Today we’d like to introduce you to Dave Ross.
Dave, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started standup ten years ago in LA when my friend Julie Cohen called me a coward over and over again until I agreed to host her open mic with her. I had tried standup a few times a few years before and was too scared to keep going, even though I wanted to. To cover for that fear I lied to everyone I knew and told them I hated doing standup, but Julie knew I secretly wanted to do it, so she viciously intimidated me until I agreed to do it again and quite honestly I owe her my life for that.
The rest of my time in standup has been a process and continues to be a process. That is to say, I feel like I’m good at what I do, but I also feel like I have a long way to go. The story of a standup comedian is actually not that exciting because it’s just constant learning. There are so many skills to master — joke writing, delivering a joke, reading a room, feeling comfortable on stage, and on and on and on — that there’s no 8-Mile moment. You just ever-so-slowly chip away at a forty-ton block of ice.
You work and work and work, and you have a lot of fun along the way, but the work doesn’t end. You never become PERFECT. I did a lot of open mics, then I did a lot of shows in town, then I started going out of town a little, then I started touring, and now I’m recording an album. Along the way I made sketches and podcasts with my friends, eventually started writing and pitching tv shows, and got some attention for some of that stuff at different points along the way. I was on tv, bro. (WOAH!)
There are so many incredible things I get to do, and places I get to go, and projects I get to be a part of, and I feel respected across the comedy world, but I’m broke as hell and basically unknown, and I still bomb a lot. I guess what I’m saying is this: I’ve worked hard at comedy, and I feel good about it, but when you ask how I got “where I am today,” I don’t really know how to define “where I am.” I’m just doing standup, and I always will be.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has NOT been a smooth road. It’s hard to get good at standup. You have to put a lot of hours in, and if you want to get those hours in before you die, you have to do it every day. I didn’t take a single day off for my first three years, except for holidays where I literally couldn’t find a set to do. It drove me insane, truly.
I had a day job the whole time, and I always had a million projects going, so I constantly lost sleep. And since comedy was my one and only priority, my relationships all wasted away. I was always stressed out. I would have huge panic attacks.
I’ve always had issues with depression and anxiety, and the lifestyle I gave myself back then exacerbated those issues in an extreme way. It sucked. That said, though, I can’t complain too much. I did it to myself. I made myself stressed and lonely. It was the only option too, really, because I wouldn’t be happy right now if I didn’t give standup my all.
I’m very proud to have pushed that hard, and now I still have a lot of pushing to do, but I’ve figured some of the standup out, so it doesn’t need to be so punishing anymore. I’m much calmer, much less stressed out, and much more focused on friends. Long-term it’s completely worth it, but wow it felt like shit while I was in it.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I am a standup comedian and a writer, and I am the first person in Los Angeles to be those things. I also make podcasts, and I work on scripts in coffee shops, and I am the first person in Los Angeles to do those things.
I OWN A HATCHBACK AND BLACK-RIMMED GLASSES, AND I AM THE FIRST PERSON IN LOS ANGELES TO HAVE THOSE THINGS.
That’s the stupid version of my answer. I’m actually pretty proud of what I do. I’ve been doing standup in this town for ten years, and I just recorded my first album. The shows were packed. A bunch of comedians and other people I respect were there. It was maybe the best night of my life. Plus, a certain amount of my set was cum jokes! I think cum is funny and I am the first person in Los Angeles to cum that.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would never start over, I will not start over. Quite honestly, I am pretty angry at you for mentioning starting over.
Starting over would mean that I would lose sleep every day for five years straight, and if you make me go through that again, I’ll actively ruin your life. I guess if I started over I’d try to sleep more.
- Website: http://davetotheross.com/
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/davetotheross
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/davetotheross
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/davetotheross
Kim Newmoney, David Deery, Megan Thompson, Kelly Dwyer