David Spade / What’s the biggest difference between a rookie and a veteran in stand-up comedy?
You do it longer and there are more opportunities to do badly. No, I actually have a guy who might do some time with me, and sometimes I have him go on first but he’s very good, so the danger is that he’s too good [laughs]. I want the audience to see a good opening act and not just somebody. A couple months ago I tried someone who was very new–and I mean very new–who wanted to open for me. They got booed off after 12 minutes, and nobody really gets booed off anymore. Shoot, that’s the thing. When you’re in it for a long time, you’ve played good, bad, old, young crowds. You kind of have the experience to navigate it and stay alive. When I was younger and living in Arizona, I did East Coast gigs. I did jokes about the desert and streets near my house. I didn’t know anything.
Who do you think is the funniest comedian out there, not including yourself?
I can’t vote for myself? That’s so funny that you even have to say that, though. I wouldn’t say me. I do think Chris Rock is probably arguably the number one comic out there.
What’s something popularly funny that you wish would go away?
Maybe the Kardashians. Not really them but just the onslaught of reality celebrities where you forget what they do. When I was a kid, you’d be like, “I want to be like Sean Penn or Steve Martin or Robert De Niro.” Now you can watch the Kardashians and just go, “I fight with my family in the kitchen, I could be on TV. They’re just like me.” If someone follows someone around with a camera, there’s a certain voyeurism where people just like to watch you screw up. I get the appeal in some way but to see it just taking over the world, it’s alarming.
Unfortunately, you have to play on what’s out there. When sitcoms were big, the tide was going the right way for people who liked that, and when it’s not, well, it’s like any business. They’re shutting down GM but there are more computer jobs. You just have to hope you’re in the right business at the right time.
What might people be surprised to learn about you?
I’m 6’3’’. No, I don’t know. Surprisingly, I am not quite as big of a jerk as I think people think I am.
Why do you think people think you’re a jerk?
When I was on Just Shoot Me, the people I worked with would all say to me, “People can’t believe you’re a normal, nice guy.” They said people think I must be an asshole. It was like, “Is that what everyone thinks?” And they’d say, “Well, you make jokes about people.” But it’s not really mean, it’s just to be funny.
Blaisdell Concert Hall, 777 Ward Ave., Thu 4/29, 8pm, $35-$55, [Ticketmaster.com], 591-2211.