This weekly blog series features interviews taking place at the Dallas Comedy House (DCH) open mic with me and some of the funniest stand-up comedians in the area, most of whom just happen to be my best friends! Read to learn about your favorite local funny people and about the curious emotional makeup of people who like to go onstage alone every night to get laughed at. DDT: Comedy Broad
Deanna Theriot, stage name "DDT," is one of my favorite people in comedy. The first set I saw her perform, she did a brilliant riff on Virginia Woolf in a sparsely attended Fort Worth dive bar on a Sunday that somehow still killed. Still more impressive were how natural and comfortable her delivery and onstage presence were for such a new comic. Theriot's masterful grasp on language and her confidence in her voice and tastes as an artist are remarkable. Perhaps most impressive is her unwillingness to compromise herself or her material for any room--she is who she is, and she doesn't give a f*** if you like it. Say what you will, but the broad has balls. Theriot and I sat down for our regular drunk tete-a-tete, and she talked to me about her impressive writing work ethic, her frustrations about the expectations for black women onstage, and our upcoming Tyler Perry project.
DDT. How did you choose your stage name? It's my nickname from youth. Also, I've been known to kill fish due to my surface runoff. My name's Deanna so people call me DeDe, last name Theriot, and lo.
So when did you start stand-up? I started in San Antonio in 2011, and that was a weird scene.
But you were a writer before that? I've been doing that my whole life, pretty much since I figured out what words were.
Do you find stand-up takes a different approach or work ethic than novels, or TV scripts, or any of the other things you write? Not really. It's harder to be funny when I'm writing an essay or something. Stand-up is just talking about weird things that have happened to me, and I find it's easier to be funny when you're being truthful. It got to a point for me where I was trying to be something else, everybody always expected me to be a lawyer or doctor type person, just because I was smart. "Sit up straight, cross your legs" and all that. F*** ettiquette.
Comedy can be a break from those expectations. Yeah...but not so much. Now it's, "Don't cuss so much," "You would get work at clubs if you weren't so intimidating."
Yeah, when I first saw you do stand-up, I was like "She's one of the funniest chicks I've ever seen." And I'd hear people say "She's too angry," or "She's too dirty," and I'd be like, "She's so funny and I don't really get what you're talking about." You tell one d*** sucking joke and suddenly you're Monique.
Who's your biggest comedic influence? Comes from a lot of comedy writing. Mel Brooks. Whoever wrote Rocky and Bullwinkle. Whoever was writing Golden Girls. Larry David.
You kind of remind me of Larry David. People hate him! Lorne Michaels hates him! Paul Mooney, who people often compare me to.
You both love black dudes. Exactly! I'm going to be a bitter, gay, black dude.
How much do you write a week? I write every day; I've been slacking lately because I ain't sh**. But I write every day, which is why when I get up for comedy and do sets I'm always doing something different, because I want to try different things! Something, even if it's not stand-up. I started to journal again.
Is that helpful? It is! My first stand-up stuff came from my journal, because my life is sad and funny. Writing in a journal, some thoughts will pop out in the middle of my writing and I'll be like, "Oh, that's a good idea. I should go somewhere with this." I mean, Tyler Perry did.
Question for readers: If Deanna and I did a podcast or video blog where we watched recordings of Tyler Perry plays, would you guys tune in? Yes. There's nothing more I want most in this world than to see your face when you first watch a Tyler Perry play and they break into song. And I can't wait for you to ask me the question very quietly, "Is this what black people really do? Does this happen in your family?"
Only ironically! No, half the s**t like that has happened in my family. My grandmother is Medea, she walked around with a pistol in her bra. Damn the viewers, it's happening.
What's your ultimate goal? I know you want to write TV and are working on a pilot right now. I would love that. I want to do a couple movies. I like documentaries. I would like to do at least one documentary, some comedies. I want to do a stage show. I want to do my Book of Mormon. It'll be my first and last play, but I want it to be on that level.
Lauren Davis is an improviser and stand-up comedian from Dallas, Texas. Currently a student at the DCH Training Center, she can be seen weekly performing improv with her troupes LYLAS: Girl on Girl Comedy and Please Like Us, as well as doing her stand-up act at clubs around the area.