By Jennifer Russo
Most of us know Dan Levy as a regular guest at the round table on the hilariously improper late night hit “Chelsea Lately,” but his professional story actually began when he won the Funniest College Comedian award in Aspen, Colorado back in 2001. From a young age, though, always assumed that he would do something in the world of entertainment. Now he’s also the winner of Young Hollywood’s Comedian of the Year award, has established himself as one of the best improvisational comedians and funniest sitcom writers over the last decade, and has one of TV’s hottest actresses for a wife. Not too shabby for a former Emerson student who used to live off Ramen noodles, walking around Boston Common looking for some good herbal fun, right?
“Going to Emerson was great because there’s really no campus; you have to walk through the city to get there. It’s definitely one of the best cities to go to college in. It’s also a great comedy city with some great clubs and a lot of history and I love that I got my start there.”
Along with his gig on “Chelsea,” Dan recently did a stand up tour with Aziz Ansari, during which he worked on material for his new album, Congrats on Your Success, which was released in August and has already made it to #3 on iTunes. One joke from that album is his “Whateva Whateva Shoes” story about his sneaker fetish and a run in with Justin Timberlake. It has a hilarious animated video that goes along with it that quickly went viral.
Drawing the bulk of his comedy from real stories and events in his life, Dan takes observational humor and storytelling to a farcical place where you can vacation from the doldrums of your work day and laugh until your eyes tear up. His cynical brand of humor is sometimes absurd but always entertaining ~ and it doesn’t just make you laugh, it sometimes even makes you think. I asked him how his wife, Rachel Specter, feels about being the butt of some of his jokes and he tells me, “Oh she loves it and wishes there were more of them. She loves the attention!”
So…what exactly does Dan find funny?
“LIFE is funny ~ it inspires me,” he says. “I think about everyday life, why things happen and why there’s humor in it. This is a 5 or 6 day a week job. I’m paid to think of jokes and of course there is huge pressure in that, but I’m used to it and I get to work with some super funny people who make my job even better.”
One of these super funny people is Whitney Cummings, star of the new Fall sitcom show “Whitney,” on which Dan is one of the writers. He assures us the show is going to be one of the best new offerings out there this season. He also has another show called “Stevie TV” coming up next year on VH1 which he collaborates on with the very funny Stevie Ryan. “Right now I’m sick of myself ~ I do love performing, but I also love writing for other people and collaborating with other friends in the business so that’s what I’m doing until the next tour,” says Dan.
About his choice of profession, Dan tells me that “…the most difficult thing about being a comedian is grasping the fact that it takes time. The older you get, the better you get and the more experience you have the better your jokes are, so basically when I’m 85 I’ll be the funniest I’ve ever been.”
Catch Dan well before he’s performing for the elderly at his nursing home in Aspen ~ check out his CD release Congrats on Your Success on iTunes or purchase it on Amazon and be on the lookout for him in the area when he starts his stand-up tour beginning in April ‘12. You can also see some side-splitting videos, tour schedule and current news on his official website: www.danlevyshow.com, and of course tune it to E! to watch Dan and the rest of the “Chelsea Lately” gang make fun of…well, just about everyone!