About a year ago, a good friend of Hmoodle named Amy Anderson introduced me to the comedy of Dan Cottrell. I hadn’t heard of him, so I went online to find clips of his. While watching the clip I found myself amused by his insights and humor. I went to find him on Myspace and found his blogs even more hilarious.
Since then, Dan had his own online show called “The Dan Cottrell Talking Experience” and added the title of Reality TV Producer to his resume. To try and define Dan’s comedy is impossible, because the things he talks and writes about aren’t your typical comedic subjects. Just read his blog to his Fake Aunt Jenny and you’ll know what I mean.
To gain further insight into the mind of Dan Cottrell, just watch the intro on Youtube of his online show “The Dan Cottrell Talking Experience”. It’s like a cross between one of those old cable access TV shows and a “Twin Peaks” flashback, which is very amusing. He’s definitely a one of a kind comic and as you’ll see in this interview, there’s never a dull moment with Dan around.
Ryan: I’m here with stand up comic and reality TV producer Dan Cottrell. Dan, it’s been awhile since we’ve talked. How have you been?
Dan: I’ve been good. I’ve been busy working, performing, and really focusing on growing facial hair. I have failed thus far but am looking forward to a future beard and or mustache.
Ryan: Best of luck with that, as a person that is trying to re-grow his scalp hair, I can totally relate. Now, for our readers that aren’t too familiar with you and your work, why don’t you tell them a bit about yourself.
Dan: I’m Asian and do comedy. I also produce various TV shows. I like Mexican food and Mexican people. Just kidding, I don’t like Mexican food.
Ryan: Ah man, you don’t know what you’re missing. So, how did you get into comedy?
Dan: Being an adopted Korean growing up in white suburbs I developed a sense of humor as a defense mechanism against ignorant kids. They would make fun of the kid with the slanted eyes, but not the kid with slanted eyes who could make them laugh.
Ryan: Sounds like you were able to turn that defense mechanism into a successful career. So, I now find out that you are producing reality TV. When did this happen?
Dan: Four years ago I was living in LA and performing. Comedy wasn’t paying the bills, so I worked as a production assistant on shows which is basically the lowest of the lows on set. I worked hard and climbed the ranks and here I am manlier than ever (statement about being manly is not true.)
Ryan: Yeah, you don’t have to tell me that. What type of reality TV are you doing?
Dan: I’ve worked all sorts of Reality. From big competition shows like Americas Got Talent to game shows like Deal or No Deal. I’ve worked some really sh*tty shows that never made it past the pilot episodes. They involved a certain celebrity that rhymes with Fryan Freecrest.
Ryan: That’s a tough code to figure out. Let’s shift back to your comedy. Have you been touring this summer and if so, how has that been going?
Dan: Living in New York City now has opened up a whole other coast. I’ve been doing shows in Boston and throughout New York City. Once College starts back up in the fall, I’ll hit the road again and perform all over the country. Either that or I’ll cry in my bedroom performing jokes in a mirror to myself.
Ryan: Hopefully you’ll spend more time on the road then in front of your bedroom mirror. Now when you started your comedy career, were you friends and family surprised by this choice?
Dan: I don’t think it was a surprise to them. My parents still don’t see it as a career though. Although its funny cause my mom is a clown—literally a clown. She performs at parades and stuff. They just see it as a past time that I enjoy.
Ryan: Do you remember your first time on stage? What was that experience like?
Dan: Its funny cause looking back, I didn’t write a joke. I didn’t understand a joke structure. I didn’t realize how hard it was to work the concept out and figure out the timing. I did two minites of me just rambling about wearing rollerblades and skating to the song Cotton Eyed Joe. It bombed. I eventually developed that ramble into an actual joke.
Ryan: What were some of your comedic influences?
Dan: I remember watching a Comic Relief telethon, In I think it was 1987 with Robin Williams , Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal. I felt like they possessed some sort of power controlling the audience with laughter. I wanted that power. Now I admire comics that aren’t the typical “club comic”, but more of the independent comics pushing the boundaries. Zach Galifianakis, Nick Kroll, Natasha Leggero, Patton Oswalt. Comics you would see at more underground comedy venues than any cheesy comedy club.
Ryan: Has your style of comedy changed at all since you first began?
Dan: My style of comedy has drastically changed. When you first start out, you start writing jokes like the comics that you admire. It’s kind of like a crutch. You know it’s worked so you want to try that similar style. Than you start to take more chances. You eventually become comfortable enough with your material that you start to develop your own style.
Ryan: What have you enjoyed the most about your career choices? Comedy or reality TV producer?
Dan: I like how I have chosen my own path. I do comedy because I truly love it as an art form. I follow comedy and comics like people follow bands. I watch careers of comics from when they were starting to get their first break. I never could do a desk job or a 9 to 5. Working in TV allows all my days to be different and creative. I’m working towards the day where I can leave reality and write for a funny show and perform at nights.
Ryan: So where can our readers see you perform in the near future?
Dan: Keep checking my Myspace for upcoming dates. I’ve got shows with the Improv group, The Whitest Kids You Know, coming up in Boston. I’m also working to bring a popular LA comedy show called GetALoadA Comedy to NYC. It brings the best underground comics to the main stage. Writers from SNL, comics from Upright Citizens Brigade—the good sh*t.
Ryan: Any plans to stop in Minnesota? We’d love to have ya.
Dan: I’m hoping this fall, otherwise if you know some good non club comedy spots, Im there.
Ryan: For those who aren’t going to be able to see you live, where can the find examples of your work and get more acquainted with you?
Dan: You can go to www.myspace.com/dancottrell which is where u can find clips of online shows I’ve done as well as upcoming show dates.
Ryan: Well Dan, I have to thank you once again for taking the time out of your schedule to do this with us. We appreciate it.
Dan: I love you Hmoodle.
Ryan: And we love you! Any last words for our readers?
Dan: I love you Readers.
I definitely hope that Dan makes his way to the Twin Cities, because I would love to catch his act live. He’s definitely a very talented guy and I foresee him writing for a TV show/sitcom in the near future. I’ve enjoyed his blogs to the extent that I’ve read the same ones multiple times. It could just be my sense of humor, but I definitely recommend you check it out. Again, you find Dan on Myspace, and be sure to let him know that Hmoodle sent you.
I want to thank Dan for taking the time of his schedule to participate in this interview with us. We appreciate it very much and want to wish him the best of luck with his future in TV and comedy.
If you have any questions or comments, or know someone we should feature on Hmoodle, then email me at [email protected] (Ryan Madland)