Interview with Comedian Quentin Heggs at Dangerfield’s Comedy Club
Written by Joseph Santiago
We sat down with veteran comedian Quentin Heggs at the legendary Dangerfield’s Comedy Club on the Upper East Side. We discuss the show business, developing new jokes and more.
1. What do you wish someone had told you about show business before you entered it?
A: How hard the actual “business” part of show business is.
2. What was your process in developing material?
A: I try to write more from life experiences, than actual written “jokes”.
3. What happens if they don’t laugh
A: If a routine or joke doesn’t get the response I intended…I rewrite and tweak it. If that still doesn’t work, it’s in the junk pile! lol
4: How often do you perform comedy per week?
A: I like to keep sharp by doing AT LEAST 5-7 sets/shows a week.
5: What are you favorite comedy clubs that you perform at?
A: Dangerfield’s, in NYC, is my comedy “home”, but I have a lot of fun in different clubs in Canada and Amsterdam. Great crowds!
6: How often do you write jokes?
A: I only write when I’m inspired. I never sit down and FORCE jokes to come out of my brain.
7: When did you feel like you were a pro comedian?
A: When, after a comedy set in a traditional club, I was approached to work overseas from someone in the audience. Contracts, great money, and accommodations!
8: How did you know you wanted to be a comedian or did it just happen?
A: I was mimicking Richard Pryor’s routines at 10 years old…so I knew I always wanted to be funny onstage like him!
9: What is the hardest part about being in the NYC comedy scene? What is the best part?
A: Hardest part= TOO many folks think they are “comedians” / Best part= The GOOD ones get all the paid work! lol
10: Who would you say are your influences in the comedy world?
A: Richard Pryor will forever be my comedy hero.
11: What is one of your more embarrassing memories from childhood?
A: Getting a homemade haircut…and crying all the way to school cuz my Mom has HORRIBLE hair cutting skills! lol
12: What are the most important rules you live by?
A: One rule= ALWAYS be nice to people…cuz you never know what that connection may bring into your life.
13: What was your favorite book as a kid, and what does that say about you?
A: I read mystery novels as a kid. Many titles, including some Agatha Christie novels, intrigued me. I love to think and solve riddles!
14: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
A: “Always smile onstage, cuz people will know you’re a warm person”…advice given to me from Regis Philbin!
15: Given your feelings about the state of our culture, how do you avoid despair?
A: My belief in God always gets me over ANY despair!
16: Do you think your stand-up has changed a lot over the years?
A: My comedic STYLE has evolved over the years. My sense of timing is still intact, but I’m more comfortable performing.
17: Do you have any quotes that you live your life by or think of often?”
A: “One must give his all, or forget it!” That’s my quote from my high school yearbook! lol
18: How to handle hecklers from the stage?
A: I try to slam them with a SMILE, so they are laughing at themselves for interrupting the show! lol
19: What advice would you give your younger self?”
A: Beware of shady “managers”. They slow your career down!
20: Since you started, what has been the biggest change in the comedy world?
A: Social Media. It’s diluting the world of LIVE comedy. Folks would rather watch clips online than experience live club/theater settings.
21: What most important lesson you learned in comedy?
A: I’m still learning, but I think I trusted too many folks in my career.
22: Advice to your younger self just starting in comedy career?
A: Stay in shape! lol And keep pushing to work all over the WORLD, not just the country.
23: How long do you spend developing new material?
A: A few minutes thinking about what makes it funny, then trying it onstage. Never OVERWORK a joke.
24: What’s your drink of choice?
A: Right now? Flavored vodka on the rocks! lol
25: Greatest cartoon of all time?
A: The Flintstones was a brilliant concept (although it was basically “The Honeymooners” in prehistoric time! lol)
26: Let’s say you could live the life of any animal in the wilderness for one day: What would it be?
A: A leopard.
27: Why is there so much sadness—depression, addiction—in the comedy world?
A: I think cuz artist basically need recognition…and if we don’t get it, we become depressed. Thick skin is needed in show business!
28: Do you ever get tired of being a comedian?
A: NEVER! Tired of the business part, but I love performing and challenging my material to strangers!
29: So at the end of your day, what’s your ultimate goal?
A: To be in a place where I can work regularly…get paid enormously..and have room in my schedule to getaway and travel and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
30: What would you say troubles you the most about the world today?
A: How this country, and WORLD for that matter, is so divided. We never seem to learn from our past mistakes. Being “different” should bring all of us TOGETHER, not keep us apart!
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