15 Dana Gould Jokes and Moments for the Comedy Hall of Fame
Alt-comedy icon Dana Gould did his first stand-up set at age 17 and hasn’t taken his foot off the gas since. In a career spanning more than four decades, Gould has continued to kill it onstage while also racking up a ludicrous amount of on-screen work as a writer, producer and actor. Whether it’s under a pile of orangutan makeup or being trusted to guide the voice of the most important comedy in television history, any time you see his name in the credits, you can rest assured it’ll be funny.
And that’s why we’d like to honor Gould by inducting 15 of his best jokes and career moments into the Comedy Hall of Fame.
On Signs from God
“I came across an amazing story about three weeks ago in North Carolina. They had a big hurricane, and there was a woman in her house. Her house was filling up with water, but she couldn’t go outside to get help because the water outside the house was filled with snakes and alligators. Now I’m not here to judge anybody, but if you’re gonna drown in your own home because the water outside is filled with snakes and alligators, you did something. Life is not that cruel. I’m sure the National Guard helicopter was like, ‘Go outside, and we’ll lower a ladder!’
“‘I can’t! The water is filled with snakes and alligators!’
“‘Jeez lady, what did you do?!?’
“By the way, why are there alligators? Like I understand that God made sunsets and rainbows; do we really need a gorilla made of leather that lives in the swamp and wants you dead? But then he came up with a shark and thought, ‘Oh, it can’t chase you across a golf course. Hang on, I got another idea!’ Then he came up with a crocodile for the sole reason that you could be thinking you’re eaten by an alligator and be wrong.”
On Having to Put His Dog Down
“The woman who worked there went, ‘Sir, it’s okay. This happens every day.’ And all I could think of was, ‘Then why do you work here? What the fuck is wrong with you? What’d you tell your guidance counselor?’ ‘Oh, I really like sad people, but I’d also like to be around a lot of dead animals!’ Congratulations, Dr. Frankenstein, you got your wish!’”
On Baby Teeth
“Here’s the weird thing that happens with children: When they get about four or five years old, their baby teeth get loose and come out. You take the tooth and put it in the pillow. Then you put a dollar and put the tooth over there. A couple months later, it happens again — another dollar, put the tooth over there. After a while, you have this weird little collection. But you can’t get rid of it; it’s literally a part of your child. I guess it’s so later on in life when they’ve grown up and moved on, you can sit alone in a dirty bathrobe and sift your fingers through an envelope of human teeth: ‘Hi Ricky, it’s dad. Not much to report. Just sitting around playing with your teeth.’”
‘Hanging with Doctor Z’
Gould has channeled his lifelong love of the Planet of the Apes franchise into this spoof of late-night talk shows, with Gould hosting as Dr. Zaius. In this episode, he pulls double duty by interviewing himself.
“There’s only one way to avoid having a fight, and for men, it’s very simple. Never finish this sentence: ‘You want to know what I think? Because I’ll tell you what I think!’ No one ever had a great night at home after finishing that thought. It’s one of those sentences that tells you the real trouble’s coming right around the corner. Right up there with ‘Watch me scare the president!’”
On Stephen Hawking
“I’m not a cynical person. I’m a very optimistic person, and the source of my optimism: individual human achievement. You know, when one person does something amazing. The example I always give is Professor Stephen Hawking. Here is a man who cannot walk, who cannot speak, who cannot move independently, and yet, he still found a way to cheat on his wife. That’s the rumor. And he got caught, lest you think you might get away with it. I’m sure you think you’re very clever. The guy who figured out how time started didn’t delete his inbox quickly enough.”
Gould and Bobcat Goldthwait have had a contentious friendship since they started out in comedy, but the pair set out on tour together in 2019 — only to get into a near-fatal (for Goldthwait, at least) car accident on the way to the first gig. They resumed touring in early 2020, making this documentary about it, which is now available on Amazon Prime.
On the Hollywood Dog Park
“There’s a big dog park at the foot of the mountain that the Hollywood sign is on. It’s the perfect symbol for show business: The Hollywood sign, and then a big beautiful place that is actually filled with shit.”
“Adolf Hitler, the embodiment of evil, waged war on humanity for six years. Then, in his bunker, wed Eva Braun and the next morning blew his brains out. Marriage is hard. World War II: Six years. Marriage: Couldn’t make it to lunch.'"
Gould was a producer and head writer for The Simpsons from 2001 to 2007.
On His Conception
“I was born on August 24, 1964, exactly nine months and two days after the Kennedy assassination, which tells you all you need to know about how my father processes grief. And now, when I watch the footage, I have very mixed emotions because I realize if he misses, I wouldn’t be here. ‘Hurry up, hurry up! He’s almost to the underpass, SHOOT!’”
On the World
“The fact is, I’ve met far too many bald men with ponytails to expect this world to make sense.”
‘Stan Against Evil’
Gould created this IFC horror comedy series starring John C. McGinley as a retired small-town sheriff who has to battle the forces of evil. He also had a recurring role as Kevin Cougar-Mellencamp, the town’s gravedigger.
On His Adopted Children
“I’m white, my wife is white and our children are Asian. Oftentimes, we’ll be walking around, and people will stop us — women usually. They go, ‘(clapping) Bravo! Bravo! Congratulations! So, you adopted, congratulations. And how did you come to that particular conclusion about the make-up of your family? What went into that decision? What was your process?’
“I’m not going to tell you, pie-eyed lunatic at the airport! That’s kind of a personal decision. I don’t go up to people with biological children, ‘So, what happened here? Did your husband come home drunk and shove his junk in your business? Did he drop a load of tot nog in the baby bunker? What was your process?’”
“It’s easy to go through life putting people down because they’re different from you, but no matter who you are or where you’re from, we all enter this world the same. When we’re born, we’re naked, covered in blood and screaming in terror. And that sort of thing doesn’t have to stop there if you know how to live right.”