Fast Talk: Dave Attell
Published: May 2009
Dave Attell is one of a rare breed. When most people tuck themselves in for their nocturnal slumber, Attell and his camera crew meet up with the creatures of the night to see what life is really like when the lights go out. During the first two seasons of Comedy Central's "Insomniac with Dave Attell," which follows the stand-up comedian on his nightly tour of a different city in each episode, Attell has visited a 24-hour fortune cookie factory in New York City, watched nude karaoke in Phoenix, went on a pub crawl on horseback with the Federation of Black Cowboys in Brooklyn, and paraded with strippers in, well, just about every city. Even though he claims to select his locations by playing a game of drunk darts with a map, he manages to show a slice of North America that most people have slept through, however crude and shocking it might be. Prior to the premiere of the third season in November—in which he'll uncover the seedier side of Portland, Albuquerque, and Toronto—Attell shared his insights into the finer points of being a night crawler.
1. Where are you now?
I'm in NYC. I love this town. I'm on the road all the time and it's a real treat being home.
2. How much of your time is spent traveling for the show?How many cities do you visit for each season?
We do about nine cities and then one show in NYC. In between I usually go on the road just doing regular stand-up at clubs around the country.
3. What's the first thing you do when you arrive in a new city?
The first thing? I get off the plane and I scream, "I've won this round, Osama bin Laden!" Then I head to my hotel.
4. Do you ever have to deal with hecklers while filming?
Yes, let's just say that alcohol and bitter film students don't mix.
5. What city is the best for late-night drinking and eating?
My favorite city for late-night drinking is New Orleans, because the bars never close. Eating?I love a Philly cheese steak, so I guess Philadelphia.
6. Where are the best places to perform your stand-up routine?
In NYC, the Comedy Cellar. San Francisco, the Punchline. In Houston, the Laff Stop.
7. How do you usually decide what spots you will visit in each city?
We have only three people doing all the research on the show (Annie, Cristin, and Stephanie). They're the best, they never fail to thrill and amaze me with the stuff they come up with. And when they're not working, they travel around the country solving murders. Thanks, ladies.
8. Where have you witnessed the most bizarre, shocking human behavior?
If you want bizarre behavior, just hang out on the street when the bars let out. It goes from funny to sad to run-for-your-life pretty quick.
9. What's your favorite time of night?Why?
Whenever the hit show "Judging Amy" comes on... Oops, I guess just before last call in any town.
10. What advice do you have for fellow insomniacs with a travel itch?
Don't drink and drive.
For a peek into Attell's diary and information on upcoming shows, visit http://www.comedycentral.com/tv_shows/insomniac/
Interviewed by Hillary Geronemus