Q&A: Comedian Dwight Slade
More from comedian Dwight Slade, whose weeklong stand at Acme Comedy Co. was featured in this week's A-List. Slade, who took top honors at this year's Boston Comedy Festival, will do four more shows this weekend at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Slade talks about his victory in Boston, the art of failure, and the late, great Bill Hicks.
Winning the Boston festival was a milestone.
Definitely. I put a lot of work into it, and it was very gratifying. Boston is a great comedy city. I'd never worked there before, so it was great to do well in a place that has given so much to comedy. There were a lot of comics in Boston who are great comics, but they maybe didn't have enough years under their belt to amp up their performance and really take command of the room.
How many years does it take to reach that point?
It's not so much years, it's how much failure you can endure. It's getting your teeth kicked in. Stand-up is a brutal [art form]. It's arguably the only performing art you can't learn, can't go to school for. You can read books, but that only helps so much. You have to just repeatedly get your teeth kicked in and fail over and over again. I'm still not where I should be at this point. I don't think in any performing art -- and I'm being grandiose calling it a performing art -- that you ever feel like you are where you should be.
You play Minneapolis/St. Paul fairly often -- how does it rank as a comedy town?
It's great. My last DVD was recorded at Acme. It's certainly within the top five or ten cities, without question. Everybody would tell you that. The city has a unique mixture ... a real healthy urban environment, but it's at the mercy of the elements, which keeps people humble and grounded. I know comics move to Minneapolis because there is good stage time there. There's really constructive stage time. And audiences are good. They're urban and intelligent, and you can develop a unique act there, which you can't do in most towns.
You were one of Bill Hick's best friends. What do you make of the Hicks legacy that has continued to evolve since he passed away?
It is weird, but also gratifying. I think that Bill would have been absolutely tickled to see his legend grow and move on. He was always fascinated by artists who were geniuses and died young.
And what will be the Dwight Slade legacy?
It'll probably be settled in court somewhere. I think that's something that's still evolving. I may just wind up a footnote in comedy history, but that's fine.