The Dallas Comedy Festival has come to an end. But that doesn't mean we have to stop talking about it. Glenn Smith, one of the many outstanding festival volunteers, offers his perspective on last week's Rory Scovel show. The Dallas Comedy Festival is certainly designed to make audiences laugh and feel good about themselves. So, I found it interesting to be sitting backstage and being very contemplative instead. When you put several comedians together the conversation can reveal much bigger issues that just jokes, if they realize or not.
Let me paint the scene for you: I had the privilege of working backstage Tuesday night at the Rory Scovel-headlined show. As "Hospitality Ambassador” I was tasked with making sure the comedians knew what time they went on, that they had what they needed, and that things simply ran smoothly in general. Realistically, this involved a lot of sitting around, chatting with others and listening, much of it about the business of comedy and how it plays out in the different markets. One statement that seemed to echo throughout the night was how supportive Dallas can be, a theory that was certainly substantiated by the two raucous, packed audiences that howled and chortled through both sets Tuesday.
So, how does Dallas distinguish itself from other cities? Let’s take L.A for example, my home for most of my life. Sure, you can show up at a club any night of the week and probably see someone that lights up your TV screen at some point. You might get lucky and encounter a Drew Carey on occasion, but more often than not you’re asked to put your hands together for the guy who played Skippy on “Family Ties” (His name is Marc Price. His signature joke was about asses and the Ford Probe). The point is that comedy seems celebrity driven and audiences are inclined to tune you out if they don’t see you on TMZ.
Dallas, on the other hand, is a big city, but one with some self-esteem issues. We get all prettied up and buy the fancy, expensive dress to party alongside the L.A’s and New York’s, but the cool kids snicker at our efforts and ditch us while we are in the bathroom. This makes Dallas so receptive to anyone who will pay attention to it. If you come here to entertain us, we WILL love you. We will not only attend your show, but we will also want to be there. Rory Scovel noted this behavior several times over the course of the evening, stating how nice it was to play in front of people who actually enjoyed being there as opposed to just randomly occupying a table with an attitude of indifference.
Dallas takes this supportiveness to another level when it comes to local artists and products. We will gladly plop down our hard earned bucks at a locally owned club or theater to see our hometown band or comedian work on their material while drinking a beer brewed a few blocks away and do it with pride. From what I overheard Tuesday night those comedians recognize how wonderful this support from fans and Dallas Comedy House customers, in particular, can be.
Let me end by taking this one step further. I lived in LA for over 30 years. I never took an improv class or volunteered at a theater. I never felt like an ordinary joe like me would be welcome. At DCH, average citizens are not only invited in, they are made to feel important. Some may chalk it up to Southern hospitality, but it goes way beyond that. Ask anyone who has performed here, they know the difference. Rory Scovel certainly did. I am confident that when he headed back to L.A, he knew how much we appreciated his visit, not to mention his awesome set.
Glenn Smith is a DCH graduate, who originally hails from Disneyland. He can be seen in Juan Direction and an upcoming, secret Ewing troupe. He likes baseball, martinis, and Pawnee, Indiana.