Comedian Dan Levy, co-host of MTV's The Reality Show, sat down with CRACKED and talked to us about his start in comedy, Hulk Hogan's hot daughter, what it's really like to work with Andy Dick and why Erie, Pennsylvania just flat-out sucks.
Did you really get your start as an intern on The Daily Show?
That's kind of true. I mean, I didn't really get my start, per se from that. But it sounds good though.
I started doing stand up at Emerson [College] when I was a freshman. I went to the freshman orientation show, and there was a comedian, Val Kappa. I found her and was like, "Where do you go?" And there was Dick Dougherty's Comedy Club. It's a comedy club right underneath this bar called Remington's in Boston on Boylston Street, and I started going there. It was literally two buildings away from my dorm, so I'd go there like every Sunday, and then Friday and then Saturday. I started going for the whole weekend, and then I started performing all the time.
Did you do a lot of open mics, or did you have to bring, like, five people?
Since I was in college, my friends were across the street, so they'd just come anyway. So yeah, I did all the open mics. I ran a show at Starbucks called "Cappuccino Comedy" or something like that -- something kind of weird -- and I used to get free Starbucks, and I'd perform with my speaker.
Emerson is such an awesome school that there'd be an open mic for something three times a week. I'd do that and then I'd hit the comedy clubs. Then I started working the Comedy Connection, which is like the big Caroline's of Boston and that's when things got good. Since my parents live in Stamford, [CT], in the summers I'd come back to Stamford and come to New York and perform at all the comedy clubs.
Lucien Hold, who recently passed away, he enjoyed my set at the Comic Strip. That was pretty cool. I performed at Stand Up New York. Then I got really lucky because I got passed at the Comedy Cellar. I ended up having to go on after like Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, and that was not a good situation. Then I'd just go back and forth: Boston to New York, Boston to New York.
My sophomore year, the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival was doing a competition to find the funniest college comedian in America, and they looked at a couple hundred around the country and they picked seven, and then they picked five, and then they flew us five out to Aspen to compete, and then I won this festival's funniest college comedian in the country! Pretty big title, "Funniest."
That's a lot to live up to.
It was kind of cool. It was the first time MTV saw me. A lot of industry people saw me for the first time. I met some agents and all that kind of stuff, but I was still in Boston.
Then my junior year, I came to New York fall semester and I interned at the Daily Show. I would intern at the Daily Show three or four times a week and then at night, I would do stand-up. I ended up doing a mockumentary about being an intern at the Daily Show, and like Steve Carrell and Jon Stewart, they were all in it, and they showed it at the Christmas party.
That spring, I went to LA and was doing stand up and that's when I got with the big management company. That summer, I went to the Montreal Comedy Festival, and throughout the entire time I kept on auditioning for MTV. Finally, MTV really wanted me to do a show.
Freemantle was producing this show called Your Face or Mine?
That was a British show first, right?
Yeah. It was hosted by Jimmy Carr, who hosts Distraction. So we did the show. It was really good. And then it was cancelled. And now this new show that we're doing, it's called The Reality Show with Andy Dick.
What's it like working with Andy Dick?
He's pretty much out of his mind. I mean, he's a total nut job. He's a nice guy, but he's crazy. After the show, I'll be like, "Hey Andy, wanna grab a brew?" Cause it's not gonna happen. He's out of his mind.
But the show's gonna be good. The set up is just like American Idol. So, the winner of this show gets their own reality show on MTV. It's the biggest show MTV has ever done, because they give away like a massive prize.
You started off on The Andy Dick Show?
Throughout my career, I've had like cute little parts here and there. I did The Andy Dick Show, I was on Craig Kilborn when he hosted The Late Late Show, I did a show called Funny Money that was on the Game Show Network. I was on it, doing stand up for like two episodes, but it was produced by Buck Cleveland, he's the big owner of the Improv chain.
I shot a pilot this year called Dirty Famous. It was like a Curb Your Enthusiasm-type show, produced by the guys that produce Curb Your Enthusiasm, for VH1. It didn't get picked up, but it was funny. I've been going out just with my friends and we've been writing a lot and producing our own stuff.
Who else is on the Reality Show? How does it work?
I'm the host of it and it's in the American Idol format. I'm like the funny Ryan Seacrest, and Andy is the funny Simon, and there will be two rotating judges who have been on reality shows. Trichelle, Steve-O, those kinds of people.
So you've hung out with Steve-O a little bit?
Yeah. He's kind of out of his mind.
Who's crazier- Andy Dick or Steve-O?
Steve-O. In the middle of one of the shows, we were shooting them watching TV and nothing was on, so Steve-O was like, "I don't want to lie and pretend that I'm liking something!" And we're like, "OK?" And he's like, "Fuck this! You're messing with my artistic integrity!" I was like, "Don't you just shit on the floor and like rub your face in the shit? That's artistic integrity?"
Who's better looking- Dan Levy or Ryan Seacrest?
Dan Levy. Are you kidding me?
Are you going to try to hook it with Trichelle?
Yeah. It's pretty easy though. She's actually pretty sweet.
Who do you think is funny?
Dave Attell is just the funniest. I like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on FX. I like Entourage. Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Simpsons or Family Guy?
Do you actually watch MTV?
Yeah. I think everyone watches MTV and they just don't admit it.
We definitely watch and don't admit it.
Yeah, I watch MTV all the time. It's a great network especially for young comedians because so many comics have broken off the network, like Adam Sandler. They're actually thinking about doing an MTV comedy tour.
Who else do you have lined up for the show?
Hulk Hogan, who I met. Best story ever. I did comedy at this benefit called Hope Rocks. I don't even know why they had me do it. It was Jesse McCartney, Chingy, a bunch of teen pop stars, and then me, [who] comes out talking about my balls and having sex with girls, and I just made fun of everyone who was there. All the people in the audience were fans, so they didn't think I was funny. I was like, "Jesse McCartney -- what a queer, huh?" and they were like, "What?!" They did NOT think it was funny.
But the coolest thing about it was that backstage, Hulk Hogan comes over and is like, "You're crazy, brother! You're funny!" I was like, "Yes!" Then I saw his daughter, Brooke, and she's like, "Hey, you were so funny."
So would you hook up with his daughter?
Yeah, I would. Even if I did get beat up by Hulk Hogan for having sex with his daughter, could you imagine that story? You don't have a better story.
You live in LA now?
All my friends from Emerson live in LA, so I don't even have any crazy LA friends. I'll go out and see Lindsay Lohan blowing coke in a corner, but I'm not going to talk to her because I have all my friends from home.
Where do you like doing stand up better -- New York or LA?
New York's way better to do stand up.
What's the crappiest city you've ever performed in?
The worst place I've ever been is Erie, PA. The worst place I've ever been in my life. The worst show, the worst people. Even driving, you just want to get into an accident so you'd have a story.
There's a saying that if you can play in Peoria, you can play anywhere. I remember being on stage [in Peoria], and thinking like, I'm not a psychic, but I'm going to go ahead and say that I can't play everywhere.
For more on Dan, check out his website at www.danlevyshow.com