Incoming: Drennon Davis, the Pajama Men-approved musical act
Andrew Mickel10 July 2012
Our new(ish) act column continues with the grandson of the man who made Heinz ketchup the thickness it is...
Here's a hell of a ringing endorsement for a newcomer: when the Pajama Men saw Drennon Davis for the first time, they thought he was so good that they immediately said they wanted to produce it.
The resulting work is Drennon's imaginary radio programme, piling up looped tracks, beatboxing, sketches and characters to make up the hottest newcomer to musical comedy this August.
He tells us about tackling tough crowds head on, his fans' love and how his grandfather made Heinz ketchup the thickness it is (not a joke).
WARNING: contains the term 'boner central'...
What brought you into comedy?
I feel like I've always been into comedy. Since I was a kid I've been writing and reading stories to the class or recording silly songs on my little tape recorder. As I got older, I got really into pranking and drawing comic strips for my college's paper. Then when I graduated, I went straight into improv and stand-up. It kind of freaks me out that I still do the same stuff that I did when I was in 3rd grade.
Describe your act in five words.
Live-looped, fast-paced, musical, one-man sketches.
What's been the best reaction you've had to your comedy?
Of course, I love it when people erupt with laughter or standing ovations but I think my favourite moments are a little more abnormal in the comedy scene. About five years ago, I was doing a call-back for the Montreal Comedy Festival at the Hollywood Laugh Factory. For whatever reason the balcony (aka The VIP Section) was all black dudes who were heckling the comics all night.
When I got on stage, I thought I was going to have to battle them throughout my set. Instead, for whatever reason they were quiet so I started doing a beat-boxed bit about how hard-core rappers always have sensitive singers in the chorus. In the middle of the bit, I looked up at the balcony and noticed that that everybody had stood up and started dancing. They weren't listening to the lyrics at all but they were enjoying it in a way that made them part of the sketch. It was amazing.
It really tickles me when people dance to my stuff. Last weekend I performed a song at the UCB Theater in LA called "I Drink Beer Like A Baby Deer." It's a really stupid song that poking fun at musical groups like LMFAO. By the end of the song, the entire stage was filled with comics and audience dancing and drinking beer like a baby deer. The floor and everyone on it was soaked in beer by the end. It was the best.
Here’s a version of the song if you’re curious:
Who's your biggest fan?
I've had a few different fans that were pretty crazy, they all happened to be girls. Not sure I'd call them my biggest fans, but crazy ones are the ones I remember. Once a fan got a tattoo based off of a completely absurd catch phrase I was doing after jokes. The phrase was "Who put that in the muffin house?" She got a muffin house tattoo. Rad but crazy.
There was also a really hot black girl that I never met who used to send incredibly graphic Facebook messages to me about all the things she dreamt about doing to me. It was boner central but also pretty insane.
What's the toughest lesson you've learnt in comedy?
Self-promotion has probably been the toughest pill to swallow. As an artist who just wants to continually create, it's not in my nature to hype-up myself but if I don't do it, there will be some shithead who only has two jokes and amazing promoting skills that will be happy to take my spot.
That being said, check out my show, The Imaginary Radio Programme in Edinburgh all of August! It's being produced by the Pajama Men and I'm very proud of it.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
Just have fun - advice given by my grandfather on his deathbed. Simple, but what could be more important than happiness? I'd trust anything that he said, my grandpa was a genius. He was a mad-scientist/chemist who invented the thickness of Heinz ketchup and the first versions of the Brita water filter pitchers we all love so much. The passion he had inventing kept him alive way longer than doctors would've ever predicted.
Show us something fascinating on the internet about you. (That isn't your website/Twitter/'similar'.)
What is your guilty comedy pleasure?
My weakness is videos of cats falling and attacking things, especially babies. Cats try to be so cool all of the time so when they misstep into a bathtub or lose their cool on a toddler, it's hilarious to me.
Maybe I should be embarrassed of how much I like cats but honestly I'm embarrassed for people who don't like them. Get your shit together and stop acting like you can't enjoy an alcoholic drink with fruit in it or cute furry creatures who sucker punch infants.
Which other acts have you seen while gigging you recommend?
Maria Bamford, Paul F Tompkins and the Pajama Men are a few of my favourites but I'd imagine that you've already heard of them.
Here are some other comics/sketch groups that I like that I've performed with that you may not have heard of: Ron Lynch, Eliza Skinner, Brent Weinbach, Dave Childs, Robert Buscemi, The Walsh Brothers, Kurt Weitzmann, DJ Real, John Hoogasian, Mary Van Note and Picnicface. This list goes on and on but those are some that come to my mind immediately.
What's the day job?
Day job at this point is comedy in one way or another. I created an animated series for MTV's reintroduction of Liquid Television called The Long Legs coming out later this year and curate for a site called Redux.
Catch Drennon at the Assembly Roxy, 2-26 August at 22:30. Get tickets here, and visit him online here. And we interviewed the Pajama Men over here, if you are interested.
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