Written by Joseph Santiago
We met up with Daniel Simonsen who is a Norwegian stand-up comedian living in New York. It was a sold-out show at Tribeca Comedy Lounge. He is one of the featured comics for tonight show. We decided to talk about life before comedy, stand up comedy, and many other things
1. What other jobs did you do before starting stand up comedy?
I was mostly a student before I got into stand up. When I started comedy I did all types of jobs to survive. Anything from marketing to working as a mover.
2. How did you know you wanted to be a comedian?
I think I always secretly wanted it since I was a kid. I was a massive fan of comedy and would watch different TV shows over and over. But I thought I had way too much stage fright to have a go myself.
3. If you weren’t doing comedy, what would you be doing?
I would probably have a regular 9 to 5 job and try to muster up the courage to do comedy.
4. Where are some of your favorite places to perform?
New York, London, Norway.
5. Who are some of your favorite up-and-comers in the comedy world?
There are tons of great people. People like Liza Treyger, Jeff Wesselschmidt, Sean Patton etc. There are so many comics I could list. I’m deeply impressed by my peers. In Norway, I’m a big fan of this guy called Christoffer Schjelderup.
6. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Be careful to listen too much to other peoples advice.
7. When did you feel like you were a pro comedian?
To be honest I still don’t feel I’m a pro comedian. It’s something I’m working towards.
8. How often do you perform comedy per week?
It varies but a few times a week. I try to go up whenever I can really.
9. What are your favorite comedy clubs that you perform at?
10. How do you deal with hecklers?
I just try to say whatever comes to my mind first. I also try to not be mean to them or else I feel mad guilt afterward.
11. What advice would you give your younger self?
Probably to be less precious about things and just do whatever offers I got.
12. How would you describe your brand of comedy?
I guess it’s kind of personal observational comedy. I’m not completely sure what it’s supposed to be.
13. What do you talk about in your act?
I usually draw inspiration from my own life and talk about that.
14. How did you develop your style of stand up? Who were your influences growing up; both from the world of comedy and elsewhere?
I always tried to get as close to my real humor as possible. So I guess my stand up has kind of evolved from that.
I liked a lot of different comics growing up. Anyone from Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Will Ferrell, Sacha Baron Cohen to The South Park guys. And Norwegian comics like Espen Eckbo, Bård Tufte Johanesen, and Harald Eia.
Outside of comedy, I was a skateboarder for years so I was highly inspired by that culture. I was also a big fan of hip-hop, especially Outkast and Eminem. Those guys really inspired me.
15. I love to interview comedians, Can I ask what happens when you are in front of a crowd, and no one laughs?
It’s definitely uncomfortable. You kind of go into an internal crisis. But then you gotta try to keep your head cold and fight back to turn the room around.
16. What made you decide to be a comedian? Were you born funny?
I think it was always just a secret dream I had. But I never thought I would actually do it one day for real. I think I was a bit of a weird kid and maybe that can somehow make you funny sometimes.
17. When can people see it?
I just got passed at The Comedy Cellar so perform there every now and then. So you might catch me there until they find out I’m not a pro comedian.
18. Is there anything else that you wish to promote?
Not at the moment but hopefully soon. Thanks a lot for the interview at Tribeca Comedy Lounge.