quotes that you live your life by or think of often?”
My favorite quote is “That which we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly” – Thomas Paine
How to handle hecklers from the stage?
I try never to get angry at hecklers or insult them too harshly. It creates a weird energy. They usually don’t persist. At some point, they need to be thrown out but that’s maybe happened to me once in 20 years.
Do you have a heckler story that most stands out?
I don’t have any crazy heckler stories.
“What advice would you give your younger self?”
Most important lesson I learned in comedy is you’re never as good as you think you are. And you can always get better.
I’d probably tell my younger self to write more non-stand-up comedy stuff. sitcoms, sketches, etc. There’s a lot of writing work out there.
How long do you spend developing new material?
Some jokes work as soon as i write them. Some jokes take a year or more to get right. Sometimes I’ll abandon a premise and come back to it years later. Depends
What’s your drink of choice?
I’m not a huge drinker. I guess a red wine. I hear it’s good for you so why not get a buzz and improve your heart at the same time.
Greatest cartoon of all time?
The Simpsons is the greatest cartoon. At least the first 15 seasons or so. I’ve stopped watching as the quality has slipped.
Let’s say you could live the life of any animal in the wilderness for one day: What would it be?
I supposed I’d be an elephant. They have no predators. I don’t wanna get eaten.
So the stereotype of comedians being horribly depressed and neurotic is true?
I think that indeed most comedians are depressed and/or neurotic. If they’re not, they’re probably not very good.
Do you ever get tired of being a comedian?
Yes, sometimes I get tired of being a comedian. Usually, happens when I have no new jokes that are working. Can get annoying hearing yourself say the same joke over and over.
So at the end of your day, what’s your ultimate goal?
My ultimate goal? I think I’d like to host a talk show. But one that asks the real question not just fluffy questions so the guest can plug their latest project. Howard Stern is a great interviewer. I’d love to do what he does. And then go perform stand up in theaters.
What would you say troubles you the most about the world today?
The most troubling thing to me in the world is a terrorist group getting nukes.
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