Hot Tubbing With Betty White: Dana Gould Returns To HoustonDana Gould. Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
You don’t have to look far to catch the comedy of Massachusetts’ Dana Gould. A former writer and co-producer of The Simpsons, co-creator of MTV’s Super Adventure Team, as well as stints on various television and radio programs, Gould has making you laugh whether you knew it or not. A comic since the age of 17, Gould has had multiple appearances on Conan as well as HBO, Comedy Central and Showtime, he has a successful podcast called The Dana Gould Hour, and his new show Stan Against Evil is blowing up on IFC. With three albums under his belt and a fourth on the way, Dana Gould is easily one of the most active and intelligent comedians going today. This weekend, Gould will appear along others at the Come And Take It Comedy Festival at new Houston venue The Secret Group. Free Press Houston was more than thrilled to get to sit down with the comic, writer, producer and podcaster to chat a bit about what he has in store for Houston in his first appearance here in a long time.
FPH: You have an acerbic form of stand-up, but yet it’s still very relatable, is there a method to how you write jokes?
Dana Gould: Honestly, no. I think I’m a fairly normal person and, when I perform, I make an effort to present my material to people in a way they can understand, even if I’m discussing something they can’t really relate to. Like the fact that I’m writing this while sitting in a hot tub with Betty White.
FPH: You’ve been on Conan multiple times doing stand-up, you’ve gained notoriety for being a writer and a producer for The Simpsons, but you’ve also done a ton of projects that felt like they were ahead of their time like Super Adventure Team. Does it feel like good and smart comedic writing on television doesn’t get rewarded as much as it should?
Gould: I think that’s something you can apply to anything: music, literature, politics (ahem). I think people can enjoy both. My favorite comedy is Dr. Strangelove, which was written by Stanley Kubrick and Terry Southern. But I also can laugh at The Three Stooges. Well, as long as it’s Curly or Shemp. Let’s not get ridiculous.
FPH: Your podcast has gained a popular following, and you have a strong list of guests like Joel Hodgson of MST3K fame, the comic Mike Lawrence, and Eddie Pepitone; has it always been easy for you to get guests for the show? Who is your dream guest for the podcast?
Gould: Well, I hate asking people to do it. I feel like I’m calling them with a jury duty notice. But, I’ve been very fortunate in that people seem willing to do it, which is always nice. I like to interview people with whom I not only have a good rapport, but people who also know who to riff back and forth. It’s an entertainment, after all. Dream guest? Tom Waits.
FPH: You have three solid stand-up albums, the latter being 2013’s I Know It’s Wrong, is there a roadmap to when you release an album or is it all about material and time? Do you have plans to release a new album any time soon?
Gould: Yes. Absolutely. I’m recording my fourth album, Mighty Mouth, in February. I usually like to get an hour of material, but a dense hour. Not a slow, lazy hour. I like to cram it in there like tuna in a can. Really compressed. Then I drain the water, add mayonnaise, and there’s your album.
FPH: Your new IFC series Stan Against Evil is like the more everyday form of horror. How did the show come about and did you find yourself watching scary movies and shows and finding comedic pratfalls that weren’t being explored when you conceived the series?
Gould: I didn’t have to watch any horror movies, I am quite happy to watch them voluntarily. I grew up watching them and have always loved them. As I say, they are my football. Designing the show was quite simple, make a horror movie, like, say, Kolchak: The Night Stalker or Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, and then drop a character down into the middle of it that didn’t belong there. In the case of Stan Against Evil, that character was my dad. “What if my dad had to fight monsters?” was the basic premise of the show.
FPH: The show features the amazing John C. McGinley, who feels like the perfect choice for the role. I’ve always read that he takes the smallest role to the largest role with the utmost care, did he approach this role with the same care?
Gould: Absolutely. John totally immersed himself in the role and brought it to life in a way that far exceeded anything I could have hoped he would do. John is amazing.
FPH: It’s been awhile since you’ve been in Houston, what do you have planned for the city when you appear at Come And Take It and will we hear any new material?
Gould: Yes, you’ll be hearing the early version of my next album, Mighty Mouth. But buy it anyway, will ya?
While it’s easy to imagine Gould answering our questions while hot tubbing with Betty White, he’s easily one of those comics that everyone needs to see in person. You can catch Gould as well as Joey “Coco” Diaz, Rhea Butcher, Maria Bamford and more this weekend at the Come And Take It Comedy Festival at The Secret Group. The all ages festival has comedy for all including a closing set from Har Mar Superstar, and tickets between $20 and $129.