Stone was a semi-finalist on CMT’s “Next Big Comic” in 2012 and is a co-founding member of the renowned “Beards of Comedy Tour.” He’s also shared the stage with comedic legends Brian Regan, Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Doug Benson and Marc Maron.
But (at least for this journalist), Stone’s real feather in his hat is the work with the acclaimed adult cartoon, “Squidbillies.” A raw, in your face take on southern culture via animated squids and other oddities, the program is a unique, beautifully executed show of dialogue, art and satire. And yet, with all of these accolades, the journey has only begun for him, a performer who seems to push further and higher with each passing year.
Stone will be performing at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21 at BearWaters Brewing Company in Waynesville. Doors open at 9 p.m. $5. Ages 18 and over. www.davestonecomedy.com.
Smoky Mountain News: When was the first time you remember laughing so hard it hurt?
Dave Stone: I must have been 4 or 5 years old, living in Hendersonville, Tenn. I was in the car with my mother and brother as we pulled up to the post office. My mom would let just one of us run a letter into the post office to drop it in the outgoing box. For some reason, my brother and I, who was, and still is, three years older than me, loved to play errand boy because it was one of the few times at that age that we could go into a building by ourselves, I guess we got a kick out of the brief sense of responsibility. We both pleaded to do the task and for whatever reason, she picked him. As brothers tend to do, he gloated and rejoiced in his small victory by shooting me a smarmy look as he walked toward the building. This post office had large glass entrance doors and I guess he thought they were already open, but he marched up to the doors and walked right into them, smacking his face hard against the glass and then falling to the ground. I had never before had such a physical comedic reaction to something. I almost threw up from laughter as I learned first lesson in the power of physical comedy, and karma.
SMN: What was the moment in your life when it clicked and you realized you wanted to make a career out of comedy?
DS: The morning after my first open mic. I owned a small landscaping business at the time and one of my customers would require that I remove all of the dog crap from his backyard. This always took about an hour. I would use a flathead shovel to scoop up each pile and place it in a trash bag. As I thought back about the night before and how much fun I had, it dawned on me “maybe I can do that instead of this.”
SMN: Do you remember the first night you took the stage to do stand-up?
DS: Of course. It was at a bar in Atlanta called The Twisted Taco. I was scared, but it went well. I had a game plan, meaning I had jokes. My delivery wasn’t very good, but I got some laughs and was immediately hooked. My opening line was “I think there’s been a mistake. I just came to pick up some wings and that guy (the emcee) called my name, so I guess I’ll talk to y’all for a few minutes.”
SMN: You’ve done work on Squidbillies. What are your thoughts on the show’s role in the current stream of pop culture that is southern/redneck focused?
DS: Squidbillies is great because it’s accurate. Of course it’s over-the-top, but it really captures a sense of the South that Hollywood rarely gets right. This is due largely to the fact that its creator, Dave Willis, is a born-and-bred southerner who understands both the charm and absurdity of the South.
SMN: What’s the key to telling a good joke?
DS: A good joke must catch you off guard, a twist or angle you don’t see coming. To tell a good joke, you must be able to execute that component properly.
SMN: What’s your favorite joke?
DS: Oh man, there are so many. One that always sticks out is Zach Galafianakis, who said, “My girlfriend looks a little like Charlize Theron ... and a lot like Patrick Ewing.”
SMN: Where do you draw inspiration for material from?
DS: I tend to just look for things that don’t make sense, including my own behavior. Imperfection is great fodder for comedy, and I have plenty of that.
SMN: When you’re onstage, and your set heating up, where do you go?
DS: It’s an overused term, but I really do try to be in the moment. When telling a joke, I always try to go back to that moment when I wrote that joke. The excitement that comes from creating a piece of comedy is pretty fantastic. That first moment when the light bulb comes on and you think to yourself, “Oh man, that’s funny, write that down.”
SMN: What do you want people to think leaving your show?
DS: Hopefully not much. My job is easier when the expectations are low. (Laughs). I guess I’d like them to leave thinking, “Well, that didn’t suck too bad.”
1: The Jingle Bell Bash featuring Gypsy Bandwagon will be Dec. 13 at The Classic Wineseller in Waynesville.
2: The P.A.W.S. Benefit “Holiday Wine and Cake Tasting” will be at The Cottage Craftsman in Bryson City on Dec. 14.
3: Entertainment star Randall Franks joins Raymond Fairchild for a “Christmas Show” at the Maggie Valley Opry House on Dec. 14.
4: The Cherokee Healing and Wellness Coalition Potluck will be Dec. 21 at the Cherokee Youth Center.
5: Cutthroat Shamrock plays No Name Sports Pub in Sylva on Dec. 14.