DCH Alumni: Where Are They Now? — Rozie DeLoach and Darek Tatum

This series explores the lives of former Dallas Comedy House (DCH) students and graduates, showcasing their creativity and how they’ve used lessons from DCH classes in their artistic pursuits.

Rozie DeLoach and Darek Tatum live in a motel. Well, not a real motel. A motel that exists in a podcast universe. It’s called Rabbit Hole Motel, and every two weeks, listeners learn about the unusual, the weird, and the profound that inhabits the real—or not so real—world.

Rozie was a DCH student in 2011, and Darek took classes in 2010. I sat down with them in Rozie’s strings shop to learn more about their podcast.

Jason Hensel: What is the podcast’s origin story?

Rozie: I approached Darek, and said, “How about if I just write all the content?” He said, “Cool, I’m in.”

Darek: I said, “Wait, I don’t have to do anything?”

Rozie: You just show up and charm.

Darek: I listen and respond.

Rozie: He does it well. My kid got old enough, where I feel like I had some creative energy again, and I missed storytelling and thought that would be a fun medium to try out. I gave it a shot, and I think we learned a lot as we got on about what’s required in podcasting.

JH: How did you settle on the podcast’s focus?

Rozie: I’ve always liked strange stories. I’ve always had a collection of weird books. My father had top secret security clearance in the Air Force, and there was always literally something very cryptic about his past that he wouldn’t go into. I always wondered about that. He would randomly just say, “UFOs are real.” And he wouldn’t explain it. If you listen to the show, obviously, I just can’t stop bringing up UFOs because I think it’s endlessly fascinating, much to Darek’s chagrin.

Darek: Yes, I know, it’s funny. Even before this, I didn’t realize how much I was disinterested in UFOs.

Rozie: Which is a really great reality check, because when you announce yourself as someone who’s interested, there are a lot of UFO people who embrace you lovingly and are ready to just bring you into that world. It’s easy to lose perspective. I have thoroughly enjoyed having you [Darek] and having other improvisers literally make fun of me, because I think we need that dose of reality for the weird stuff that we like and get into.

Darek: To me, it’s funny because I believe there are UFOs out there. I believe there are aliens, blah, blah, blah. Paranormal is probably fine, but it doesn’t affect my life, so I don’t care.

Rozie: I think that’s probably most people. I just really like that part. I like the part that doesn’t make sense. I keep leaning into it and making other people have the same conversation over and over again.

JH: For someone who hasn’t listened to the podcast yet, please explain the format.

Rozie: I live at Rabbit Hole Motel, and we keep opening a room every two weeks, and something strange is happening in that room. There’s a weird story we discover or weird phenomenon, and I go into detail about that story. In the meantime, Darek and another improviser keep getting stuck into alternate realities, somewhat related to the story.

JH: How do you choose your guests?

Darek: Sometimes, it’s just who I know is available. A lot of time, it’s Rozie who’ll give me a general description of what she’s going to talk about or the tone of what she’s going to talk about, and then I’ll say, “I know the perfect improviser for that.” There was one with Nick Scott. You described it to me as, “We need an improviser that can handle heavy, dark stuff, but still be fun.” I said, “Yes, that’s Nick Scott.”

JH: Speaking of improvisers, how did your training at DCH prepare you for this podcast?

Darek: For me, it’s pretty direct. Usually, we’ll do scenes with our guests. Even in the non-scenes, it’s all about listening and reacting and being there and being supportive.

Rozie: I wouldn’t have the network of people without DCH, and I wouldn’t know how to keep segments more alive. That’s what improv means, being in that moment, and without that, I would just be reading a story. I think it’s more fun and more approachable with the improv.

JH: What are future plans for the podcast?

Rozie: We keep talking about doing a Patreon.

Darek: Yes, someday we’re going to make money off of it.

Rozie: We’re going to make a video. I forgot about that.

Darek: Well, you have to make a video, too, if you really want to make money. If you’re serious about Patreon, you make a video. There are podcasts that I have never heard of that are making thousands of dollars a month just through Patreon.

JH: What are your suggestions for anyone who wants to start a podcast? What should they do?

Rozie: First, you need to have content, you need to have something that you’re bringing to it, but you also need to put your own spin on it, make it a way that’s unique to you. You need to find a way to say, even if it’s the same content, something that other people aren’t saying.

JH: What do you say to people who think something’s already been done so they shouldn’t do it?

Darek: It’s easy to do that, to say, “It’s been done,” but anyone’s really going to bring a unique perspective. There’s a chance that it becomes something new and interesting. Our podcast has really evolved. If you’re going to start something, know that a few months from now, whatever you started is probably going to be completely different and probably going to be a lot better.

Rozie: There’s no substitute from learning by doing. We didn’t know what Rabbit Hole Motel would be until we had several episodes, and you can’t do them just by practicing off tape, you have to actually do them. There’s no substitute for that.

JH: Any last things you’d like to express to current DCH students and soon-to-be graduates?

Darek: Just find something and do it. Since I no longer perform at DCH, this has been a good replacement for me. I basically consider it in the same lane as doing a Friday night show at DCH every week.

Rozie: Keep challenging yourself. Do the thing that scares you. Take a stab at something new, and it may work, and it may not, but don’t settle for just having a 9-to-5 job. Do the extra stuff that challenges you that you love.

Darek: It really helps if you find a partner in whatever you’re doing who’s highly motivated and dedicated. Find someone with those long-term goals, like Rozie.

Rozie: Find someone who is funny, like Darek. Someone who’s got your back.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jason Hensel likes books, bacon, and performing in the troupes .f.a.c.e., The 1995 Chicago Bulls, THE h.q., Ye Olde Comedie Guilde, and Don't Broken, Not Fixin’.