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A conversation with comedian Dana Goldberg

 

How would you describe your personality and humor?
How do you connect with people? I’m the observer. I like to watch people. I often use humor in uncomfortable or awkward situations, which pretty much sums up all of my high school years. I truly connect deeply with people. Interacting with my fans on social media is an important part of my day and my career. People can go see one of their favorite performers, but if they are an asshole off stage, they probably won’t go back and see them. I’m very approachable at my shows. I would say my humor is smart and edgy. I can push the limit and can be dirty, but for the most part, my comedy stays pretty light hearted. I think my friends would say I’m kind, funny, solid. I’m the person everyone comes to if they are having troubles. Sure some of it becomes material in my shows, but I give some really great advice in return.

 

What are your five favorite topics to talk about?
Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin. My five favorite topics in no particular order are politics, family, relationships, my crazy exes, and current affairs. I like to talk about things that people can relate to in their daily lives. When people can see themselves through my comedy, that’s when I know I have them, that’s when they laugh.

 

I imagine being a comedian is not a 9-to-5 job. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Well to be honest with you, it’s more than a 9-to-5. Not only am I working on my career during the work week, I’m performing on the weekends so usually before I know it, I’ve lost the entire weekend and I’m back into my work week hustle of writing new material and booking shows. When I’m not working on my career I love being outdoors hiking, spending time with friends. I love a good dinner with a glass of wine or just some bourbon on the rocks at a happy hour.

 

What is your creative process like?
I wish I knew! (laughing) Often times I’ll say something in a conversation or someone will say something that sparks a topic or a joke in me. I try and stop what I’m doing and write it down, or put it in my phone since it’s 2015. Every once in a while I’ll say “oh I’ll remember it.” I won’t…I never do. There’s nothing more frustrating for a comedian than coming up with a great joke and losing it because your memory fails you. The older I get, the more that happens.

 

What was 2014 like for you?
2014 was one of the best years I’ve had so far. I had over 40 shows in more than 25 cities. I shared the comedy stage with incredible comedians like Fortune Feimster, Erin Foley, Jessica Kirson, Dana Eagle, Jason Dudey, Ian Harvie and countless others. I also did a dozen black tie galas with the Human Rights Campaign.

 

Have you ever dated a fan? Any funny fan stories?
I guess you could say I dated a fan once. I was actually asked to be part of a threesome—which I declined—but after they broke up, I dated one of them for a short period of time. I’ve never had a one-night stand and I don’t hook up with people on the road so I’m kind of boring in that sense. I did have a fan try and burn down a comedy club I was going to be working in because they weren’t going to let her attend the show. You know…just a normal Saturday night in the life of a comedian.

 

Have you had any important life-changing points?
I say the biggest one was my decision to get into comedy in the first place. I was dating this wonderful woman and after we broke up she moved to Florida. She was a pilot in the military. Before she moved she went with me to an audition for a show that use to happen in Albuquerque once a year called “Funny Lesbians For a Change.” It was a variety show that raised higher education scholarships for women. I walked in five minutes after the audition closed and they told me I would have to come back next year. During that year, she moved to Florida and very sadly was killed in a plane crash during a military exercise in Puerto Rico. That was life changing for me. She believed so much in me and wanted to see me give comedy a shot. I went and auditioned for the same show the year after and they gave me a seven-minute set in front of a sold out theatre. I hit my first big joke and I heard the most deafening laughter I had ever heard, and that was it, I was hooked. I felt like I could fly. I think over the last 12 years, I have moments every day that are life changing.

 

In your opinion, what are some advantages of being a lesbian?
Well for one, we don’t have to sleep with sweaty, hairy men. I’ll lead with that. Women are soft, they usually smell very good, and there are much better kissers. I think one of the biggest advantages of sleeping with a woman is that we know what we like so it’s much easier to please our partners. It doesn’t always work that way, but it’s a great place to start. Some people are like “Oh my God, you guys can share each other’s clothes!” Um…no, no we can’t. Socks, we can share socks…maybe. We aren’t anywhere near the same size.

 

What celebrities have you met? What are they like?
Wanda Sykes. She’s just lovely, very down to earth and friendly. I was able to go back stage at one of her shows and we chatted for a while. I’ve become friends with Alfred Molina, who played the bad guy in Spider Man, as well as John Lithgow. They are absolutely wonderful. They were being honored by HRC for their work in Love Is Strange. I had the pleasure of sitting with them during the gala. Alex Newell and I have become very close. Alex’s plays the transgender character on Glee. His voice is just incredible. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with the people I do.

 

Robin Williams, one of the world’s all-time favorite comedians passed away last year from suicide. I’ve heard that some of the most talented comedians have a dark side. What are your thoughts on that?
Robin Williams’ death truly crushed me. I wouldn’t be so selfish as to compare myself to his own family, but for me, it felt like I lost a family member. When someone asks me in an interview who I respect, who inspires me, the answer is always Robin Williams. The man was brilliant on so many levels. I still tear up every time I see a picture of him or read an article. He will be deeply missed for a very long time. I do think a lot of comedians have a dark side. This isn’t an easy career, but there are ways to cope with the ups and downs. I think so many factors went into Robin’s death that it’s hard to say it’s the dark side of comedy, but it can push you to your limits. A lot of road comics end up getting addicted to drugs and alcohol to get through the long nights. I feel grateful that I don’t have that tendency, but I can see how it can happen. I go through my ups and downs, but I have a good support system to keep me in check a lot of the time.

 

What would you do if you won the lotto?
I definitely would keep performing. Good or bad, it fuels me in so many ways. I feel a little empty when I’m not traveling or on stage for a long time. I would definitely travel for pleasure though. I want to see so many places in Europe. I would buy a house for my mom, buy myself a new car—I drive a 16 year old pick-up truck named Rex—and get a house in a couple of different cities that I love. Of course I would donate to charity…blah blah blah. (Smiling)

 

You’ll be in Washington, D.C. for the Ladies & Laughter comedy show in May. For readers who need a little coaxing to get off the couch, what are some good reasons to come to your show?
It’s going to be three amazingly funny (me included) comedians for a great cause. We’re hilarious, nice to look at, we smell good, and we get our animals from shelters. You have to come support that.

 

Anything else you would like to share?
I have a new CD out called “Crossing The Line” that you can get on my website: danagoldberg.com. And, I’m just really excited to be back in the DC area. It’s one of my favorite cities. I’m never there long enough.

 

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